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Today is the 10th anniversary of Path of Radiance. This game changed how I felt about the Fire Emblem series. I really liked the first two games released in NA. But after Path of Radiance I loved the series. So I felt the need to mark the occasion.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance was the ninth game in the series. But it was only the third game to make it to North America. It was also the first game in the series on a home console in NA. And the first time the series was in 3D in any region. The fully voiced cutscenes in the game were also a first for the series. This was a real setup up in presentation. The GBA titles released here only had 2D portraits and dialogue boxes.
And the game was hard, real hard. But not in a cheap way. If you wanted to make it to the end of a battle with all your soldiers alive you'd have to really plan out your tactics. And this isn't even taking going for the Bonus Experience into account. But that bonus experience was a nice way to even out the difficulty level a bit. You could use it however you like. But I preferred to use it to help out those units that struggle at the earlier levels or ones that tend to lag behind the others.
I also really enjoyed the story. I think it was because you were playing as a band of mercenaries. Playing as Princes and Princesses made it feel like there was a bit too much reverence to the crown. Ike did what he felt was right and didn't care about nobility. Sure there were Kings and Queens he respected, but they earned his trust.
Unfortunately this game isn't inexpensive to get today. Even used copies to for around $100. I know, I've been wanting to upgrade my disc only version for some time now. I would love to see a HD port of the game on Wii U. They wouldn't need to change much. Just make it look a bit prettier and allow you to speed up battles. It'll never happen, but maybe the NX will have some kind of Gamecube support.
Oh, and I can't forget to mention Nephenee is in the game.
Oh yeah, great game. As far as presentation goes, I thought the polygonal characters and more realistic animations of the Radiant series were actually a step down from the slick sprites of the GBA games, but otherwise Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn were great. Even after Awakening undeniably revived the series, Path of Radiance and its sequel top my Fire Emblem list for the characters, mechanics, and admittedly some nostalgia, as they were my first two FE games.
Most of all I think Path (and Radiant) have the best story in the series. Best nemeses for sure in the Black Knight and Mad King, and Ike's put-upon leadership dynamic is more personal and better explored than that of Ephraim/Eirika, Chrom/Robin, etc. And there's so many great story beats hidden deep within the duology's support conversations and extra modes, like (Radiant Dawn Spoilers) Soren being the bastard Branded son of the Mad King and never knowing it and the full story of The Black Knight.
And yes so many waifus for sure. Elincia, Mia, Jill, and of course Nephenee...!
I still remember the day Ike was revealed to be in SSB Brawl on the Smash Dojo website. Most Smash fans probably had no idea who this new Marth clone was, but for me it was like Christmas morning.
Path of Radiance has my favorite story and characters in the Fire Emblem series. Most everyone has an interesting reason to fight, and the support conversations humanize the cast incredibly well. I especially like Jill and Haar's relationship and their character development.
I love the soundtrack, too. Map themes are riveting, and there's a sense of urgency to them.
Hell yeah! This game is the best. Ike grows so much throughout the course of the story that by the time you finish the circuit around that continent and return to Crimea, it feels familiar but also new. We have seen and grown so much in the journey that by the time we return home we see everything in a new light. Ike's understanding of the world and his role within Greil's Mercenaries are completely changed. As we travel we leave a trail of progress towards peace in our wake. The Laguz become more trusting, Begnion's big, bloated bureaucracy has finally started to move towards equality, and the people of Daein are beginning to change their views on the Laguz. As our understanding becomes more nuanced and we see the depth of atrocities committed, Ike grows as a leader and becomes more responsible. It would not be unreasonable to say that much of Ike's arc could be seen as a mirror to the experience of a white person in the real world coming to understand that racism is still a problem. He goes to Begnion and finds a leader that wants to help but is too restrained by the system to do any good. He travels to Daein and sees a culture that breeds hatred. But slowly the world is moving in the right direction- things are getting better.
The story takes a nuanced approach to racism. In Jill's supports she mention how the people of Daein hate Laguz because it's all they've been taught- all they know is hate. The solution is to change the system that is teaching them to hate, not to exterminate the people that have learned to hate. That's why Radiant Dawn bothers me so much. Instead of this considerate approach, we get a bloated race war that defines the conflict in extremes.
This is one of those cases where I wish I had foresight. This game, like many GameCube games, was selling for $20 or less when the GCN was on its way out, but I didn't know anything about this series back then so I didn't buy it. It's like five times that price now, and not even for a new copy. I don't usually buy digital games, but I might make an exception for this one if there is ever a GCN VC.
Even though Radiant Dawn is still my favorite game in the series (with Awakening being a very close second), this one still holds a very special place in my gaming heart. It was my first game in the series, and had an excellent cast.
Plus Nephenee and Ilyana (best mage in the game). Too bad the latter got nerfed in the sequel...
