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What would you say is the "definitive" Fire Emblem game?

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I've been thinking a bit about what would be the definitive entry/arc in a series that would best represent that series as a whole. An example that I like to think of is Parts 2 and 7 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure since they really capture the nature of the series the best out of all the parts in my opinion.

With that in mind, I'll reiterate the title question: What would you say is the "definitive" Fire Emblem game? Or rather, which game represents the series the best?

*cough* Path of Radiance *cough*

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It's hard to say because the fanbase is so split on which era is even the best, the games all vary in mechanics so much it's really hard to come to a common opinion. 

Like my personal favorites are 3, 6, 9, with the rest not too far behind, because I think they all have merits in different respects. 

But I'm gonna guess a lot of folks will be saying 7 or 13, as those are the 2 games that introduced the most people to the franchise in the West, (If you asked Japan they'd probably say 3, 13, 14 and 6). 

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Saying your personal favorite is one thing, but anyone who says something is the "definitive version" of a thing/series is verily biased in their opinion. 

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If we are talking about, at its core, what Fire Emblem is, then I think we should define what the "definitive" Fire Emblem game is.

I'd say it's something along the lines of a young leader(s) rallying allies to their cause, bit by bit, with their personality until they not only achieve their goal, but also stop a deeper evil plot that would destroy the world.

I'd say FE12 (New Mystery of the Emblem) in a nutshell, in my opinion.

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40 minutes ago, indigoceans said:

With that in mind, I'll reiterate the title question: What would you say is the "definitive" Fire Emblem game? Or rather, which game represents the series the best?

How is that any different from the question "what is your favorite game in the series"?  Because at the end of the day, most people's "definitive" FE's, by this definition, will virtually be the same as their favorites.

I don't know, it's just the semantics here are kind of weird.

So instead, I'd rather define it like this:

Quote

at its core, what Fire Emblem is

And my answer would thus be Mystery of the Emblem or New Mystery of the Emblem.  Though I'd lean towards the former because the true core of FE - and the very thing that every single FE, even so far as the black sheep Gaiden/Echoes, has - is the strategy-oriented gameplay.  It doesn't have everything that all the FE's have, and it doesn't represent every good trait in the series, but it has the basics down, and it has them down quite solidly.

Plus, when I think "Fire Emblem", I think Marth, and Mystery is arguably where he was at his best, at least in terms of strength and unit viability.

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I don't have an opinion on this myself, but according to Sakurai, it's Awakening.

Quote

Sakurai: I really like it. When Awakening came out, I thought, this is the definitive Fire Emblem game. Until now, I’d felt every game in the series was especially good at one thing, but was lacking in another, was missing a piece, but Awakening had really good balance, or how do I say it– I thought this game was perfection, that it just felt really complete.

And now you know why it has three characters in Ultimate.

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this basically is "whats your favorite fire emblem" tbh. i personally think Radiant Dawn and Path of Radiance are the best in the series for multiple reasons so that's what i would tell everyone to start with. 

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The problem with Fire Emblem (and this is why it is known for having such a divisive, toxic community), is that each of its games are wildly different in mechanics. 

 

 

In my opinion, it's Awakening or Path of Radiance. Awakening because it's such a great case example of features long requested by the community delivered in one grandiose, accessible, interesting, and endlessly replayable package. Path of Radiance because it is, IMO, Fire Emblem at its storytelling, map design, and creative peak. 

 

Many would say Blazing Sword, and that is also valid. It's a great overall package.

 

Some will say Shadow Dragon or New Mystery, simply because they came first. And that's entirely valid, even if I vehemently disagree due to how mechanically basic and lacking in personality these games are.

 

Fates would also be a controversial, but valid answer. It's certainly Fire Emblem at its most ambitious due to its scope, mechanical refinement, and emphasis on support conversations. Ambitious is certainly an apt word to describe it, though I would argue that Intelligent Systems is at its worst when its ambition outweighs its resources, which is very much the case here (and with Radiant Dawn and Geneology - very flawed, but admirable games in their own right).

 

You might even get someone who says Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. And they'd be totally wrong.

