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Gameplay modes

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Across the Fire Emblem series, there are a number of alternate modes of gameplay. While the most common are difficulty modes, allowing an adjustible challenge for players, other games feature their own types of modes varying the general flow of gameplay or the story, to either the benefit or detriment of the player.

Difficulty modes

The first game to feature different formal modes of difficulty was Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. Since then, almost every game has featured at least two different difficulty modes, chosen by the player at the beginning of a new game. Between games, there is considerable variation in the difficulty of seemingly the same levels.

Difficulty modes by game
Game Difficulty mode Unlock conditions and notes
Gaiden NORMAL The game's default and highest difficulty setting.
EASY Identical to Normal Mode, except all experience gain is doubled. This mode is hidden and, to be accessed, the following button combination must be pressed on the main menu: Select + Start + A
Genealogy of the Holy War Normal The game's default difficulty setting.
Clever Unlocked by completing the game once. Unlike other Hard Modes, this Clever mode only modifies enemy AI to make them more aggressive and challenging, leaving their stats and quantity untouched. The difficulty mode can be toggled at any time during gameplay from the options menu, and is not set when starting a save file.
The Binding Blade Normal Mode The game's initial difficulty setting. Normal Mode save files are colored yellow.
Hard Mode Unlocked by completing the game once. Hard Mode save files are colored red.
Fire Emblem Normal Mode See below.
Hard Mode
The Sacred Stones Easy Mode "For first-timers. Game rules and controls will be explained to you as you play." Easy Mode save files are colored green.
Normal Mode "For experienced players. No game-play hints will be provided to you as you play." Normal Mode save files are colored teal.
Difficult Mode "For players seeking a real challenge. No instructions are given & difficulty is set to high." Hard Mode save files are colored red.
Path of Radiance Easy Mode "Difficulty: ★
For novices who want a little helpful advice to get them familiar with the game." Only in international versions.
Normal Mode "Difficulty: ★★
For players who already know their way around the game. This is the standard difficulty setting."
Difficult Mode "Difficulty: ★★★
For players looking for a serious challenge."
Maniac Mode Only in the Japanese version.
Radiant Dawn Easy Mode "Difficulty: ★
A brisk tempo makes this mode easy to get into and easy to play."
Normal Mode "Difficulty: ★★
For players who already know their way around the game. This is the standard difficulty setting."
Difficult Mode "Difficulty: ★★★
For players looking for a serious challenge. This becomes available after clearing Normal Mode."
Shadow Dragon Normal Mode "Recommended for beginners and those playing the game for the first time. A special prologue introduces the story and game play." Normal Mode save files are not specially marked.
Hard Mode "Recommended for those seeking a challlenge. Enemies are up to five degrees tougher than those in Normal mode. No prologue is included." There are five different modes under the Hard Mode umbrella: Hard (★), Brutal (★★), Savage (★★★), Fiendish (★★★★) and Merciless (★★★★★). A save file of these difficulties is marked with an H and the matching number of stars (e.g. H2 for Brutal).
New Mystery of the Emblem Normal Mode "An entry-level difficulty for players with little experience. You can play the game while learning the basics." Normal Mode save files are not specially marked.
Hard Mode "Recommended for those looking for responsive gameplay. Enemies are stronger than normal. Reinforcements act as soon as they appear." Hard Mode save files are marked with an H and one star (★). This difficulty is available by default.
Maniac Mode "Recommended for players seeking a challenge. The enemies are stronger than in Hard Mode." Maniac Mode save files are marked with an M and two stars (★★). This difficulty is available by default.
Lunatic Mode "Stronger enemies than Maniac Mode, this mode easily has the highest level of difficulty the series can provide." Lunatic Mode save files are marked with an L and three stars (★★★). This difficulty is available by default.
Lunatic Reverse Mode Unlocked by completing Lunatic Mode*, in Lunatic Reverse mode, enemy units will always strike first when attacked, even on player phase. Lunatic Reverse Mode save files are marked with an L' and three stars (★★★).
Awakening Normal Mode "For series beginners." The first few chapters in Normal Mode are tutorialized.
Hard Mode "For experienced players."
Lunatic Mode "For expert players." Lunatic Mode is primarily notable in that later chapters give some enemy units forged weapons which exceed the normal forging parameters available to players.
Lunatic+ Mode "For Fire Emblem masters." Lunatic+ Mode is mostly identical to Lunatic Mode, with the addition of random distribution of a set of powerful and/or enemy-exclusive skills among all enemy units.
Fates Normal Mode "For series beginners."
Hard Mode "For experienced players."
Lunatic Mode "For those seeking a challenge."
Heroes Normal Mode The initial difficulty of all Story Maps.
Hard Mode Unlocked for each chapter by completing it on Normal Mode. Costs slightly more Stamina to play.
Lunatic Mode Unlocked for each chapter by completing it on Normal Mode. Costs the most Stamina to play.

Paragon Mode

Main article: Paragon
This gameplay mode appears only in Thracia 776.

