A New Dawn
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is the latest game in Nintendo and Intelligent System’s beloved strategy franchise, the tenth in the series although only the fourth to hit American shores. Gamers have counted on the series for almost twenty years to deliver a fast-paced and fun strategy experience. Always got it too, as the series, for better or for worse, has tendency to stick with the familiar. Now that the series has made its way to the Wii, has it tried anything new or will it stay with what was previously established?
In a rare case of direct sequel age, Radiant Dawn takes place three years after Crimera defeated Daein in Path of Radiance. Crimera, who was without enough resources to rule another country, gave Daein over to the neighboring region of Begnion. When their new rulers prove to be too oppressive for their liking, a group of renegades called the Dawn Brigade try to thwart Begnion and bring Daein’s royal family back to power.
The story is definitely not the most compelling you can find on the system, and neither are the characters. While a couple of them do have really good personalities, Micaiah for instance, others seem to be saints, helping and protecting the innocent no matter the cost for themselves. One mission early on will have you infiltrating an armory with a full battalion stationed inside just to get some old geezer’s medicine. Very gracious of the Dawn Brigade, certainly. But do they have any common sense? Would they rather go on some crazy mission where every odd is against them for the good of one person then try to liberate their country? Despite the somewhat unbelievable characters, however, Radiant Dawn’s story is fairly good for the most part. You’ll never feel confused, and despite the main characters trying to bring the country that was evil in Path of Radiance back to power, you’ll almost always be aware of who’s right and who’s wrong.
A Master Strategist
As always in the Fire Emblem games, you play as your party’s strategist. Your role in each battle is to ensure the victory of your characters, by accomplishing a preset objective; kill all enemies or escape an area. While controlling your troops, you have a number of tools and commands at your disposal. If you want to move your troops towards an enemy while staying at a safe vantage point, you can check your opponent’s attack radius with the touch of a button. You can also check a unit’s status in about two seconds if you know what you’re looking for.
There is command after command to issue your units, and after you get good at the game, you can figure out what to use at pretty much every moment in battle to get you the upper hand. Off the top of my head, you can move your units around, attack enemy units in your attack radius, pick up and protect a smaller unit, trade items with an ally, use items on yourself, shove an ally out of the way of danger... There are incredible amounts of options, all waiting for the right moment to be used. So many, in fact, that some gamers may find it a bit overwhelming. Still, figuring out what to use and when has always been half the fun of the series and that holds true here.
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