Ghost here, thanks for joining.
Just gonna get that warning out of the way. I have a lot to say about Fire Emblem Fates and that is compounded by the fact that it's actually 3 games.
If you don't have the patience for all of this just skip to the conclusion.
If you don't have the patience for all of this just skip to the conclusion.
Let's talk about Fire Emblem shall we? When it comes to video games there are few franchises harder to follow than Fire Emblem. Originally, Fire Emblem was a Japan only series until, to American's surprise, Super Smash Bros Melee brought over Marth and Roy into our collective consciousness. Due to the popularity of those characters, Nintendo decided to begin bringing the Fire Emblem series over to America and the rest of the world. That being said, not all of the games have been brought over and not all of them that have been released since they starting porting the games to our shores have been released to us either. In fact, the first Fire Emblem game we got localized was a prequel to a game we have never received.
Ready to make matters more confusing? Fire Emblem Fans often refer to each game as their number of release such as "FE13." According to Fire Emblem fans there have been 14 entries into the series. Now this shouldn't be a problem. With a simple numbering system you should be able to just go down a list and count them right? Well no, it's actually is more complicated than that. If you look up how many games there are in the series, there are actually 15 separate entries listed with one of these entries being four separate games and fates actually being three separate games; for those of you counting at home that gives us 20 Fire Emblem titles that only count as 14 games. To make matters even stranger one entry is considered both a remake and a sequel somehow, and two other entries are remakes of previous games yet they are all still counted in the numbering as separate entries in the story.
That being said, I see the 3DS games as being a sort of re-birth of Fire Emblem series as a whole. It's like they are finally learning some of their lessons from previous mistakes and confusions and making these titles more accessible and approachable for a modern audience. I am, of course, referring to the fact that both 3DS games have been released internationally, and both include a different casual setting to allow newer or unskilled players to enjoy these titles. Inclusion is always a good thing and it seems like this series is finally embracing inclusion!
So is Fire Emblem Fates the right path for you? Let's take a closer look
As they approach the capitol, Corrin runs into Elise who tells him that their family has completely fallen apart. She decides to travel with Corrin in the hopes of talking her father out of dying. The group also meet up with Camilla and Leo who are eventually convinced that Corrin is doing the right thing though they refuse to join him in fighting their own people. When Corrin reaches Xander, the two fight to the death with Xander overpowering Corrin. As Xander goes in to finish off his former brother, Elise steps in the way and sacrifices her life to save Corrin. Xander continues to fight Corrin who eventually wins striking a mortal wound to his former brother. Xander congratulates Corrin on finally fighting without hesitation and that though his heart told him that he was in the wrong, he couldn't help but continue fighting for Nohr as it's crowned prince. Finally, Corrin and the Hoshidan forces take on King Garon who practically kills Corrin. While in the spirit world, Corrin meets with Xander and Elise who encourage him to return and take down their father once and for all. Corrin does so as Garon turns into a gigantic dragon himself. With Azura going all out to sing the magical song, the team defeat the creature Garon and claim victory for Hoshido, ushering in a new era of peace between the new King Ryoma and King Leo. Unfortunately, Azura fades into the wind having used up all she had to secure victory.
With no choice but to turn on the land of his birth, Corrin leads the Nohr army into Hoshido attempting to maintain his non-lethal policy despite Iago, Hans, and Garon's presence. With some hasty movements and quick decision making, Corrin was able to capture his sister Sakura unharmed and imprisoned her for her safety. Next, he faced off against Takumi who began acting in a strange and maniacal manner; once defeated, Takumi jumped from the castle wall and vanished entirely. Hoping that his brother was safe, Corrin pressed on to the castle where he encountered his other sister, Hinoka. Although being ordered to slaughter her, Corrin took her weapons as proof of her murder and told her to flee quietly through the woods. Both Corrin's forces and Iago's forces convene outside the throne room where Ryoma sat in wait.
Ryoma is still partially willing to hear his brother out, but that changes when he is shown Hinoka's lance. Believing his sister to have been murdered, Ryoma fights Corrin in single combat. Ryoma is defeated as Corrin whispers to him that his siblings are still alive. King Garon appears and orders Ryoma's death. Corrin refuses but Ryoma simply gives his brother a smile and commits suicide; he knew in his heart there was a reason Corrin had chosen that path. As King Garon made his way to the throne, the other Nohr siblings have simply had enough of Iago and Hans' cruelty and the group turns against the Nohr army determined to rid their kingdom of that kind of filth. With both Hans and Iago meeting the business end of the sword, the children go to meet with their father only to find him transformed into a monster. Seeing that their father truly is lost, they defeat the behemoth but suddenly Takumi appears. Takumi has also been taken over by the same evil force as King Garon. Corrin refuses to fight his brother and is struck down by his arrows. In the spirit world, Corrin meets with Ryoma and Takumi who encourage him to return to the living world so that he can bring about peace and release Takumi's body from the evil possession upon it. Corrin's group defeats Takumi's body and restores peace to both kingdoms thanks to the combined efforts of the new King Zander and Queen Hinoka. Azura, however, returns to the lake she first met Corrin in and fades away from the world.
