Its time for another Justin Take Over the Blog where I ramble about things important to me and where I have zero regard for if people care what I am writing about.
This week, one of my favorite game series. Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem is a (so far) 13 installment game series with a 14th on its way. Never heard of it? Well, only 7,8,9,10,11, and 13 were released in America. Any fans of Super Smash Bros may know of Marth, Roy, or Ike, whom are from the Fire Emblem franchise.
Fire Emblem is classified in a video game genre called Turn-Based Strategy game, meaning players move in turns, like Chess. It is also a Role Playing Game, meaning you take the viewpoint of the players in the game, so very much not like Chess.
But lets stick with the chess analogy, it fits rather well. In Chess, you have several different types of pieces, like Pawns, Knights, Rooks, King, Queen, Bishop, etc Fire Emblem is similar, only instead of Chess pieces, you have archers, soldiers, wizards, dragoons (dragon riders), etc. Also like Chess, each type of piece can move in different ways on a grid. In fire emblem, the field is grid based, and each character can move a certain number of spaces, normally based on their class. Big, strong, heavily armored knights can move 5 spaces in any direction, foot soldiers and healers 6, and mounted cavaliers 7-8 spaces. You can move through forests and mountains, making it harder to hit you, but makes it harder to move.
|Like a giant chess board. With rivers. And forests.|
The biggest difference between Chess and Fire Emblem is the characters. It’s not a pawn, or a bishop, or a random, faceless knight. Its Serra, Hector, Marcus, and Eliwood. Every character you come across has their own strengths and weaknesses based on their class, the weapons they can use, and how they grow/level up. Marcus is a strong mounted Paladin who specializes in Sword, Spears, and Axes. He’s the leader of the Knights of Pherae, the country where Eliwood hails from. He starts out very strong; however, he’s a lot older than the rest of the characters and doesn’t get much better as he levels up. Hector is Eliwood’s childhood friend. Bold, brash, and hotheaded, he wildly swings his ax and defends his friends with his mighty armor, but he’s slow and his attacks aren’t very accurate.
|77% chance of hitting and you missed. The odds were in your favor. And you missed…..|
Now, every character has a back story. There are siblings, rivals, bitter enemies united in a just cause, long-lost lovers, and brooding romances. Roughly 30 or so characters per game, and seldom do characters exist in more than 1-2 games.
Biggest difference between chess and fire emblem? In chess, you lose a unit/piece, and its not big deal. Fire Emblem? They Die. They won’t come back in the next level. Or Ever. They had lives. They had loves. Aspirations. Dreams….and they’re gone….you did it. You LET them die. You put them in the enemies range. Sure, they only had a 50% chance of hitting you, but the odds weren’t in your favor this time….
Now feel guilty and restart the level….And don’t let them die this time.
|There are exceptions….|
Oh yeah, there’s a lot of math/statistics in this game. Chance to hit, chance to dodge, how much damage dealt, how much health left, etc.
|Big, strong, slow…|
Now, this game series is so addicting because of its replay value. Thirty or so characters, and you can only consistently use 8-10 units. A lot of possibilities of who to use, who interacts with who, and in some versions of the game, you can even marry off characters to each other.
Additionally, growths aren’t static, they’re based on percentages. For instance, Hector (pictured above) has a 50% chance of increasing his defense every time he gains a level. So, after 10 level ups, you can expect his defense to increase by 5. Sometimes it might be 7, sometimes 3. It all depends on how the coin flips, or the dice rolls, or how the random numbers are generated.
So, in summery. Fire Emblem is like Chess….With magic and dragons and swords and a story and math. Welcome to my obsession.