Late April is a popular time to release Fire Emblem games, it would appear — after Awakening, Path of Radiance, Echoes, and the very first entry in the series celebrated birthdays just last week, today marks the 15th anniversary of Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade’s release in Japan. How time flies!
Localized as just Fire Emblem in the West, the title was the first to be localized outside of Japan, due to both growing awareness of the series through Smash Bros. and good sales of Intelligent Systems’ Advance Wars. The game is one of the few in the series to feature three protagonists — Lyn, Eliwood, and Hector — in their various excursions across the continent of Elibe. While technically a prequel to the franchise’s previous entry, Binding Blade (starring everybody’s favorite boy, Roy), Blazing Blade offered a fairly self-contained story and its own, wide cast of lovable characters.
The game remains my personal favorite in the series to this day, and one of my favorites of all-time, in no small part due to it being my first experience with the series and the one that introduced me and so many other Westerners to the superb strategic experience we all know and love.
But it’s got much more than pure nostalgia to it — Blazing Blade’s story is rather personal by series standards, focusing less on sweeping wars and more on character conflicts. Lyn’s quest to find her sole living relative after her family is murdered; Eliwood’s desperate search for his father amidst rising political tensions; Hector’s awkward relationship with his brother and the medieval court system in general… all centering around a pair of performing siblings and a band of cutthroat mercenaries. Coupled with some of the franchise’s best supporting characters like Nino, Matthew, and Pent, plus a bevy of interesting villains, and it’s one of the better casts the series has to offer.
I’m glad that, of all the games to be the first in the West, it was this one. If you haven’t had to chance to play it, it’s available right now in the Wii U eShop, and it’s well worth the price. I’ll certainly be picking it up tonight, ready to hand Canas another Luna tome and watch him destroy everything.
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