So, Corrin must find a way to gain allies and strength in order to take down Anankos before the skies change. Believing Hoshido to be the easier land to make allies, Corrin heads there and fairly quickly gains his sister Sakura, and brother Takumi who follow him despite his inability to explain who this "real enemy" is. Word has reached King Garon of Corrin's choice and he sends Camilla to kill Corrin. When she fails, Corrin invites her to be a part of the group as well. As Corrin's party tracks down more allies, they come across a port town where Ryoma and Xander are engaged in battle over a town being destroyed. Neither of the armies could see the Vallite forces who were actually to blame. Corrin destroys the Vallites and pleads with both of his brothers to trust him and meet at the bottomless canyon on the day when the skies change. Both princes leave Corrin to think upon his word. When Xander and Leo return to their father, they receive orders that both Nohr and Hoshido are to be destroyed, which doesn't set well with them. Why would their father want to destroy their home? Elise, who was eavesdrops on a conversation Iago and Hans are having about Camilla being with Corrin, decides to flee and join Corrin as well. On the day of the changing skies, Ryoma, Hinoka, Leo, and Xander all join up with Corrin in full trust. Ryoma and Xander agree to a truce between the two kingdoms.
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The preferred order to play these games is Birthright, Conquest, then Revelation. I can easily see why as they build upon each other and leave a couple of clues to the next game. Birthright is the feel-good option for your first playthrough as clearly Hoshido is the "right" choice. You get to be the straightforward hero while getting hints that maybe not everyone in Nohr is a complete jerk. Conquest is picking the harder decision of the two and dealing with the consequences of siding with the "bad" kingdom, while briefly learning that there is another kingdom doing something. You end up harming the people you grew to love in Birthright, but grow to love this set of siblings and characters just as much. Then, Revelation is just pure ecstasy wish fulfillment as you get to see the full picture and are allowed to have every one of these fantastic character that you have grown to adore join you on the adventure. I won't lie. When Xander and Ryoma shake hands and join with Corrin, I had tears in my eyes.
Now there is ONE drawback to the whole multiple games thing but... I'll get to that in a later segment.
If you are familiar with the gameplay mechanics of Fire Emblem
If you are NOT familiar with the gameplay mechanics of Fire Emblem
I'm sure there are a few other gameplay mechanics I could discuss here such as the hit rate (accuracy) and how certain terrain effects your movements, but what I've said above should give you a reasonable idea if you will like this kind of game or not.
What's Good About It?
While there are many aspects of this game which are good I'd like to focus my attention on three of them.
Lastly... you need to prepare yourself for this.
I'm not even joking here. The Feels Ocean is strong in this game and will probably overwhelm you.
For a game to hit so many emotional chords... that just really speaks to the overall quality of the experience.
What's Bad About It?
Lastly, If you want to get on my bad side then all you have to do is mention censorship. I am completely anti-censorship when it comes to entertainment outlets. The artists involved should always be able to produce the kind of content they want to produce and we should always be able to consume said product if we wish. Unfortunately Nintendo of America disagrees with this as they ended up censoring this game for our shores. They removed an entire gameplay mechanic where you interacted with the units by touching their face (not their body JUST their face) in order to gain more affinity from them. They also decided to remove certain outfits from the accessory shop. Japan was able to get multiple kinds of swimwear for their units but all we get is a bundle-some towel. While I realize neither of these things are main components of the game, I still feel that we have lost a portion of the experience. We should have been able to turn on and off those features rather than Nintendo deciding all of America wasn't fit for those features. I bet they aren't even that bad. Let's take a look at what all we were missing.
....I... Oh...well umm.... *cough*
Will You Press The Button?
Have you ever gone on that website where you choose to press the button or not? You know the one. You get to have something really awesome but have to deal with something strange, bizarre, or unfortunate because of that decision.
There are certain aspects of this game where I feel the developers were playing a "Will You Press The Button" and decided to press the button each time. As such I wasn't sure where to talk about them in this review so I put my own section here. Two specific examples came to mind where the game gave us something awesome but gave us something unfortunate in exchange.
Nitpick CornerIt's time for another nitpick corner where I gripe about stuff that doesn't really matter or change my viewpoint of the game as a whole.
First, one of the greatest features that I didn't mention above is this game's use of the Fire Emblem Amiibo. When you scan Marth, Ike, Robin, or Lucina into the game they will give you accessories and even join your party! It's something that's really fantastic. The only problem? Roy got an amiibo and for some reason they decided NOT to give him the same treatment as the other Fire Emblem amiibo. Why??? It's not like adding a few lines of dialogue and ONE more character would be that much!! Why does Roy always get the shaft?
Lastly, The Fire Emblem series is known for it's dragons. In fact, in Awakening (the game prior to this one) we also had a character or two who turned into Dragons like Corrin. Let's take a look at what Nowi turns into when she uses the Dragonstone.
That's AWESOME! It looks like a dragon and it's absolutely sweet!
..... a winged goat???? A WINGED GOAT?!?!?! are you kidding me???
I just... I can't even...WHAT? Why in the name of all things holy have we gone from an actual dragon looking dragon to a ripoff of Pokemon's Arceus??
Fire Emblem Fates is honestly a fantastic trilogy of games. They are full of fun, challenge, laughter, personalization, and emotion. If you think that you would enjoy a turn based strategy game with varying goals based on both European and Japanese culture then you might want to take a look at these games. Yes, it is probably going to be difficult, but remember that Phoenix Mode is your friend. Nobody says you have to beat it on Classic or Casual mode your first playthough or even at all! Fates is an excellent spot to jump into the series as you don't really need to know anything about the previous games to enjoy these titles.
I highly suggest playing them in the preferred order of Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. It doesn't matter if you are new to Fire Emblem and unsure if this is the series for you or if you are an old veteran wanting to play through all of them. There are a few old veterans who only want to do Conquest and Revelation; I can understand that as Birthright is the weaker one of the three. That being said, if you skip Birthright you are missing out on some great moments and getting to know some great characters better. Pick up your copy today and choose your own path to victory!
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