Let’s Talk Fire Emblem: Awakening

Woo, the first non-update Saturday post in quite some time! Feels exciting, right? That’s okay, I know it does. You don’t have to admit it.

One thing I want to do more on this blog is just talk about stuff I’m in to. I’ve done this a couple times with posts like Bomberman is the Bomb-Diggity – it’s just me, talking to you, about stuff I like to do. RHYMES.

Anyway, now that we have two more days each week to work with, I have more time to post my unbridled thoughts on subjects of great import. Today, that subject is Fire Emblem: Awakening.

Awakening came out in 2012 and I have basically not stopped playing it since. I’ve actually beaten the game roughly three or four different times, but I play through most of the way pretty often in order to get more support conversations. See, in Awakening, you can marry your units to each other in a ton of different combinations. My wife and I have made it our goal to marry all the different characters together in all of their possible couples to see which ones we like the best, and just for the fun of unlocking them all.

Did I mention I got my wife addicted to this game too?

There’s a lot to like here, and I thought I’d take some time to mention some of my favorite characters and ships (short for relationships, for my less internet-savvy readers) from the game.

First of all, my absolute favorite character in this game is Gaius. He’s a thief with a rather odd obsession – candy. He loves sugary sweets and he gladly works for the Shepherds (the name of the good guy army in the game) in exchange for candy. Gaius is cool for a lot of reasons. For one, he’s pretty much invincible. His class, the thief, is not really one of the best in the game – in fact, when you class change from a thief into the similar class of myrmidon, all of the character’s stats go up. To put it in perspective, normally when you change classes some stats go up while others go down. This shows how certain classes are better than others for particular tasks. So other than the ability to steal things, there’s literally no reason to be a thief because myrmidons are better in every single way.

But then there’s Gaius. He has this uncanny ability to defy the game’s random number generator and always be awesome. He dodges everything. Even if it has a pretty good chance of hitting him, like a 75% chance, he still jumps out of the way like it ain’t no thang. Pair him up with another character? Watch as he dual attacks and dual defends constantly, even with characters where his relationship is just beginning.

Speaking of relationships, they are the other reason Gaius is my favorite. This guy has fantastic ships across the board. In a game where almost every character can fall in love, it’s inevitable that certain relationships seem not to make sense, or turn out boring. But Gaius is a real ladies’ man and makes every one of his relationships into something compelling and satisfying. Even his worst ships are still better than average.

I haven’t unlocked every relationship that Gaius has, but so far my favorite is his pairing with Maribelle. These two characters aren’t introduced at the same time, and it seems that they would come from completely different worlds. In reality, they have a strong connection from their past, and a rather negative one at that. Maribelle hates Gaius because her father was arrested and punished for crimes Gaius was responsible for, but the story isn’t that simple. Gaius did what he did because it was the only way to save Maribelle’s life from his employers, and he did everything in his power to prevent the death of Maribelle’s father as well. When Maribelle sees him for who he truly is, she falls in love with Gaius and the two of them are married. It’s a great backstory and it’s really satisfying to see it reach its conclusion.

Gaius isn’t the only goofy character in the game who has more going for him than his gimmick. Take, for example, the mercenary Gregor, with his potentially offensive stereotypical eastern European accent. Gregor is a bit older than most of the other characters and has been a mercenary for a long time. He has a reputation for turning against his employers, but not in a dirty traitor kind of way. See, mercenaries are a bad lot, and Gregor has a good heart. He’s fought against his supposed allies so many times to stop them from doing things that were wrong, and he’s saved a number of lives this way.

Another quirky but deep character is Henry. Henry is…crazy. There’s not really another way to put it. He’s always smiling and telling terrible puns, but he loves fighting, blood, and suffering. During combat he’s known to cheerfully scream things like “YEAH, BLOOD” or “I’M GONNA KILL YOU” with a big ole smile on his face. As is usually the case, though, this cheerfulness is a facade. Many characters comment on the fact that Henry never seems to genuinely laugh or smile, and his conversations reveal that he experienced a very difficult life that has made connecting with other humans a daunting task.

This is a pretty guy-heavy favorites list, right? No, I’m not sexist – I’m just talking about the ladies next! My favorite female character is Lucina, daughter of Chrom and a very important element of the game’s story. Warning: spoilers to follow. Lucina has traveled through time to prevent the untimely destruction of the world by a dark god. Her mission is a rather hopeless one: time has a tendency to correct itself so that events follow their original course. Despite this, hope is all Lucina has, and she holds onto it tightly. This can make her seem overly serious to her comrades, but she wants nothing more than to relax and bond with her family as she did before the world was ruined.

On the battlefield, Lucina is a powerhouse. She’s fast and strong, with one of the best swords in the game as her signature weapon. Her skills in particular make her deadly – Lucina always has the Aether skill, which allows her to perform a deadly two-hit attack that restores her HP and ignores the enemy’s defense. Add that to her increased chances to dual attack, and she is a force to be reckoned with in combat.

I ship Lucina with Robin, the player character of Awakening. Robin is Chrom’s best friend, and Lucina wishes nothing more than to save her father. Their shared love for Chrom unites them, but then they discover each other and fall in love. The support conversations shared between these two are good, but my favorite thing about this relationship is how it changes the game. Again, spoilers. Robin is actually the child of the game’s villain, and a powerful vessel for the dark god Grima. When this is discovered – along with the fact that Robin is the one who eventually will take Chrom’s life – Lucina comes to kill him. She is prevented, but in every possible version of the game, she truly intends to take Robin’s life. Even when Robin is her mother! But if Robin is her husband, she can’t go through with it. Her love for him is too strong, and she refuses to believe that he could ever intentionally harm her father. Love changes Lucina’s tune, and honestly the only thing I don’t like about her story is that she wouldn’t spare her mother too. But hey, not every character can be written perfectly, and Lucina is still an amazing protagonist.

Another favorite female of mine is Olivia. Olivia is a dancer, but she has one problem – she’s shy. Uncomfortable with crowds, or being noticed at all. Her shy manner and quiet voice are never really overcome, but characters who spend time with her learn to see that she is not only a talented artist, but also a wise and caring woman. I ship her with Chrom because their “love at first sight” relationship is really satisfying to see – particularly since you have to work so hard to make sure he doesn’t fall in love with anyone else before they meet.

Finally, I really like Chrom’s sister Lissa. She’s a great unit on the battlefield, not for her power, but for her utility as a healer. She’s able to train as both a cleric and a troubadour, giving her versatility when it comes to healing-related skills. Her personality is a lot of fun – she’s quirky, a little spoiled, and loves to play jokes, but she can be serious when needed. Her struggle to stand out in the midst of her illustrious family is really poignant. She’s the youngest of three siblings, her older sister the leader of the country and her brother Chrom the leader of their military force, the Shepherds. Lissa isn’t politically minded or a strong warrior, and she often feels inferior to her more famous siblings. However, Chrom helps her to know that it doesn’t take a genius to see that Lissa’s lighthearted spirit lifts the spirits of everyone else, and that Lissa is more valuable to the nation than she ever gives herself credit for.

So those are some of my favorite characters and ships from Awakening. If you haven’t played this game, be sure to check it out! It’s a ton of fun with a lot of satisfying characters and replay value. We may have some more Awakening-related content coming up on the blog, since I’m currently playing through it again. So hopefully you’re excited for that.

And remember, there’ll be a post tomorrow as well, so don’t forget to check back on Adventure Rules at 9 AM eastern. Don’t miss out!

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