Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade

Blazing Blade was localized simply as “Fire Emblem”, because it was the first FE game to officially come West. I wondered, playing this game, if it was a coincidence that the first FE they bothered to send to English speakers was far and away the best one, or if they knew they had a real gem on their hands and were like, “This shit is how we get American’s money.”

Blazing Blade, FE7, is technically the prequel to FE6, but not only do you not have to play FE6 to understand it, I’d go as far as to say you shouldn’t play FE6, since FE7 is so much better that it kind of sets FE6 up as disappointing. The entire plot also causes the plot of FE6 to make zero sense.

Unforutnately I waited too long to write this review and don’t remember nearly as much about FE7 as I should, and I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it justice. But this was a really great game, and I heartily rec it. Like I said, it’s far and away the best of the first 7 FEs. It’s not even close.

Blazing Blade tells the story of Eliwood, Roy’s father, Lyn, a nomad, and Hector, father of Lilina from the previous game. Lyn is the PC for the prologue, and then there is a playthrough as Eliwood which unlocks a playthrough as Hector. The overarching story doesn’t change as Hector, but you do see events from a completely differnt perspective, and there are some new scenes with new plot revelations. I personally didn’t feel the need to replay the whole game and just looked up the new scenes online, but it was an interesting way to try to give the game replay value.

The overarching plot the the typical FE setup — a peaceful country is subject to warmongering for unknown reasons. I found the character development to be much more compelling in this game than in the previous. Eliwood felt like more of a real person than a shonen archetype, and lategame revelations make the Big Bad fascinatingly complex.

Unfortunately the bulk of what I remember of the plot and such is just how badly it messes up FE6. For one, that everyone in FE6 is blindsided by what happens makes zero sense, because at the end of FE7 they already know it’s going to happen. The entire plot should have been stopped years before FE6 takes place. Similarly, there’s absolutely no indication of how Zephiel goes from a normal kid whose life is looking up to a raving lunatic.

Most baffling, though, some spoilers:

If Eliwood marries Ninian, which is the only thing that makes any sense, that means Roy is 1/4 dragon, and somehow absolutely no one notices or thinks to mention it during the entire plot of the previous game, which revolves around the possibility of dragons and humans coexisting and the existence of dragon-human children. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

My rec is honestly to skip FE6 entirely if you haven’t played it before and just play this one, imagining it to lead to a less nonsensical future.

That’s… all I’ve got, unfortunately. Great game, fucked up FE6 retroactively, excellent place to start the series since nothing that came before it was this polished or well done. Next up is FE8, Sacred Stones, the last GBA title.

22 Comments

  1. Moonlight says:

    Let’s talk about Nino and how she’s the most amazingest ever

    1. Act says:

      All I can remember is the NOPE of one if her romance options being Jaffar. I was never so dedicated to preventing party interaction from happening.

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  2. Roarke says:

    Ah, sweet, sweet FE7. I did say in that 1-6 post that this one is shining and untouchable in my childhood memories. In lieu of any real specific criticisms, how about a name-drop for favorite characters? I’m actually somewhat deeply curious about that, since that’s what FE games are all about.

    The Big Bad is a really good villain, but he’s also just the (second) most extreme example of one of my favorite things about the game, which is dark magic and where it comes from. I found all of the exposition about it and the sheer existential horror of what it takes to achieve power within it very compelling.

    I don’t remember how many other ‘Lords’ earlier Fire Emblem games give you, but Lyn, Eliwood, and Hector stand as one of my favorite character trios in any game. I especially liked that none of them got completely shoehorned into some specific ‘the smart one, the emotional one, etc.’ Each of them is very three-dimensional and react to things believably (and heart-breakingly).

    FE7 being a far-superior prequel to FE6 was truly one of the biggest missed opportunities in all of video gaming. Imagine if FE7 had truly been done first, and FE6 (obviously a hypothetical good/logical FE6) had come about later. That basically would have been Genealogy of the Holy War but better.

