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Nintendo media summit - Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon - impressions

I am not a fan of the Fire Emblem series, only because I don’t like strategy games. They just aren’t my idea of fun. It kind of sucks, too…because I see how much you guys love the series. That’s why I am making a vow to turn a new page with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. This is a remake of the first title in the series, which means that I have no excuse to not get into the series with you guys. I did just that at the media summit.

I decided to jump into the prologue that Nintendo was offering at the summit. One of the completely new aspects of Shadow Dragon is the 4-part prologue, that better introduces gamers to the story, characters, and gameplay of the Fire Emblem series. I was determined to play all 4 parts, and I did just that.

Gaming is a grid-based affair, as well as turn-based. You make a move, the A.I. makes a move, and that’s how gameplay moves on. When you place your unit next to/on top of an enemy unit, a battle scene takes place. You don’t control the action, but instead, watch your characters duke it out. Depending on what unit you send into battle, you may have a better chance of coming out victorious. Long story short, Shadow Dragon is a strategy game all about numbers. If you want to win, you’ll have to learn your units, their weaknesses and strengths, and their abilities. An easy game to understand, but a tough one to master.

Looking at screenshots of the game, you may not be too impressed with the graphics. I wasn’t either, until I saw the game in motion. The character designs are actually very smoothly animated, which makes the rather simplistic models a lot more enjoyable to watch. It definitely lends some variety to the fairly static gameplay screens. You move units, slide them into grid spots, and that’s about it. While you can skip the action scenes, I found them a welcome inclusion.

By the end of hte prologue, I found myself invested in the game. It makes me mad…now I have to wait months before I get to find out what really happens! With online play, 6 levels of difficulty, and huge single player campaign to work through…I can see Shadow Dragon stealing any precious free time I have.


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