Fire Emblem Warriors Review – Written by Jose Vega
Product provided for this review was made possible by Nintendo.
Since 1997, the Musou or Warriors series are known for their games that specialize on fast, intense button-mashing action. They range from the main series of Dynasty Warriors to even spin-off titles that cross over into other avenues such as One Piece and in some cases, they take characters from franchises and put them together to make something new. In 2014, Nintendo, Koei Tecmo, and Omega Force collaborated together to bring Hyrule Warriors, a game that offered a lot of fun despite some flaws. Three years later, they’re back at it again with Fire Emblem Warriors, bringing the Fire Emblem franchise into the Warriors series. Does the game deliver?
The story focuses on twins Rowan and Lianna in the Kingdom of Aytolis. On one unexpected day, the kingdom is covered by darkness and strange gates appeared out of nowhere, bringing with it monsters. In time, the kingdom would be consumed by darkness but not all hope is lost. Rowan and Lianna escaped and now they go on a journey, finding allies from other worlds in the hopes of saving their kingdom and the world from the darkness that threatens all.
I really enjoyed the story of this game. It’s one that is easy to get into and follow along. The main characters are likable but they have this predictable cliché that they got to save the world and all that. It got a bit stale by the end. Don’t get me wrong. The plot is simple to get into but I feel that maybe that’s how the Warriors series. The story is an afterthought since the gameplay is most important but in my honest opinion, it should have a balance. Having it guarantees that players will be invested.
Since the game follows the Warriors-style of gameplay, it’s straightforward. If you played any of the Warriors games, you’ll have a very good idea of how it goes. All you do is mash the button to beat down waves and waves of mooks while you trek through a map and complete objectives. You have access to 19 different characters to choose from, each having different advantages and disadvantages. Having the right amount of characters can help a player handle any situation but it never hurts to ensure they are strong as well.
Elements from the Fire Emblem series are implemented into the game such as the weapon triangle, where characters wielding certain weapons have an advantage against enemies who are weak against what they have and vice versa. In addition, characters have access to skill trees where they gain new attacks and skills at the cost of materials that can be farmed in battle. Characters can level up to get stronger and can also promote to advanced classes that offer additional skills and abilities. Weapons can be forged by transferring attributes from collected weapons for a fee and in doing so offer different bonuses. Items like vulneraries and healing staves give characters the ability to heal themselves or other units over a range. Like in Fire Emblem Awakening & Fates, characters can pair up offering some support in the form of Dual Attacks and Vanguard. A lot I know but for a game like this, it delivers.
The game offers three different modes of play but overall, the overall length is through the roof. Story Mode consists of 23 chapters, giving an overall playtime of about 6-8 hours, depending on difficulty and even after beating the game, the lengths skyrocket since you can go back and play any chapter with any character of your choosing. Like Fire Emblem, there is Permadeath in the form of Classic style where if a unit other than the main character goes down, they don’t come back. You can revive them at a temple but for a very hefty fee. It’s one addition I feel is a benefit to the game but if that isn’t to your liking, you can switch to Casual where units that have fallen come back after a battle.
In addition to Story, there’s the History Mode where the game recites battles from Fire Emblem’s history. It’s split into maps based on various moments and in here, you take part in battles where you complete objectives to get high ranks and unlock new items such as characters, weapons, and items. Also added maps can be unlocked by collecting Mementos from Anna. All of this adds the length of the game to insurmountable heights. There’s also a Coliseum mode where you can take on Fire Emblem characters. Nothing fancy. The game also has some local co-op where you and a friend can team up so that’s a plus.
Another good point is the game’s music. Many are remixes of songs from previous games and I like how the use of rock helps the game considerably. In a way, it adds a bit of flair to a game that offers this intensity. Compared to Hyrule Warriors, this game has full-on voice acting and it’s done pretty well. The voices for Rowan and Lianna are pretty good and the same can be said for all the other characters. They’re faithful and well done and I feel that they delivered on that front.
However, despite the game having many positives, it has a few flaws. The presentation is one of them and I feel it’s one thing they should have put more effort on from the get-go. I’m reminded of how Hyrule Warriors looked on the Wii U. Don’t get me wrong. The characters look great in cutscenes and stills when they talk but on the field, I feel as if they could have put a bit more effort. Same for the environments but it fits for a game like this.
Another complaint is the roster and I feel this is one of the game’s biggest shortcomings. The Fire Emblem series is home to hundreds of characters that could have helped make the game feel like a serious hit. It can even introduce people more to the series. However, they only brought along characters from Shadow Dragon, Awakening and Fates. It’s a problem because yes, you need characters that people can recognize but would it hurt if the game could bring in characters from Binding Blade, Sacred Stones or Genealogy of the Holy War. Heck, even the Tellius series. That would help the game big time. In addition, some characters like Lyn from Blazing Sword and Celica from Shadows of Valentia can only be unlocked in History Mode and they have no importance to the main story. That is a bummer. At least in the 3DS version of Hyrule Warriors, they added new characters that have a role in the plot.
Like Hyrule Warriors, the game also has Amiibo support. Mostly it’s done to provide players stuff needed to help like weapons, items or currency. The game also has 2 exclusive Amiibo: Chrom and Tiki and they unlock exclusive gear. Also, the game has upcoming DLC that will add new characters, gear, and additional content. Fortunately, you can get a Season Pass and it’s one of the few things I find that’s done right just like in Hyrule Warriors. The game is also on the New Nintendo 3DS. I’m thankful it’s exclusive to it for if it came out on the 3DS, the game would have suffered big time.
Does Fire Emblem Warriors hold up compared to Hyrule Warriors? Yes. Does it have problems? A bit. Should it stop you from buying the game? No! The game is all good fun and if you put the time into it, it’s satisfying. Sure the presentation and the roster needs work but it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a great game. Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo and Omega Force collaborated to give us a game that’s enjoyable in the long run. I only hope that if a sequel is possible that they should learn from this game and provide players a better experience. Fire Emblem Warriors is really fun and if you want to get into the fight right away, you can. It’s worth it.
I give Fire Emblem Warriors an 8 out of 10.