Game Review - Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon on Nintendo DS

Written by HyperDebtRay on February 13, 2018 @ 4:44 am

Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon is a remake of an earlier game, the first one to ever be released in the series in fact, Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. The game stars the iconic character Marth as the remake tells the original story of his battle against Medeus the Shadow Dragon.

Right off the bat you will notice the updated graphics and gameplay mechanics that modern Fire Emblems already have. The updates extend to everything including the maps, character portraits, weapons, battle animations etc.

While the graphics have been vastly improved, I can't help but feel that the character art and the battle animations seem all so very very very bland. The characters have that familiar anime style from modern games but then it looks like someone put the artwork through a gaussian blur. The battle animations are as you expect, smooth and fluid but it just seems so uninspired compared to the over-the-top sprite animations from Rekka no Ken or Sacred Stones.

Gameplay is a mixed bag depending if you're coming from modern FE or legacy FE. If you're coming from legacy FE, then gameplay has a huge facelift, often taking a lot of features from modern FE. Things like the weapon triangle, new classes and new recruits that didn't exist before make their appearance in this game. There are many more "new" features implemented in this game that is beyond the scope of this review. If you're coming from modern FE games, the gameplay feels just like home, except its a home without a few of the opulent paintings and silverware that you're accustomed to. What I mean is that while a lot of the features in the game will be familiar, there is a lot of features that were not taken from modern FE. They are described below.

Other gameplay notes:
- Even with swordmasters + Killing Edge, crit doesn't proc as much
- Even with capped speed, enemy units still have an average 40-50% hit rate
- Reclass feature, enabling you to manipulate a unit's growth rate
- Most maps will have 2 save points
- No rescue mechanic (Rekka no Ken)
- No residual movement usage (Rekka no Ken)
- No Falco Knight, go directly to Draco Knight (without Elysian Whip)
- No Assassin
- Lord and Thief class cap at level 30, no promotion
- Some enemy recruitment positions are really poor, like putting Astram in the middle of 10 ballistas... I already have a Hero named Ogma, I'm not risking my other units to have another... Astram has to die
- A lot of late recruitments
- Dual screen makes it easy to view data and information mid battle

To be honest, I still prefer Rekka no Ken over this game, because of its excellent story, wide range of likable characters, the addicting crit animations and of course my favorite Blade Lord Lyn. Though to be fair it's not Shadow Dragon's fault since the source material is not as rich as modern FE.

Overall a solid Fire Emblem game, despite the washed out artwork and graphics it still has that deep level of strategic gameplay that the FE series is known for.


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Game Information

Alternative Titles
ファイアーエムブレム 新・暗黒竜と光の剣, Fire Emblem: Shin Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Ken
Platform
Nintendo DS
Developer(s)
Intelligent Systems
Publisher(s)
Nintendo
Genre(s)
RPG, Strategy
NA Release Date
February 16, 2009
JP Release Date
August 7, 2008
EUR Release Date
December 5, 2008
AUS Release Date
February 26, 2009
ESRB Rating
E10+
PEGI Rating
7
MVGL User Score
6.8
Composer
Yuka Tsujiyoko
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