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Picking one game is tough.  I'll go with Fire Emblem Awakening.  It covers the basics and tips the hat to numerous elements from the past including the Fire Emblem itself.  There are also new features such as the ability to get child units with different stats when characters are paired together.  This might not be the most groundbreaking Fire Emblem game in history but it does a good job at representing many of the things that made the series popular.  Additional accolades include saving the series from cancellation and providing a solid foundation for the Fire Emblem content that followed.

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1 hour ago, indigoceans said:

I've been thinking a bit about what would be the definitive entry/arc in a series that would best represent that series as a whole. An example that I like to think of is Parts 2 and 7 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure since they really capture the nature of the series the best out of all the parts in my opinion.

With that in mind, I'll reiterate the title question: What would you say is the "definitive" Fire Emblem game? Or rather, which game represents the series the best?

 

i do believe there's a reason why the very first FE game has been remade 2 times already, the first during the SNES era, and the second during the Nintendo DS era.

not to mention the multitude of cameos that Marth has made throu the years. in terms of popularity, that should speak for itself.

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That’s a pretty deep question that would have multiple different answers. Most would be biased answers. To me definitive means that it has “it all”. Which no Fire Emblem game really has “it all”. Every entry has its own unique gimmick or mechanic to separate itself from the rest. For example FE7 has the three lords thing while Awakening has pair-up and marriage and children system. Definitive could also mean simply what Fire Emblem is from a storytelling and gameplay perspective. If had to choose one I’d say Path of Radiance because the story is true to Fire Emblem as the main character builds an army to defeat an evil entity. The politics are there, the character developments and relationships are there. The gameplay is true, all of the core mechanics are there. The maps are comparable to most in the franchise. It’s a complete game all around and a good entry point into the franchise. 

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I'd say Blazing Sword and Path of Radiance are the most definitive experiences. Blazing Sword and Path of Radiance are very balanced games that have it all. They have a very standard version of the typical FE gameplay, multiple battle objective, well varied cast and decent stories. They are all at the very least decent in all important areas and are neither weird or controversial enough to alienate newcomers. 

To me a lot of other games fall off due to a process of elimination. 

Games like Gaiden, Genealogy and to some extend Radiant Dawn are too weird to be the definite representation of Fire Emblem.

Tracia and New Mystery are Japanese only so they can't really represent the series to most fans. 

Shadow Dragon is far too basic and lacks even the most recognizable staples of the series like supports and each unit being a clearly defined person. 

The Fates games are far too controversial as a whole but when taken separately Birthright might be too basic while Conquest might be too hard. 

Awakening has the best shot at being a definitive Fire Emblem game due to how accessible it is but since it introduces a new style it does deviate from the old style that defined much of the franchise. Its too soon to tell if that style will be used in more games other than Fates. Maybe if Three Houses follows the Awakening style it can join Blazing and POR on the list. 

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If I were expecting someone to learn FE in two games, I think I'd lend them PoR and possibly Fates. Ignoring the pandering and underachieving plot of the latter (which I'm feeling Fates may wind up being the exception, for having) I feel both very well cover most of Fire Emblem. The reason I chose Fates was for the Avatar creation, pair ups, player interactions, reclassing system, and other elements that set the more recent FE games apart. PoR definitely doesn't cover the rest in entirety, but it does paint a mostly suffficient picture of Fire Emblem before the 3DS era, save for the past 2D art style and variations on series standards in past games.

(On second thought, the fact that it has skills makes me question that as my second choice. I'm sticking to it though)

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If you can wrap your head around the idea that "best" or "favorite" isn't synonymous with "definitive", then I'd say Awakening is a good answer, especially when considering just the international games because FE12...complicates the discussion on where ideas originated. It's DLC content (both paid and free through the Bonus Box) are just constant shout outs to previous entries back before rehashing previous games wasn't the norm like it is now. It pulled out dozens of ideas that were at the time lost in the previous entry (shadow dragon), such as support conversations, romantic pairings and child units, skills, a world map, grinding. The multiplayer elements were much more varied.The reclassing was much more interesting. There's more content in the base game than in any previous game. Every Fire Emblem character trope exists. The plot has all the classic macguffin concepts. Cutscenes breath new life into many set pieces. Every unit class is present. Casual Mode takes away the anxiety of playing if this sort of gameplay isn't as appealing to you as the graphics and characters. And it still has the best avatar by any metric I can think of unless you're committed to the idea that such characters shouldn't be in Fire Emblem.

