Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for GameCube (2005)

Original advertisement published in EGM no. 198 (December 2005)
Press to view or download image in higher resolution.
A three-dimensional skin to a classic tactical RPG

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for GameCube was released to critican acclaim in North America back in 2005. It’s a tactical RPG very much in the same style as the legendary Final Fantasy Tactics of the late 1990s. Solid game with equally solid artwork, as you can see above.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is still considered a good game by any standard. Gameplay is tight and the animations were above par even when released more than ten years ago. Gamers fondly remember the lovable cast, the most important element of any RPG and forgive its slightly bland graphics. It was the first entry of the long-standing series made in 3-D.

But the game, at least during its initial run, did not garner the enormous hype the Fire Emblem franchise has today, with its convoluted storylines and timeline continuity. The list keeps on growing. The game you see here was released in very close succession to the GBA Sacred Stones story. The problem for Path was the fierce competition from other RPGs and games with some RPGs elements released for consoles or portables in North America during the same year or during the first months of 2006. Check out the list. A truly standout crowd. Today, we’b be fortunate to see even 10% of the RPGs you see below: 

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana, Ys: The Ark of Napishtim, Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose, Romancing SaGa, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King, Jade Empire, Radiata Stories, Suikoden Tactics, Ys: The Oath un Felghana, Grandia III, Front Mission 5, Castlevania Curse of Darkness, Drakengard 2, Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Tales of Legendia, Shadow Hearts: From the New World, Digital Devil Saga 2: Shin Megami Tensei, Shining Force Neo and juggernaut Kingdom Hearts 2 during the Spring of 2006.

The printed material for the advertisement of the game is exactly what you’d expect for a high-fantasy/anime RPG. Character design is identical to what you actually get in the game’s cutscenes. There’s a nice three-dimensional effect going on in the background: the characters are breaking the traditional magazine page and shouting out to the player the awesomeness of the game. This is coherent to the entry being the first released in full 3-D. 

The material is not traditionally framed. Check out the posture of Ike, the game's central character. He's right in the middle of the page, yet the other elements of the page seem to balance out this non-aesthetic placement with a nice diagonal and triangle drawn by the character's cape, the man-lion above right and the girl below-left. Solid work all-around.

Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for GameCube print ad copy

In a land of man and beast, your small band of mercenaries must now save the world from a reawakening evil force. You’ll make your fight on the 3D battlefields of Tellius, where strategy is essential and death is final. So sharpen your axe, draw your sword. It’s time to ignite the flames of war.  

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