Now that I have finally experienced the joys of Casual Mode Fire Emblem, I am never playing Classic Mode again. Ever! It is seriously not worth the annoyance and frustration. In fact I marvel at my initial negative reaction when I heard of casual mode. “No perma-death?! What a travesty! It shouldn’t even be an option! How can you still call this Fire Emblem?!” And actually it’s not very FE-like without the perma-death, but WHO CARES??? As the saying goes, don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Now I’ve gone casual I’m never coming back.
So I loved Casual Mode, but this Fire Emblem Shin Monshou thing itself wasn’t all that. It was a thousand times better than Shadow Dragon, but you’d have to go a long way to find a less enjoyable SRPG than Shadow Dragon, so that’s not saying much. The graphics are a little less depressing, the maps are much more interesting, there’s none of that “kill your characters to get sidequests” nonsense and they added in some support conversations as well. These most likely weren’t in the original FE3, and they’re nowhere near the supports in newer games in terms of length, interest and quality, but they’re still fun to read.
Since I didn’t finish Shadow Dragon and only played about 10 chapters or so, I was a teeny bit lost when all the characters from that game kept showing up. Every chapter has at least one potential recruit, possibly more, who can only be gotten by having someone talk to them, only I don’t remember them or their backstory so I don’t know who to use to recruit them. Besides, I had more than enough people in my party from start to finish soooo… death to all traitors! I felt zero attachment to any of them, and neither did my main character Chris because he’s new to the party too. IIRC the only enemy recruits I had by the end were Sheema, Rickard, Abel, Astram, Beck and Jeorge, and none of them made it onto my final team anyway.
I also learned a lesson from FE:SD and Fire Emblem Awakening and started the game on Hard instead of ‘Normal’, so I got a moderate (very moderate) challenge out of the game. My Fighter>Pirate>Berserker>General>Berserker Chris was a beast from start to finish who hit level 20 around chapter 18, so I was never in any serious danger. The rest of my party couldn’t really keep up, though, especially once the dragons/wyrms started showing up. I can think of at least three different stages (desert, the volcano, the ice place) that I finished with only Marth and Chris alive. But that’s the joy and beauty of Casual Mode. No more restarting because a cleric got killed right before I finished the stage, hurray!
I enjoyed Casual Mode. I enjoyed wrecking mobs with my overpowered MC. I enjoyed barely surviving some stages by the skin of my teeth. And one or two of the supports were amusing (Chris x Feena level 3). Aaand that’s it. The music? Eh. It was okay, typical FE soundtrack. Graphics? So, so dull. Maybe depressed artists are just cheaper, that’s why Nintendo hired one. The characters were really bland as well and there were just too many of them. Gameplay-wise there’s nothing remarkable or worthy of note. I should probably take some of the blame for using Casual Mode and obliterating the need for strategy, but I won’t. Why? Because many other SRPGs come with defacto Casual Modes and still manage to be pretty challenging. Shin Monshou should have tried harder.
Last and least, the story didn’t didn’t mean much to me because Fire Emblem Shin Monshou no Nazo is a direct sequel of Shadow Dragon. “Oh no, Hardin, how could you?!” the characters cry, but I don’t remember Hardin at all, so *shrug*. “We have to save Nina! We have to save Lena!” I faintly remember them, but I don’t care much for them, so *shrug* Then again if I had played SD I would be quite annoyed, because I would have killed Gharnef and Medeus in the previous game only for them to come back hale and hearty in the sequel like nothing ever happened.
Btw, minor plothole: at the end of my game Gharnef is still very much alive. Apparently I was supposed to go to some village and pick up a Starlight tome to fight him with, but I never got it. So instead of beating him I had to lure him off his throne and keep him busy killing my doodz while Marth snuck behind him and seized his throne. That clears the stage, but it doesn’t stop the problem of Gharnef being out there. Why doesn’t he interfere with my attempts to fight Medeus? And why is my party so happy at the end when Gharnef is still out there plotting death and murder against my kingdom? It doesn’t make much sense at all.
Well, whatever. I’d be lying if I said I cared. Shin Monshou amused me for 13 hours and I actually finished it, unlike Shadow Dragon or even the infinitely better Summon Night 3. Also somehow playing SRPGs helps me ‘recharge’ my mental batteries so I can try more experimental stuff, which I will now proceed to do right away. See you later!