In Thracia 776, Paragon Mode (Japanese: エリートモード Elite Mode) is a secret gameplay mode, unlocked by inputting a button combination at the "New Game" menu. In this mode, every playable character has the Paragon skill applied to them, doubling their experience gain; characters who already have Paragon in normal gameplay or are currently wielding the Paragon Sword have the effect doubled, gaining quadruple the experience.

Fire Emblem Gaiden has an identical mode which comprises its EASY mode.

Eliwood, Hector, and Lyn's tales

Selecting the gameplay mode in Fire Emblem.
These gameplay modes appear only in Fire Emblem.

Fire Emblem is divided into three "tales", each focused around one of the three main characters. Lyn's tale (Prologue to Chapter 10) and Eliwood's tale (Chapter 11E to Final) comprise the initial "main story"; on an initial playthrough, the player plays through both of them back-to-back. Upon completion of the game for the first time, the player gains the option to choose either game mode upon starting a new game, as well as the option to choose Hector's tale (Chapter 11H to Final). Hector's tale is a retelling of Eliwood's tale from the perspective of Hector; it differs in that it features six unique chapters (Another Journey,Talons Alight, A Glimpse in Time, Crazed Beast,The Berserker and The Value of Life), two unique recruitable characters (Farina and Karla), a number of potential ending variations based on gameplay performance, minor rewrites introducing new subplots and sequences, and a generally higher difficulty.

Additionally, all three tales have a matching Hard Mode, with "Hector Hard Mode" being the most difficult mode Fire Emblem has to offer; "Lyn Hard Mode" and "Eliwood Hard Mode" are unlocked upon completing the game once, while "Hector Hard Mode" is unlocked by completing "Hector Normal Mode" once.

Each tale is associated with one save file color, regardless of difficulty setting. Lyn's tale saves are colored teal, Eliwood's tale files are a bright blue, while Hector's tale uses a darker steel-blue.

Creature Campaign

Main article: Creature Campaign
This gameplay mode appears only in The Sacred Stones.

In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, after completing the Final Chapter, the player may choose to continue the save file in Creature Campaign mode. It is an endless post-game mode where the player can fight in skirmishes, accumulate experience, and seek higher records in the Tower of Valni and Lagdou Ruins. By meeting certain criteria in the Tower and Ruins, the player is rewarded with various important characters and antagonists from the main story to use as playable units.

Random and Fixed Modes

Main article: Growth rate
Main article: Growth point
These gameplay modes appear only in Path of Radiance.

Upon completing Path of Radiance for the first time, the player receives the option to choose between Random Mode and Fixed Mode upon starting a new game. These modes are concerned with variances in the statistical growth of playable units. Random Mode is merely the standard way growth rates work throughout the series, whereas Fixed Mode implements a new system revolving around growth points. Using the growth rates of characters as their base growth point values, further growth points in stats are accumulated through defeating enemies and vary depending on the weapons and items equipped by the unit, and higher growth points in stats result in greater increases in the stats in question.

Classic and Casual Mode

These gameplay modes appear only in New Mystery of the Emblem, Awakening, and Fates.

One of the most well-known caveats of the Fire Emblem series is its use of permanent character deaths. In New Mystery of the Emblem, Casual Mode was introduced, an effort to soften the blow for players new to the series by disabling permanent death for the course of a playthrough. Instead, characters who are defeated in battle merely retreat, and return in the next chapter as if nothing ever happened. Classic Mode is the other option, enabling the standard permanent-death setup of the series. Both of these options are separate from the difficulty modes and are chosen separately, allowing the player to, for example, enable Casual Mode on a Reverse Lunatic playthrough. The Classic/Casual Mode options returned in Awakening, working the same way; Casual Mode is renamed Newcomer Mode in the European English release of the game.

In New Mystery of the Emblem and Awakening, the defeat of Marth/Chrom and the avatar still gives a game over, while in Fates the avatar retreats like other units.

Phoenix Mode

This gameplay mode appears only in Fates.

The latest entry in the series, Fates, introduces Phoenix Mode,[1] a mode wherein fallen characters are resurrected the turn after they are defeated in battle. In this mode characters do not say anything when defeated. Unlike Casual and Classic, Phoenix Mode can only be played in Normal Mode.




  1. "To begin with, perhaps the biggest news–and the one sure to create heated discussions amongst fans–is the introduction of a brand new mode, Phoenix Mode, where fallen characters are resurrected immediately on the next turn." — VincentASM, Fire Emblem if Famitsu leak: Phoenix Mode, Serenes Forest, Published: 12 May, 2015, Retrieved: 12 May, 2015
Game mechanics
Out-of-battle management Base (Base conversation) • Battle preparationsBonus experienceDungeonsGameplay modes (Creature Campaign) • GoldMila ShrinesRenownShopping (ArmoryBargainsForgeMerchantOnline shopSecret shopVendor) • Supply convoyWorld map
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Unit mechanics
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