(Editor’s note: In the Postcard Review, members of the Pixelitis staff write small, easily digestible reviews big enough to ‘fit on a postcard’ – hence the title. It can be about the whole experience or just a small piece of the pie. No scores needed.)
It’s easy enough to find a game where the end goal is to save the world, but what does that action really mean to the player? What is it about fictional worlds that makes one empathize with its existence? Why should we care about preventing its destruction?
Fire Emblem: Awakening, like many games, is about saving the world. But while other games simply use the “saving the world” formula to raise the stakes, Awakening succeeds in emotionally investing the player in the outcome of its story and characters
The cast has something for everybody. Of course, leading the way is Chrom, the virtuous blue-haired renegade. I personally preferred characters like Gaius, the thief motivated only by sweets, and Henry, a murderous mage who loves a good pun.
The game allows the player to use any characters they see fit, and the relationships the player builds with them feels organic. Additionally, by pairing up characters in combat, they will grow to like or even love each other. The number of pairings alone allows every Awakening player to have a unique experience.
And like all Fire Emblem games, death is permanent. The characters you have spent the whole game growing to love can be wiped out with one bad move. It keeps the tension high, and as the player, you get a sense of what you’re fighting for.
Awakening‘s plot might not be revolutionary, but it made me care. I was determined to make sure the good guys won.