Fire Emblem: Awakening is a truly amazing 3DS title, packing hours of compelling tactical action into one of the most entertaining games we've played all year. However, thanks to a growing selection of downloadable maps, the battle doesn't have to end when the credits roll.
Before moving on, it's worth noting that we're using the European version of the game for this feature, and therefore don't have access to the full suite of released DLC. There's more content available in the North American version of Fire Emblem: Awakening, but Euro players should see the same maps in the fullness of time.
Accessed via the Outrealm Gate, Fire Emblem: Awakening's DLC comes in both individual map form and as a selection of packs sold at a slight discount. The cost of each map varies, with some retailing for as little as £1.79 (on the UK 3DS eShop, we should add) and others setting you back £2.29. The compendium packs therefore represent excellent value for money, selling for around £5.39 each.
At the time of writing, there's the Champions Pack (Champions of Yore 1-3), Golden Pack (Golden Gaffe, EXPonential Growth and Infinite Regalia) and Scramble Pack (Harvest Scramble, Summer Scramble and Hot Springs Scramble).
In the case of the latter pack, it's worth noting that Harvest Scramble is the only map currently available to European players - Summer Scramble, which features the now-infamous censorship of Tharja's bottom, has only just been released in North America. Purchasing a pack before all of its content is available simply means that you'll be able to download the unreleased chapters at no additional cost when they are eventually launched.
The Champions Pack is as good a place as any to start — especially as Champions of Yore 1 is free to download until May 22nd — and features some neat fan-service for long-time supporters of the series. After finishing each of the three available maps, you'll be rewarded with a classic Fire Emblem character who will join your ever-growing ranks.
The Golden Pack is a little more interesting. The Golden Gaffe is all about money — performing well in this mission grants massive amounts of gold which can then be used in the main game to purchase items and upgrades. The same deal applies to EXPonential Growth, but this time with experience points — this is a handy map to use if you're struggling in the main campaign and need to boost the power of some of your units. Infinite Regalia showcases a selection of rare items not obtainable elsewhere in the game.
As with most DLC these days, the additional maps aren't a requirement to finish the main game, and many of you may wish to focus on the initial quest before distracting yourself with what are essentially "side story" maps that have no real impact on the main narrative.
However, maps like Golden Gaffe and EXPonential Growth are incredibly handy when it comes to making your way through the game itself; the additional gold and experience points are hard-won, but can make a massive difference to the strength of your army.
Have you sampled any of the game's DLC yet, and if so, what are your thoughts? Would you like to see more of this kind of thing in future Nintendo titles? Post a comment to share your opinions with us.