Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance is the first Fire Emblem game I have played. I love tactical RPGs, but I have to say I was expecting much more from this game. Although it isn't poorly made by any stretch, the mechanics of the game ruined the experience for me.
1. The combat mechanics heavily favor offense. It is no unusual event to see one hit kills (from you or enemies), and it is no remarkable thing when one of your characters goes from full health to dead in a single turn. This is not necessarily bad, but...
2. When a character dies, he dies. There is no "life" spell or "phoenix down" to bring him back. This seemed like a neat idea to me at first, but really it ended up being a huge source of frustration. I frequently felt the need to reset and load even when I was winning a battle by a huge margin because a key member of my party died. I felt like I couldn't have fun playing this game because I was stressing out about losing characters. I could be in an absolutely ideal position, but then have an irreplaceable character one-hit-killed. Frustrating!
3. Add to this the fact that all battles are story battles. Put positively, there is no "level grinding" or "random battles," but in light of cons (1) and (2) you can very easily lose some characters and then spiral downward as you have no way to build yourself back up after a loss. In short, this means you can get stuck, ending up in an unwinnable situation on a save game.
1. The story was decent--somewhat cliche and run-of-the-mill but decent.
2. The world that the game is set in is fairly imaginative and interesting.
3. The combat system is simple and straightforward.
In short, everything in this game is a limited resource. Party members die, weapons and spells break, and gold and xp cannot be beefed up by grinding. The game is really more of an exercise in resource management than a fun game. Unless this sounds appealing to you, skip it.
This game is great, I really liked it. Good syoryline. Scratch that, EXCELLENT storyline with compelling events and awesome character design. Good gameplay and even better music. I liked the next one even better than this one[if that's possible]. If you're interested, it is called Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. It continues with[in my opinion]an even better storyline. Rent this and buy it if you can.