Game Review - Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones on Nintendo Gameboy Advance

Written by Schizoidmouse on September 21, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

Fire Emblem is a tactical turn-based RPG that hasn't been replicated in any other series and is quite unique. Now this series has been made from the NES era all the way till now with its newest addition, Fire Emblem: Awakening. The evolution of game play is more noticeable from the switch to NES and SNES to the Gameboy Advance. That means that some are just glossed over while others become more popular due to timing. Sacred Stones suffers from this same problem.

Sacred Stones is a stand-alone game in the series and arguably the darkest of them all. The story is centered on the continent of Magvell which is ruled by several monarchies and political systems. The politics enveloping the land is just a small side-story of the entire game with its numerous sub-plots. The story develops in a depressing manner as the themes of death and loss constantly rear their ugly head each turn. This allows the player to feel ultimate triumph and at the same time melancholy as you see the destruction of lands and people around you. These mixed feelings make you ask questions while at the same time gives you some understanding of the time period. Like all the games before it, once you lose a character they will be dead for good and in this one some scenes are lost through said loss. The story changes and hinges on your ability to keep your allies alive which is an awesome feeling.

Evolution wise it came right after the game changers and was the last on the GBA era of Fire Emblem games. While the maps in previous FE games were just for helping you place where you are in the story, in Sacred Stones it is more than that. This time you move around the map by your own volition and enter the chapter when you feel you are up to the task. This map didn't stop there; you had monster encounters, buying of weapons on map, and even challenge areas for the end game. It featured duels against other people as you choose your best units against theirs. If that wasn't enough, it added monsters unique to the game such as Centaurs, Skeletons and more.

Now the nuances; this game has a large cast of characters that like most Fire Emblem games don't get much time to flesh out. In the past two titles, they added in support conversations for characters if you took the time to do them. I found that they perfected them in this game since each one allowed you to see sides of your unit you didn't know and allowed some sort of depth beyond the nameless face.

It introduced crossroads in classing up units. Every unit had two choices to choose between. If you were a knight, you could either become a general or a great knight. As well as having the three units who could class up twice, this was an addition to the game that allows the player more choice than the past ones. Despite this being an interest road to go down, they ruin it later on with the overuse of this game mechanic.

The OST has some of the more memorable songs for myself including the gentle ones like Lyon's theme and the dramatic encounters with a powerful opponent. It made it that much more satisfying as you finally finished off those who did you wrong. Graphics wise its not really different from the other GBA Fire Emblems. The only things to point out is the awesome opening and the ending boss' design.

This game was a masterpiece and allowed Fire Emblem fanatics and new-comers a story to get enveloped into and to feel for. It adds onto the previous additions and makes further advances. Even though it was glossed over, Fire Emblem Sacred Stones certainly holds up, even to today's standards of handheld games.

Story: 10
Gameplay: 9.6
Sound: 9.5
Graphics: 9.5
Enjoyment: 10
Evolution: 9.2
Overall: 9.6

Overall Rating: 10

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Game Information

Platform
Nintendo Gameboy Advance
Developer(s)
Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Genre(s)
RPG
NA Release Date
October 7, 2004
MVGL User Score
8.1
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