Title: Fire Emblem Warriors
Developer: Omega Force, Ninja Team
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available for the 3DS)
Category: Hack-and-Slash Action RPG
Release Date: October 20, 2017 worldwide
How we got the game: Pre-ordered a physical copy
Fire Emblem Warriors is a crossover game between Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors series and Intelligent Systems’ Fire Emblem series. It’s the second such crossover since Hyrule Warriors — using characters based on the Legend of Zelda franchise — for the Wii U back in 2014. I had enjoyed Hyrule Warriors and playing with some of my favorite characters in a new game style back then, and being a sucker for the Fire Emblem series, I was looking forward to Fire Emblem Warriors as well.
Being a hack-and-slash game, the gameplay consists of the player taking control of up to four characters on a given map and demolishing the opposition. Each character attacks by the player more or less button mashing, but if you wanted to be more precise, there are combo attacks that you can trigger by pushing buttons in a certain order (generally the Y and X buttons). The more enemies one defeats, the quicker one can unleash a special attack that can be particularly devastating on hoards of enemies and even the sub-boss characters, such as Fort Captains. The controls themselves were fluid and responsive, which is excellent considering how quickly one is dropped into the fray of the battles, even if there were times when it seemed my character was running too quickly for me to make a turn!
Characters can be given orders on the battle map, such as directing one person to fight a certain enemy or to guard a teammate. While the player can switch between four characters, there is usually four additional teammates on the map to aid the playable characters. The AI of NPCs was well-done, in my experience, as the majority of them were eager to complete the goals and sub-quests that popped up with the map.
The majority of the characters in Fire Emblem Warriors are sword-users, but there are a few who use lances, axes, magic tomes, bows, and dragonstones, which are a special item to some unique Fire Emblem characters to transform into a dragon. Like the Fire Emblem games, characters are able to level up in their weapon rank, allowing them to use stronger weapons and attacks as the game progresses. In Warriors, this is achieved by crafted crests, which are used for attacks, defensive purposes, and enabling special skills. Crests are crafted with materials that enemies drop as well as collecting items from characters themselves when they increase their Support rank with one another. The more two characters fight together — by being on the same map, helping to guard one another, healing each other, or by literally pairing the two up as a support pair — the higher their Support will be. A Support Conversation between the two characters can be unlocked once they reach an A-Support rank.
The major flaw with the gameplay is how little diversity there is amid the weapons and characters themselves. Slashing away at enemies with swords is fun and all, but having more variety would have definitely helped me explore the maps of the game multiple times and giving it more replay value. Daggers and shuriken, lance-users on the ground instead of being regulated to Pegasus Knights, more axes and magic, beaststones for laguz from the Radiant series…
To go along with the lack of weapon diversity is the character roster. It mainly focused on the cast from Awakening and Fates, along with Marth as one of the Fire Emblem series’ first protagonists. Fire Emblem Warriors stars a pair of twins who both use the sword as their preferred weapon. The Heroes that we must track down as per the story mode all use swords as their preferred weapon. While I have nothing against any of the characters that are on the roster, I would have loved to see characters from more Fire Emblem games.
Let’s get Ephraim from Sacred Stones as a lance-user Hero. Hector from Blazing Blade can be the axe-wielding Hero. There are laguz characters from the Radiant series — Ranulf, Lethe, Tibarn, Naesala — who could be Heroes in their own right. Lilina from the Binding Blade as not only a mage Hero but also another female.
Perhaps it would have been a little too much to throw so many different timelines into Fire Emblem Warriors, but there was so much more weapon and character variety that could have been packed into the game!
One of my favorite things about the Nintendo Switch is the graphics. The graphics of every game we’ve played so far on this little console have been crisp, clear, and beautiful, and I loved seeing the dynamic Fire Emblem Warrior battles on the Switch. The animated movies were fairly well-done, being on par with most of the animated scenes in most of the more recent Fire emblem games.
I’ve always been a sucker for Fire Emblem music, and Fire Emblem Warriors would be no exception… except for most of the, erm, “suggestions” that continued to pop up in the first half of the game. Since everything on the battlefield happens quickly, so do character dialogue boxes popping up with someone talking about someone else being trouble or telling you of a new quest that has arisen. The cacophony of the battle was interrupted much of the time for the game to continue on, which threw me off a bit at times. It was tolerable especially when I reminded myself that it went hand-in-hand with the chaos that was supposed to be the battlefield. It was quick and exciting, even if the voice acting had me rolling my eyes once in a while.
Like most Fire Emblem games, the story was a bit cliche, with it being way too focused on bonds and support among one another, and you defeat a dragon at the end.
The story opens with the royal twins of Aytolis, Lianna and Rowan, sparring with their friend Prince Darios of Gristonne. Monsters appear from Outrealm portals, attacking the castle, separating the twins from their mother, and starting the twins on their journey to protect their homeland. They journey across the land to find Heroes that have been displaced in time, Heroes that have Gleamstones to power up the Shield of Flames to defeat the evil dragon Velezark.
The characters spend much of their time focusing on friendship and their bonds with one another, which is a bit corny but sweet message. The twins work and grow together with the help of the other heroes to ultimately succeed in the end. The story itself had a few plot holes or threads that could have used more closure — such as the Darios subplot — but it wasn’t too bad for game.
Fire Emblem Warriors has the story mode and a history mode. The story mode has about 25 “chapters,” or battle campaigns, in it while the history mode allows players to battle in scenarios from past Fire Emblem games that were re-imagined for Fire Emblem Warriors. Each has different levels of difficulties and goals, giving one a few more challenges if one wishes to replay the game.
While I wish that the roster wasn’t so sword-user heavy — really, seeing a thief character or more axes and lances would have been wonderful — and had characters from more Fire Emblem games rather than focusing mainly on Awakening and Fates, I did have a lot of fun with Fire Emblem Warriors. There’s something so satisfying about the hack-and-slash aspect of the game, and I know I’ll pick it up again.
Fire Emblem Warriors gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!