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2016 - A Year of Themes - March - Fire Emblem
To celebrate the recent release of Fire Emblem Fates in all its forms, we will be discussing the entire series this month. Fire Emblem got its start all the way back on the NES in 1990. The first six games in the series (1990-2002) were never released outside of Japan. The first international release was 2003's Fire Emblem (Blazing Sword) on the GBA, which was actually a prequel to the sixth game, Binding Blade. 2004 saw the release of The Sacred Stones on GBA, notable by being the only completely standalone game in the entire series to this point. Path of Radiance (on Gamecube, 2005) and Radiant Dawn (Wii, 2007) brought the franchise into the third dimension. In 2008, Fire Emblem made its way to the DS with Shadow Dragon, a remake of the original NES game. Heroes of Light and Shadow was released in 2010, but only in Japan. Fire Emblem Awakening was released in 2012 on 3DS, and of course, Fates was released in February.
All of these games are tactical strategy RPGs and are generally known for their difficulty and permanent death for party members (though this has been relaxed at times). The games are set in the prototypical Japanese view of Middle Ages Europe, meaning fantasy based with knights, dragons, and so forth. There is a basic rock-paper-scissors combat system that determines which weapons are effective against different defenders. Combat is ordered so that one army gets to move all of their troops in any order and then the opposing army gets to take their own turn. The more recent games have become increasingly more "anime" in their presentation, though this is partially a style choice and partially due to the ever increasing limits of hardware.
I don't personally have a ton of experience with the franchise. I've beaten Shadow Dragon, and I've played a bit of Radiant Dawn, which is what originally brought my attention to the series. I do own Awakening, and hope to get going on that, if I can ever get Persona Q out of my system. Please keep spoiler talk for Fates to a minimum, but most anything else is fair game at this point. Enjoy!