Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Content at a glance:
Violence: Mild bloodless violence.
Sexual Content: Once character is shown with a bare stomach in the beginning sequence.
Spiritual Content: Fantasy magic is used. Player class summoner can summon phantom soldiers. The enemy raises the dead as zombies in one part. Part of the plot deals with a demon lord and a possession.
Fire Emblem is a series of games that is still relatively new to most people, but not so new to the Japanese. The first game, simply titled Fire Emblem, was actually the seventh game in the series. Sacred Stones was the next game to hit the West. And I have to say, the first one was better even though neither of the games are related.
Sacred Stones takes place on the mythical continent of Magvel, which is divided into six nations, the two of focus when the game starts being the kingdom of Renais and the Grado Empire, both neighbors and allies. One fateful day however, Grado invades its former ally, sending its twin heirs, Princess Erika and Prince Ephiram on a journey across Magvel to restore peace to their home, defeat the Empire, and thwart a sinister force at work.
Like the previous and recent Fire Emblem games, Sacred Stones plays like a giant game of chess with a twist. You select a unit and move it around the playing field. Moving a unit next to or a space away depending on the class and weapon the unit carries gives you the option to attack an enemy. Once you’ve moved all your units, the enemy units move, and it starts again. This process continues until a certain condition is met or one of your Lords (main characters) dies.
The combat system works very much like a game of rock-paper-scissors. There are three basic kinds of weapons, swords, axes, and lances. Swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords. Another weapon fall outside this system. There is also a magic system, Light beats Dark, Dark beats Anima, and Anima beats Light.
This is where Sacred Stones falls short for Christian gamers. Monsters appear all over Magvel ranging from zombies, giant spiders, gorgons(think Medusa), skeletons, and 3-headed dogs. The recent appearance of these creatures is tied to the plot as it unfolds. One character class is summoner which can summon phantom soldiers.
You can also get a variety of magic users in the game. There are three basic sorts of magic: Light, Dark, and Anima(elemental). While it may sound occultic, I didn’t really notice anything that would give the impression that the Dark magic came from actual dark forces. If anything, it’s another type of magic for the game’s combat system.
In the story told before the game gets underway, it’s told that a great war ravaged Magvel. The people prayed and were granted the Sacred Stones, powerful items to combat evil. With the stones, they sealed away the leader of the monsters they fought, an entity known as the Demon King.
Later it is known that the prince of the Grado Empire, Lyon, a powerful magician is the real cause behind the war except Lyon isn’t entirely himself. He did experiments with Grado’s Sacred Stone and ended up being possessed by the Demon King who seeks to resurrect himself and resume his reign. Lyon also raises the dead, but it’s not exactly resurrection as the people are little more than mindless zombies. One character also worships the Demon King and as a result was banished from his homeland.
One of the characters, Tethys, is a dancer and she wears an outfit that leaves her stomach bare. However, this is only visible in the opening movie.
Very mild. One character swings their weapon at another or lunges at them in the case of monster attacks. Though impact is shown, there is no blood or gore. Defeated enemies disappear although important ones say a few words before they do.
Other Areas of Concern
One character named Joshua is a bit of a gambler. His wagers don’t involve money, but when you first meet him he’s an enemy and he talks like he’s betting someone else’s life, which he was.
Fire Emblem makes you think in your play. Most games are just run, hack, and slash, but Fire Emblem requires you to actually have a plan. Each class has their own strengths and weakness and you have to find a way to use each one effectively to win.
Value of life is also emphasized. When a character falls in battle, they’re gone for the rest of the game. So recklessness is clearly not advised. You’re required to take care of your troops, your Lords especially, because if they die, its game over.
In terms of morality, good and evil are clearly defined. Characters are willing to help civilians and even put their lives on the line to protect their homes and loved ones. They also stand firm even in moments of weakness.
Even Lyon’s actions seem admirable at first. He researches the power of the Sacred Stones to save his dying father. The consequences of tampering with things that should be left alone are shown as Lyon’s actions lead his possession.
I had a blast when I first played Fire Emblem. It was so different from what I expected, and what I’d played before. Plus, the story was engaging and left me wanting more of it. Sacred Stones however was my very first venture into this series, and quite honestly it almost turned me off entirely. I rented this game with high hopes and I was let down right from the start with the two words, Demon King. I loved the first one, loved Path of Radiance, and Radiant Dawn, because all of them didn’t delve into that one area. If they’d just left it at monsters I wouldn’t have a problem, but when they actually get into subjects like demonic possession and the like, a line has to be drawn somewhere.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
About this game
- ERSB Rating:
- E (Everyone)
- Intelligent Systems, Nintendo
- May, 2005
- Review Published:
- February 17, 2009 / 1:25 pm
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