I’ve been a fan of the Fire Emblem series for a decent while now. I always love playing through those games to scratch my turn-based itch, but I don’t always want to play a game that requires strategy and prior thinking. I was really happy when I saw Fire Emblem Warriors got announced. I had previously played Hyrule Warriors and really enjoyed that game so I figured it would be a no-brainer for me to pick this game up. The game I wound up getting was pretty different than I expected.
Fire Emblem Warriors, since it is a Warriors game, plays pretty similar to any other game in the Warriors series. You get different hero characters with crazy abilities and go and mow down sometimes 5,000 enemies while capturing forts and battling a few different boss characters. What surprised me was the number of elements carried over from the core Fire Emblem franchise. The weapon triangle (sword beats ax beats lance beats sword) is present as well as some of the other weaknesses such as flying units being vulnerable to archers and armored units being weak to magic. You also have pair up where you can have a unit join up with another and perform combo attacks and increase their bond. In addition to that, there were some other features I hadn’t seen before in a Warriors game such as being able to deploy multiple different units onto the field and being able to give orders to those other units instead of just leaving it up to the AI to hopefully (and not successfully) make the right decision about what it should be doing.
In this game, while there is a story mode, it is a very small portion of it. If you plan on playing lt for any real length of time, you will be spending most of your time in the History mode. This mode offers different maps to complete that look like different big points from throughout the games being represented in this crossover. These maps look very similar to maps from the regular games in the Fire Emblem series. These maps have enemies on them. Each of these enemies represent a different battle. When you are hovering over the enemy, it details what type of battle it is, what level it is on, and any special modifiers present. There is a lot of variety here with these different battles and that is really nice since I’d say about 95% of the game is here in these history mode maps.
Gameplay, while being something I did enjoy, wasn’t anything too different from any other Warriors game. You had some new mechanics to bring over some different features from the Fire Emblem series, but I wouldn’t say any of them were that big of a change. What I found to be the biggest draw for this game is the characters. For this game’s roster, they mainly took from three games in the series plus two bonus characters from some other games. This game’s roster is main thing I constantly see people complaining about. The Fire Emblem series has had a lot of games released for it over the years so you are likely to have a lot of differences between people for what their favorite game is. It doesn’t help either that while the total number of games number greater than fifteen, the total number of games released in English is closer to five. As you can probably guess, the roster mainly coming from three games in the franchise did upset some people, but I personally was happy with the choices.
The plot of the story was serviceable. It had a few twists and turns, but most of it can be easily figured. It wasn’t bad, but I was expecting a bit more with it being able to pull from the Fire Emblem lore. With this story also comes a few original characters. I found the two playable ones to be enjoyable while the non-playable one to be decent, but I have seen a lot of people that really liked him. For me, the best story was in the History mode. For each of these maps, they carried over the story bits from the games they were from with a few changes. For the retellings, they only used characters in this game so you had some interesting replacements. It was just corny enough to make me really laugh. Other story bits present are unit conversations that you unlock from pairing up units. Every unit in the game has a few different discussions they can have with other units that can help to flesh them out a bit more and really add in the main point of having a crossover which is to see different characters that’d never meet up normally interact with each other.
What I’d say that Fire Emblem Warriors does best is the sheer amount of content it has. Each unit has a decent-sized skill tree to level them on that requires resources. These can take a bit to get, but while you are doing that there is also all of the History mode maps to try clearing. There are also extra unlocks for getting an S-rank clear on all of them which can be really challenging to get until you are way over-leveled for that particular mission. There are also all the support conversations to try and get which requires you to pair up different units. You also get a reward for this pair up by getting special items which you need to get in order to give one unit’s special power to another. Some of this stuff is admittedly busy work, but it is all stuff I still want to do. It might not be for all, but I feel like it is decent extra content that can keep you motivated to play for a long time.
The audio in this game is overall pretty good. Now, the music is not the greatest thing, but I do adore the voice acting. The music is all remixes from across the Fire Emblem franchise and they are okay, but none really stood out to me. They work as background tracks, but I never wound up liking a song enough to change it for whatever level I was playing. For the voice acting, the game offers English with a free DLC download for the Japanese version if anybody wants to play with that. I myself prefer the English dub, but I know there are certainly some that would want to play with the Japanese version so that is a plus to the people that want that. I found the English voices to be well done, but there were some things I noticed. Not all of them had the same voice actor as the game they were from so if you really liked that original voice you might not like the changes.
There were also a few repeat voice actors. I only really noticed this once and it was with a DLC character sharing a voice with another from a different game in the franchise, but I did notice when looking that up a fair decent number shared voice actors. Most of these I wouldn’t have ever noticed without looking it up so I’d say they did a pretty good job. A good bit of this game is voice acted which is also pretty nice. Sound effects were pretty decent, but it wasn’t really something that stood out unless you were preforming a special attack.
Graphics are not the strong suit of this title unfortunately. Everything looks okay while you are mowing down a horde of enemies, but if you ever stop and just look at the textures you can tell they are not the best. I will give it that with how it does gameplay with a lot of enemies on screen at once, I understand why it can’t have better graphics, but it is still a negative especially if you really do want awesome graphics. Player characters look pretty decent, but they do have a bit more of an anime feel to the models than a realistic feel. Some of the outfits characters can get can be a bit excessive in design, but there hasn’t been one that I haven’t enjoyed. Animations seemed to vary in quality depending on the situation, but the ones such as those that play once you beat a mission seemed to be really nice. Level design was a bit on the simpler side, but there were some really cool choices for levels that kind of made up for the more basic level design. I found the controls to work fairly well and I never noticed a problem with stability.
There were a decent number of moral issues I found present. There were some characters that had a bit more revealing outfits and there were times when the camera would zoom in on those more exposed bits. There was also an update that added in broken armors which for some units were them in their underwear, but most of those came from the DLC since the two outfits given for free were not that revealing. There are some underage units that can also get these broken versions, but the ones I’ve seen for them are not as revealing as some of the ones for other characters. There are a few characters that say a bunch of innuendo and some other dirtier sounding things. Magic is very present including darker forms of magic which is used by both enemies and the player. Finally, there is some mention of in-game religions and religious figures. They don’t go into too much detail, but if you are familiar with the lore you’ll be able to pick up on it. There are some instances of crude language and minor swear words being said.
There are currently three DLCs released. Your first DLC is the Fates pack which adds in some more characters from Fire Emblem Fates, three new History mode maps, and some new weapon modifiers and mission types. Overall, this is a pretty decent pack. It is the only way to get a spear user that is not on a pegasus and the first dancer unit which has nice support abilities. The second DLC also gives three heroes, three History mode maps, and more weapon modifiers and mission types, this time from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. This is a nice pack that adds in some more legacy units. It adds in another ax and tome user to help get you a few more of them. The final DLC is just like the others, but this time it is all from Fire Emblem Awakening. This one had my favorite additions with being a fan of all of the characters added, although they don’t add in as much new as the previous two packs did. Overall, these packs are nice and really help to add more content to the game and I’d highly recommend getting them if you enjoy the base game.
Fire Emblem Warriors is a game I really enjoyed playing. It has issues, but the fun I had while playing dwarfed any issues I ran across. My biggest negative is the game can be a bit grind-intensive, but if that was not the case I probably wouldn’t be playing it still. There is some DLC to get that can add in some more freshness, as well as more content, but it really looks like that is the last of it with the amount of time that has passed with no new announcement.
-Paul Barnard (Betuor)