I'm playing through Path of Radiance right now I'm on Normal difficulty, and just finished Chapter 15: The Feral Frontier. This is my second Fire Emblem game, after FE7 on the Game Boy Advance. So far, I'm really enjoying this quite a bit. I like how well-developed the world and characters are. While I liked the main cast in FE7, I didn't really feel that attached to the world as a whole in that game, but I feel like I'm learning a lot about each country in Path of Radiance, and I actually look forward to learning as much as I can. I think right now, my favorite characters aside from Ike are Titania (she is so cool!!!!! ahhh), Mia, Mist, Lethe, Boyd, and Ilyana. I also like the gameplay improvements this game has, like the ability to toggle on/off the movement ranges of each enemy unit in a given turn, so it's easier to plan out your characters' movement without accidentally moving a fragile unit into the line of fire. Awarding bonus EXP at the base is also nice, and makes it a lot easier to level up your healers.
Yeah! Glad you got around to this. Such an awesome game. On the topic of Titania, while awesome YES, be careful with how much killing she does. New players (I myself was a culprit) fall victim to letting her just go NUTS and crush everyone. Not sure if you noticed (you probably did), but she's already the leveled up version of horse people, so when she started the game at Lv1 or whatever, she's actually like Lv21, more or less. This can impact how well the rest of your characters grow. I just kinda kept her around like a security guard, HAHA! Step in when things get hairy.
We did this in the Epic Center, feel free to lean on that for help, but yeah, glad you're digging it.
@Mr_Mustache I'm trying to spread the experience around, but thank you for the advice. Yeah, she is a real badass, but I've actually taken to not including her in some missions, just so I can make sure my other soldiers get to level up too. Again though, the bonus EXP at the base helps so much. I also forgot to mention that the Forge is pretty neat; I've made some really awesome swords for Mia (a super-strong Slim Sword dubbed the "Ripper", and a super-strong Steel Sword dubbed "Neo Ripper"), so that she's an even more capable sword-wielder
Yeah, I don't want to play the game for you, but early on I made sure that Oscar was my horseman getting the most action. And Kieran is a tough one to get included, too. I had a real crush on a lot of the girls in there, too; Mia, Marcia, Neph, so on. I did try to keep everyone pretty even though.
YEAH, making swords for Mia is SO AWESOME. I went with "Lady Killer" for my main one for her until I got her the best sword template, and then it became "Orange Slice." SO COOL. I actually listed all of our sword names somewhere in that thread..
--OH, my mistake!! Our playthrough actually PREDATED Epic Center, so thats a part of Fire Emblem Club, both games. I know you're probably WAY ahead, but our Week 1 started here (and theres some pretty good advice from multiple parties in there; I actually warn against using Titania, haha. Eek..)
Wow, reading through this thread is making me all itchy! What a sweet game. Haven't found my weapons list yet, but yeah, cool!
Guys, I have a question about Path of Radiance!! Can someone answer this for me? I've asked in two other places so far, and got no replies D: (SPOILERS)
I'm at around Chapter 27 right now. Trying to get supports to work in this game has been pretty annoying in general, partly because they don't work the way that they do in the rest of the series. The main thing that made me concerned, however, is that I recently finally unlocked Elincia as a playable character, after several chapters of having her just tag along doing nothing. If I had known ahead of time that I could have her as a unit (and thus have her be able to have supports with others), I would totally have gotten her and Ike to A-rank with each other, because I totally want them to get together. Because I'd already gotten Ike to B-level support with both Titania and Lethe, however, I was only able to have him and Elincia get to C-rank support with each other.
My question is, can someone answer with as little spoilerish info as possible, if it's worth going back several chapters and keeping Ike from getting supports with Titania or Lethe, so that he'll be able to then get an A-rank support with Elincia? Going back would be a huge pain, but I really want them to get together. aaaaaaaaagh
These games are intended for multiple playthroughs and flexibility, so just make sure you do what you want when you do it again some other time. As these guys have already said though, the A-Level stuff only makes a tiny paragraph after the game is over (and I think contributes to Bond Supports? in Radiant Dawn if you transfer this file over), but shouldn't make much of an impact in the game itself (especially when Ike is SUPER BA and just crushing everything on his own. What a beast). Interesting choice of Ike/Lethe, haha, never heard that combo before!
Okay, well... I decided to just play on, and not replay half the game in an attempt to get the A-rank I wanted. Now... I have just beaten the game! I really enjoyed it quite a bit. Overall, I think the story and characters are even more exciting and interesting to see than those of FE7, which is saying something. I also appreciate the gameplay improvements this has over FE7; in particular, being able to layer on the attack range of each enemy onto the map, makes it much easier to plan out your tactics than before. I'll take a break from the series for now, but I look forward to eventually seeing this story's conclusion with Radiant Dawn.
Awesome, I'm glad you had fun! Radiant Dawn's story is a considerable step down, but the gameplay is more rewarding. Maybe you'll like the story, but I feel like it did a poor job of expanding upon the themes and direction established in Path of Radiance.