Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
Top Critic Average
This is definitely not a game for newcomers, but die-hard fans of the Fire Emblem series may find enjoyment, along with gaming historians who simply want to experience a time piece of how the whole tactical RPG franchise started.
Although very much of its time in visuals and sound, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light holds its own in the modern day thanks to solid gameplay and structure. Almost everything you know and love about the series is here, and the game is worth picking up if only for the insight into early parts of the franchise. It's not an essential Switch game by any means, and quite alienating for beginners to the series, but it's practically compulsory for fans of Fire Emblem.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
While Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is a fantastic game that somehow holds up after 30 years, it's presented in a barebones package that feels too little too late as an anniversary release. If Nintendo is hell-bent on destroying their own history, they'll have to do a lot more than adding savestates and speed modifiers.
I can’t argue that at the heart of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light is the tried-and-true Fire Emblem formula. And when used as nothing more than a reference to how far the series as a whole has come in 30 years, it answers the question of whether or not it’s worth your hard-earned $6. But I’d bet the farm that the majority of casual Fire Emblem fans won’t be able to deal with the games offensively slow pace. And to top it all off, I love the sights and sounds of the eight and sixteen-bit by-gone era, but by the end of the campaign, I was ready to never again play another classic. There are only so many beeps and crumple sound effects that I can handle in one lifetime.
After 30 years, the original Fire Emblem gets a Western release, an English localization and some new features meant to smoothen the experience. It's a neat history lesson, but gameplay wise Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light shows its age.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light lays the foundations for the Fire Emblem games of present, unfortunately, however, as a 30-year-old game, feels incredibly obtuse and slow and really shows its age. For anybody interested in the Fire Emblem series, this is worth picking up. For anybody looking to play a genuinely fun strategy RPG, maybe give this a miss.
In the end, Nintendo gave what they promised: a localized port. It’s still a fun Fire Emblem game at its core though, and I can only hope that we get more Japanese-only Fire Emblem games localized because there are many improvements in every entry.
It's difficult to land on a fitting score for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light. On one hand, historical context is vital and you can't expect too much out of a thirty-year-old game. On the other hand, granting a generous score to a title as fundamentally flawed as this would be dishonest; by modern standards, it's really not a good game anymore. Considering the low cost of entry and the inclusion of new features, we'd say it's probably worth a look for long time Fire Emblem fans who are curious how it all began. If you don't fall into that category, we'd encourage you to look into more modern games for your strategy gaming fix.