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Fire Emblem : Genealogy of the Holy War, also referred to as Fire Emblem : Seisen no Keifu (its Japanese title) or Fire Emblem 4 in short, is not as well-known as other titles in the Fire Emblem franchise, but it definitely deserves more interest. Though it shares its basic mechanisms with the other games, it also differs from them in many ways, which I will try to present.
Firstly, the maps are huge. That is something you can see as early as in the Prologue : the map for this is probably bigger than any map in the other games. And they get bigger as the game progresses, it seems. Thus, mounted units have a clear advantage over the infantry ; good thing that Sigurd is a mounted unit... Yes, this game is probably the only one in the series (barring Radiant Dawn that features a pre-promoted Lord.
But for all of Sigurd's (and Celice's) awesomeness, there is something I cannot forgive IS for implementing : the trading system. Here is my biggest complaint about the game : to trade an item between two units, you have to sell it, then have the other unit buy it for twice as much money. True, it forces you to think more carefully when managing items, adding to the strategic challenge (as if the game couldn't be challenging enough)... But honestly, it will get on the nerves of anyone who is used to the extremely simple trading system in subsequent games.
On the other hand, Skills and Love system, the game's biggest innovations, do not disappoint. Skills are what makes the difference between each of your units, and are one of the main things you have to take into account when pairing your units. As for the Love system, that is the reason the game is called Genealogy in the first place : the game takes place during two distinct generations, and the couples you create in the first one are the parents of most of your units in the second one. This adds a whole new depth to the game, since you have a huge freedom to create your second generation characters – and that explains the huge Shipping Wars every FE 4 forum is bound to have.
Overall, Fire Emblem : Genealogy of the Holy War has some very interesting mechanics, which are its strong point. Of course, it also has the advantage of a great plot, good musics and likeable characters, but its gameplay alone is enough to make it worth playing.
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