Attacks are rendered in 3D, just like in Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fates.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia played out like two very different games for me.
I’m not just referring to the game’s plot, which mostly split my time between two different armies on opposite battlefronts. While I can appreciate the game as a meticulous and beautiful remake of the Japanese Famicom original, Fire Emblem Gaiden, I just couldn’t get into the monotonous, flat, turn-based strategy gameplay from a modern perspective.
Echoes incorporates most of what I love to see in video game remakes.
The art has been painstakingly redrawn from the ground up, much to the game’s benefit. Maps that used to be static, mostly green blobs are now isometric spaces that convey a lot more character and personality to the different kinds of terrain across the continent of Valentia.
Fully 3D battle animations are also taken straight out of Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fates.
What really stands out, though, is the best-in-class character art.
These are the primary shots of the members of your army, all with their own backstories and personalities in typical Fire Emblem fashion.
The stills show a bit less anime inspiration than in Awakening and Fates—adopting an ever-so-slightly more “classical” design.
It seems like a small difference, but it sets the tone for the rest of the game, harkening back to a slightly more sober tone of Gaiden than the melodramatic relationships of modern Fire Emblem games.
Sworn to the sword
Echoes is the story of two long-lost friends, Alm and Celica, leading forces embroiled in a war between gods and nations, with politics and ideology at the forefront.
The series’ signature pseudo-dating sim elements—where soldiers befriend and romance each other by fighting in proximity—are still present, but sidelined by the overarching intrigue that drives the main plot.
Few characters can develop relationships with each other, and, when they do, there’s hardly any downtime between battles where they can converse.
All optional talking is instead done on the battlefield itself.
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