I just beat the game at 8:00PM (EST) Sunday night.
I give it a 10 out of 10.
Thanks to the Blizzard that buried Boston in snow I could play through the game from start to finish without interruption. I got the game Thursday evening and didn’t put it down until I downed the final boss. My game time is 30 hours and 27 minutes. Having now beaten the game at least once I can tell you a bit about if you’re on the fence about weather you want to get it or not. At the same time I want to explain why the title of this blog post has the words Chaos Theory in it. There are major plot spoilers regarding the title but I will let you know when the time comes so you will have the option of skipping over the spoilers.
Anyway let’s get to the review itself first. Despite the delay, I got the game Thursday evening and immediately dove into it. Nintendo hyped the living daylights out of Awakening in North America prior to its release. Fortunately for me and (hopefully) just about everyone else who played it the game does not disappoint. For the second time in the series history (The first time being in the Japan-only Fire Emblem: Light and Shadow, which was release in 2010 on the DS. Again, Japan only) , you can create a Custom Avatar who joins the Protagonist in the game as Tactician and party member. Unlike Light and Shadow, your Avatar is an important character in the game’s plot. I can’t go into details beyond that without going into spoilers but we’ll save the spoilers for further down.
Except for this one: The Marth you and I know and love IS in Awakening. The Marth you meet in the game is not the real Marth BUT the real Marth is known and referenced by various characters on Ylisse. This is the spoiler I was referring to: This is what Masked Marth looks like Unmasked. We’ll get into who that is in a few paragraphs but since it’s major spoilers let’s sidestep that for now and talk about how you can play as heroes from the previous Fire Emblem games in Awakening. Hope that got your attention.
There are two ways to meet heroes and villains from the other Fire Emblem games: One is receiving Spotpass Data and accessing it via the Wireless Menu from the World Map. The other way is to visit the Outrealm Gate, which is unlocked after Chapter 4. If you visit the Outrealm Gate (DLC) you can purchase and play bonus maps–for a price. The only prerequisite is having cleared Chapter 4 (which also unlocks Spotpass) as well as having a team powerful enough to clear the available map(s). The Champions of Yore 1 Map can be cleared as-is with the characters you have at the end of Chapter 4. After clearing the map, Prince Marth will offer to join you! I mentioned the Champions of Yore 1 Map for another reason: It’s a FREE download in North America until March 6.
Spotpass Teams can be summoned into Ylisse and appear on different points on the world map. You can even summon all available ones at once if you want. Attempting to take on Eliwood after clearing Chapter 4 is prettymuch suicide though but otherwise yeah. When you Parley with a Summoned Team you can recruit the leader in one of two ways: Paying Gold or defeating them in battle. It’s unlikely you’ll have the gold after Chapter 4 to recruit say, Lyn or Hector but you should be strong enough to defeat Florina (Level 3 Pegasus Knight). One thing both DLC and Spotpass encounters have in common is they can be replayed over and over again free of charge whenever you want. This makes it possible for you to level ALL of your characters and Class Change frequently to learn many different class skills.
Speaking of Class Skills, Skills have made their return in Awakening. Only Chrom and “Marth” can get Aether (introduced in Path of Radiance, it’s the Skills Sol and Luna combined) and it is a thing of beauty when it activates. Many other skills from Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are in Awakening along with a slew of new ones. For example the Rally Abilities (learned by various promoted Classes) allow you to stat buff units up to 3 spaces away while the Lifetaker Skill (Dark Knight Skill) heals you for 50% of the damage inflicted if you kill an enemy during your turn.
One new feature that has to be tried to be believed is the Pair Up Mechanic. It allows two adjacent units to fight side by side with the support unit joining the lead unit in combat. Raising Support levels strenthens the support bonuses and their support attack or support block rate. A support attack means the support unit will attack or counterattack after the lead unit does regardless of the support unit’s class or distance from the enemy NPC. For example Archers/Snipers can support attack adjacent foes and melee classes can attack distant foes. A support block means the support unit steps in and blocks incoming attacks, negating damage to the lead unit. To top it off the lead and support units can switch places at will when paired up.
The part that makes Pair Up such an awesome addition is the Support Unit’s Skills can activate during battle. I have had Vengeance activate on the lead and then Astra (Level 5 Swordmaster Skill) on my support, decimating the enemy NPC. One might call it game-breaking if not for the time and gold commitment needed to reclass so many times and enemy NPCs don’t Pair Up.
Before I get into spoiler territory I will offer some protips to those who either recently got the game will be getting it in the very near future:
- Wait until you’re level 10 + unpromoted or 15+ promoted BEFORE you class change. The reason is at level 10 unpromoted you will learn your second Class Skill (first learned/gained at level 1) while at levels 5 and 15 you will learn your class skills promoted.
- Certain Male Characters can Class Change to Barbarian. Why am I mentioning this? At level 1 Barbarians gain the Despoil Skill, which sometimes gives them a free Small Bullion (sells for 1000G) depending on your Luck Stat. Let me spell it out for you: Make a team with Despoil active and enter a battle with 8 or more Risen/Enemy NPCs. Sell off the Bullion after battle for HUGE monetary gains.
- Due to the ability to Change Classes at will, stat-boosting items have less of a value since your stats dramatically shift.
- Your Avatar can Support anyone in the game. They can also marry anyone opposite their gender. Yes, even Chrom.
- See those sparkles on the battlefield? GO TO THEM! Something nice always happens!
- Anything except an item with unlimited uses (Falchion) can be reacquired through various means.
- Master Seals and Change Seals can be purchased for 2500G as soon as after Chapter 14 is cleared.
- Sometimes you will see merchants on the World Map. If you use the Shop while they’re there you might be able to buy an item at half price or buy high-end items to better help you out.
- Speaking of Merchants, Anna is back! Not only that, you can recruit her at a certain point in the game.
- “Marth” isn’t the only visitor from the future you will meet in your travels. As love begins to bloom between certain members of Chrom’s forces you will meet a new generation of heroes who followed “Marth” into the past to change history for the better.
And there you have it. Now as promised we are going to get into EPIC Spoilers now. If you don’t want to be spoiled then you can stop reading after the next paragraph, which is a LONG explaination of Chaos Theory.
Let’s start off with the title of this blog. Anyone even remotely interested in Time Travel knows about Chaos Theory. The gist of it is if someone from the future goes back in time and changes events, the time-space continum adjusts to reflect the divergence. Chaos Theory also kicks in when it comes to someone’s existance. Let’s say someone goes back in time and either kills one of your parents and/or their descendants or otherwise makes sure you’re never born. In this case, since you were never born you can’t possibly exist. Weather you disappear from time instantly or gradually the ripple effect is since you were never born, everyone you ever met or interacted with in your lifetime never knew you so literally you never existed. It’s the same if someone went back in time and killed you when you were a kid. Everyone you met or interacted with after that point in your lifetime never knew you only in this case, Chaos Theory only effects those who met you after your past self was killed.
Why am I explaining that? I want to direct your attention to this picture. Her real name is Lucina and she is Chrom’s daughter. Chrom actually does have a daughter named Lucina after Chapter 11. The swordswoman from the future is that Lucina’s future self. In Lucina’s future Chrom is betrayed and killed by The Avatar and all of the heroes are killed by Grima, the game’s final boss. Being Chrom’s daughter Lucina decides to go back in time to prevent The Avatar from killing Chrom in the first place, among other things. The caviat is Lucina isn’t the only hero who traveled from the future. Remember in the protip above about certain people getting married? Their children will come back in time once their respective mother or father get married.
Chrom actually has two daughters: Lucina and Cynthia. Lucina is a major character obviously. Her sister can be recruited in her introduction Map as well. If you complete Lucina and Cynthia’s A level support you will learn something interesting about the Falchion’s youngest heiress. The Avatar has children as well: Morgan and Laurent. Morgan’s gender is always the opposite of the Avatar’s. If the Avatar is male Morgan will be female and vice versa. They didn’t cop out, there are separate dialogues depending on the Avatar and Morgan’s respective genders. The Avatar’s other child Laurent is always male and always has the same hair color and unpromoted class as his mother.
The biggest plot twist I didn’t see until the end of the game I will not spoil because I want you to play the game and see it for yourself. I will say that it was well thought out and explained and unlike Radiant Dawn’s Black Knight reveal they kept The Avatar’s connection to the plot under wraps until the very last moment. All I can say is remember Chaos Theory and how the final boss of Radiant Dawn must be defeated.
Again, I give this game a 10/10. If you have a 3DS, you’re mad to even consider not getting this game. The DLC is 100% optional and you have Streetpass and Spotpass to enjoy, too. I am sure I will get plenty of tags come Anime Boston and I can’t wait!