Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance (GameCube) Preview

By Adam Riley 22.06.2005 35

The Fire Emblem series was for a long time Nintendo's most prolific RPG series in Japan. Unfortunately, though, the series never made it to the West despite fans almost begging for it and praise coming left, right and centre. At last, however, Nintendo took a chance with the second Fire Emblem game on the GBA, bringing it to the US in November 2003 and to Europe mid-2004. The risk paid off and the title proved to be a resounding success for such a niche game released at a competitive time of year (North America) / usual drought period (Europe). Therefore here we are, faced with a wonderful-looking GameCube edition. Does the formula translate to the current generation just as well, though?

Being a massive follower of the Fire Emblem games since the days of Super Nintendo fan translations beginning to appear of the Internet, and then solidifying my love for the turn-based strategy series when I got my hands on Fire Emblem for the GBA last year (with only Final Fantasy Tactics Advance managing to oust it as the best SRPG for the portable), Path of Radiance was a natural selection for me. In fact, JB himself took a step back from it as he knew I would be eager to drool over the GameCube version after being gutted that Fire Emblem 64 on the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive never came to fruition. At last, a full home version of the sublime series

Screenshot for Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance on GameCube

I had read some reports about how this version was the to be the most visually attractive so far, which may not sound like much considering the power of the GameCube. However, since the previous outings have hardly pushed their respective systems, many thought the GC iteration would be more of the same. Thankfully, Intelligent Systems has squeezed the GameCube so hard that at times I would say this was definitely comparable to the jaw-dropping Zelda: Twilight Princess! I stood back from the gaming pod watching the FMV introductory sequences with complete awe. Emotionally stirring, both in terms of intrigue, action and romanticism.

The action in this game is exactly the same as it has always been. You start an encounter in one corner of the specific field, which was inside a castle in the demo run I played, with your band of merry men (and women). This group comprises of Archers, Horseback Knights, Magicians, Thieves, Fighters and several other types that you will come across throughout the whole adventure. Despite the wonderful cinematic feel to the introduction sequence, general conversations take place in a 2D-anime-slide style, with the character that is currently talking sliding onto the screen. This works just as well as in the past, giving a story-book feel to the proceedings.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance on GameCube

You have control over each person in your squad, choosing them one by one and giving them whatever orders you feel like giving them, within their own personal limits. For instance, characters on horses can travel further distances than say some big thug with a heavy axe, yet horses cannot go over rocky terrain particularly swiftly. Then, if next to an enemy (or one square away on the movement grid if a javelin thrower or bowman) you can choose to attack them. Most characters will have more than one weapon, meaning that some thought must go into which would be best for the situation faced at that time. A slow axe will not always be useful against a much faster enemy on a horse, for example, whilst staying a step away and using an arrow will be far more effective in terms of accuracy. What also needs to be taken into consideration is the opponent's weapon strength and speed, as if right next to them it could cause problems. As the action moves to the lovely battle view, they will more often than not counter-attack once your character has automatically lashed out.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance on GameCube

The aim in the demo was to manoeuvre from bottom left to bottom right, then gradually move upwards, back left and eventually up to the main throne area to defeat the main boss. Along the way, though, there were opportunities for fast characters to dash into separate rooms to collect items from chests, whilst others fought off the plethora of enemies. The charm of the GBA title is definitely there, with movement along the passageways seeming slow, yet not boring as you become more and more familiar with your range of characters. A nice new addition to the playing field is the option to move the camera around to gain a better view of affairs. Also, as before, you can turn off the battle sequences, as many will see this as boring after a while, slowing down the gameplay too much.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance on GameCube

Final Thoughts

But what was on show here was traditional high quality Fire Emblem that no fan should be without and even newcomers should find a tasty piece of RPG action that has solely been missing from their GameCube diet over the past few years. The game is not out until the end of the year, but with any luck it will not get overlooked in the pre-Christmas rush.

Developer

Intelligent Systems

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (16 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Very unusual take on the genre, but enjoyable nonetheless...shame about the mic not working at the Post E3 event!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Seems cool enough!

