Another entry in the Fire Emblem series, Nintendo's popular tactical game franchise, has now officially landed on the 3DS. Among its many merits, the series has long been prized for its level of difficulty, and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is no different than its predecessors.
Whether you're a Fire Emblem novice, an advanced player, or a true expert, Shadows of Valentia won't be a breeze. So here are a few tips and tricks you might want to know before jumping headfirst into the game.
Pick A Difficulty Level That's Right For You
As the saying goes, don't bite off more than you can chew. Choosing a difficulty setting largely disproportionate to your level of Fire Emblem knowhow can spoil your experience playing Shadows of Valentia.
In the game, you can choose between two difficulty levels and have permadeath — where fallen allies stay dead — either enabled or disabled. Of course, a more difficult game can often result in a trickier, more interesting gameplay, but that's based on your patience level, because Shadows of Valentia can be quite hard.
The most important thing to remember is that Fire Emblem is still a game, meaning it's supposed to be a fun experience all things considered. If you find that you can't stomach its hard mode early on, try to play it first under Casual Mode, and see if you can cut your teeth on it enough to attempt a second playthrough, with permadeath enabled.
Take Note Of Combat Arts
In Shadows of Valentia, you need to take note of a whole separate system of combat called Combat Arts, which are derived from weapons and held items. For example, use an Iron Bow long enough and you'll unlock Curved Shot; be acquainted with Iron Swords and you'll unlock Wrath Strike.
The good thing about Combat Arts is that once learned, they need not be relearned. But to continue taking advantage of them, the items responsible for unlocking respective Combat Arts must be held at all times.
Mila's Turnwheel Could Be Useful
Regardless of the difficulty mode you choose, you will be able to access Mila's Turnwheel, which allows you to rewind your actions should you make mistakes during combat. Initially, the magical item will only have limited charges, but you can upgrade it by looking for cogs in the in-game world.
The Importance Of Terrain
Where you place your units is just as important as your weapons, Combat Arts, and other combat elements. For example, positioning units in forests and ruins can up your defense and evasion, which can often help you along the way. Effect indicators of certain terrains are displayed on the upper left corner of the screen — use them to your advantage.
It's worth noting, however, that using magic can effectively render terrain effects useless. If your enemy is positioned in a forest, you can attack with a Mage to bypass its defense benefits and inflict the same damage as you would on a regular terrain.
Finding Weapons And Managing Your Inventory Well Are Crucial
Managing your inventory and finding weapons go hand-in-hand, since no matter how many weapons you find, you'll still have limitations on what you can carry during combat. You'll have to wisely parse what items or weapons your units bring. For instance, it's wise to prioritize food for Mages, since their magic doesn't depend on weaponized "tomes," as in other Fire Emblem entries.
Being mindful of weapons is also a necessity, since some of them can lead to Combat Arts that you won't get to learn at all if you don't acquire the specific weapon. Fail to find the Blessed Sword, for instance, and you'll never get to learn Passive Skill Recovery, which restores 5HP in each turn.
Press X Constantly
Pressing X while on the map will show you all squares where you're open to attacks from opposing units. Use it to shift units into positions the enemy can't target.
If You See A Cantor, Kill It Immediately
Not only are Cantors dangerous, but they can also summon a horde of minions your way. So it's best to get rid of it as quickly as possible, since doing so would also kill his helpers.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia
The tips mentioned above aren't representative of the game's entire scope — at the end of the day, you just have to play it yourself to determine which strategies work best for you.