Haven't done a Mini-Review in a while. Hell, just posted up my first full review in countless months; God of War Ascension to be exact. So anyways, I sat down to play through Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones with my great friend John. Crazy thing happen though, I had casually started playing SS again a week before he said he was thinking about playing it. So after chatting about it for a couple days we went from the beginning and developed a podcast series called Pixel to document our progression through the fantasy world Magvel.
Players take control of a party on a constantly shifting landscape for battle. The first 4 to 5 stages are essentially tutorial missions. Learning what your characters can do and learn what they are equipped with, because if someone dies...they are dead forever. Sure you can restart from the beginning, but in later stages; that becomes an issue of if the player wants to spend hours replaying certain battles to keep people from meeting their untimely end. Which I found myself doing quite a bit of. However I quit once battles started pushing 45+ minutes. The early stages will are very easy, but don't let that fool you. Fire Emblem is known for being a difficult series and The Sacred Stones will push your knowledge of the characters at your command, the landscape that war is being raged on and just how well you know the enemy standing against.
A fully engaging battle system lays out in front of the player; while the overall plot and story is fairly non-existent. There are aspects in battle that helps to give layering to the story's below average presentation. I liked some of the support conversations, because they helped a few characters get the spot light they weren't when the "campaign" attempted to make something happened. However, most of the time I would stomach about 2 or 3 back and forth windows of dialog before just skimming through the rest. The Sacred Stones doesn't have an overly complicated story, it essentially does it job in keepjng the player with something to do or strive for an end goal.
With a campaign that leaves so much to be desired, but provides an unparalleled battle system (for this type of genre that is) that evolves as the game travels to its close. I highly recommend gamers of all shades give Sacred Stones a chance. You can find on the Nintendo eShop on the 3DS or find it fairly mid range at a local store (if they sell GBA games).