We all know the story of Fire Emblem: Awakening. The game needed 250,000 sales in order to remain a franchise, which only gave Intelligent Studios more of an incentive to be as great as possible. It was more accessible to new fans – more accessible than any other Fire Emblem game. This was implemented through the means of casual mode, and overall a relatively easy game. Even in the higher difficulties, the game remained on the easier side of the spectrum. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great game (I gave the game a stellar rating in my review), but it still simplified a lot of aspects that made Fire Emblem so original.
Now we get to the newest Fire Emblem: Fire Emblem If. The game is releasing pretty soon in Japan, which means it shouldn’t be too much longer in the United States – probably early 2016. The slightly controversial aspect about this game is that it has two different editions: Nohr edition and the Hoshido edition. Nohr and Hoshido are two different factions, with Hoshido being about honor and loyalty and Nohr being about power. You pick a side and eventually, i’m assuming you end up facing against those of the opposing faction. The problem is, uninformed gamers are viewing this as a pokemon scenarion, where two versions of the same game are released to boost sales – this is not the case.
Hoshido, the more eastern-based game, follows (relatively) the same difficulty and formula as awakening, allowing for a plethora of opportunities for EXP and items. This game caters to the newer, recently attracted audience. Along with the My Castle feature, which is essentially a Hub town, you can freely travel around the map and fight enemies that randomly appear – just like awakening. Objectives are also simplified down to defeating all enemies or defeating the boss, similar to Awakening’s style. While Hoshido does boast many new elements, like an inclusion of new classes, weapons, unlimited uses in weapons, and a refined weapon triangle, the game is built to be catered to the newer audience that isn’t necessarily used to the difficulty of the former Fire Emblems.
Nohr, the more western game, is a glorified fan service to those fans of previous Fire Emblems. You know, the ones that don’t have an over-world map and flow from chapter to chapter. Aside from My Castle, which is the new feature recently announced, the Nohr version of Fire Emblem If provides little opportunity to gain EXP and build characters. The Nohr version also provides varied objectives, changing landscapes, and different aspects that pay tribute to older fire emblems. Hopefully Fog of War makes a return, as well as mountainous maps and recruitments that require more than just talking to the NPC or enemy with the lord. I’m excited for the Nohr version, as it gives me a chance to relive the excitement I had taking on Fire Emblem as a young lad.
Personally, I plan on getting both versions and the alternate route DLC. I am a huge Fire Emblem fan, and my love for both older and new Fire Emblems will definitely translate well among the Nohr and Hoshido versions. As to which one i’ll play first, i’m not too sure, but I am extremely proud of what Intelligent Studios has done both for their older and newer fans. Whether you started out with Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword (Fe7) or Awakening, there will be something for you in the newest iterations.