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    1. Act says:

      Eliwood and Ninian <333

      1
      1. Roarke says:

        They are very cute together, which helps the whole ‘practically canon default couple’ thing. Eliwood’s supports (especially with Hector) were great for showing the casual, playful side to him that you really don’t see in the main story AKA Eliwood’s Worst Month. Ninian was… an ellipsis character……. which I have some…… trouble…….. tolerating. Still, I think her romance with Eliwood was solid and believable.

        Did you like having a tactician character? Guessing you chose being a woman, not that it makes a lick of difference to the game other than having Sain hit on you. A shame he’s generally the best cavalier mechanically. I liked Kent a lot, maybe because standing riding next to the aggressively one-note Sain will make anyone look better, and he legitimately did well sharing some spotlight in Lyn’s Prologue.

        My favorite character was… fuck, it’s been a while. I guess all of the thieves, actually. Matthew, Jaffar, and Legault were all enjoyable to me for their own reasons, and Dat Ass… assin Critical Animation.

        1. Act says:

          I thought the tactician was a really clever way to integrate story and gameplay. The game did a good job of handling your interactions with everyone so it didn’t feel like you were being railroaded into participating in the plot.

      2. Roarke says:

        Oh yeah, I’m pretty sure IS/Nintendo deliberately made this one for the West, and knew it was solid enough to be a hit. It’s the first FE of any kind to have an extended prologue/tutorial like Lyn’s, which makes no sense for the 7th game in the series but a lot of sense for the first port. It was also fairly lovingly localized, with only a few bits of awkwardness/inconsistency.

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      3. Moonlight says:

        OTP! Some of my favorites are Raven and Lucius, Ark and Priscilla, and Serra and Matthew. God, that game had so many good pairings.. the newer Emblems can’t relate

        1. Act says:

          I was super impressed with how much effort it put into pretty much each character of a huge cast.

          IDK why but I was also very fond of the pegasus sisters.

        2. Roarke says:

          Erk and Priscilla were one of my favorite pairings, too. Among all of her romances, Erk is the only one she can actually marry due to her high status, while among all of his romances, Priscilla is the only one he really changes for (using his connections with Pent to gain peerage instead of becoming a reclusive scholar).

  3. Nerem says:
    Sadly I never really liked any Fire Emblems until 8.

     

    I just hated the gameplay. You aren’t wrong that 7 is vastly superior to 6. IIRC 6’s problem is that it was more or less made out of Kaga’s notes after he quit to go make his own Fire Emblem game (Creatively named Emblem Saga or something like that until he got sued and had to rename it to TearRing Saga.) and they super dumbed down the gameplay despite not actually making it all that much easier.

     

    The actual rec for me is ‘Just play Three Houses’.

    1. Roarke says:

      She’s actually almost there, since she’s skipping any game with a remake. I personally consider 8 a step down from 7. I’m not a very picky turn-based strategy person, but I felt a definite downturn in balance (overpowered light magic) and grinding (admittedly self-inflicted if you do too much, which I didn’t). I even thought Final Fantasy Tactics Advanced was bearable and apparently that game is awful. Since even 3H has problems of its own, I ultimately like 7 the best as a singular experience. I think objectively 3H is the better game, but it was a little too much more game than I was willing to go through.

      1. Act says:

        If I’m right the ones I have left, in order, are:

        Sacred Stones
        Path of Radiance
        Radiant Dawn
        Awakening
        Fates
        Three Houses

        The GCN and Wii ones cost like a bajillion dollars so idek how I’m going to deal with that. I’ll probs have to stream Dolphin through my SteamLink or some shit.

        1. Roarke says:

          I played Path of Radiance, but didn’t finish it. Only read an LP of Radiant Dawn, and haven’t played Awakening/Fates at all. Three Houses is legit, though, even if I wasn’t willing to go through it four times.

          My copy of Path of Radiance is probably in, like, Nicaragua, with all my other old systems.

        2. Y says:
          It’ll be really interesting to see what you think of Fates when you get to it, because personally I have incredibly mixed feelings. I think of the ones I’ve played, it has the most to like but also the most to hate. I won’t say anymore because spoilers, though.

