So… The memory card arrived, it worked, and I transfered what information I could on to it. Unfortunately Nintendo has coded its data in such a way that you can’t pick and choose save information. Things are tied together in some unintelligable way. What that means is that if you have a blank card you can transfer all of another card to it, but you can’t COMBINE data from a third card. Which is, no matter how you look at it, ridiculous. On top of that it took forever to find a place on Nintendo’s website that, more or less, verified this information.
I decided to keep my Fire Emblem data, as it requires more investment of time for smaller results, and redownload Mario Sticker Star. Sticker Star is not a very intense game. A few have argued that it isn’t a complete game at all. I’m inclined to agree with them on some points. In any event I hadn’t gotten very far so no big loss. I did lose my Mutant Mudds perfect score, but I can do that again at my leisure. I did save the old data to my hard drive just in case, but I don’t know what good it will be unless I have some kind of total memory card failure. In any event this should solve my data issue, at least as far as Nintendo products are concerned, for a while.
Fire Emblem Awakening has been worht all the trouble. It is as close to perfect as a Fire Emblem game has ever come. Several annoying problems with the old game system have finally been changed. The most important one is random battles. In old FE games there were only as many battles as it took to tell the story. What this resulted in was a point in the game where you could not level up new characters. You’d get more players right up till almost the last battle, but they went in with whatever experience the game game them and you had to hope for the best or, in most cases, not use them at all. The thinking behind this was to fill holes in your forces created by the permanent death mechanic.
For those of you uninitiated in Fire Emblem when a character dies in battle they STAY DEAD. Most people just reset the game when that happens, but I guess there must be those who live with their mistakes. Those people then have to make due with the characters the game continued to supply them with. Awakening solves this problem by giving you a world map you can wander that generates battles you can choose to take part in from time to time. There is also a place where you can download premium content, such as maps to level up on, for big boy moneys. The first map was free briefly and I got in just under the wire.
In addition to this there are random merchants that carry rare items. In older games there were a set number of seals. Seals are what you use to advance to prestige classes, or change to another class. (In Shadow Dragon you could buy them from the online shop) With the addition of random battles and virtually unlimited seals you can, potentially, level up your entire party to the limit. The only problem I’ve had so far is there doesn’t seem to be a way to get extra money. Sometimes an enemy will have some on them, but a lot of the time none of them do. In theory you could use all your weapons up and have no money to buy more. (weapons degrade with use) The Hero has an unbreakable sword, so you’d have at least one fighter, I guess. It is possible that the game addresses this issue later on with a colluseum, or something, and I haven’t advanced far enough yet. Enemies drop weapons from time to time and you do find them on the ground on occasion. So far it hasn’t been a problem.
Another advantage to having random battles is you can finally build support between characters. In FE when units fight side by side they gain bonus points that symbolise friendship. The more two units fight together the stronger the bond and the better the bonuses. In Awakening the final rank for support is marriage. This mechanic basically turns the game into an advanced shipping engine. Every character so far has many choices for a potential mate. This includes your avatar. In addition to this, if you are female, you can marry the hero. With a little level grinding you can marry him after the 4th battle or so. I did not do this, but I did create a female avatar. One of the first people you meet is suspicious of you from the start so, of course, I had to marry him. It was a really strange moment when he proposed… It should surprise no one that I cried. A sucker for romance I remain.
The marriage bonus is not to be taken lightly. A mated pair become wildy dangerous. I’ve seen the power of love grind evil under it’s spiked heel and spit on the dust. There are so many love combinations! It’s like playing Nepeta’s shipping wall. This mechanic change has finally taken the tedious support system and made it a worthwhile part of gameplay. It really makes you bond with the characters watching them court one another. (You can also have kids later on, I’m told.)
There is a new game mode available too. Casual it’s called. This new mode negates the permanent death function of Classic Mode. You can fling your units agains enemies with wild abandon and no one stays down. Strangely, when I tried to play it I found myself unable to tolerate characters being knocked out. I played the game as though the PD function was still intact. Eventually I restarted the game in Classic mode since I was playing it as though I already was anyway.
As far as I know there’s still no soft reset. I only skimmed the manual though. I may have simply overlooked it. If I could make a suggestion I would have them ad restarting to a selection menu that appears as soon as a character perishes.
The cinematic cutscenes are great, the in game animation is stylized and pleasing, and the voice acting is quite well done. You can ever switch between Japanese and English at any time. Anyway, long story short, the game is fantastic. If you like this kind of RPG Fire Emblem Awakening is not to be missed.