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As soon as I was holding the special edition of Fire Emblem Fates in my hand I was the happiest gamer in the world. Things had not gone well when i pre-ordered Fire Emblem: Awakening fro Best Buy 3 years ago. I'd felt confident this time because I'd pre-ordered it from Gamestop, my number 1 choice for gaming purchases, and I was sure they wouldn't let me down. Then I heard about all the Gamestop pre-orders being canceled and I started to lose hope bit by bit every day over the several months I had to wait to know if I'd get the elusive special edition. I've had the game for a day now and I can easily say: it's made up for all the stress. As soon as I started up the game and saw the title screen of a brand new Fire Emblem game on my own 3DS, I felt like I'd just gotten home after being away for a long time.
I have to say I was somewhat upset when I didn't hear the Fire Emblem main them at any point during the opening cutscene (Or the game at all so far) Nintendo releasing a main title of a game series without the series's main theme is almost unheard of, it felt really weird not hearing one of my favorite theme songs Nintendo has in it's own game. However I quickly forgot about it once I started playing the game. I was immedietley drawn in by the stunning visuals and graphics style that Fire Emblem never fails to deliver. The combat looked gorgeous and all the additional effects and improvements from Awakening you've heard of, you haven't really seen how much more beautiful they make the game until you've experienced it firsthand.
I also very quickly started falling in love with the characters in this game. Now in Fire Emblem games that is expected, but I found myself loving these characters pretty much as soon as I met them. I haven't even needed support conversations to go "Oh yeah, this character's going to be fun" and this made the fact that I'd have to pick a side even more heartbreaking than it already was. Of course I have the special edition and can just go with Revelation and have everybody, but I really wanted to experience the Nohr and Hoshido stories just as much.Turns out I was going to have plenty of time to think about that because even if you have played Fire Emblem games before (I've played all of the US releases) this game is HARD. I, of course, picked hard (the middle of the three diffiulties) because I have played A LOT of Fire Emblem. Normally I would not have trouble with starting on Hard in any Fire Emblem game, but this time I had a TON of trouble. Interestingly enough: the difficulty I selected wasn't my biggest problem, it was the new pair up system. Now, I LOVED the pair up system in Awakening and I love the changes to it in Fates even more...well...I do now. I hated it at first. It took a lot of adjustments to my usual strategy in Fire Emblem games to adapt to the enemies being able to double attack me anytime they stood next to each other. I really had to learn to balance out the units I had adjacent to on another for damage, and the ones I had paired up to block the enemies trying to do the same to my units. It took some time and no small amount of frustration, but once I'd figured it out I was back on track and having the time of my life.
Now as for what side I picked: well....technically...I didnt' I have three save files, one on each path. I've played the first two chapters on each path already. From this point on I'm going to mainly focus on Birthright and Conquest, but I'll still play Revelation occasionaly when I feel like it. I won't be following any specific pattern, but I'll be trying to focus on the two countires before playing what is arguably the "canon" path.
So my first impression of the game? It has exceeded nearly all of my expectations. I personaly liked to create other avatars and send them over to my file in Awakening, sadly it looks like doing that is going to be harder in Fates. However I'm sure that I'll learn as I go and find a way to get it to work.
I absolutley love this game and I've hardly gotten into most of it's features. I have been a huge Fire Emblem fan ever since I started playing the series, and with Fire Emblem Fates the future of the series looks bright. Which is good for me too because the more Fire Emblem games there are the happier I am.....and the more empty my wallet is but...still....I'd rather have Fire Emblem