Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade is a strategy role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems on the Game Boy Advance released in March 22, 2002. It is the sixth game in the Fire Emblem series. Unlike the previous five games in the series, this one is not connected to those games, and instead takes place in a completely separate world. A prequel was released in 2003, called Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, which expanded upon the story of this game. This was the first portable Fire Emblem game. This was also the last Fire Emblem game released exclusively in Japan until Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow, released in 2010.
Why It Rocks
Elibe, the continent the game takes place in, has a great backstory. The backstory about the continent is there was a war between the humans and the dragons. Luckily, there were eight heroes, which are known as the Eight Legends, who fought off the dragons with certain weapons which were strong against dragons. After the war, known as the Scouring, the continent was ruled among the Eight Legends, and there are remnants of their legacy throughout the game such as their weapons and characters who have descended from them.
There are 54 different characters in the game, which is the most any game had at this time. This allows you to experiment with so many different characters and create a team filled with units of your choice.
The game stars Roy, who is a likable character, along with other characters like Guinevere.
Very good villains like Zephiel and Idunn.
Constitution, a stat introduced in the previous game, returns. It allows units to wield heavier weapons without losing speed.
You cannot just solo the whole entire game with one character. This makes it more challenging, but in a good way.
This game introduces support conversations. These conversations can reveal the personality or the backstory of certain units.
There are certain chapters called gaiden chapters. If you do them, you will get a legendary weapon, which are the strongest of that weapon type.
If you get all of the legendary weapons, you can get the true ending.
Normal Mode, the default mode, is a decent challenge, but easy enough for players to feel accomplished. The Hard Mode is among one of the hardest difficulties in the Fire Emblem franchise, but it is not unfair like future hard modes.
The soundtrack is one of the best in the franchise, with great themes like Beneath a New Light, For The Commanders, and the final boss theme, Shaman in the Dark.
Newcomers may find this game very difficult compared to the other games.
Supports take forever to build up (with a few exceptions); there is a limit on the amount of Support points that can be obtained in each chapter.
Some people may dislike the thought of not being able to get the best ending because they are missing one of the legendary weapons.
Roy, while likable, is not that interesting and does not change throughout the story. His character arc is also very similar to Leif's, the protagonist of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776.
Axe users (with some exceptions, like Gonzales and Bartre) are extremely penalized in this game, as their hit rates are too low for them to deal reliable damage.
There aren't many viable infantry units to use in the early to middle phases of the game. In particular, Rutger was heavily criticized for being too strong and taking the spotlight from other characters like Fir, Dieck, and Lot. This isn't helped by the fact that promotion items are very rare in this game (outside secret shops).
Lilina arrives very late for her level, and her growths favor her raw attack power too much, meaning that the player will have to feed her kills in her recruitment chapter (as well as the bonus chapter she unlocks) to make her viable to use, which can prompt many players to ignore her in favor of Lugh, who joins much earlier and has more balanced growth rates.
Sophia has the same problems as Lilina, with the added issue of arriving six chapters later, and two chapters after Raigh, who starts with much better base stats and on a map where he can be trained more easily. Her speed growth rate is very low, which becomes a problem when you take into account the fact that she uses Dark Magic, the magic equivalent of Axes (high attack power, but heavy to wield and inaccurate). Due to the sheer amount of enemies and the 25-turn time limit in her recruitment chapter, setting her up for kills can be detrimental, as it will slow you down too much.
The true final boss, Idunn, is a complete joke. She can be defeated by a trained Roy in one attack. Also, she has only a one-ranged attack, whereas the Binding Blade has 1-2 range.