By Laura . January 24, 2013 . 11:55am
Fire Emblem: Awakening battles play out on a grid like all the other Fire Emblem games. However, in a game where strategic movement is so important, and the range of both your units and your enemy’s come into play, it can be hard to keep track of how far a particular unit can travel or how far their attacks can reach.
To make it easier to keep track of this, Awakening comes with two functions.
The first is to toggle an overlay that shows where every enemy unit can reach with their attacks, including long-ranged attacks. This is excellent for when you have to ferret your healer or a wounded ally away from attack.
The other is to toggle individual opponent’s ranges. You can select an enemy and see where they can move and reach with their attack. It stays onscreen even after you move the cursor away. Even better, you can do this for multiple enemies at once, so if you want to see where all the archers can reach, you can select all the archers. Both of these functions work together.
Story-dictated battles aside, Fire Emblem: Awakening also has free battles, which you can use to train up your units. Sometimes, you’ll see an enemy icon on the world map, signalling that you can stop by at that spot and choose to engage in battle. These enemies usually provide good item drops and some extra cash in the form of Bouillons to sell. You can even purchase an item that will call an enemy unit to the field, which you can then challenge. This is also a great way to train and to raise affinity levels between characters.
Interestingly, different areas have different levels of enemies, so if you’re trying to raise weaker characters, you can summon enemies to the Chapter 2 field, for example, rather than the Chapter 14 field. The stronger enemies also provide more monetary compensation. They’ll never be harder than what you’d faced in that chapter already, though.
Other times, you’ll see a green icon, which means a merchant is in the area. These merchants add special goods like Goddess Icons or Seraph Robes, which permanently increase stats, and some discounted items to the existing store in that area. They also carry many items, such as Master Seals and Second Seals, that aren’t available for purchase until much later in the game. (Yes, those can be purchased.) However, after you visit the store and leave, the merchant disappears, so it’s best to wait until you actually have enough money to purchase what you want in one go before visiting them.
Additionally, each area can have two special events. For example, you can have two enemy units visit, in which case you’ll have to face two “Boss” units, or you can have an enemy and a merchant visit, in which case you’ll have to protect the merchant from the enemies.
You’re also free to revisit previous areas in the game from the world map. After you’ve unlocked a new chapter, a new area opens in the world map, which you then travel to. However, before you travel to your new destination, you have the option of visiting any of the areas you’ve previously accessed. No story events will occur when you do, but you’ll be allowed access to the shop in that area.
This freedom of travel also means that you can visit separate areas unrelated to the story when they open. These lead to Paralogues, which are like side stories. Most of these come with a recruitable character. The first one, for example, came with the character, Donnel, a farmer who has never fought a battle.
If you manage to get him to level up once during the ensuing battle, he stays with your army. Later, you can recruit the children of your married units and the Paralogues are unlocked whenever you marry a couple off.
Storywise, I really like how the world map and your ability to travel through the areas to get a fuller view of the geography helps solidify what’s happening where, which is especially important in a game focused on war like this one.
Look out for more Fire Emblem: Awakening coverage leading up to the game’s release on Feb. 4th. In case you need to catch up with our previous impressions and findings, you can check those out at the links below: