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Joystiq impressions: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon


Released in Japan on August 7, the DS remake of the original Famicom strategy title, Fire Emblem, is coming stateside in 2009. A largely localized version was on-hand at Nintendo's Fall Media Summit – and turned out to be one of the most-played games of the event.

What we found was expected: pure and simple strategy-RPG combat. We were most intrigued by things that we couldn't try out, namely the Wi-Fi play – a first for the series – and the online shop. Nevertheless, we ventured through the game's prologue and found an appreciation for the characterization and development of individual units.

Gallery: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon | 7 Photos

While the story was rife with cliches, the dialog was quality stuff. We thought the art style used for combat sequences was a bit odd, though. Rather than detailed 2D sprites, it almost looks as if the artists drew over pre-rendered CG animation frames (or like low-detail sprites were blown up). The combat animations were nice and smooth, at least.

More than anything, we were enthralled by the gameplay we experienced, which seemed woefully simplistic at first but had us yearning for more when our time was up. The game definitely seems to lend itself well to portable play, and we can see its Wi-Fi play – complete with voice chat – being a real draw. (That and finally getting some background on one of Super Smash Bros.' mainstay characters, Marth.)

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