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Fire Emblem: Awakening

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Fire Emblem: Awakening Game Poster Image
Excellent strategy RPG skews older because characters die.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy in this challenging game of military wits and tactics. Taking command of a broad spectrum of characters, kids need to use their strengths and be mindful of their weaknesses as they work out ploys and gambits in an attempt to defeat the enemy, losing as few allies as possible along the way. Strong storytelling creates a link between the characters and the player, and their potential loss during turned-based battles may help kids better understand the concept and importance of sacrifice.  

Positive Messages

There aren't any grand messages here, but light themes concerning self-sacrifice, the tragedies of war, and romance are evident throughout. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players get to control and interact with dozens of protagonists, all of whom are good, noble characters who express love, compassion, and loyalty to their friends. That said, some are given to certain vices, such as drinking. Plus, they're all warriors who do not hesitate to kill their enemies.     

Ease of Play

Multiple skill settings significantly alter the level of challenge players may experience. The easiest not only decreases the difficulty of battle, but also allows additional save points. The hardest, meanwhile, results in no mid-mission saves as well as permanent death for any protagonists who perish in combat, making later battles much harder.


Player characters use swords, axes, lances, and magic in automated cartoon battles that play out as stylish little movies. Weapon strikes appear as flashes of light without any blood or gore. However, if characters -- including the player's cast of heroes -- fall in combat, they may die permanently. 


Several of the characters flirt with each other, occasionally using words like "loins." Some female characters wear outfits that show cleavage.  


Text dialogue contains infrequent occurrences of the words "hell" and "piss."


This game is part of the long-running Fire Emblem series, which has a loyal, ardent, and growing consumer base. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Glasses of what appears to be wine and ale appear in the game, and one scene depicts a character as mildly intoxicated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fire Emblem: Awakening is a tactical role-playing game with frequent combat. Battles are fairly mild, with melee, magic, and ranged weapon strikes simply resulting in flashes of light. However, playing on the hardest difficulty setting means fallen heroes will die permanently, their stories and personal relationships with other characters cut short. This may prove emotional for some younger players. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySynchronicity February 9, 2013

The game worth buying a 3DS for, especially if you like strategy games; rated Teen for a reason, but older tweens are fine.

Ah, Fire Emblem. A fairly popular strategy series in the West, this gem of a series became quite popular after characters Marth and Roy made their debuts in Sup... Continue reading
Adult Written bybird3713 July 26, 2013

Addicting handheld strategy game

As noted above, there is a little bit of language in the game, so keep young children away if you are sensitive to that. The violence in the game is very cartoo... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 7, 2013


This game is nothing but the best, with slight concerns. Violence: The Violence is not too bad, nothing you wouldn't see in a Star Wars movie. Plus, it... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old August 4, 2013

Fire Emblem: Awakening review

I think this is a very good game and it makes you think more about the choices you make. It doesn't show any blood. Instead it shows flashes of light. One... Continue reading

What's it about?

Set in a fantastical world filled with political intrigue and nations at odds, FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING puts players in control of a big, ragtag band of warriors and mages led by Chrom, a prince questing on behalf of his homeland. However, old feuds and border disputes eventually take a back seat to concerns of a supernatural nature. Players engage in turn-based battles on tiled maps, moving units with varying abilities across the landscape to wage war against enemies with equally diverse skills. Combat is automated and plays out according to attributes and percentages. It's a game of strategic offense and defense, with success depending on the player's ability to exploit his or her units' strengths in working together and using obstacles in the environment to help. On harder settings, characters under the player's control will die permanently when killed in battle, cutting their stories short and making the rest of the game that much more difficult.

Is it any good?

Like its predecessors, Fire Emblem: Awakening offers a deep and challenging play that will likely appeal to serious gamers on a couple of levels. The finely balanced combat system demands a shrewd understanding of your heroes' skills, enemies' weaknesses, and which units best complement each other. At times, it also requires a willingness to make difficult decisions, sacrificing one unit for the greater good. These sacrifices are all the harder because of the other thing the game does so well, which is make players actually care about its characters. Each of the game's dozen heroes has his or her own story, as well as evolving dramas, friendships, and even light romances that play out in cut scenes between battles. Should they perish, their story will end prematurely, with players never knowing what might have been in store for them. Few tactical RPGs combine action and narrative so successfully, making Awakening a real treat for fans of the genre. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the notion of self-sacrifice. Have you ever done anything at great personal cost out of love for a friend of family member? 

  • Families can also discuss violence in media. How do you feel if a game character you care about is killed? Does the possibility of a character's permanent death affect how you play the game and how you feel about its cast?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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