With an engrossing story, characters, and universe its hard not to recommend Path of Radiance to any fan of the genre.

User Rating: 8 | Fire Emblem: Souen no Kiseki GC
I started this game a while ago, and the very reason I stopped playing it was because I couldn't beat the black knight. For those that don't know, it's a fight during the game that you have the option to win or draw at, and then progress through the game. You also have to have the ability Aether to have a clear chance for victory. I didn't have Aether though, and while I wanted to beat the black knight, I decided it be best to just suck up my pride and move forward. So I did and wouldn't you know it I was close to the end of the whole game. So I proceed forth and beat it in record time.

Path of Radiance was perhaps the first fire emblem game to have me actually care what happened in the storyline. I'll admit that I never really cared about the story so far in fire emblem games because they were often bland to me, and the characters themselves were just far more interesting. That's not to say that Path of Radiance didn't have good characters though, in fact this is the biggest cast of characters that I have liked in a Fire Emblem game as well. There were just so many people that I wanted to use in the end that I couldn't fit them all in the final battle, nor have them all properly trained. But Path of Radiance literally made me stall at beating it because I wanted to beat the black knight; I wanted to give Ike his rightful victory. PoR made me feel that I was actually fighting for something, something no other FE game has really made me consider. Everything just feels bigger in Path of Radiance, the battles, the characters, cutscenes, and story itself. I suppose this was true because it was the first console game in a while and most certainly the first one in the states. But PoR made me care.

Path of Radiance didn't get everything right though, and it certainly isn't my favorite fire emblem. For one, the 3d models are just boring and felt so lifeless compared to the sprites they used to use. I really did like to watch every battle take place on the GBA fire emblem games, but Path of Radiance quickly had me turning off the battle animation in favor of the quicker battle animations on the map. As well, PoR wasn't a pick up and play type of game that I'm used to in the fire emblem series. I have always been fond of the fact that fire emblem was very portable and even turning off the game still kept you in your place without saving. But PoR doesn't exactly have that option and while it's understandable why it doesn't, it doesn't change the fact I still want that type of playstyle.

Course, I don't hate everything that PoR offers, and the fact it gives so many tools makes me love it. For instance, I loved all the little extra abilities the characters had, and it often gave more strategy to the game than anything else. I also liked the new way the support system was laid out, with supports going by battles and not by turns, so I no longer had to waste a lot of turns to get the supports I wanted. The base was also an amazing addition giving the option for extra battle experience points, conversions, and shops all in one place. The base just makes planning so much easier compared to past FE games. And for gameplay that's where PoR shines, introducing all these little mechanics that make life easier.

Conclusion: Path of Radiance feels like a much grander Fire Emblem than I am used to playing, and it added a lot of new welcomed additions to the original Fire Emblem formula that I'd love to see continue and improved on. While the battle animations are lifeless and the game is no longer "pick up and play"; Path of Radiance still makes for a grand time and I would recommend any fan of strategy games to play it.