I’ve recently started digging deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening and I’m having a great time so far. It’s taken me a bit to get used to its own special brand of SRPG, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and I’m improving with every battle, which is all you can really ask for. You can’t expect to master a game like this from the outset, otherwise, where is the strategy there?
But with this learning curve comes a danger: perma-death. That’s right, the terrible tragedy of losing one of your favorite characters lurks at every turn. To make matters even more frustrating, the enemy has no such fears. They will rush forward in a suicidal frenzy, knowing with certainty that you will kill them on your next turn, but they pay no heed to their own safety. For them, it’s worth it if they can take down one of your squad. It’s not fair and makes the game even more challenging than it would be normally, but that’s what makes it nerve-wracking.
So it is inevitable that something will miss your careful eye and a beloved soldier falls in battle. As he or she tumbles to the ground in painful slow-motion, the urge to reset the game is terrifyingly powerful. That’s when you have a conversation with yourself that goes something like this:
“Embrace it. You beat Demon’s Souls. You beat XCOM. You can handle this. Keep calm and carry on,” says the angel on your shoulder.
“That’s crap. How were you supposed to know that Archer could take down a Pegasus Knight in one shot? This is your first Fire Emblem game! Besides, are we really going to lose someone on a freaking side quest?” the devil on your opposite shoulder replies.
And then a decision has to be made. Both the angel and devil have good points, but it is up to you to decide. You are the one who chose to play on Classic mode with perma-death on. Shouldn’t you honor the spirit of it?
The answer is different for all of us. Myself, I chose to reset that first time and have resisted every time since. I have a good handle on things now, so if something goes awry, I know it is my fault and not simply from a lack of experience with the franchise.
What do you do in situations like this? Reset or tighten your jaw and move forward while never forgetting the brave fallen you leave in your wake?