Fire Emblem Fates offers three different paths. This review will be covering the Conquest path, which allows players to align with the Nohrian army.
Nintendo 3DS: 39.99 USD
Fire Emblem Fates was one of the most anticipated titles of the year, following Awakening’s major critical acclaim. But can this game carry the Fire Emblem torch? Or does it fall short of achieving its goal?
Fire Emblem is a game series where players must traverse through several missions with varying objectives, from seizing castles to slaying powerful bosses, in a strategy experience that truly makes every move count. While for years a permanent death mechanic has made the games very high stakes, Awakening started the trend of offering a casual mode, that would allow dead units to respawn in the following chapter. Casual and Classic Fire Emblem are two entirely different experiences. That being said, both have a lot to offer. If you’re more about experiencing the story and having a relaxing yet still somewhat challenging experience, I’d recommend playing casual mode. If you’re a longtime series veteran who wants to run the risk of forever losing a unit due to an enemy critical hit, by all means do that as well.
As a series veteran, I do a playthrough of both casual and classic, as they again make for very different experiences.
Fates: Conquest is a special game, mechanically speaking. Arguably the most unique of the three paths, it incorporates the best of Fire Emblem games past. Unlike Birthright and Revelations, Conquest offers survival missions, where players must maintain a stronghold for aseries of turns while fending off Hoshido forces. Conquest also has very specific circumstances under which combat may take place. In other words, no grinding in this game. Awakening allowed for quite a bit of grinding, which made the game much different, and much more in line with a traditional RPG, so in this sense, Conquest is staying true to its roots, offering the mechanical uniqueness that has made the series so well loved.
In saying this however, there are some key flaws that I feel prevented not just Conquest, but all three paths of Fates, from reaching their full potential. For one, I’m a man of narrative for certain, and the story in Fates fell very short for me. Since the game was announced, Birthright, Conquest, and Revelations were advertised as separate paths and game experiences. While mechanically, they do serve as that, the story feels very broken. It feels as though Conquest in particular answers a lot of Birthright’s questions, but still leaves you with an incomplete story. There’s not much else that can be said without spoilers, but at some point I want to do a critical analysis of Fates’ stories, after I review all three paths.
Level design in this game is nothing short of fantastic. From docks and boats, to fancy concert halls, there is no shortage of beautiful level design in Conquest. This is complimented by the immersive and fantastic soundtrack, and the incredible transitions between map navigation and combat. While the story didn’t quite do it justice, Conquest mechanically stepped things up to the next level. The skills, classes, weapons, and units are deeper than they’ve ever been, making for the best Fire Emblem gameplay to date. Conquest lacks skirmishes, so unfortunately if you choose this path, you won’t be afforded the opportunity to explore the beautifully well crafted world outside of the main story.
My Castle is an incredible feature, allowing limitless customization over the barracks that your units will relax in during their downtime. It also allows you to select from the expansive game soundtrack so that even while roaming aimlessly, getting minor bonuses and rare items, you can enjoy the game’s unique atmosphere.
Amiibo functionality is very interesting in this game. It is compatible with the Marth, Lucina, Ike, and Robin amiibo. I only own the Marth amiibo, but the characters are fantastically redone in a truly consistent likeness, and they’re all but a bit overpowered. Especially with them all coming with their sacred weapons. They’re still a fun addition to the team, and would make any true Fire Emblem fan feel nostalgic.
A big element of these games that appeal to a large crowd is the support system. Support is when characters gain enough affinity to have a special conversation. There are four ranks of support, C, B, A, S. These conversations do plenty, from giving more insight into character backgrounds (which is pretty awesome) to giving stat bonuses to characters with high supports when they’re near each other. This is good because it adds a special element of world building and a deeper layer of strategy. However, it’s bad because they shoehorned in the “breeding” aspect of Awakening that allowed kid characters to exist. It was absolutely pointless, and in a game that takes its storytelling so seriously, it was a shame to see something added into the narrative just to appease fans of Awakening.
As a whole, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is a fun game with a lot to offer. While it may not measure up to Awakening in a lot of ways, in a lot of others it stands tall and proud on its own. I wouldn’t recommend only playing one path, as the game is incomplete without playing all three, but if you were to pick one, Conquest would be the place to start.
Thank you all for reading! Fire Emblem is a series near and dear to me, as I’ve been a fan for many years. I liked Fates, but I still wish some things had been handled better. The posting day has come to an end, unfortunately. Only just kidding it hasn’t. Because guess what? I will be making a very special announcement later on this evening! But in the meantime! For more on Fire Emblem and other titles, your one-stop for gaming news, reviews, and exclusive content, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!