Edited by Glennstavos

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It's tough between FE3 and 6, let me explain.

FE3 represents exactly what FE is about, with it's cliches in story and it's simple gameplay; and FE6 is also similar in which it is a game that goes back to the roots and goes very simple about things, in contrast to FE4 and 14 which are complicated as hell with the skills and stuff and the latter especially with it's confusing math.

The question here is "definitive" not "for a newcomer" so the game that best captures how most FE games are or what they are based and built upon is FE3 and 6.

But why don't I include 7? or 9/10? Well because these are great FE games but aren't exactly the roots of FE or how many of them wil be like.

If it falls on me though, 6 is the winer for "definitive", favorite? Nope Top 5.

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6 hours ago, Ertrick36 said:

How is that any different from the question "what is your favorite game in the series"?  Because at the end of the day, most people's "definitive" FE's, by this definition, will virtually be the same as their favorites.

I don't know, it's just the semantics here are kind of weird.

So instead, I'd rather define it like this:

And my answer would thus be Mystery of the Emblem or New Mystery of the Emblem.  Though I'd lean towards the former because the true core of FE - and the very thing that every single FE, even so far as the black sheep Gaiden/Echoes, has - is the strategy-oriented gameplay.  It doesn't have everything that all the FE's have, and it doesn't represent every good trait in the series, but it has the basics down, and it has them down quite solidly.

Plus, when I think "Fire Emblem", I think Marth, and Mystery is arguably where he was at his best, at least in terms of strength and unit viability.

FE1 Marth is far and away his strongest version. he got nerfed every instalment until 12 buff him back up actually

 

6 hours ago, Fenreir said:

 

i do believe there's a reason why the very first FE game has been remade 2 times already, the first during the SNES era, and the second during the Nintendo DS era.

not to mention the multitude of cameos that Marth has made throu the years. in terms of popularity, that should speak for itself.

The reason for that is because FE1 itself is so complete shit they want to revisit it with better manpower and engine. Kaga himself once called FE1 an incomplete mess of a doujin gane. A lot of FE1 aspects literally doesn't work so FE3.1 was sort of a "lets try that formula again in a much better game"

FE11 also did what 3.1 tried to do in a sense that it fixed even more of FE1's literally doesn't work stuff.


Point is FE1 getting remakes genuinely have nothing to do with how popular it is - its popularity does influence FE getting sequels in Gaiden, Japan apparently considered FE3 the first fire emblem in the same way people memed that Awakening is the first FE nowadays

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30 minutes ago, JSND Alter Dragon Boner said:

FE1 Marth is far and away his strongest version.

Then correction: the strongest iteration of Marth in a properly balanced FE.

Cool new name, btw.

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9 hours ago, Fenreir said:

i do believe there's a reason why the very first FE game has been remade 2 times already, the first during the SNES era, and the second during the Nintendo DS era.

not to mention the multitude of cameos that Marth has made throu the years. in terms of popularity, that should speak for itself.

I would say you're way off base there - I would sooner say the fact that it was remade within half a decade of its release showed how bad the first game was.

Anyway, as to the subject matter.... I would say it's hard to say that there is such a thing as a "definitive" FE game - the games themselves are wildly different, which also is why the fandom itself is as fragmented - and awful - as it is.

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Yeah I think FE7 and FE13 can work as "definitive" Fire Emblem games. I'm biased towards FE7 though, justified by the fact that marriage and children are not among the most representative elements of the series. However, marriage is still somewhat present with the multitude of romantic support pairings that lead to unique endings, and the child units of FE7 get their own game in FE6. Finally, it has better variety in map design and objectives than Awakening, showcasing what Fire Emblem's gameplay can be like. 

Though Awakening's inclusion of same-turn reinforcements does let it better represent entries like FE6 and FE11.

