Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Hands On Impressions

fire_emblem_wii_leadin.jpgIntelligent System's other strategic, story-driven series, Fire Emblem, is also getting an update with Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn for the Wii. Unlike Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, however, the newest Fire Emblem doesn't radically change the turn-based strategic role-playing game formula, instead tweaking the series' long-standing conventions to add more depth for fans and give newcomers an easier way in. The biggest change in the series? Battle saves. They'll allow players to save in the midst of a battle, a feature impossible in previous games that was a gripe for the less hardcore.

In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, death is still permanent, but Battle Saves can make it less frustrating. If you need a mulligan in a nasty fight, load up a mid-battle save point. Hardcore fans will be happy to know, however, that in the game's hard mode, Battle Saves are not an option.

Another change that wasn't in the Japanese version of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, or its Gamecube predecessor is a native 16:9 aspect ratio, giving HDTV owners a better look at the battlefield. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn may not push any graphical boundaries—though its pre-rendered cutscenes are simply gorgeous—but we appreciate the extra space.

More gameplay changes for the Wii Fire Emblem include a new terrain mode, one that will add a new layer of strategy. Units on higher ground can attack those on lower ground, to an advantage of course, when not on the same level of terrain. New destructible portions of the map also open up new opportunities.

Other new additions include the revamped elemental magic system, new customizable skills and counterattacks from healers.

The game controls quite well with simply the Wii remote, either in vertical or horizontal position, but for those looking for something more familiar, Gamecube and Classic controllers are also supported.

Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is out in just a few weeks, giving players little time to properly play the game before Super Mario Galaxy hits. Regardless of the holiday crunch, fans and newbs should both give it a look.


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