Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones was a 2004 strategy role-playing game by Intelligent Systems for the Game Boy Advance. I really loved the first Fire Emblem game. When I heard a sequel was coming out, I was immediately on board. The Sacred Stones featured an all new story with new characters and some new gameplay mechanics. There were two main characters with an early branching story. The player could choose where to go on the world map next.
The story in The Sacred Stones was pretty good, but I liked the story in the first game more. There was just something a little more epic about it. I got bored several times in The Sacred Stones. In fact, I never even finished all the story levels. The story just never grabbed me like the story in the other Fire Emblem. It was the same with the music. The music wasn’t bad here, but I just found the music in the first game to be more memorable.
One of the things I didn’t like about the first game was that it was hard for some characters to stay alive and level-up. That whole problem was fixed with a repeatable dungeon in The Sacred Stones. Now, I could train any character I wanted to help them catch up with my other characters. This new dungeon did have its own problem though. If I trained my characters to high levels, I could make the later story missions too easy. The player had to use some restraint if they wanted the game to have any challenge.
Outside of the weaker story and the repeatable dungeon making things too easy, The Sacred Stones was superior to the first Fire Emblem game. For some reason, I just didn’t like it as much though. My only conclusion was that The Sacred Stones didn’t do enough to shake-up the gameplay to keep me interested. The core turn-based combat was almost exactly the same as the first game. The graphics were almost exactly the same as well. I had such a blast with Fire Emblem, I thought a sequel would be just as good. The Sacred Stones wasn’t a bad game; it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
After this, I always made sure to read reviews of Fire Emblem games. It turned out that first Fire Emblem game was considered the best for quite a few years. Only the most recent Fire Emblem Awakening is considered to be on par. I still like this style of game these days. These games are just not made for the gaming platforms that I have though.