The Dynasty Warrior games have been bringing us massed combat from the perspective of your typical shonen hero for a number of years now and with their developer’s success at bringing in new worlds into the fold, see Hyrule Warriors, it had to be seen if they could manage to bring another fan favorite in as well in Fire Emblem. Fire Emblem Warriors tells a tale that will feel familiar to those that played Hyrule Warriors with a world set in the Fire Emblem world but living in a time and place that has not been explored yet. In a similar fashion though heroes, a strong word for some, from different timelines and games come together to fight off a plot to bring the chaos dragon into the world once again.
The game introduces a new kingdom and royal sibling pairing that you will follow as their nation is invaded by strange monsters that seize their capital and send them out into the world to try figure out just what is going on. It doesn’t take long before the aforementioned characters start involving themselves in the story, a brief encounter with Marthe in the opening scenes already letting you know what caliber to expect if you haven’t gone through the game’s site or manual.
As you fight your way out of the besieged kingdom you soon meet up with other series stalwarts and are soon thrust into finding more of these heroes in order to complete the Shield of Flames and save the world. The campaign starts off at a casual pace, introducing the player to all the mechanics that they will need to learn about to successfully defeat their enemies. You’ll be taught how command your units from the map view, making sure to send your allies to where they are most effective. Regular fans of Warrior games will find this interface familiar but I truly believe they missed a beat here by not making use of the Switch’s touch screen to allow you to drag your units around to give orders.
A basic rock paper scissors, in this case swords axes and spears, is in place to make sure that tactics have to be thought about and units sent out to where they won’t be at a disadvantage as you’ll find when the AI is controlling one of your units they will often rout or come off second best if not matched up correctly. Of course you can also skew having those units move out by themselves and rather team up to have a support with you at all times. While this does reduce how much space you can influence on the battlefield at any one moment it can up your combat efficiency greatly and help manage some weaknesses while you control that character.
What is an interesting development for this iteration of the Warriors style is the addition of units like the Pegasus Knight, which has the ability to fly about the battlefield, quickly redeploying and when used as a support taking another character along with them. It’s great to see the devs take the time to make something that is iconic to the Fire Emblem series and make it work in their chosen style.
Between battles you’ll find yourself either in your camp or convoy, where you’ll be able to look through your motley crew and make sure that they are running like the well oiled machines that you’d expect. Here your skill trees can be managed, unlocking traits like more attacks to your combos, better defences versus specific attack types, the ability to equip higher quality weapons and everything inbetween. You will also find yourself looking to collect Master Seals to use in this system in order to unlock your characters’ advanced class and the power that this unlocks for them.
Greater raw stats and access to a new section of attack and defense seals will see you spending a good deal of time making sure that you do as well as possible in your battles to be rewarded with these important seals. With each character having an upgraded form it is important to keep everyone up to scratch as you move from battle to battle. To this end you can make use of the training grounds to use your gold to level those under-performing characters in your teams. You’ll also be able to use the hard fought for resources on purchasing buffs from the temple in order to have better rates or quality of drops.
By making use of the blacksmith you can also customise your loadouts to suit your style of play with a basic system of moving item enhancements from one weapon to another. You’ll soon have the sword/axe/spear of your dreams to take down those terrible armored mounted or draconid enemies that you’ll start seeing more and more of as the campaign progresses.
The campaign has a good length and a number of settings to make sure your playthrough suits your experience level with Warrior and indeed the tactics of Fire Emblem games. You’ll find the usual Easy to Hard difficulty spread, which I suggest you set on the higher end if you’ve played previous Warriors games, but you will also find Casual and Hardcore modes as well as settings to make inbetween battle management involved or automatically resolved. The introduction of Hardcore mode should feel familiar to Fire Emblem players as you’ll find warriors that fall in battle become too injured to participate in future battles, adding to the urgency of a battle when a character get’s surrounded or outmatched.
All of this is good an well but what if you just want to play the game without the need of slogging through the campaign again? Well that is where the History and Coliseum modes come into play. In History mode you’ll go to famous battles within the Fire Emblem story to battle them out once more and see if you can maybe see a different outcome. While Coliseum mode lets you take to the field of battle against other teams of Fire Emblem characters to see who is best.
Overall I had a smashing time with Fire Emblem Warriors, with the game scratching all the right itches for both Warriors gameplay and seeing the mechanics and style of the Fire Emblem series show through. While the story isn’t as tight as you’d expect from a major Fire Emblem game the over the top shonen style battles and mixed cast definitely put together a fine show. I can definitely suggest the game to any fan of either series.
Features include: Knowledge of all things geeky. “Over 9000!” achievement points in World of Warcraft. Groantastic Puns. Marking out for canadian heels.
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