"Now that's strategy!"

The game I've spent 9 months waiting for localization. The series I spent 4 years waiting for a North American release has finally arrived. Though I had to wait another 3 days for the shipping to arrive, nevertheless, nothing could stall my anticipation for the best 3DS game on the 3DS as of now!

You, yes you, are an amnesiac tactician found by the Lord of the game, Chrom. You have no memories save your strategic abilities. You are in a continent known as Ylisse, which is the continent of Akaneia 1000 years after the events of Shadow Dragon. Ylisse is soon under the attack of a nearby country Plegia who wishes to start a war, the sudden appearance of corpse soldiers known as the Risen, and not to mention a masked warrior claiming to be the hero of legend, Marth. How will things play out? Play it to find out.

As usual, Fire Emblem is a turn based strategy game developed by Intelligent Systems, the geniuses behind Advanced Wars. You command an army of people of various trades from Knights to Mages. The only thing is that, while you are mowing down the enemy, should one of your unit dies, they are gone. Forever...

I won't go into too much detail about the same old scheme of the franchise and instead focus on some of the newer features. Awakening does a good job taking the good aspects of past games and adding a few more:
Sacred Stones: Support Conversations. Now the S-supports is marriage which produces children characters
Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn: Skills. All of which come from the class your character is in.
Shadow Dragon: Reclassing. Don't like you current class or want to learn other skills? Change your class today!

Other main feature is the Avatar, an embodiment of you which you create at the beginning of the game and name. The Avatar is a pivotal character in the game alongside Chrom. However you design your Avatar and what his/her growths is all up to you.

For the first time (in America) the ability to play the game in Casual Mode is available, which is the mode where if a character dies in battle, they can be used in the next. Perfect for first time players, though I still highly recommend playing it the old fashion way.

The SpotPass function allows you to freely download new weapons, sidequests, and even recruit certain characters from previous Fire Emblem games like Ike, Marth, Roy, and Eirika.

The composers of the game really hit the ball out of the park with this spectacular soundtrack. Of course it's mostly dramatic chorus and orchestras, however they have a few ominous tracks and an extremely depressing track on one of the maps to set the mood from the previous chapter. The English voice acting is marvelous, the casting was great and it's now merely up to you if you'll listen to them in Japanese or English and you can choose what language the characters speak in (though text will still be English)

The biggest concern (aside from some stocking issues), is the ever ominous DLC. For all purpose sakes, DLC in this game isn't worth it, but it is not a complete waste. Most of the initial DLC is merely extra maps and a special character you can receive upon completing the map. However nearly all DLC characters are characters you can get from SpotPass, albeit with some special skills they can't obtain normally. The real bonuses are the item bonuses to these maps such as a Skill Manual or even an item that can reclass your character into a special class (both of which aren't too impressive but still rather cool.)

The DLC isn't totally necessary and buying all of them at full price will amount to another roughly $50 to the game. So it's best to buy only the ones you really want and even then, I highly recommend you don't. Still despite this, Nintendo did a better job handling paid DLC than Capcom does, however if the characters gained were characters you COULDN'T get through SpotPass (Which only applies to two of them) then the DLC would be completely worth it. And the DLC maps are NOT on the cartridge or digital file, so at least Nintendo didn't pull an SFxT on us. The Side Chapters and Weapon, Gold, and Experience Farming levels are the one's I'd highly recommend getting if wanted for now until the second wave of DLC comes out.

Nonny's Rating: 9.5/10. With the promise of the game, there is nothing wrong at all. Nintendo of America really gambled with this game and I'm sure it's paying off. Fans of Turn Based strategy games and not will certainly enjoy this installment of the Fire Emblem series for months!

Nonny's Tips: Galeforce, which is learned by Dark Fliers, is one of the BEST skills in the game and I highly recommend putting that on as many characters that can get it.

Also if you're thinking about getting the digital download, be careful as the game takes up a massive 1 GB of data on your memory card...WITHOUT DLC.