By Laura . January 31, 2013 . 1:00pm
Fire Emblem: Awakening opens with an impressive, although completely incomprehensible scene. Your avatar the Tactician (whose default name is Robin) and Chrom face off against an evil mage.
The battle is simple, but at the end of it, Chrom appears to die, and the next thing you know you’re opening your eyes to a great blue sky and Chrom looking down at you like he’s never seen you before. This is a scene you’ll be familiar with if you played the demo.
Unlike in some previous games, the Tactician in Fire Emblem: Awakening isn’t mute, and he is rather confused about his forgotten past. Despite some of his companion’s misgivings, Chrom has the Tactician come aboard his party after having proven himself in battle, beginning a beautiful camaraderie.
Chrom is the Ylissean prince, but instead of staying cooped in the castle, he leads a small band of warriors called the Shepherds who roam and keep peace within the nation. However, not long after the Tactician joins the party, a magic portal appears in the sky and zombie-like Risen rain down. Chrom’s sister Lissa almost loses her life but is rescued by a mysterious warrior who flies out from the portal as well.
This warrior claims to be Marth—a name shared by the hero of the war against the dragon Grima from some millennia past. Heroes had, with the help of the Divine Dragon Naga, and locked Grima in a slumber, but the Risen are most likely Grima’s doing, so something is obviously wrong with the seal. Chrom’s family line is said to be descended from Marth, and certain members of the family can wield the sword Falchion (which comes equipped with Chrom from the very start and can never break).
However, before anything more can be found out, Marth disappears, and Chrom has to face more pressing matters of the non-magical sort. As with previous Fire Emblem games, politics and war plays a large part, and gaining the alliance of one and fending off another are high on the agenda for the characters in Awakening. Particularly of concern is the kingdom of Plegia to the west, whose king is not only demanding the Fire Emblem, but also threatening the life of the ruler of Ylisse, Chrom’s sister, Emmeryn, in doing so.
Marth appears and disappears, always at crucial times, sometimes bearing warnings, and at other times fighting you as an enemy. In a tournament in Ferox, for example, Marth challenges Chrom to put the respective king-to-be they’re championing on the throne. Later, Marth appears to prevent an assassination on the compassionate but strong-willed Emmeryn.
Other kingdoms mentioned in Awakening are Regna Ferox to the North and the Valmese Empire across the sea. Ferox appears to be a unique nation whose leaders are determined through tournaments. Oftentimes, their people are called barbarians because they value strength above all else.
Meanwhile, Valm is a continent comprised of several smaller nations but have since been united under one emperor, Walhart. The people of Valm worship the Divine Dragons, but that doesn’t change the fact that Walhart is intent on conquering other continents.
Here’s more of our Fire Emblem: Awakening coverage in case you missed it: