Yes, two games. Intelligent Systems is clearly taking what it did with Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones one step further in which the two campaigns are each their own game. Based on what we know so far, each campaign has as much content as Fire Emblem Awakening (!) so…yeah. Both campaigns are MASSIVE. They are Fire Emblem if: Hoshido and Fire Emblem if: Nohr. Like Awakening you can make your own unit but taking it a step further, your Avatar is also the game’s main Lord in both games. A first for the series.
While the retail games are one campaign each, those who go the digital route can chose upon getting to Chapter 6 weather to side with Nohr or Hoshido, the two main kingdoms of FEif. Digital or Retail, you can buy the other campaign as DLC for half the price of the full game ($20) or the planned Third Path DLC where you don’t chose either side. FEif is set to arrive in Japan on June 25 and is scheduled to come to North America and Europe sometime next year.
That said, here’s an overview of what we know so far thanks to Serenes Forest:
- The story centers around the peace-loving Hoshido and the glory-seeking Nohr kingdoms. You are a Prince/Princess of Hoshido who’s been living as Nohr royalty for reasons not yet known. After Chapter 5, you will be forced to chose between Nohr or Hoshido if you own the digital version of the game.
- Digital or Retail, the game drastically changes depending on your choice: Hoshido is a more traditonal Fire Emblem experience in line with Awakening, offering opportunities to gain additional EXP and Gold outside the main story. Nohr is more traditional Fire Emblem experience in line with Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword (Fire Emblem GBA) in which extra Gold/EXP making opportunities are scarce and there are more diverse victory conditions.
- The game introduces Phoenix Mode. Awakening introduced Casual Mode in which units who fell in battle weren’t lost forever and could be used again after the battle. With Phoenix Mode, fallen units returned on the next turn. Fellow Fire Emblem Vets, I know what you’re thinking. Casual Mode was one thing but with Phoenix Mode it removes the need for careful strategy. Believe me, I agree. Due to certain victory conditions in the Nohr Campaign, Nintendo felt it necessary to add this feature to both games. At leaves alot to the imagination! Don’t worry though, the Lunatic and Lunatic+ Difficulties will be back!
- The Dual and Pair Up mechanics introduced in Awakening returns though they were tweaked a bit. Dual Strikes will only occur when a friendly unit is standing next to an attacking friendly unit. This is called an Attack Stance. Dual Guards will only occur when two friendly units are paired together. This is called a Defensive Stance. In Awakening, you simply needed to pair up two units to do either. Even hardcore FE fans said the mechanic was a little too powerful so…yeah. The obvious intent is to encourage units to stay separated for the extra attack chance. What was also true was only the lead unit in Awakening gained EXP. I assume this will stay true in FEif. To mix things up, enemies can now make use of both Stances. Should be interesting!
- Weapon durability is removed from the game. In exchange, using certain weapons grants certain perks such as increased Critical Hit %. The names are also different in each game: Traditional names are used in Nohr (Sword, Lance, Axe) while their Eastern names are used in Hoshido (Katana, Naginata, Mace).
Those are the big details so far. We can only hope more info is revealed at E3 next month. Given how much we know so far, the games look great and yes, I plan to buy both.
On a related note, I predict Sacred Stones will get re-released but in 3D on the Wii U or 3DS. This would be a great time to do it and for those who don’t have an Ambassador 3DS, it would be a great way to introduce those who may have only played Awakening or Shadow Dragon (or FEif when it comes out) to one of the older titles in the series. Originally released on the Game Boy Advance in 2005 (In 2004 in Japan), it has a few things that were later used in Awakening and FEif. Among them a traversable map and Skirmishes (Awakening).
Like FEif, Sacred Stones was two games in one: After a certain point in the game, you will be forced to chose which royal of Renais to play the rest of the game as your main Lord. Depending on which you chose, you faced different foes and when you got certain characters was different. The clear difference being regardless of which Lord you chose as your main, you still got the other one permanently later on. Sacred Stones stands as the game that introduced branching promotion paths and introduced pre-promoted units: The Recruit Amelia (promotes to Cavelier or Knight), The Journeyman Ross (promotes to Fighter or Pirate) and The Pupil Ewan (promotes to Mage or Shaman).
These reasons are why I think a Sacred Stones reboot is possible. That and both campaigns could fit on one 3DS game card even in 3D. The remake could incorporate Streetpass/Spotpass/DLC, the revamped Pair Up/Dual System and the Classic/Casual/Phoenix Mode along with Lunatic/Lunatic+.