-Great Voice Acting
-Rather predictable story
-Can be frustrating for some players
-Lots of DLCs
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a Japanese tactical role-playing game for Nintendo 3DS. The game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo was released internationally on May 19 2017. Two amazing Amiibo figures were also released for the launch. It is the fifteeth game in the Fire Emblem Series!
The story of Echoes is a retelling of Fire Emblem Gaiden and takes place in the continent of Valentia. The two main protagonists are Alm and Celica, fighting in a war between the Rigel and Zofia nations. There is also a few new characters that did not exist in Gaiden, such as Faye and Berkut. For those who want to understand when this takes place in the whole Fire Emblem universe, it is right between Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem. The previous title, Awakening, takes place on the continent of Valm, the future version of Valentia.
When you first open the game, you will see a gorgeous intro! Then there is a new prologue which tells us a bit more about the two heroes’ childhood. As soon as it starts, we can already feel the strong connection these two have and it is truly heartbreaking to see them get separated so fast. The prologue is preparing us for this intense roller coaster of emotions that is Fire Emblem Echoes.
The Art &Animation of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
No one can deny it, the art of this game is simply beautiful. It is not every day that we see a Nintendo 3DS game with such detailed artworks and fully animated cutscenes. The animation’s quality is really good, worthy of an anime. There is a scene in particuliar that comes to mind and it would be the moment when Berkut dances with Rhinea. There is such a nice fluidity and well made transitions, it’s hard to look away.
As for the new artwork used in the game, they are very nicely detailed. I particularly loved the color palette that was chosen. Most of the characters have very bright colors while most of the enemies are in various shades of purple. It looks really nice as a whole and it is worth taking the time to appreciate it.
It is not a secret to anyone, Fire Emblem are not the easiest games. However, this is exactly one of the many reasons to love them! Fire Emblem Echoes is as challenging as the previous game, maybe even more. It features many elements such as 3D dungeons, turn-based strategical combat, a big map to explore, items and more. Leveling up your characters and giving them new equipment is a big part of the experience as well. It is an RPG after all! Another interesting aspect of this game is that we get to see the story from both the perspective of Alm and Celica. They both have a mission to achieve and we are allowed to play as both characters. It is up to you to decide if you want to focus on Alm’s goal, or Celica’s.
These is also a lot of interactions with all of the characters in the game. Many NPC will give you side quests, others will simply offer you a bit of information about the story. It is very fun to go around the many towns and building to discover what they have to say! Many also have quite specific and funny names such as the Greedy Old Man and the Cheese Lover. Keep an eye out for them! They may offer you a new quest.
The voice acting in Fire Emblem Echoes was one of my favorite details from the game. It was very well acted by the voice actors. There were many moments that were able to make me laugh or want to cry from the emotion that we can feel through their voices. They are also all matching very well their characters and really help us see what kind of personality they have. The only thing I would like to see is an option to change the voice’s language. Many players enjoy going through a game with it’s original voices, it is an option that is not present in this one unfortunately.
As written at the beginning, having many DLCs is a pro and a con for most games. In this case, they are not necessary. We can easily enjoy the game without purchasing any DLC. This is great news! However, if like me you wish to know more details about the game and explore more dungeons, there are many of them purchasable. Usually, I do not have an issue with DLCs when they are not needed to finish the game. Unfortunately, the Season Pass costs more than the game itself at 63.49$CAN. Many classes are also locked, but purchasable for 21.19$CAN. Which is a shame, since the game could use a little bit more variety in terms of classes.
Even without the DLCs, Fire Emblem Echoes : Shadows of Valentia is a really good tactical RPG. It is a must have for fans of the series. It has gorgeous art and detailed animation. It also features a lot of content, many different styles of gameplay from a 3D dungeon to a turn-based combat in pixels. The story is filled with emotions and will keep you hooked until the very end.