This is Objection Network’s countdown of the top 25 video game series of all-time. We’re counting down to the best franchise ever on March 31. For more info on the voting process, click here.
11) Fire Emblem (3 votes, 112 points)
Chris: We missed out on a significant chunk of the Fire Emblem series here. And if it weren’t for the success of Awakening, the entire thing might have just faded into nonexistence.
That’s not even the first time the franchise has been on shaky ground — it took Marth and Roy being popular in Super Smash Bros. Melee for any Fire Emblem game to be released in the States, and it was the seventh in the series by that point.
That first American release is my personal pick for the best as well. Splitting the narrative between three different characters was an interesting approach, and Lyn is among my favorite characters in all of gaming. But Awakening has a ton of modern improvements that are hard to overlook, particularly in how it basically ships every pairing of characters imaginable. Fates just didn’t capture quite the same spirit, and I think that’s in large part because it tried too hard to be like a Pokemon game with its separate approaches and ended up coming up short in all of them.
I’m a purist when it comes to these games — permadeath is a must. To me, it ratchets up the tension and forces you to consider situations with the utmost care, although the occasional mathematically unlikely critical hit can drive you to rage. But I respect that the most recent releases have given the option to play with other settings, making the series as approachable as possible. Fire Emblem should be safe from the chopping block at this point, but they’ll need that accessibility to keep thriving going forward.
Michaela: Fire Emblem has seen a lot of change between its early and most recent installments. Firstly, the fact that most of the games weren’t localized in the U.S. is a source of contention for a lot of people who want to experience more of them. Secondly, the sheer amount of difficulty in the early games have been toned down considerably. I’ve been playing Genealogy of the Holy Wars in my spare time, and when I play that game, I really have to carefully weigh my options. It truly feels like a game of strategy and tactics, where every decision counts. In later games like Awakening, as much as I love it, that same level of careful strategy and thought isn’t there. People will complain that the games have become too easy, and while I disagree, I do think there’s something to be said for how much this series has evolved over the years. The games are now more accessible than ever, and I think that has helped the survivability of the series considerably. Here’s hoping that we get more Japan-exclusive games released in the states, because I would love to experience more of them. The series is full of unique gaming experiences that aren’t experienced as often in new games.
Christine: The only Fire Emblem game I’ve played so far is Awakening (still in the process of playing through Fates) for the 3DS and I’ve loved it from start to finish. The combat system, the story, the characters, the gorgeous cutscene animations, all of it! There isn’t really much I found wrong with this game. If I had the opportunity to play previous installments of the series, it’s hard to say if that same feeling I have for Awakening will carry over. But for a series like Fire Emblem to have been around for as long as it has, I think there’s an array of options for old fans and new fans to discover a game from the series they’ll want to play. It’s just like how I discovered Awakening, and I didn’t hesitate to pick up Fire Emblem Fates when it came out. The series offers one of the many things I love about RPGs, which is the ability to explore and play the game how I want to a certain extent, like choosing who your character marries and has a kid with. The experience will be slightly different for everyone and it makes the game a bit more personal. I believe Fire Emblem is a fine addition to anyone’s Top 25 list.
(12) Street Fighter
(13) Batman: Arkham
(14) Metal Gear
(18) Saints Row
(20) The Sims
(21) Grand Theft Auto
(23) Animal Crossing
(24) Silent Hill
(25) Donkey Kong