Reviews: Fire Emblem Gaiden

Echoes: the Good, the Bad, and the YMMV

  • I am immensely thankful for Mila's Turnwheel. One thing that always bugged me about older Fire Emblem games was that if I wanted a No Casualties Run, I had to reset if I ever lost someone, which was tedious in later missions. Mila's Turnwheel allows me to turn back time to any prior point in the battle, but only a limited number of times per battle. I hope they use a similar mechanic in future games.
  • I very much liked the game's story. I was able to see some of its plot twists coming, but they were all handled in a way that didn't bother me.
  • I love the game's characters. The villains were all people I felt for and/or very much wanted to defeat while the protagonists, including the supporting cast, were all people I liked and wanted to be happy. It helps that just about every scene was fully voiced, making it much easier for me to perceive the characters' emotions.
  • A lot of the music in Echoes is taken from Gaiden and arranged for a more advanced sound system, and save for a few songs, I absolutely love it (not that I've played Gaiden). I'm a sucker for the old "orchestra and chorus" approach to story-significant battles, and boy does Echoes deliver in that department.
  • I found the Witches to be very vexing, and it would have been quite easy to keep them from being that way. Just make it so that they can't move after teleporting, just as is the case with the Rewarp spell, and the problem is solved. If you see any Witches on the map, you have to pray to the Random Number God that they don't swarm one of your more vulnerable units. Simply put, there is no counter play when it comes to dealing with Witches. Thankfully, they operate on an A.I. Roulette, so cheap shots are the exception, not the rule.
  • I found a fair number of the maps to be overly simple, giving me little room to maneuver when it came to tactics. Oftentimes, the only reasonable choice was for me to form a wall around my weaker units, let the numerically superior enemy encircle me, and hope that my forces can hold out and ultimately counterattack.
  • I was quite frustrated by how Echoes handles experience gain. At higher levels, even in bottom-tier classes, units have a much harder time gaining experience. As a result, I had to either promote early or do far more grinding than I prefer to do.
  • People used to Awakening and Fates will almost certainly be caught off-guard by how different many of the mechanics are in Echoes. As such, tactics that worked in Awakening and/or Fates may not be as effective in Echoes. It's still a Fire Emblem game at its core, though.
  • People who like to pair off every possible couple will likely be disappointed by the game not necessarily allowing them to pair up the people they want to go together. There are several canon pairings, but that's all.
  • I love this game. If you like Fire Emblem, I strongly recommend buying it.