After reading Patrick Molloy’s strategy-RPG article, I was inspired to go back to two of my favorite game franchises: Advance Wars and Fire Emblem. While on the surface, these games are extremely similar; they have key differences that make each unique and fun in their own right.
Advance Wars is more akin to Chess than an SRPG: each game is its own microcosm. You are given the pieces before every game to succeed, and sacrifice is much more acceptable in that the pieces don’t follow you from chapter to chapter. Because of this, exhibition skirmishes and multiplayer have thrived in this franchise (my favorite part.)
Fire Emblem puts more stress on the RPG: your units grow from chapter to chapter, and though there is no wrong way to level your army, you can definitely leave yourself unprepared for later missions. But to keep the campaign of the Fire Emblem games fair and balanced, skirmish battles and multiplayer have either been limited or non-existent (of the ones I’ve played, only the GBA’s Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has either of these modes.)
I’ve always wanted a game that combined the best of Advance Wars (skirmishes, multiplayer, and map creation,) with the best of Fire Emblem (leveling and customizing units.) Something like Pokemon. Historically though, Nintendo has kept Intelligent System’s two best franchises separate, but with Nintendo’s teaser trailer for Fire Emblem 3DS, it looks like my game might become a reality.
Nintendo has let two details slip about Fire Emblem 3DS: co-op and DLC. These two features seem to suggest that multiplayer and single-player may live in harmony, which has inspired me to make a wish list of the other features I want from the newest Fire Emblem installment:
A “Lord Creator”:
To make Fire Emblem 3DS’ co-op mean something, players are going to need to be able to make their own custom characters. Ideally, I’d like to be able pick my own class for my lord, but I’ll take as little as appearance customization.
A Persistent, Skirmish/Multiplayer Army (who don’t die permanently):
While permanent death is a hallmark of the Fire Emblem games, it’s a little unfeasible for multiplayer. Keep the mechanic in the campaign, but give me my own customizable army outside of the campaign so I can have the best of both worlds.
Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition’s Figure Battle System:
I’m from Missouri, so my StreetPass experiences have been limited to say the least. But this seems like a feature that Fire Emblem can use to its advantage. Give winning players a bit of loot or some in-game money to buy loot with and it becomes a nice way to keep playing the game, even when you’re not playing the game.
Something with those Coins:
I think the 3DS’ coin feature has some awesome possibilities, but as of yet, no game has really used them to any effect (Street Fighter tried, but earning points inside the game was more profitable than trading in 3DS coins.) Allowing players to turn their coins into items, units, or other goodies will make sure my 3DS will always be at my side so I can put all my walking to good use.
Advance Wars-style CO-Powers:
I love the extra bit of strategy Advance Wars layers on with its character-specific super moves. And with the Lord Creator feature I previously requested, this would really help to make each lord unique on the battlefield.
More Combo Moves:
Previous Fire Emblems have had a combo move called the Triangle Attack that had specific requirements. From the above trailer, we can see two attackers fighting in tandem. Maybe combos play a larger part in Fire Emblem 3DS.
A Couple Fun Secret Characters:
Final Fantasy Tactics has Cloud, Shin Megami Tensei 3: Nocturne has Dante: it’d be nice to have a couple cool characters from Nintendo’s stable. Link perhaps? Maybe Golden Sun’s Isaac? Or what about the sword-wielding Kanbei from Intelligent System’s own Advance Wars series? Or at the least, maybe include a few classic characters from Fire Emblem’s past such as Ike, Marth, and Roy? All characters could work without breaking the game too badly.
Honestly, whether Nintendo implements these features or not, Fire Emblem 3DS will be a great game and will be an excellent stepping stone from the fantastic Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars.