Fire Emblem: Awakening is another franchise reinvented for the Nintendo 3DS, and perhaps the best reinvention on the handheld entirely. The fantasy tactical game has been modernized, bringing its epic story revolving around warring nations, inner-army romances and tactical battles that can leave a soldier permanently dead. Yet somehow Nintendo and Intelligent Systems has done it without making the title too challenging or unapproachable.
In Awakening, the player takes on the role of Robin, a customizable character who quite literally falls out of a portal without any memory of his/her origins. Robin is then welcomed into the royal family of Ylisse, where he serves as strategist Prince Chrom's personal guard, The Shepherds. What begins as a war with the dragon-worshiping Plegians quickly becomes a crisis spanning generations with the whole universe on the line.
The story is largely told through text-boxes, much like previous titles in the franchise have done. It's much like a JRPG at heart, though more akin to say Tactics Ogre and Final Fantasy Tactics than anything else. Players will have to decide who to recruit, who will bring to battle, how to equip them, and also work on establishing relationship between members of the company. Without spoiling the reasons why, it's not just to improve morale.
Combat, however, is a different beast entirely. Using a rock-scissors-paper system, the player must maneuver their army through complicated tile-based battlefields. If they've chose the harder difficulty option, a misplaced piece results in permanent death for that unit. Hopefully new players choose to avoid permadeath, because that stuff is seriously detrimental to emotional health -- not to mention harming the strength of the player's army.
Fire Emblem: Awakening, for all of its great tactical gameplay and its epic story, is really a game about heart and the connections a player can make with their chess pieces. No sequel has yet to be announced, but after Awakening we have to know its just a matter of time.
This game is also known as Fire Emblem: Kakusei in Japan.