Fire Emblem: Awakening
What parents need to know
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.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
Engagement, Approach, Support
This fiendishly habit-forming strategy game sucks players in with demanding, highly compelling turn-based battles. Parents' challenge won't be getting kids to play, but getting them to stop.
Players must consider their moves with an aim to think ahead, much as they would in a game of chess. Regarding diversity, the roster of heroes includes both men and women, but they're predominantly of light complexion.
Excellent tutorials lead players through the game's mechanics, and evolving character statistics are well tracked, but results for specific battles aren't catalogued for later review.
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.
Families can talk 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?