Don’t worry if you’re still finding your feet in the world of Fire Emblem: Awakening – winning the war against the might of Plegia is a marathon, not a sprint. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have some guidance, so our handy advice should help turn the fight in your favour!
Don’t let the purists fool you… there’s no shame in picking Newcomer mode! Whereas Classic mode sees any unit defeated in combat removed from your team forever, Newcomer mode allows fallen comrades to return for the next battle. This means you can enjoy the story fully without having to worry too much about losing units (though you should still try to keep them alive!). This doesn’t mean the game will be a breeze though! You can still challenge yourself by setting the difficulty to either Hard or Lunatic when you first start, since the difficulty level is independent from the choice between Classic mode and Newcomer mode.
It seems obvious, but stumbling into a fight that you can’t win isn’t very wise. The Combat Forecast that’s shown before you initiate an attack will give you an idea of how a battle might go, but it’s only an estimate – potential dodges and Critical attacks aren’t taken into account, so don’t treat it as gospel! Also consider the weapons triangle and how the weapon you’re using may give you an advantage over the opponent (swords beat axes, axes beat lances and lances beat swords), as well as any inherent weakness (flying units are especially weak to bows and wind magic, for instance). With careful planning, you can turn the odds in your favour and reduce the chances of defeat!
At the start of each mission, it’s always wise to tap the X Button – this places a purple filter over the battlefield that shows the danger area for all enemies on the map. Leaving units inside this purple area at the end of a turn means they’re fair game for an enemy attack, so try to have as many of your squad beyond its borders whenever you can. This especially applies to healers and low-level units, as the enemy will invariably attack units that they have an advantage over or can’t fight back!
Naturally, the danger area changes shape as the enemy moves or is defeated. As such, finishing off any opponents you attack before the end of your turn can prevent your units being left as sitting ducks!
Bonds are an important part of combat, as you can use the relationship between units to increase their abilities on the battlefield. Place two units side by side and when one attacks or is attacked, the other will boost their stats; the more that the same two units fight together, the stronger the bond will be and the bigger the stat boost becomes. To make a bond strengthen faster, combine two units using the Pair Up option – this will combine them into a single unit until you choose to separate them, but offer benefits that outweigh the loss of a hero.
A good way to quickly boost low-level units is to have them ‘steal’ victories whenever possible. Keep them out of harm’s way as much as you can, using stronger units to wear down enemies to virtually no health, then quickly send in your low-level hero to deliver an attack that finishes an opponent off. Landing the final blow provides more experience to a unit, especially if enemy’s level is higher than the unit that kills it. Use that to your advantage, as some initially weak units such as Donnel and Sumia can become incredibly strong once you help them improve!
Master Seals and Second Seals are items that let you change the class of a unit, allowing them to learn skills that would otherwise be out of reach. The trick, however, is knowing when to use one!
Using a Master Seal to switch any basic class unit at level 10+ to an advanced class is fine whenever, since all the skills available to them will have been learnt by that point. Second Seals, however, have multiple uses: they can move basic classes at level 10+ sideways to a different basic class, move advanced classes at level 10+ sideways to a different advanced class, demote an advanced class unit at any level or above to a basic class or even reset a unit in any class back to level 1 without reducing their stats. These methods are key to having your units learn specific skills and improve stats, but don’t rush! In the case of advanced classes, new skills can be learnt up to level 20, so make sure you’ve got everything out of a particular class before shifting your unit elsewhere…
As you’d expect, the enemies you’ll face as the story unfolds get progressively tougher, so it’s wise to try and increase the levels of your units as much as possible to ensure they have a chance of success. You can do this by attempting side missions that appear on the map, or fighting against any Risen that randomly spawn in locations you’ve already cleared. Alternatively, the downloadable Add-on Content missions (which can only be accessed via the Outrealm Gate that appears after you’ve progressed a little way into the story) can be replayed over and over to earn experience points and level up your units.
If all else fails, soft reset is your friend! When a battle isn’t going your way (especially if you’re playing in Classic mode and have seen some of your best units fall by the wayside), pressing L, R and Start at the same time will send you back to the title screen with your last save file intact. Then you can try again and take a different approach that’ll hopefully result in victory next time around!
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