Preview: Fire Emblem: Souen no Kiseki (Nintendo Gamecube)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Intelligent Systems / Genre: Strategy / Release: 11-07-05

Ahhh, autumn. Briskness in the air, anticipation of the holiday season, and the vivid colors of changing leaves. No, I’m not a very confused girl who doesn’t realize that spring has arrived bringing with it shorts, outside activities, and, most importantly, warmth. However, if you’re thrilled about Fire Emblem making a dramatic transition from GBA to GameCube, you’d best start getting excited about fall, as the game is expected to be released on November 7th.

At the moment, only the rudimentary details are known about Fire Emblem: Souen no Kiseki’s story. It basically revolves around Ike, the young man you’ll be playing as, and (allegedly) his quest to escort a princess through the war-torn continent of Tellius to her kingdom (because she obviously is a damsel in distress) with your handy dandy group of mercenaries which will include knights, skinshifters, pikemen, and aerial soldiers, among others, with each unit excelling in specialized tasks, like magic or long-range combat weapons. They will discover their mysterious “hidden purpose,” a concept that has yet to be explained, though it may deal with how that unit acquires new abilities. Along your way, you’ll meet various foes, such as madmen, mages, and monsters (oh my!).

Game play is in the traditional Fire Emblem format — grid-format, turn-based battle. It will also appear in the top-down view that fans are quite familiar with. Furthermore, this game, like its predecessors, is going to be exceedingly strategic; for instance, you will have to keep an eye out on your men in combat, because when one is killed, there’s no replacing him. Speaking of combat, each battle you enter into will have a specific task for you to complete, rather than just killing everything.

Okay, the major difference between Fire Emblem: Souen no Kiseki and the previous GBA titles is the change from 2D to 3D. An advantage to this is that the 3D format will allow for more diverse landscapes that may affect the way battles are fought. Visually oriented players might find the actual 3D animation a little lacking, but it is most certainly an update to the Fire Emblem they are used to. This time around, when characters attack one another, an elaborate cut scene triggers to punctuate the action. However, there will only be a certain number of these cut scenes, so they may become quite redundant…but you have the ability to turn them off when you have them memorized and simply view the action on the field.

The game’s developers obviously have gone to a lot of detail to make sure loyal fans of the franchise won’t be disappointed when it moves to GameCube, such as keeping some of the old sound effects, as well as simple things like text fonts.

Right now, there really is only finite amount of information available, but if anything should break before the November release date, you’ll find it here.