          I haven’t played the Tellius games for exactly that reason. One time about five or six years when I’d just gotten into the series, I saw a used copy of Radiant Dawn going for, I kid you not, 700 AUD. It looks slightly better than that now, but honestly not by much. I don’t understand how Nintendo could look at these ridiculous prices and not think to do any kind of re-release, especially with how hard they’ve begun pushing the series in recent years.

      2. Y says:
        I think I might actually slightly prefer Sacred Stones over Blazing Blade to be honest,  just because I think I like the characters a little bit more. They both have really good casts though, of course! The balance issues are definitely there but really both of the English GBA games are relatively easy for this series in my opinion, so it’s not really that big of an issue for me. If anything I appreciate that it’s easier and there’s grinding because it makes it easier to focus on getting supports, which is really tedious in both those games. I usually wind up just reading them all online anyway, but it’s still nice to see what I can in game.

        I haven’t played 3H unfortunately because I don’t own a switch yet, but the impression I have of it is that it kind of combines a lot of the series’ best experiments and really tightly pulls them all together.

        1. Roarke says:

          I do like both player armies. Character-wise, what really puts 7 over 8 in that regard imo is the villains; 8 just doesn’t do enough with their, like, one three-dimensional villain. 7 on the other hand felt like it had a roster of them, which made fighting them just more fun, numbers and mechanics aside.

          3H is definitely pulling together the best of the series, but it’s not without its own issues, unsurprisingly found mostly in the things it tries to do that Fire Emblem hasn’t done before. I won’t elaborate; it’s still an amazing game.

  4. Nerem says:
    Also as an addition, if you’re willing to play Fire Emblem for recs, go play some of the English Super Robot Wars. V, T, and X have pretty good plots and great characters and solid gameplay.
  5. Xander77 says:
    Looking forward to your take on Path of Radiance, which is the best FE, with the most relevant things to say.

    As far as Sacred Stones is concerned, I’d recommend “Restoration Queen”, a mod which improves Erika’s route and adds queer representation.

  6. QuoteMyFoot says:
    Ah, finally, a review tailored to my very specific interests! (Those interests being Fire Emblem and more Fire Emblem.)

    Personally, I think the villain is one of the worst things about FE7 – not because there is anything wrong with Nergal in concept, but because they insisted on locking all the most important information for understanding him behind ridiculously tedious tasks, which were super unintuitive to boot.

    This isn’t as bad as it is in FE6, mind you, since the strong characters in FE7 carry the story anyway, whereas FE6 is a bit more lacking in chemistry between the main characters. I heard the recent fan translation gives it a bit more flavour than when I originally played, but I haven’t had a chance to full try it yet. The trio in FE7 are particularly good. I don’t think the story they’re in is very strong compared to other FEs, but I also literally don’t care because Lyn, Eliwood, and Hector are just that great. Hector in particular remains one of my favourites in the whole series (and since I have obsessively played every English release except Shadow Dragon, this is saying something lol).

    FE7 to me seems to be where they decided to go full ham on this ‘cast of colourful characters’ and the support system, and I think the series is better for it. The casts of FE – a bunch of unique and well-developed characters in every game – are one of, if not *the* series’ strongest selling points imo.

    Sacred Stones was my personal starting point for the series, so I’m interested to see what you think of it! IMO the story there is not particularly original but is well done for what it is, but it has one of the best casts in FE – I’d put it top 3.

    1. Act says:

      The way the backstory was doled into in this game was completely absurd. What was the first person to figure it all out even doing.

      I’m never sure why devs do this. Like, why put all this effort into trying to prevent the player from seeing the game’s most important parts? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

      1. Roarke says:

        Sacrificing narrative impact to juice up the replayability a little is one of those trade-offs that often leave me puzzled as well. I thought Hector’s story otherwise was a pretty natural way to pad – you already have a built-in reason to replay any FE just due to the number of characters, so why not get some narrative flavor and Hector bits?

        The whole ‘level Nils to 7 and complete all side chapters’ thing is ludicrous though. They really needed to just lock all of it to Hector’s story with no extra conditions if they were that dedicated to making the trade-off.

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