Dragon Shadow Fire Emblem & Blade Of Light Review, Switch
For the first time in 30 years, Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon & Blade of Light is coming to the West for a Switch. How old is he?
After Nintendo’s ultimatum and almost abandoned, in 2020 we were able to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Fire Emblem, a saga born in 1990 that the Japanese wanted to celebrate in a big way by giving, for the first time outside of Japan, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & Blade of Light translated. Today we show you our Review of how Nintendo first came into contact with the strategy and how well it plays out today. The turn of reading begins now!
Many of us felt that we were recognized when we saw the Nintendo Direct announcing the arrival of this title on Nintendo Switch. It was the first time we saw Marth in the West thanks to Super Smash Bros. Melee, which many of us wonder where that sword came from.
Marth travels to the west
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & Blade of Light takes us to a time when Marth was in exile from his homeland, which was controlled by a powerful wizard. Thanks to this port we were able to experience a story full of epic and humanity that led us to understand the origins and symbolism of the The emblem of the dragon and the legendary Falchion.
During 25 chapters we will be chasing our enemies with the help of allies we will be rescuing from villages and recruiting from the enemy ranks. It surprised us the huge amount of characters that we can get our weapon, reaching 20 characters in just 10 chapters.
While that may seem like a variety to us, the reality is very different. Only part of our unit stands out and most of them appear at the beginning. In fact, new recruits usually fall behind and share a class with the team’s “veterans”, so you are always pushing them. And that’s not a reason to empathize with maintaining them, since there are no supportive conversations or moments in history in which they intervene beyond the main characters.
The weapons that started in this first title have personalities. For example, swords have more precision and a chance of double attack than spears at the cost of doing less damage. The same is true in classes with fast pegasi and powerful heroes at the lower cost of defense.
Beginning of inheritance
But, only 4 classes can be promoted to a more powerful one, marginalized as much as heavy knights or thieves. This is in addition to the unit and class inequality in the game. and they maximize the feeling that only a few units are truly powerful and useful in battle.
The structure of the story is very predictable. During the 15 hours the title lasts, in almost every map you make to rescue an area, build the castle and get rid of the enemies that stay inside. But not everything is bad at the design level, since we were amazed at the variety of maps and scenarios that the NES title suggests. Many cases seen here found inspiration in later installments such as the typical map of the desert or the attack on a fort.
While we understand that the developers have been asking us to adapt to the scenarios that each map offers us, most of them are played practically the same and provide us with very similar moments. The artificial intelligence of the enemies leaves much to be desired. An archer is unaware of prioritizing an attack on a paladin when attacking the Pegasus knight is most effective within range. But the thing that surprised us the most was that they are designed to attack Marth regardless of the situation in which your allies are or are.
There are also design decisions that reduce the speed of the chapter. If you play any title in the saga, the car will look like an object treasure. In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light it is there, however it is only accessible from certain points on the map, as if it were armor. Every time we want to leave an object (or pick it up) we have to physically go to the place. This would not be a problem if not for the we also don’t have a previous menu before we start the battle beyond unit selection. We cannot find units, view the map, or access our inventory.
As for the Switch port, we are somewhat disappointed. Safety points have been added, turn back or speed increase, but we feel you need more options and polish the ones you have. We had more than one disregard for loading a previous save point because there is no confirmation step; or the soundtrack, while good (and repetitive), is boring when you add the x2 speed. This option is necessary in such classic games because of the slow cursor and character movement.
But, in the end, these are all changes that affect the game externally. We understand Nintendo ‘s intention to respect the work, but you have to take into account the facilities of the player to face this type of game. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light will be an accessible shadow. As in the original work, we have to push each character one by one to find out their full journey, as well as their statistics.
1990 game on Switch
That would not be necessary if it were not so we also don’t have that typical prediction before we start a battle. We can only guess at what can happen by comparing your statistics with the statistics of the enemy before it is addressed. While in the end we will always choose the “let’s see what happens” when using the save points.
From an artistic point of view, it enjoys the typical NES sprites using a very cool color palette. On the map, where we organize our units and think about the strategy, the design is simple but effective for outlining terrain, units and locations. When we decide to attack our enemy the screen will zoom experience attack movements in the first person so detect the terrain and characters in more detail.
The animations surprised us pleasantly because of their authenticity. In fact, many of the visible they stayed until both Game Boy Advance games, modify and increase its quality, while maintaining its core. Sadly, on the other hand is character design. Apart from the most important ones, many of them use the same model but change the color. An even stronger reason to believe that even the developers themselves knew they had too many characters.
Playing the sagas classic is essential to understanding the upcoming games. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light is an example of this because it is marked on the play base that still exists, but not very much a version of Switch. The classic enjoys the technical limitations of yesterday and the extra functions are not the same. Playable is rough and there are decisions that make the game very inaccessible. Not because of its complexity, but because of the lack of information it offers the player. It is understood, however, that we managed to experience Marth’s adventures for the first time in the West, so we end our spell and give it to Japan so she can move a tab while the rest of the saga’s titles are located.