I’d been cautious about getting my hopes about Fire Emblem Warriors ever since details on the game started being released. After it was revealed that only a few games in the Fire Emblem series were going to appear, I became worried that this crossover game might not be able to represent the IP as well as Hyrule Warriors did for The Legend of Zelda. Having finished the main campaign, I can safely say that Fire Emblem Warriors does a fantastic job of blending the hack-and-slash Warriors gameplay with the strategy found in Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem Warriors features heroes from Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon, Awakening and Fates, along with a few original characters who lead the game’s plot. Sibling protagonists Rowan and Lianna must figure out a way to stop the fabled chaos dragon that threatens their homeland while getting help from heroes transported from other worlds. The story of Fire Emblem Warriors is told through a series of static cutscenes shown before a chapter with occasional in-game cutscenes in-between. A positive thing I’d like to point out is that every line of dialogue in the game is voiced.
The overall plot of Fire Emblem is thin, introducing the cast in ways similar to their source material but with weak excuses for battles. The villains from each game also appear during the game’s story but they serve no real purpose or impact on the plot. By the time things started to pick up story-wise, it was already at its end. I would’ve liked to see more development for Fire Emblem Warriors’ original characters or at least more character interactions that portray the featured heroes. There are unlockable support conversations between characters but they only happen when you reach the maximum A rank.
There are two performance settings usable in Fire Emblem Warriors. Quality Mode puts a focus on the game’s visuals while Performance Mode lowers the game’s resolution in order to maintain a better framerate. I found Quality Mode to be the better option overall unless you’re playing in split screen multiplayer where the framerate can suffer a lot.
Anyone familiar with Hyrule Warriors will have good idea of what to expect from Omega Force’s newest title. Players can use up to eight different characters to defeat fort captains and take control of different areas on the map. What sets this game apart are the features taken almost directly from Fire Emblem. One of the most notable additions is the famous weapon triangle. Each carries a different weapon type, giving them an advantage or disadvantage depending on their opponent’s weapon. Your units can get taken out almost instantly if you’re using the wrong weapon type and it can take forever to defeat an enemy.
Fortunately, another feature has been added to Fire Emblem Warriors to help plan your attack and it’s one of my favourite things about this game. At any time before or during a battle, players can bring up a map detailing all of their units along with the enemies. From there, you can give any of your allies orders on what units to attack or what areas to defend or seize. A part of what makes this so great is that it’s actually an effective way to play the game. I’ve played past Warriors titles with similar features but I usually wasn’t so confident in the AI that I could leave them a task without needing to check up on them. To test the AI in Fire Emblem Warriors, I decided to try clearing one map by only giving orders to my allies. It worked out perfectly, essentially turning the game into a real time strategy game. Another feature that appears from Fire Emblem is the pair up system from Fire Emblem Awakening: two units combine in order help attack and defend better. The last addition is the new awakening gauge which, when activated, lets players ignore the weapon triangle for a short time and also unleash a powerful special attack.
The roster of Fire Emblem Warriors is one of the game’s problems. Including a few that are hidden, the game features 25 characters. This would be a far more impressive number if the majority of these characters weren’t so similar to each other. Aside from having unique special attacks, there are only around six unique play styles out of all the characters included. On the bright side, all of these styles are completely unique and they’re all fun to play. A smaller gripe I had with the game’s roster was managing all of the characters. In addition to having to individually equip everyone’s weapons, you also need to teach every character the same skills over and over. This can quickly become tedious, especially when it means hearing the same voice clips every time you choose one.
While all the main characters are introduced during the main campaign, you’ll be spending most of your time with the characters in History Mode. History Mode functions similarly to Hyrule Warriors’ Adventure Mode, displaying a map found in previous Fire Emblem titles with enemies placed all over. Each enemy offers a battle with varying degrees of difficulty and different victory conditions. The main story generally only offered one objective to complete stages so History Mode serves as a welcome change of pace.
I’m impressed at how well Fire Emblem blends into the Warriors style. DLC for Fire Emblem Warriors has already been announced so we know that new characters will be coming. Hopefully, new episodes of History Mode and story chapters will come along as well and introduce even more unique battles to the game. Even with the small grievances I have, Fire Emblem Warriors is a truly great crossover title.