Original Release Date: 2004
At the time I reviewed Fire Emblem 7, it was my favorite Fire Emblem game. This is no longer the case (Fire Emblem Fates is now my favorite, though admittedly I still need to play Path of Radiance at the time of writing), but I still greatly enjoy it.
So when I first played Sacred Stones, it had fairly big shoes to fill. How does it hold up? Overall, quite well actually, even if it isn’t quite as good as FE7.
The game features a brand new setting, characters, and storyline, so while the gameplay is very similar to FE7, it still feels like an original game in its own right. (Unlike Advance Wars 2, but I’ve gone on about that long enough) It also fixes some of the issues that plagued FE7. The merchant and support options are available from the very start, which makes managing items and units much easier and less tedious. The game also allows players to play side missions to level up their units, which is a welcome addition. In FE7, if a map was giving you a hard time, your only options were to keep going until you managed to get through relatively unscathed, or start the entire game over and try to level up your units more efficiently, which is rather unfair toward new players or players who don’t want a massive challenge. Sacred Stones takes care of this by allowing grinding, which also makes it much easier to get the supports you want. You don’t have to grind if you don’t want to, and the game is still quite challenging if you don’t grind or keep grinding to a minimum.
Sacred Stones does still carry over a number of problems that FE7 had. Limited supports and fog of war are the biggest ones that come to mind. But the bigger issue is that the game feels almost unfinished.
It’s obvious that they wanted to make a game as big and grand as FE7, but something went wrong along the way, and they had to cut corners. The game is noticeably shorter than FE7, the story feels rather rushed at times, the sequence of events don’t always flow very well, and there are a number of characters and plot points that are set up and then are either resolved anticlimactically or never brought up again.
It’s a shame, because Sacred Stones had the potential to be even better than FE7, so it’s disheartening to see a great game that clearly ran out of time or money, or something. As it stands, it’s not the best the series has to offer, but it’s still a very, very good game, and is very much worth your time if you enjoy Fire Emblem.
How well it holds up 4/4
Personal Enjoyment 4/5
Overall quality 8/10
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