As a causal player of the Fire emblem series who entered via Awakening, I’m equal parts proud and excited to be reviewing the long awaited game of 2016 – Fire Emblem Fates. I can’t tell you how pumped I was after seeing the trailer last year, and my hype just continued to grow as Nintendo drip fed us details on the game.
To tell you the truth, when the name ‘Fire emblem Fates’ was the confirmed name for the western release, I didn’t quite like it. To make things worse, the rumors of some parts of the game being censored was also a sore point for many fans, especially when Nintendo announced that several features from the Japanese version would be stripped or changed entirely in the NA one. Unfortunate as it is that some of the censorship nonsense did make its way into the game, I’m relieved to say that I still enjoyed Conquest greatly.
The topic of censorship aside (I’d rather not beat a dead horse), I will be reviewing US release of Conquest. Many discontent fans who played the Japanese version of Fates have criticized NoA, the company in charge of translating the game, for changing the source material. For example – Pegasus Knights into Sky Knights, or the dialogue in some support conversations. I don’t really have an opinion on this since I haven’t played the Japanese version, but while I am upset about it, there’s no use in crying over spilt milk.
And that is what I mean by reviewing the US release of Fire emblem fates. With that topic aside, it’s time for the review!
Many technical aspects of the game are mostly just improved from the game that was Fire Emblem Awakening. This is good because as they say, don’t fix what’s not broken. The turn based combat is pretty much standard for a Fire emblem game, so I don’t have much to say about that then ‘It’s great’.
Conquest delivers a entertaining and intriguing story. The game begins with a fairly generic introduction but picks up after chapter 8. Don’t let the starting chapters fool you, there’s more to it than meets the eye. While the story wasn’t that dark, I still found it quite mature for a game like this. Yes, there are humorous scenes and interactions throughout the story, but there is a hint of bitterness that Corrin (the main character) carries throughout the entire game that gives you a sense of dread whenever you continue through the game. There were times that I was legitimately shocked at the plot twists.
I’d compare Conquest’s story to a high chaos play-through in Dishonored. It’s the little things that starts to bring you down, and while not noticeable at first, the game gets procedurally more heart-wrenching as you progress. I chose to play as a Male Corrin for my first play through, and I liked him. There is a definite soft streak present in him that can be found in the majority of main characters in other JRPG’s, but he was interesting enough for the most part. The only thing I disliked however, was his slight-hero complex. He was kept in check by Nohr siblings, who’d seen and experienced far worse things than Corrin could have imagined.
The cast of characters is large and diverse, but since you need to choose who has your back in battle – you’ll probably end up picking your favorite characters. Putting two characters together and having them interact is one of the reasons why I love the newer additions to the fire emblem franchise. Some people have been quite vocal about this and describe it as ‘glorified waifu simulators’ but honestly, it was this mechanic that got me to try Awakening in the first place. I don’t particularly care about what other people think, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll eventually realize it’s impossible to please everybody. Might as well do what you like, I’d say.
Most of the characters you recruit are lovable and simply made the game a much enjoyable experience. I doubt that I would’ve had as much fun as I did without them. I find it quite realistic that not every character has good chemistry with the another, and while some of the romances can be a tad juvenile at times, most of the character supports (friendship or otherwise) are immensely cute to watch play out. I personally recommend that you take the time to read through the support dialogue rather than just skimming through it or skipping it entirely.
However, if you just want to experience more tasty turn based combat, go ahead! Who am I to stop you? The purpose of the game is to have fun, and that is what’s important. Just keep in mind that there’s no ‘right way’ to play this game, be it grinding to get the best gear or more gold, or just shipping different people together for the heck of it.
As of this review, I am almost halfway through the other game, Fire emblem Fates: Birthright, which follows the Hoshido path. It’s hard not to compare one to the other, but after the mature and heavy plot of Conquest, Birthright has a lot to live up to. There has been much debate about which game to choose first, and if Fire emblem Fates is your gateway to the franchise, I would suggest picking up Birthright first as it has a lower learning curve and allows you to grind for experience and gold.
Overall, I simply loved everything about Conquest. The beautifully rendered cut scenes and the terrifically fun gameplay will draw you in and hold your attention for a very long time. I think that both casual and hardcore players would love it!