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Published on May 16th, 2006 | by Matt Haberfeld

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Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Developer: Intelligent Systems
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Genre: Turn Based Strategy
Platform: Gameboy Advance
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 05/23/2005

What is Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones?

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is the sequel to the 2003 game Fire Emblem. It is a turn based strategy game in which you command a party of heroes through a traditional Japanese epic storyline. The game features a great number of character classes, weapons, and armor and your heroes gain experience and can eventually change into even more powerful classes. Using a simple yet elegant paper, rock, scissors design, you match your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses as you try to save the world.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones is a very similar game to the original. There are a few new features, such as you being able to choose 1 of 2 classes when your character levels up, and the ability to fight some random encounters on the world map to gain experience, but generally it’s the same game. Overall I think this is a good thing. Intelligent Systems did not try to fix anything that wasn’t broken, and instead released the same great game with new content.

What does this game do well?

This game does a great job of starting off easy and slowly increasing the difficulty to make for an addictive and challenging game. Intelligent Systems also makes the Advance Wars series, so it comes as no surprise to me. They are exceptionally talented, and this is another great title under their belt.

The hero system in this game is very good. Instead of creating characters from scratch, characters end up joining you along your journey. Some characters join automatically, some only join if you have a friend speak with them, and some characters start as enemies and can be converted to your cause in the middle of battle. Due to the level of personalization, you will quickly fall in love with your little band of heroes and geniuinely care about what happens to them. This is because all of the characters have dialogue, so even though there are 3 main characters, everyone shares a part of the main story. Additionally, characters can support each other over time by fighting side by side. These supports feature a quick dialogue between the two characters and results in a permanent boost in both character’s stats. Getting to know your characters on more than just a statistical level really enhances the game and helps it stand apart from many RPGs.

All your characters are necessary in one way or another. Due to the paper, rock, scissors design, you will need swordsmen, axemen, and lancers, plus magic users that can wield light, dark, and anima magic. While it’s true that you will eventually pick up more characters than you can use in any single engagement, it’s a good idea to train them all because in this game character death is permanent. If you lose a hero on the field of battle, he or she withdraws from combat and can never be used again. It also affects the outcome of their story.

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones does have some nice new features. Halfway through the game, you must choose to play the storyline of one of the main characters, while skipping the other. They will meet back up later in the game, but this allows you to replay the game later as the other character if you so choose. Also, the game includes two dungeons that you can gain experience in and unlock special characters. This is completely optional, but definitely a nice diversion from the main storyline.

What could this game have done better?

I have no complaints at all with this game. It has great sound, good graphics, and a great concept. It’s challenging, fun, and truly addictive. I could not ask for more. If you’re looking for some new groundbreaking game features that were not in the original you may be setting yourself up for disappointment, but the game itself is solid on all fronts.

Should I buy this game?

This game is fantastic, and will provide you with hours upon hours of entertainment. This is one of the best titles on the Gameboy Advance period and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t play it.

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