Fire Emblem Warriors Review

Fire Emblem has always been one of those series which I’ve never got round to investing enough of my time into. Sure, I’ve dabbled in a number of the games for a few hours here and there but life has always pulled me away from ever getting too involved in one. So, with that said, it’s best to make you aware that my Fire Emblem lore isn’t as hot as I’d like it to be.

For someone whose Fire Emblem knowledge isn’t the best, I’m delighted to report that Fire Emblem Warriors is a delight to play through, even for those who aren’t familiar with the series as a whole. The Dynasty Warriors-like Fire Emblem Warriors is a similar title to Hyrule Warriors which released a few years ago on the Wii U. It takes Dynasty Warriors gameplay, layers a Nintendo franchise over the top of it, adds some unique gameplay elements that blends the traditional series with Dynasty Warriors and produces an easy-to-play, enjoyable experience for anyone. Needless to say, I’d imagine that those familiar with the Fire Emblem series will get infinitely more out of the experience than someone who hasn’t, but it does a good job at introducing newcomers.

Like the mainline series, Fire Emblem Warriors puts you in charge of small teams that enter the battlefield in an attempt to achieve an objective. Unlike the main series though, you’ll have total control over your team, moving each around the battlefield and striking enemies down by mashing buttons. There’s still a strategic element to the game, but this is restricted to moving your troops around on the pause menu.

Chapters will often revolve around the main objective and several minor targets that you’ll need to achieve before going for your main goal. This will usually consist of taking over forts and building your army as you go. Doing this will often open up more areas for you to explore and more forts and enemies to take down. There are often hundreds of enemies on the screen at once but for the most part, they remain idle, standing and waiting for your blade to slice through them and tens of others that stand around. It’s a bit surreal, but it’s satisfying to slice and dice your way through a plethora of enemies at a time.

“Fire Emblem Warriors does a nice job of catering to all.”

Tougher enemies will appear the deeper into the game’s 22 chapters you go but our normal run through the game saw us achieve our main objective every time. We didn’t once fail a chapter. Whether this means the game should be played through on the harder difficulty to start with is a personal choice. Despite breezing through the game I didn’t once feel the need to increase the challenge, I enjoyed ploughing through every chapter and if the difficulty had spiked somewhat, replaying the 10 to 30 minute chapters could have become a bit of a chore.

Chapters are, on the whole, quite similar throughout and only really change things up towards the end of the campaign. You’ll be blocked by sandstorms, dense fog clouds, broken bridges and fallen rubble but in order to clear the way, you’ll consistently have to capture forts. What saves this from becoming monotonous though is Fire Emblem Warriors gameplay. As previously mentioned, you’ll hack and slash your way through copious amounts of enemies, using not just limited combos but also special and awakening moves once your meter has built up to a sufficient amount. When unleashed, these dole out serious damage to even the game’s tougher enemies. Building relationships on the battlefield between two characters also allows for them to deliver a joint special attack, delving out more damage. Relationships are a key part of any Fire Emblem game, and while that is explored in Fire Emblem Warriors in the form of these dual attacks, relationships aren’t deeply explored and consist of no more than linking two characters together on the battlefield.

Upgrading and levelling up is also a key part of Fire Emblem Warriors. It works as you’d expect: fight and kill enemies and you’ll receive XP which improves a range of attributes including HP, Defence and Special. You’re also able to reinvest items and weapons picked up on the battlefield and create Crests which improve more specific character traits. For example, by using a few Captain’s Swords you’ll decrease damage received from swords. This is specific to each character that becomes playable (a total of 20 by the game’s conclusion) with each one able to have between 50 and 80 crests created. It’s impossible to have everything upgraded by the game’s conclusion, but for completionists, it adds a layer of replayability as some of the game’s crests do unlock different attires for characters.

Story Mode will take between 10 to 15 hours to complete, with our run leaning towards the lower part of that scale and tells the tale of Lianna and Rowan, twins who are hoping to find their mother. Fire Emblem Warriors manages to create a somewhat believable tale that allows it to bring together past-characters from the series and while the beginning left a lot to be desired, its tale was one that kept me intrigued towards its end. It won’t live long in the memory but it served its purpose and presents fans with a chance to take hold of their favourite Fire Emblem characters on the battlefield. Early battles tend to stem from misunderstandings between characters, resulting in potentially thousands of characters dying during a battle only for the characters to be friends at the end of a chapter. Which is a bit strange.

Fire Emblem Warriors also allows for two players to play at once via split screen during the main Story Mode. The game isn’t the greatest looking in single player but with two players on the battlefield it takes a notable performance dip and sees enemies popping in constantly and framerate noticeably dipping more than usual. Still, it’s a mode that is serviceable and most importantly, enjoyable. It was nice to talk to someone and co-ordinate attacks on different sides of the map instead of having to go into the pause screen to order characters around accordingly. Fire Emblem Warriors will be receiving a day one patch, so many of these issues in both co-op and single player may be fixed by the time it releases.

In addition to the main game, Fire Emblem Warriors also comes with a History Mode, which will present you with specific objectives to achieve in order to clear a stage. As you move through both History Mode and Story Mode you’ll also be able to unlock illustrations and a character viewer which are nice touches for fans of the series. Story Mode is the core of Fire Emblem Warriors though and that’s where most of your time will be spent.

For those new to the series, Dynasty Warriors-gameplay or Fire Emblem veterans, Fire Emblem Warriors does a nice job of catering to all. Its hack and slash is easy to pick up, the campaign presents a decent narrative to give you a reason to keep playing and while it won’t win any game of the year awards, it’s a good game to play for a few hours here and there.

Fire Emblem Warriors Review Conclusion

Easy to play with a satisfying, if over-simplistic, battle system but Fire Emblem Warriors does a good job of balancing a game that can be played by newcomers to Dynasty Warriors-style games, veterans of Fire Emblem or newcomers to both.

4/5

We tested Fire Emblem Warriors after receiving a review code from Nintendo. Fire Emblem Warriors is out on October 20th for Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS.

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