I have played many games that are similar to Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, but I have never played a Fire Emblem game before. That being said, I felt like Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn for the Wii was a very cheap game. The game had two primary components; story and battle. This means that Fire Emblem is lacking any component of game play besides battles. This may have passed on the Playstation (and even PS2 and GCN L), but does Nintendo expect us to accept it on the Wii as well? This is a huge flaw considering the power of the hardware, and the wealth of the developer.
I found the story to be generic, and worse it was poorly told. The dialog was cheesy; it may have gotten the point across, but not very eloquently. The story was told sufficiently to understand what is happening and primary motivations, but it was painful (and embarrassing) to read. The voice acting was even worse (which is forgivable; few games have consistently good voice acting). The moral of the story is excellent, but I don't think the developers spent the time necessary to tell it well.
Story – 4.5/10
The battle system was not terrible, but it’s not very impressive either. I have played many similar games, including Final Fantasy Tactics and Disgaea. The battle system in Fire Emblem feels like a step back (in terms of strategy, character development and player choice), in comparison to a strategy RPG such as Final Fantasy Tactics (my personal favorite). The characters in Fire Emblem already have predetermined classes, which reduces character development and player choice. Level ups granted point increases a random number of ability scores. Characters can add one of several skills to their characters, allowing for some choice. The strategy was based on a difficult battle system, yet that battle system's difficulty seemed cheap. This is because you cannot choose your character class development, which allowed the developers to ignore balancing the classes. This leave particular character classes overpowering and ends up with a strategy of 'protect the support' and 'send in the tanks.' The strategy actually ends up becoming simplistic, yet the difficulty remains high.
Battle System – 5/10
The game also features no actual gameplay outside of the battle system (the menu towns don't count). This is a Wii game, not a N64 or Playstation game. I would also point out that many Playstation and N64 games used 2D and 3D maps for worlds and towns, something Fire Emblem skips. I expect improvements, and a world (or a least towns) to roam in. This would make a huge difference for in bringing the game to life and giving the player a reason to care about the characters and the world they inhabit.
Game play – 0/10
Fire Emblem has also taken no steps forward in the graphics department. Textures were bland, and often repeated, giving very little life to the world. The focus of development was clearly not eye candy. The 2D image of the characters looks nice, and some were very stylistic. For me, graphics are not as important as game play, yet the extremely poor graphics do point out how little effort or love was put into this game (I’m saying this under the consideration that this game is published by Nintendo). Nintendo, I expect more.
Graphics – 3.5/10
. There is not a whole lot to say here, the sound was adequate, but not excellent. I don’t have any major complaints, and I don’t have any major complements.
Sound – 5/10
In the end, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn shows no real improvements, while taking a couple steps back. Non-the-less hardcore fans or strategy nuts may still find some fun (and difficulty) in this game.
Overall – 3.6