I've never played a Fire Emblem game before. I'm considering jumping in with this one, but as I still have my Gamecube does anyone think the FE game on that system is worth the trouble?
Absolutely. I loved that game it has probably one of the best stories of the series (my favorite of the ones that have been localized so far, although Sacred Stones is a very close second). The Wii sequel isn't as good as the GC one, but it's solid if you end up liking it enough to get a sequel.
Yea, Path of Radiance is fantastic. The battle animations were a bit on the lackluster side, but story, characters, battle maps, art. Great place to dip your toes into the water, and probably cost effective if you can find it. Radiant Dawn is only okay, and really long. It does have some cool classes that we may not see again though. I personally think that Shadow Dragon for DS is the worst entry that has been released outside of Japan. Too easy, and it oddly rewards players for allowing their units to die as that is the only way to play all of the maps.
In other news, man I'm excited. Have I said that yet?
Shadow Dragon is also a remake of the first game which means that even with the updates added to modernize the game its still a 19 year old game at its heart. And to preempt mjrpgfan SD also didn't have any sort of scoring/ranking system which is apparently another major drawback (which, to be fair, does prevent those who play only for score like mjrpgfan from doing so since there's no longer any fixed performance goal to aim for, while those of us who like to play it our own way can ignore the pressure of obtaining perfection).
Radiant Dawn also has its share of clever ideas as well as its flaws. Most notable is the attempt at having you play from the perspectives of both sides of the conflict. The big problem stems from the fact that you spend a third of the game on one group of people, another third on another set of people, and the final third is everybody and their brother getting together to compete for the 12 or so spots on the endgame team with half the cast having fewer than 3 chapters since the first third of the game to catch up with (and some having fewer than 3 chapters of availability total). Still, the maps are quite varied for the most part with all of them having some sort of theme, feature, or alternate objective.