So while staying in Michigan for work, I've been spending about an hour each night playing Fire Emblem Awakening. I have to ask though... Why is this game getting so much hype?
I'm not exactly a Fire Emblem fanatic, but I did play through Fire Emblem 7 on the GBA and part of Radiant Dawn on the GC. I also own, but have not played, Geneology of Holy War and Mystery of the... Something [the second one with Marth in it] for the SuperFamicom and have seen videos for most of the series. The gameplay is more or less the same throughout the series, in a good way. The stories throughout have never been especially strong either - it's pretty standard Medieval political fare which, really, is not a bad thing.
FE Awakening really fails where some of the earlier games succeed, though. With Awakening, the series tosses away the colourful spritework and smooth animations for drab sepia-tone anime characters who are practically indistinguishable without the mugshot on the dialogue box. The only unique-looking character I've seen so far is Zechs Marthquise, and the only reason he's memorable is because of the mask.
Just as well, where the sprite artwork allowed for fast-paced battles and really flashy special effects, the polygonal animations in Awakening seem slow and clunky - for some reason, the creators thought trading Lynn's lightning-fast sword strikes for Chrom's, "I'll hit him eventually I guess" swordplay was a good idea. It's not so bad if you choose to fast-forward the combat animations, but unfortunately, there's no option to set that automatically; you have to hold down the A button to basically make the combat animations look interesting.
But the worst part is probably the dialogue. Nintendo has never been especially good at localizing, but when I'm having to scroll through 15 minutes of "Huh?", "Oh yeah!" and "Ugh." while characters talk about absolutely fucking nothing important or interesting, it's just fucking irritating. Project X Zone had this same problem, but at least there, you could excuse it for trying to get 50 characters in the same scene. Here, it's just a few numbskulls devoid of any personality saying anime sound effects.
I mean, the gameplay here is pretty great, visual failings aside. But it's not significantly better than any previous entry I've played or watched.
Overall, I really don't understand the crazy hype this game has gotten. I'm sure it'll get more interesting gameplay and plotwise as the game goes on, but the visual ugliness, shitty animations and god-awful dialogue have thus far made it my least favourite Fire Emblem.