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Radiant Dawn: Has its flaws, but also charm.
Opinions seem all over the place about this game, but I personally like it. Personally, if you want sheer spectacle this Fire Emblem really delivers. The series has never featured battles on this scale before, and some chapters stand out as truly epic in scope not seen in the series since the 4th game. Chapter 2-E and the last few ones of Part 3 in particular are, to me, some of the definitive examples of Best Level Ever in the series. 3rd tier promotions also add to this, it's a huge Catharsis Factor to see your units' stats approach the 50s and gain insanely overpowered skills with really over-the-top animations. And you'll need them for some of the late-game bosses. Some of the final bosses in this game... well, nothing really felt like a real "boss fight" in the FE series until now. The Final Chapter is one of my favourites in the whole series.

The plot is sort of weird. While it may be horribly cliche by regular JRPG standards, it's radically subersive by Fire Emblem ones. It's refreshing to see the Black and White Morality of Path of Radiance get deconstructed, and the game eventually devolves into a fight that could be called Good Vs Good, or at least White vs Grey. Well, that's sort of thrown out the window by Part 4, but it was cool while it lasted.

The game does have some serious flaws though, mainly the lack of development for new characters due to a heavily dumbed-down Support system. The difficulty level is also a bit all over the place, it's justified by the story but sometimes Gameplay and Story Segregation is a good thing. The localization also messed up BAD here, by renaming "Normal, Hard and Maniac" modes "Easy, Normal and Hard", causing many players to jump into the wrong difficulty level for them and get destroyed. There's a bit of an imbalance in the parties too, with Micaiah's getting way more bad units than it deserves, and Ike's being nearly unstoppable.

Speaking of localization messups, there's another big one. The Japanese version had an extended script when playing on Hard or Maniac. The translation only used the Normal mode script, which causes a few plot points to be heavily cut down. Part 2 suffered HORRIBLY from this, losing a huge chunk of the villain's motivations and Elincia's character development. This seems a very bizzare localisation decision.
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Radiant Dawn: Staring at the sun will cause pain.
As some one whose played the Fire Emblem series. I can say this is my least favorite game for a lot of reasons. The combat is essentially the same as Path of radiance with a few quirks, namely 3rd tier promotions and an ability to save mid turn aka super robot wars. So you can save scum to victory if you screw up at some point. Your gonna need it the game gets unfairly hard very fast.

The story is a direct sequel to Path of radiance and assumes you've played it. So you might get understandably confused if you have not. The plot is broken into 4 campaigns you play through: Newcomer Michaia, the new queen Elencia, Main character of the previous game Ike, and the Final story. This is where the game suffers hard. For a game that's known for well written plots, Radiant dawns is all over the place.

Michaia who was hyped up as the main character gets the first 10 chapters and a genuinely interesting plot. Elencia's story of dealing with civil war in her kingdom was completely pointless as any new character development for the budding queen is quickly tossed out the window so Ike can play spotlight stealing squad to save the day. Ike gets the longest campaign, making it blatantly obvious who was getting the main meat of the plot. The last campaign really suffers on a gameplay level making a lot of that one level with re spawning reinforcements and because you had little time in other stories that wasn't Ike's to level other units, It creates a huge gap when the game makes you divy everyone into 3 separate armies making the last few chapters either stupidly easy or stupidly hard.

The last thing is thanks to the decision to make the once interesting support system into something generic. I really don't care about a lot of the new characters the game just ignores golden opportunities to flesh them out. It's a really missed moment.

My final verdict if your into fire emblem or want a good jump in point, skip this one Playing the GCN game is good enough.
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