#47: Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GameCube)
Release Date: October 17, 2005
Believe it or not, it was actually my (now) Xbox 360 playin', FPS lovin', Call of Duty fanatic brother who first got into Fire Emblem (before I even heard of it). So when Path of Radiance released on the GameCube, he convinced me to buy the game and give it a try... and I instantly fell in love with the game. Whether it was the easy to play, difficult to master gameplay (which was tough as nails, even on easy), the fantastic cast of characters (really, I actually came to care about these guys, so of course I had to reset every time someone died), or the wonderfully engaging story, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance had it all (even cat-girls!). With this game, I was introduced to the wonderful world of Fire Emblem, and for that I am very thankful.
Favorite Character: Ilyana
Favorite Villain: The Black Knight
Believe it or not, but the only reason why I gave Fire Emblem a chance was the Gamecube drought. I had read good reviews of the GBA game, but refrained from trying it, because the reviewers pointed out some unpleasant things like annoying micro-management (forced to buy stuff on the maps), perma-deaths and high difficulty. With JRPGs generally being a mixed bag, I just passed on the series.
Having bought Path of Radiance changed my mind about the series and I immediately bought Fire Emblem 7 and 8 for the GBA afterwards. The negative side-effect was that from this point on all other SRPGs became complete and utter garbage, because Fire Emblem is that much better. It requires actual strategy, because you can't rely on Bauernopfer tactics and grinding (well, FE8 allows you to grind which obviously makes it a bad FE).
I am not sure why you like Ilyana though. Probably just because of her personality. Her stat growth is quite messed up for a mage, with strength and defense rising at better rates than the stats that are more important.