|Dude, you might want to turn around. You're charging the wrong way.|
I have not finished a single Fire Emblem game. The closest I've ever gotten is in the Sacred Stones, which I'm only in about Chapter 20 of Ephraim's story, which is not far at all. It's a bit criminal, because I think the series is so cool. But the way every game introduces its characters and plot, and how it always has to have a tutorial... it's a bit winded. It's very hard to get into, in my opinion. The varying degrees of difficulty and stat managing involved can get a bit tedious after a bit. I've yet to have a Fire Emblem really grip me.
And then I played the Fire Emblem: Awakening demo.
I can already tell that I'm going to enjoy this game very much. Perhaps its the art style, or the new functions they added into the title such as teaming up units in the same square or support lines being more noticeable. Or the create-a-character, who I worry will become too much of a hindrance in the story and I might try to not use him- or pair him up with someone worthy of bearing children.
In short, the game has gripped me. The cutscene art style, even the normal models, they both are lovely- and even the adorable little sprites on the 3D battlefield are pretty freaking cute. But the amount of things one can do on the side of the battle and even within them- grabbing extra experience on the battlefield, forming pairs, assisting from the side, and combining movements to push through the enemy- it's a fascinating thing they've done, adding complexities like these in order to make the game simply bigger and better than past installments. I think it's very cool.
I can only imagine that Sacred Stones, landing pretty much smack in the middle of the Fire Emblem series, would represent a balanced form of what the genre would be- and it is, mostly. But the story seemed too boring to me, and honestly the game felt like a SNES port. This game truly feels like an improvement in every way, with added tactics, experience distribution, and support from team members, which I think is very neat and new. The story moves so briskly, and having a created character at the forefront makes the game and its characters mean twice as much, since you have the "main" character and yourself.
Overall, the game seems just as micromanage-like as past installments, but even more because of it's new features and presentation value- each character feels individual because they react to things in different ways. Sound effects, things they will say, how their partnerships will go when they're attacking together. It makes me immensely excited for the full title- it's one I can't wait to get my hands on.