Recent news articles pointed to a possible March release in Japan, for the 3DS Fire Emblem title. Additionally, it has been stated that this will be the first entry in the series to feature paid downloadable content. According to a report by Nikkei, players will be able to use prepaid cards or credit cards to make purchases, the latter facilitated by a recent update to the 3DS firmware that allows for billing information.
During a Nintendo Direct broadcast made yesterday, a release date of April 19th was confirmed. The 3DS title was given to be Fire Emblem: Kakusei (translated as Fire Emblem: Awakening in English), featuring a free map system inherited from Gaiden and The Sacred Stones and a skill system bearing likeness to the ones present in Genealogy of the Holy War and Path of Radiance.
Additionally, the support system will play a larger role on the field: support bonus characters will actually appear during fights to give either support or damage bonuses. As far as the skill system is concerned, a list of known skills has been compiled on Serenes Forest, a fan site dedicated to the series. The list is below for those interested:
*Astra – appears to land 5 consecutive hits on the enemy (perhaps with reduced damage like in Path of Radiance?)
*Dual Attack+ – Judging by the name, perhaps increases the rate of 2 on 1 attacks?
*Charisma – A skill from Genealogy of the Holy War and Thracia 776
*Picklock – Open doors and chests, presumably without the need of keys
*Fiery Heart – Critical+5
*Gamble – Hit rate-5, Critical+10
*Mug – Steals a Small piece of Gold from the enemy if the user defeats the enemy (activation rate is Luck%).
*Max HP+5 – Can’t see the description, but should be self-explanatory right?
*Lethality – appears to KO the enemy (probably ineffective versus bosses)
*Sol – Seems to drain HP equal to half the damage dealt to the enemy
The video of the Nintendo Direct broadcast section pertaining to the game is posted below:
Analysis: Obviously, there’s no guarantee that this title will be released in the U.S. However, we have received every completely original work in the series since Rekka no Ken (known as simply Fire Emblemin the U.S.) , so chances are good that this title will arrive stateside as well.
The evolution of the support system to what it appears to be in this title is interesting. This will be the first game in the series where support bonuses are completely smack-you-in-the-face obvious. In previous titles, the fact there were bonuses for keeping your units together was relatively clear, but the actual effects of doing so were not. Personally, I’m rather excited to see this feature.
One thing that alarms me is the presence of a free map. History shows that Fire Emblem titles with a free map have been relatively poorly received, and in the case of The Sacred Stones, wholly abusable. I certainly hope this not to be the case, but only time will tell. The return of the skills system I fully embrace and anticipate. I felt this was well done in Path of Radiance, so I imagine it will work out well.
Finally, I believe that paid DLC will do this title a lot of good. Fire Emblem titles are very fun but notoriously lack in replay value. Sure, there are usually hard modes, but if you don’t enjoy restarting a single chapter twenty-five times, this goes a little distance in providing true replay value. Paid DLC will do the franchise much good by encouraging people to continue playing the title after having completed the storyline, as well as netting Nintendo and Intelligent Systems extra cash in the process. It brings to mind a present-day version of the BS maps from the Super Famicom era. This could easily be the beginning of a very good trend in the series.
DISCLOSURE: The author is the administrator of Serenes Forest.