Initial Release: 28 September 2017
Despite its shortcomings such as its plot and shortage of characters, they can easily be forgiven by how it’s addictive and challenging some of the missions can get.
The Fire Emblem series is notorious for its ruthless turn-based mechanics that require intensive planning and careful strategy unless you wanted your units to die. Forever.
Dynasty Warriors on the other hand, is a hack and slash where you can literally massacre hundreds of enemies with the mash of a button and feel all-powerful – all while epic rock music plays in the background as you do so.
These two game styles may seem like a mismatched recipe for disaster but Fire Emblem Warriors actually manages to provide a solid structure, combining the tactical strategies and blending it perfectly with the addicting nature of the hack and slash gameplay.
It does an incredibly good job of incorporating integral elements that Fire Emblem is known for, from support pair ups, permadeath and most importantly, the weapon triangle. Usually in any Warriors game, regardless of weapon or playstyle, enemies would easily be bested if your level was high enough – and this was also the mindset I initially had. It wasn’t until my overpowered Camilla got one-hit KO’d by an archer (and he wasn’t even a boss), did I realise how important of a role the weapon triangle had in the game.
Weapon advantages and disadvantages are key to how fast or slow you are in defeating an enemy and is provided on the preparation screen, allowing you to plan in-depth which characters to use and their routes to take – delving away from the simple routine of equipping your weapon and just starting the fight.
While the game places you in the shoes of the royal twins, Rowan and Lianna, you are in no way limited to these two as you are able to freely swap between playable characters on the battlefield, allowing for you to literally take the helm of battle yourself. Even if you’re not controlling them, a variety of orders can be given from attacking a specific enemy or even guarding a base or another unit.
This makes it feel more like a Fire Emblem game with Warriors mechanics, making full use of tactics and although it can get a little overwhelming, there is never a dull moment, with the grind becoming a satisfying continuity of beat them ups.
The majority of potential playable characters in the games are from the Awakening and Fates series, two newest titles in the series, and the influences in the game are prevalent as it draws upon similar plots, makes use of the their theme songs and “True Musou”, a gauge a character can activate in Dynasty Warriors for stat boosts, is renamed to “Awakening”. It makes sense as they are the most popular titles to date and as 3DS-exclusives, it’s refreshing to see characters upgraded with shiny high definition models complete with over the top battle sequences and attacks.
Although seeing all these characters come together in one universe is a dream come true for many such as myself – the actual plot and the reason as to why they’re there in the first place is weaved together confusingly – reminiscent to Fire Emblem Heroes, albeit less detailed.
To summarise the plot, Rowan and Lianna must traverse the kingdom in search of “gleamstones” possessed by heroes of other worlds, in order to prevent the resurrection of the Chaos Dragon, Velezark. However, the way in which they find the other characters is almost too conventional, though this isn’t too much of a problem as Fire Emblem games always tend to have simple storylines – provided it involved a kingdom and a dragon. At one point, it almost seems as if the game is self-aware as a character points out the ambiguity of his own origin story.
While the game does cater more to fans of Fire Emblem, it doesn’t alienate new players to the series’ either and can be relatively easy to pick up. Outside of the story, there is also a History mode in which players can reenact slightly altered events from the original games and unlock a variety of bonuses such as items and even additional characters.
The only true downside is the small roster of playable characters. For a universe as big as Fire Emblem’s, while it’s understandably impossible to add every single character, the game definitely could’ve substituted some for ones that are more coveted and beloved (*cough* Like Ike). It would make sense if the plot required some vital reason to have these specific characters only, but as it doesn’t, I would’ve definitely prefered at least two or three from other titles.
In terms of multiplayer, the game allows a second player to join at any point of the game in both handheld or docked mode although the latter is preferable due to how busy the splitscreen can get, it can become easy for your eyes to get lost at certain points. And in those moments of pure massacre and destruction, there was also a noticeable FPS drop that lasted less than a second but it was manageable – so despite the dissapointing lack of online multiplayer, it was probably a good call on their part.
It is difficult to judge Fire Emblem Warriors separate from either of its source material because of how well it successfully manages to blend the two so perfectly. At its heart, its a Warriors game, but they’ve managed to keep it so true to many of Fire Emblem‘s quirks – from sound effects to the gameplay, that it doesn’t just blend into the many spinoffs and stands out on its own. Despite its shortcomings such as its plot and shortage of characters, they can easily be forgiven by how it’s addictive and challenging some of the missions can get. This was made for the fans – and it clearly shows, so if you’re a fan of Fire Emblem, definitely take a break from those cursed RNG-based battles and let off some steam with some of your favourite characters.
Verdict: 8 out of 10
We were provided a copy of the game by Nintendo for review purposes