Fire Emblem Warriors Review – Giant Armies and Giant Expectations
Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja
Platform: Nintendo Switch*, New Nintendo 3DS
ESRB Rating: T
Release Date: October 20th, 2017
*The Switch Version was used to review this game
Thank you, Nintendo for providing a review copy!
“Fire Emblem Warriors” has been the pipedream that fans of both Musou and Fire Emblem games have wanted for years. With Koei Tecmo game polls and fan UI mockups being posted on the internet for years, seeing the announcement at the Nintendo Switch conference earlier this year was a dream come true for so many people. Since then we’ve learned information about the game that has become very divisive among fans. Does this game live up the expectations of both sets of fans? Or does it fall to being overly ambitious like so many other games today? Today we take a look.
If you played “Hyrule Warriors“, or any of the other Koei Tecmo developed crossover musou titles you know exactly what kind of story you’ll be getting. Characters stupidly misunderstanding each other for an excuse to fight them, ancient prophecies, people turning into giant monsters, etc. Sadly, Fire Emblem Warriors is even more underwhelming than the majority of other crossover games from a story perspective due to the source material having a rich universe for stories to be told. Most if not all of the characters introduced in the game serve no purpose to the story, and only exist for a line or two of dialogue so the player even knows they exist. The ending is extremely underwhelming and doesn’t really do anything other than suggest a sequel that would completely defeat the point of the final boss’s defeat.
Although the Switch is weak by modern home console standards, the game still delivers mostly solid visual presentation. The game presents two graphics options: 1080P/30 FPS with a few frame drops and 720P/60 FPS with a mostly locked frame rate. The visual effects and level designs are faithful to the franchise and does not become over stimulating during battle. The handheld mode plays at 720P/30 FPS with a few frame drops here and there but not enough to become distracting or take away from the gameplay experience at all.
Fire Emblem games have been known to have overwhelmingly well received soundtracks. This game takes some of the most memorable tracks from the franchise and makes amazing remixes and medleys with them. A lot of the sound effects and notification noises have been taken straight from the Fire Emblem games associated with them and honors them well. Other than that there isn’t much to say about the audio design, it’s what every franchise honoring game should try to achieve.
Fire Emblem Warriors isn’t creating any new gameplay concepts or reinventing the wheel, just taking a really basic wheel and putting a good polish on it. It has your basic musou gameplay with a few unique twists like the weapon triangle found in Fire Emblem. This creates a rock paper scissors format in your character’s weapon use which promotes creating a team with a good balance of weapon types. It retains the base capture found primarily in “Hyrule Warriors” and “Samurai Warriors” respectively. Characters can use the pair up mechanic also found in Fire Emblem that allows them to rank up their support level and unlock conversations between characters deepening their bond.
This part pains me the most to talk about. As a long time Fire Emblem fan, my soul felt a deep pain when I read the game would only include only the most mainstream games in the franchise. As we saw earlier this year with “Dragon Quest Heroes 2”, you can honor a series with a musou spinoff and nail nearly every major game in the series with roster representation. The fact that a dearly beloved franchise like this one with nearly 20 years to its name only has a roster with characters from three games. I would count the inclusion of Celica and Lyn but they are only available post completion of the story mode due to them being added in last minute. This was more than likely due to the complaints of the base roster. It is honestly insulting to fans of the series that have been playing since before “Fire Emblem Awakening”’ released. Aside from the roster complaints, the game’s main story mode takes around 10 hours to complete on normal difficulty. During the game you will unlock “History Mode” which allows you to visit maps from the few mainline games represented with the ability to unlock previously mentioned characters like Lyn and Celica. These will give you a fair amount of post game content, though not nearly as much as “Adventure Mode” found in “Hyrule Warriors”.
To say that the game is a disappointment would be unfair. It does its job just fine, but doesn’t really fully satiate the appetites of Musou game fans or Fire Emblem fans. This is a decent spin on the musou game formula, and some elements from each respective series blend quite well together. Some areas of the game have lots of love to series veterans, while other areas feel like a spit in the face. If you’re in the mood to carve up hundreds of pegasus knights while jamming out to the main theme of Fire Emblem this is the game for you. That being said, if you’re looking for the older games to get any screen time or relevance you will have to look elsewhere.