PATH OF THE DRAGON

Fire Em­blem Fates

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX - REVIEWS - Fire Em­blem Awak­en­ing Em­blem Fates Fire Em­blem Fates: Fire Awak­en­ing, Awak­en­ing Awak­en­ing MichaelLow

FOL­LOW YOUR HEART

is one of Nin­tendo’s long-run­ning fran­chises that have en­joyed strong suc­cess in Ja­pan, and a steady fol­low­ing out­side its home coun­try be­gin­ning with the Game Boy Ad­vance releases. Two more ti­tles were lo­cal­ized for the GameCube and Wii re­spec­tively, but both were sad­dled with lim­ited print runs, and crit­i­cized by main­stream gamers for their un­for­giv­ing dif­fi­culty and ‘dated’ graph­ics. Things were look­ing grim, but the re­lease of helped turn the tide for the se­ries (and the 3DS), thanks to pos­i­tive re­views and strong sales. Now that

has ar­rived on our shores, how does it fare in com­par­i­son to pre­vi­ous en­tries?

First, there are three ver­sions of Birthright, Conquest, and Rev­e­la­tion – each rep­re­sent­ing a path that the player will take in the war be­tween the King­doms of Hoshido (Birthright) and Nohr (Conquest). For the full ex­pe­ri­ence, you will have to un­lock the sec­ond and fi­nal

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APRIL 2016 paths for US$19.99 each. If you man­aged to secure the Spe­cial Edi­tion, all three paths are un­locked from the get-go. Some will see this as a cash-grab move, but it does make for an in­ter­est­ing nar­ra­tive turn, as the story di­verges from Chap­ter 5 on­wards, lead­ing to dif­fer­ent set of chal­lenges, ac­com­pa­ny­ing char­ac­ters, and con­clu­sions. FAM­ILY CAN BE YOUR WORST EN­EMY Sim­i­lar to the player can cus­tom­ize the Avatar’s name, gen­der, ap­pear­ance, and voice to their lik­ing. Un­like in the pre­vi­ous ti­tle, the Avatar serves as the main pro­tag­o­nist in Fates, with his or her army to com­mand across var­i­ous bat­tle­fields. Based on our mul­ti­ple playthroughs, it’s clear that Birthright is aimed at new­com­ers and fans, while Conquest of­fers quite a chal­lenge even for se­ries’ vet­er­ans with its di­verse ob­jec­tives, and lim­ited gold/ ex­pe­ri­ence gains. Rev­e­la­tion, on the other hand, plays like a hy­brid of the other two. In ad­di­tion to Clas­sic (read: per­madeath) and Ca­sual (units re­vived post battle) modes, Fates in­tro­duces Phoenix, a third mode un­der Nor­mal dif­fi­culty that re­vives downed units to full health (with the ex­cep­tion of the Avatar and another key char­ac­ter) at the end of the turn. Also re­turn­ing from

is the Sup­port sys­tem, which plays a crit­i­cal role in build­ing affini­ties and de­vel­op­ing re­la­tion­ships be­tween char­ac­ters, the lat­ter which can re­sult in mar­riage and off­spring, who can then be re­cruited into your army (don’t ask). Much of the fun is de­rived from the My Cas­tle hub and un­lock­ing sup­port con­ver­sa­tions, which ranged from funny and awk­ward to se­ri­ous and in­sight­ful. There was a brief con­tro­versy re­gard­ing the re­moval of a ‘pet­ting’ minigame, but we’re glad that they kept the same-sex re­la­tion­ship op­tion in­tact. Purists, how­ever, will not be happy with the ab­sence of Ja­panese voiceovers.

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TESTED & RATED

CON­CLU­SION

An­i­mated cutscenes are back!

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