Cheesy dialogue. Cartoon characters. Turn-based strategy that's in-depth enough to hook tactical nuts but accessible enough to anyone who understands "rock, paper, scissors".... Is this just GBA's famous strategy game, Advance Wars, in chain mail instead of Kevlar armor? Pretty much. If you haven't played Wars 1 or 2, and you have a taste for some portable wargaming, try those first. They're less intimidating and slightly more fun. If you're a veteran and are ready for more, this time in a fantasy-themed flavor, then Fire Emblem is a great follow-up. Since it has more RPG elements like experience points and item equipping, it gives you more to think about and strategize around, though it's a bit on the easy side. This is all packaged in the same turn-based format that made Advance Wars such a hit--only more strict. You have to play the missions in order (with barely any side quests); you only get the specific units that the game wants you to have (you don't manage any resources to "build" anything new); and you never have as much variety in your armies as you do in Wars.
Shoe seems determined to shove Advance Wars down our throats, but I'd easily recommend Fire Emblem over it. Both games offer similar gameplay, but the rich fantasy setting, intriguing plot (Shoe's comment about cheesy dialogue is way off base), and likable characters really propelled me forward, while I always found the Wars world dull. Emblem has some issues, like repetitive visuals and weirdly balanced narrative (you'll spend the first few hours on a massive tutorial), but it's still a must-play for fans of tactical RPGs.
Like Shane, I'd give Emblem the edge over Advance Wars. Character-developing cut-scenes, along with the leveling-up system, made me actually care about my soldiers (something I never did with Wars' interchangeable tanks), to the point where I tried to give final death blows to my favorites--so they'd earn more experience points--and restarted missions whenever anyone died. I just wish Emblem included more stages, as several gameplay concepts (like vehicles and evolving character classes) seem underutilized.
Download Fire Emblem
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP