More Than A Remake: Differences Between Shadows Of Valentia And Fire Emblem Gaiden
Shadows of Valentia has several big differences when compared with Fire Emblem Gaiden and other games in the series.
Much of the hype for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the newly-released TRPG for the Nintendo 3DS, centered around the fact that the game was a top-to-bottom remake of the 1992 NES title Fire Emblem Gaiden. At the time of its release, Gaiden felt very different when compared to the original Fire Emblem title, and Shadows of Valentia follows suit when compared to Gaiden -- though the game represents a complete visual overhaul, there are other major and minor differences that diehard Fire Emblem fans will notice. Fortunately, for all of those players who haven't played the original Famicom classic, we've compiled a list of all of the noteworthy changes Shadows of Valentia has made to the Fire Emblem Gaiden formula.
Changes Most Noteworthy
There's a bit of clarification needed when regarding changes between Fire Emblem Gaiden and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. First and foremost is that Gaiden was a substantially different title when compared Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, the original release. Also, the Fire Emblem series as a whole has evolved through time, and some of the additions that are now series staples were entirely absent around the release Fire Emblem Gaiden.
The biggest difference between the two games comes down to Shadows of Valentia's 3D world exploration. This wasn't a component of Fire Emblem Gaiden, mainly due to the fact that 3D of any sort was outside the capabilities of the Nintendo Entertainment System hardware. Exploration, dungeons, and puzzles have since become crucial components to the Fire Emblem formula, but players who go back to visit Fire Emblem Gaiden will find little or no such gameplay.
Players will also find substantial differences in how Shadows of Valentia deals with inventory management. Unlike past games in the Fire Emblem series, Shadows of Valentia only gives players the option to equip a single item to their units. This means that decisions must be made as to whether a unit should equip a shield or ring or even healing items, necessitating consideration in the moments leading up to a battle.
Shadows of Valentia also lacks the series' familiar Weapon Triangle as well as the option to become romantically-entangled with allies; however, seeing as how these later series additions hadn't been included with Fire Emblem Gaiden, it should come as no surprise that they aren't present in Shadows of Valentia.
Changes Less Obvious
Further changes to the series formula have been made with regard to how Shadows of Valentia deals with magic and weapons. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia does away with breakable items, and in place of that system, developer Intelligent Systems devised a new method for casting spells that drains the caster's hit points. This means that players must consider the utility of spells against the need to keep their units alive, which adds a markedly-different layer of strategy than simple item durability.
Players also won't find themselves struggling to track down NPCs, as many of the recruitable characters can be found in various hotspots around towns. All players need to do is click and look around the game's many areas, and the mere act of exploration will open up key opportunities to recruit new units. Exploration also provides plenty of opportunities to find weapons, items, and quests, be them stacked on a shelf or hidden in a dialog option through the local barkeep.
Lastly, Shadows of Valentia retains the classic-RPG feel by simplifying many battle objectives. Gone are the days of various rules regarding battlefield objectives or the need to survive for a set number of rounds; instead, players simply need to overwhelm or demolish their foes. The result is a game that feels like a pleasingly-authentic old-school RPG.
We've got even more Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia coverage, including guides on how to recruit Saber and hit the open seas as well as a detailed breakdown of all the content available within the game's season pass.