Nintendo’s Treehouse blog has released another post on Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Titled “Schooled by Old-School Combat,” it details many of features and differences that make Echoes stand apart from other entries in the series. That said, the writer is an admitted newer FE fan, one of the many who got into the series through Awakening and Fates, so — as a veteran of the series — I’ll try to point out any particular points that they might have missed.

Echoes, as a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden for the Famicom, has you controlling two armies — one commanded by Alm, a green-haired youth, and the other by Celica, a red-haired priestess.

What is stressed throughout the article is difficulty — Echoes is a throwback to Gaiden, after all, so it’s logical to assume that it will be a greater struggle to get through compared to the other 3DS titles. The post points out the missing features of pair-up, marriage and children, and a weapon triangle as big shake-ups of strategy. Support conversations are still in, but now take place in battle rather than on the map — another change.

fire emblem echoes shadows of valentia

What’s interesting about the blog focusing on those particular aspects is that the aspects listed are not really what made Gaiden unique, but rather features relatively common to pre-3DS FE. Pair-up wasn’t a thing until Awakening. Children were only present in one title (Genealogy of the Holy War) before the 3DS titles brought them back. Supports happened in-battle in all the GBA titles. Even the weapon triangle (or rather, the lack thereof) was present in the first three games in the series, though the remakes of FE1 and FE3 added them in, which does add a greater retro appeal to Echoes.

Ironically, some of Gaiden’s more unique aspects — such as the world map and grindable encounters — are glossed over or not mentioned at all, likely because they are present in the 3DS titles. Even the dungeons (something truly unique to the game) are nowhere to be found in the post, which seems a bit strange when mentioning what made Gaiden special in the first place. And other aspects — three-tiered promotion, magic costing HP to cast and the game’s… unique map designs — are not touched upon either.

All that said, however, the blog did shed light on some new features that are certain to pique interest. What grabbed my attention the most was the game’s Combat Arts system. Using certain weapons a lot will allow characters to learn skills attached to the weapons. These can range from recovering HP upon hitting enemies, boosting stats, or even preventing the enemy from counterattacking. It appears like a more unique version of FE’s usual Skills, and with Gaiden’s/Echoes’ unbreakable weapons, it’ll be interesting to see how Combat Arts affect the flow of battle.

The post also detailed Mila’s Turnwheel. A certain number of times per battle, you’ll be able to rewind to a previous turn to correct a possible mistake. As someone used to misclicks and mistakes in FE, this is a welcome feature, and will hopefully save a ragequit or two. The Turnwheel replenishes after every battle, too, so there’s no need to fret about abusing it.

The post details a couple other small points as well. Villagers can promote into one of several classes, at which point they’re locked into that class path for the rest of the game. Promotions are done at Mila statues, rather than with seals like in the rest of the series. And, most pleasantly, the game is fully voice-acted, a first for FE — story, supports and even NPCs have voices, a big step up over the previous entries’ attempts at the practice. Coupled with animations by Hideaki Anno’s Studio khara (Rebuild of Evangelion), this may be the most technically pleasing FE yet.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia drops in ten days. Stay wired for more information leading up to its release.

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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.

Amelia Fruzzetti