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When it comes to "definitive", one might say the game with the most common gameplay and narrative elements. Awakening would be the obvious choice for that title, being something of a celebration of every game that came before it.  On the other hand, while Awakening has a little bit of everything, it also has quite a different tone than the games that came before it. I think even more than Awakening, Path of Radiance would be the best game to get a feel for the series. Disregarding Laguz, it has many of the gameplay and narrative staples in the series but also a tone that matches most titles (barring Fates and Awakening). You get the basic plot of "Protagonist country invaded by Antagonist country" but there is greater care in the protagonist's arc and the worldbuilding. In short, it does everything we would expect an FE game to do, and it does it well.  

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Mystery of the Emblem if you ask Japan.

Blazing Blade if you ask the rest of the world.

Awakening if you ask about the current demographic.

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FE7
FE7
LITERALLY NAMED FIRE EMBLEM
FIRST GAME IN THE WEST
 

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15 hours ago, JSND Alter Dragon Boner said:

The reason for that is because FE1 itself is so complete shit they want to revisit it with better manpower and engine.

hold your horse.

it could be considered bad by modern standards, but back in the days it was alright for the kind of game that it was and what it had to offer( while also being one of the first SRPGs in history on consoles ).

16 hours ago, JSND Alter Dragon Boner said:

Kaga himself once called FE1 an incomplete mess of a doujin gane.

i've never heard of that. feel free to post the source of those infos, i'm quite curious if it's part of an actual interview.

16 hours ago, JSND Alter Dragon Boner said:

A lot of FE1 aspects literally doesn't work so FE3.1 was sort of a "lets try that formula again in a much better game"

FE11 also did what 3.1 tried to do in a sense that it fixed even more of FE1's literally doesn't work stuff.


Point is FE1 getting remakes genuinely have nothing to do with how popular it is - its popularity does influence FE getting sequels in Gaiden, Japan apparently considered FE3 the first fire emblem in the same way people memed that Awakening is the first FE nowadays

Mystery basicly took the core mechanics of the first game, while changing some features.

the core gameplay was the same, they just changed the approach to outer/inner areas with mounted units, since you were forced to dismount with every horse/pegasus/dragon rider if you wanted to bring specific units inside castles/temples rooms. in that case, the weapons available were limited to either lances when mounted, or swords when on foot.

that made things a bit more unique and realistic in the tactical aspect of the game, so it was seen as a step forward. improving the graphics and adding a secondary story as new content helped too.

by that time, the game was solid and worked quite well despite some flaws.

 

i still believe that the fact they remade Mystery a 2nd time with Shadow dragon and New Mystery still has some meaning behind it.

they could have remade both Genealogy and Thracia 776 as well, yet Mystery was the only game so far from the SNES era that has seen a remake.

13 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

I would say you're way off base there - I would sooner say the fact that it was remade within half a decade of its release showed how bad the first game was.

yeah, let's just pretend that NES games in general didn't had any issues at all due to hardware limitations.

let's also forget that consoles have been upgraded as well during the years, with a transition period of 4 years in this case from NES titles to SNES ones.

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There isn't one.

Like Zelda, it all depends on what you want/can tolerate. If you like freedom/exploration, I recommend BotW, WW, and maybe MM. If you want puzzles, I recommend Oracle of Ages. If you want snappy gameplay, I'd say Oracle of Ages, Minish Cap, and ALBW. For a general experience, OoT, LA, ALttP and TP. If you like multiplayer, you have FS, FSA, and TH. Alternative control schemes for PH, ST, and SS. These are loose categories on my part, you could sort them differently.

 

For FE, it would probably be something like (mind you I haven't played every game I've listed here, I'm guesstimating) these categories:

  • General experience: Mystery, New Mystery, Blazing, Path of Radiance.
  • Modernity and freedom: Awakening, Fates Birthright and Revelation.
  • Plot Ambition: Genealogy and Radiant Dawn.
  • Simplicity(?): Dark Dragon, Shadow Dragon, Binding, Sacred Stones.
  • RPG-slant: Gaiden/SoV.
  • More Than Just Stats Complexity: Thracia 776 and Fates Conquest.

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Mystery of the Emblem was the game that established many of the Fire Emblem troupes, and I think in the eyes of the Japanese fanbase, it's the series's Link to the Past/Ocarina of Time, Super Mario Bros 3/World or Pokemon Gold and Silver.

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