Sounds like a quirky creative title, something I live for :Smilie Hopefully it'll come to the UK... ...

I think this one's going to be great, I'll definitely be looking into it.

hmm...I thought the Bongos were just controlling flippers (and idea i really liked)

http://www.fanficmaker.com <-- Tells some truly terrible tales.
Last update; Mice,Plumbers,Animatronics and Airbenders. We also have the socials; Facebook & G+

No, just for moral support from friends apparently. It's lined up for the US, so I don't see why Europe would be out of the question.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Looks very very nice. Ahhhh, the Japanese voice overs, accompaining so many recent Game Trailers, they really do make me chuckle, and it always sounds like the same Guy lol. So many Pinball games at once, jesus, how many balls can one person want??

King of the 'League of Kings'||My deviantART|| My Photography

I tell you, I certainly don't mind juggling all Nintendo's balls at all!! Hehe :eek: :roll:

And that Japanese voice over...scary! :alien:

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I tell you, I certainly don't mind juggling all Nintendo's balls at all
:lol:

[ Edited by monkeyman On 2005/6/22 8:25 ]

King of the 'League of Kings'||My deviantART|| My Photography

iI'm not sure what to think about this game. Definitely one to try before you buy.

My DS code for 42 classic games is 5026 2806 4140. Looking for people to play Rummy with. Feel free to PM your code. Also, anyone can add my Wii code if they like, PM me with yours too.

Yes looks very interesting, but i'll have to try it before buying it.

Probably will be the best option for most people. But it's good to see that people are at least willing to give it a go...Better to try than ignore in cases like this.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

As ever, Intelligent Systems has pulled a corker out of the hat! Great work and I can't wait to get my hands on the final version :-D

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Guest 22.06.2005#14

Phew, lucky us that we can skip the battle sequences. I have a question though: How has the voice over been done?

Will this Game have any GBA link-up with the other Fire Emblems?? Good preview, can't wait for this Game having only just played the GBA version, and I loved it.:Smilie

King of the 'League of Kings'||My deviantART|| My Photography

sounds good. Hope its not too similar too any of the others otherwise this could top Zelda. Im just glad they have the cartoon talking sequences as i love the fire emnlem art work.

-Have you any idea what it's like to be a Fembot living in a Manbot's Manputer's world?
-What?

No link up that I've been made aware of...And the voices were there, but the sound was very low so I couldn't hear anything :-D

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Great work again :Smilie

You've actually lifted my hopes after James's comments, this is pretty high up there with Zelda.

"Most characters will have more than one weapon, meaning that some thought must go into which would be best for the situation faced at that time."

Awesome, simply awesome.

Barry Lewis [ nin10do :: General Writer :: Feature Writer :: Fountain of Industry Statistics ]
"We're mentalist psychic Scots, which means we can read your mind. If you're lying, your head explodes and we laugh."

i love fire emblem (almost got all support conversations :D)played it to death :-D can't wait for this one

[ Edited by Cap On 2005/6/23 16:16 ]


You found the word nipple! And you love touching them!

Huge fan of Fire Emblem, can't wait to get my hands on this game!

The weapon idea has been brought over from the GBA games as well, as had the idea of trading items with team-mates next to you, healing them, etc. And did James slag it off for being slow and boring by any chance?? Smilie :tongue: @ tempo!

Thanks, btw, nin10do! Smilie

Cap, D_G: I'm the same, massive fan of the GBA game and having played older titles as well, I can't wait for this version!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I haven't played a Fire emblem game before but if it's made by intelligent systems this will be far than awful but brilliant.

That's the thing, I don't remember the last bad game made by IS - Tetris Attack, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, both Paper Marios, Advance Wars 1 & 2, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare: Touched and the Fire Emblem games are all first class!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Guest 23.06.2005#24

Love Nintendo. Love Fire Emblem. Love Intelligent Systems.

Erm...I NEED this game!

I've seen the FMV intro too Raz. It is amazing! Not quite CG. But some kinda 3D anime cel-shaded look. It is very unique.

I hope Nintendo make the Fire Emblem series as popular as Final Fantasy in the West. They need a 1st-party AAA RPG title badly!

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