Light and shade
The fictional structure of Fire Emblem Echoesis based on duality: that of the two protagonists, Alm and Celica, who grew up as brothers from Mycen, a warrior of a thousand battles, and bound by a strong feeling, always crossing fraternal love and something more romantic.
Two are also the fighting kingdoms, that of Zofia, which is the birthplace of the two main characters, and that of Rigel, which invades the neighboring lands in the shadows of a pact of non-belligerence in existence for centuries; two are also the founding deities of the kingdoms in war, each of which has given their children a modus vivendi precisely: Mila, goddess protector of Zofia, tends towards the beautiful, the superfluous, the peace at all cost, by dwelling on the pleasures of life, where his brother Duma, founder of Rigel, instills in his subjects a lust of power, structuring society into rigid military hierarchies. Both kingdoms would work on the paper, if it were not for the human element, which always tends to chaos and excess. Here, then, ease comes down in debauchery, luxury in the doldrums, and rigor in aggression.
The non-belligerent agreement, lasting for centuries, is over when Rigel’s extinct expansion, suppressed for millennia, succeeds in emerging again, driven out of the shadows by a dark force that drives humans to betray, lie, strike at shoulders, giving vent to the worst side of their nature.
The tone is much more striking than the recent past, and class struggles, from the difference of social rank that divides the two heroes, play a secondary role at all: the first episodes of the franchise were, moreover, medieval Europe, shaking hands on aspects such as the value of honor, popular rebellion, the disdain of nobles against the so-called plebeians.
We’re not at Tactics Ogre Level Let Us Cling Together or Final Fantasy Tactics , of course, but Fire Emblem Echoesexcels in telling, on two parallel tracks, the personal story of two boys and that of two kingdoms, with all the lives of their dancing people.
Alm is impulsive, always persists in justice, and is not afraid to get dirty in doing so, while Celica, who shares the vision of his fellow brother’s world, does not intend to shed no useless blood, keeping alive the utopian flame to satisfy everyone : Everyone will go his way, living the events of Echoes according to his moral compass, and this very consistency of the characters makes them human, tangible, empathic.
In the face of an excellent English dubbing, with a cast of well-meaning rumors and in line with the tone of the events, we found a less cured Italian subtitling than other times,
A different road
Fire Emblem Echoes is like a motor with modified engine but with standard bodywork: there are many changes, and they have a considerable impact on gameplay, yet the overall turn-key structure has remained surprisingly unchanged in its quality and in the level of tactical depth, which instead, during the early hours of play seemed a bit sacrificed.
These first impressions mostly stemmed from the absence of shops where to buy weapons and objects, which restored the unpleasant sensation that the personalization of the characters had been watered down with the canons of the series: nothing more wrong, however, because, as with other elements of his gameplay, Fire Emblem Echoesit reaches the same results as its most illustrious predecessors simply by following different paths.
Weapons, for example, are found in locations and in very small numbers, but each brings in at least a couple of special abilities that can be learned by the character that brand them and, non-secondary, are no longer subject to wear, as special ones in the previous chapters.
This change, if added to the abandonment of the historical triangle of weapons, has a considerable weight in the gameplay economy: the player is driven to dare, abandoning in certain breaches the defensive conduct that has always characterized matches at Fire Emblem, motivated by Damocle’s sword of the permanent death of the characters, and, most importantly, nowadays almost all units are really useful during the fist.