Between the latest issue of Famitsu and PAX East, there’s been a lot of information about the Fire Emblem Echoes gameplay! Two brand new characters have been introduced, along with some clarification about various new and old gameplay elements that will be featured in Echoes.
The game will have ‘Normal’ and ‘Hard’ difficulty settings, as well as ‘Classic’ and ‘Casual’ types of play. Classic means that a lost unit is lost for good, whereas Casual allows units to be revived at the end of a battle.
Rather than proceed from mission to mission, Echoes includes a world map, which can be used to access dungeons. You explore dungeons in a top-down camera, third-person fashion, and can get an advantage over your enemy by striking first. Once you go into a battle, it’s the standard Fire Emblem grid formula, but the dungeon-crawling element is an interesting way of changing things up!
As in Gaiden, there will be no weapons triangle in Echoes, but terrain effects will be making a return, as we were able to catch a glimpse of in previous screenshots. Various terrain types will effect your stats, such as your hit rate dropping by 40% in a forest. This will make the placement of your units all the more crucial to think through! If you do mess it up, there’s an item called Mila’s Gear which you can use to rewind their movements one at a time. It has limited uses though, so you’ll still need to be cautious!
Magic is exempt from terrain effects, but casts from the unit’s HP, so can’t be relied on too heavily. Archers can counter from a single tile away too, making them even more formidable!
On top of this wealth of news, the coverage in Famitsu gives us three character bios. One of these is Silque, a Cleric who is rescued by Alm after being captured by thieves. The others are two new character, Berkut and Effie. Berkut is Emperor Rigel’s nephew, and places great importance on his social status as a noble. He sparks the Zophia coup d’état by tempting Desaix’s betrayal. Effie is a childhood friend of Alm’s, who joins the liberation army to stay close to him. As Berkut and Effie are their names in the Japanese version, it’s possible they’ll be localised differently – especially as we already had an Effie in Fates.
I still think remaking Gaiden is a rather strange move at this point. While it’s not the first game to be released outside of Japan in remade form, Gaiden is a unique title in many ways. If it’s a matter of testing the waters with the older games for the wave of new players brought to the series by Awakening and Fates, then to choose a game as atypical from even the earlier titles as Gaiden seems like a particularly odd way to go about it. Still, it looks fantastic from what we’ve seen so far, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the new and the old of what Echoes will have to offer!
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia releases for Nintendo 3DS on 20th April in Japan, with an international release on 19th May.
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