Fire Emblem Awakening is the most fluid and stunning strategy RPG experience available on a portable, and features the best storytelling and production value of any 3DS game to date. The strong tactical gameplay and strikingly diverse visuals are only part of the equation - the strength of the game comes from the strength of the characters. The desire to protect them and progress their individual story arcs drives home the weight of your decisions, and makes you feel more involved and invested than most games ever come close to. I found myself going to great lengths to keep all members of my team alive - not due to the compulsive need to collect all the warriors, but because I truly cared about these people. Thatís rare for a videogame, where death is often a temporary and inconsequential occurrence.
While many of these concepts arenít new to the Fire Emblem series, never before have they been presented in such a refined and easily accessible package. In this way, Awakening exceeds all prior installments for a game that is at once a Fire Emblem lover's dream come true and a brilliant entry point to both the franchise and the genre. This isnít just a Fire Emblem game, this is where Fire Emblem finally awakens from its deep slumber as a cult favorite and steps up as one of the Big Nís big franchises, no longer shackled by its niche origins. And it didnít achieve this by sacrificing its identity either, but rather by refining the franchiseís already solid foundation so that its accessibility and caliber should easily qualify it as a quintessential portable experience, right up there with the likes of Super Mario 3D Land or Pokemon Black and White 2.
If you have access to a 3DS, donít deny yourself this truly special and incredible experience.