Nintendo often comes under attack for various reasons. Usually, these criticisms are based around their continued use of their successful IPs and the idea that they are all quite flawed. I certainly don’t agree with these criticisms (although, they have a point every now and then, but not to the extent to which they’re presented) and I like Nintendo very much.
However, I also think that Fire Emblem is one of the series that is able to avoid all of the common complaints aimed at Nintendo and therefore could be considered their best IP. Let’s go through them one at a time.
1. Nintendo’s Games Are Just for Kids.
While they may never exceed 12+ age ratings (which is already higher than most Nintendo series), I struggle to imagine that many twelve year-olds get all that much excitement from it. There are lots of text-heavy cutscenes, which are likely to put off kids and that’s to say nothing of what happens in the stories. Not only can virtually any character die (and, if they do, it’s your fault) but stories often tell of villains who are not just black and white evil and include things such as the threat of rape, which is certainly not a childish subject.
2. Nintendo Games Are Too Easy.
Much as I do, indeed, love Nintendo, I have to admit that a lot of their recent output has been quite easy. I’m not sure if this is necessarily a bad thing, however, as sometimes it’s nice to have a relaxing ride through a game without getting stuck. But, regardless of whether you think that’s bad or not, you couldn’t say that Fire Emblem was an easy series. I’d go so far as to say that Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is the hardest game I’ve ever completed. Getting through a level requires you to study the stats and weapons of your characters and the enemies characters and apply strategic thinking in order to defeat your enemies without any of your people dying.
3. Nintendo Makes the Same Games Over and Over
With Mario games, it’s nearly always a case of ‘Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach and now you have to rescue her.’ With Pokémon it’s nearly always a case of ‘You’re a a kid just starting out as a Pokémon trainer and want to catch ’em all and defeat the Elite Four.’ Now, I love both of those series and I do believe that their individual games are distinct experiences, but I can see why people say they’re always the same. Fire Emblem, meanwhile, regularly introduces a completely new set of characters and completely new settings. The same characters are rarely used more than twice and they always have very different and in-depth storylines every time.
4. Nintendo Relies On Nostalgia
With there being five New Super Mario Bros. games all based around recreating the feel of the older Mario titles, you can see why people would say that. Even Donkey Kong Country Returns, to a lesser extent, relies on nostalgia, but at least they equally brought the series forward with a lot of new ideas at the same time, with that. But that’s all well and fine anyway, I think, since it’s nice to throw the fans a metaphorical bone every now and then. But where’s this ‘reliance’ on nostalgia in Fire Emblem? Nowhere. Each of the games (other than sequels) are entirely self-contained. Other than vague references to other games in dialogue, I can’t think of any strong connection between them.
How exciting, then, that just the other day we had a brand new Fire Emblem announced for the 3DS! I think Fire Emblem Awakening has been the best instalment in the series yet, and I cannot wait to see where it goes from there. Watch the trailer below.
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