The Fire Emblem series is a longstanding strategy RPG based around building and sustaining an army. It also happens to be the bane of anyone who calls themselves a fan of the Super Smash Bros. series. Intelligent Systems tried and true formula hasn’t changed much since the series began on the Famicom. Path of Radiance would be the first title in the series to truly be given a fair fight in the west. While the game doesn’t feature Marth or Roy, Fire Emblem was still fresh in the minds of Melee players… especially those who cared about tier lists.

After a dangerous war with dragons, the continent split into seven countries of various rules. King Ashnard of Daein, with ambitions of releasing a dark god, has laid waste to the kingdom of Crimea. The Greil Mercenaries are hired by Elincia, the late King’s secret daughter, to defeat the mad king and save the country. After their leader is murdered by the mysterious Black Knight, it is up to Ike, his son, to lead an army to victory under Crimea’s banner. That’s just an altered version of the back of the box! Path of Radiance tells the best story in the Fire Emblem franchise. There are tons of nuance and brilliant character moments that I couldn’t possibly wish to spoil. Every last character and line kept me invested throughout my journey.

The Fire Emblem formula is incredibly easy to understand. You control an army of many units you’ll move around a map to accomplish one of a few goals to beat the map. Units can be outfitted with whatever weapon or item you desire. If a unit dies in battle, they are permanently lost. The basic formula hasn’t changed since the beginning, so each title in the series is mostly judged by pace and map design. Path of Radiance wasn’t as fast as I’d had liked, but it certainly wasn’t a slough like Shadow Dragon and The Binding Blade. ADD LINKS HERE

Path of Radiance offers some of the most fun maps I’ve seen from the series! There certainly are a few let-downs, but most maps were sized just right and didn’t ask too much from me at once. No map ever felt like I was just going down a straight line or getting lost in a labyrinth. I couldn’t have asked for much better, but I disliked every map that used the defend win condition. Waiting is not a fun mechanic in video games.

Path of Radiance is one of the easiest games in the series. It’s not dumbed down, but there are quite a few overpowered units. I managed to play the whole game with only five units on my team at a time. It’s decently short too! Your playtime will only clock in at about twenty hours. If it wasn’t so hard to get ahold of, it would be the perfect beginner’s Fire Emblem. If you have any way of playing it, I highly recommend trying it out!

When Ike was added to Super Smash Bros., Star Fox was considered what Fire Emblem is today. Debuting in Brawl, Ike would be one of only two blue-haired swordsmen in the game. Ike came at the perfect time. Smash was no longer afraid to experiment with movesets. Ike’s would end up feeling absolutely perfect! While is look was based on Radiant Dawn, the direct sequel, the Path of Radiance look would become the default in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I certainly can’t think of a change to make, and I hope he remains on the roster for an eternity to come. After all, we like Ike!