So what is Fire Emblem Awakening? Well, it's a SRPG; a Strategy Role Playing Game. Think Shining Force or Final Fantasy Tactics or even Tactics Ogre (which is still on my 'to-play' list) It was released over a year ago for Japan but only recently released in English (thanks Japan >_<, I'm still waiting for SRW Exceed SAGA BTW)
Like most old school RPGs, FE:A has characters start out in different base classes such as fighter, thief, etc. What they can use is determined by their weapon proficiency which goes from rank E to A. As they gain more experience from battles, they end up getting better stats as well as gaining the ability to use better weaponry as their proficiency increases. Once they hit level 10 in their base class though, they're able to be promoted to one of two higher level classes. For example, a cavalier would promote into a paladin or a great knight, both of which have different weapon sets and stat distributions.
However, don't worry. Even if you regret promoting your unit into a particular class, you can always choose to reclass him later on, using a special item. You can even reclass him into another base class.
There are several ways you can play FE:A. There's the normal mode, the hard mode and the lunatic mode. Be warned though. This game plays much like X-COM, in the sense it will very easily tear you apart if you make even the slightest mistake. There is even a classic mode which you can choose to play that makes it so that once one of your characters dies, they're gone forever. Warning, there aren't an unlimited amount of characters you can have in this game -_-. They're ALL named characters and you can't go around recruiting mooks like you did in XCOM. So yes, treat them very carefully. I was playing on hard mode and the enemies really rip you a new one, especially since one lucky critical means that your fighter who should have survived the hit is suddenly lying dead on the floor.
|if you cheat on me, I WILL KILL you|
Another interesting thing about the system is that it allows for your party members to marry each other. And then recruit their future child for war. Granted, it's not the first to have this system (Phantasy Star III had something similar), but it's still interesting to say the least. Especially since the child will inherit some skills from the parents. This makes for some super-babies of DOOM.
|I'll beat you all to death if I have to!|
Overall, it really feels like you're fighting a losing battle in hard mode. I have ONE, maybe TWO characters that can steamroll through most people; one being my own character and the other being Chrom. My character having gone through 3-4 class changes, can just walk into the map and kill everyone. The only thing he needs to be worried about is running out of weapons (oh yeah, weapons have limited uses...) Chrom can possibly do that as well but stands a much higher chance of dying thanks to random crits. And once he dies, the game is over. I can't imagine how it is on classic mode because almost everyone else dies eventually due to the onslaught of enemies. I would grind more but monsters don't randomly spawn anymore after ACT I and summoning monsters onto the map costs a fair bit of money. Which you also have to balance with replenishing your weapon supplies and so on. So yes, it can be a pain in the ass at times. But still, it's pretty good fun. And if all else fails, my main char will walk up and kill everyone. On the map. Several times.