Yo, we’re about to dive into some major late game conversation. So if you have yet to play all three paths of Fire Emblem Fates, including Revelations, turn back now. If you want a spoiler free review of the game’s Conquest path, head here!
To be unequivocally clear, I have been a long time fan of the Fire Emblem games dating back to my young teen years. Sacred Stones always held a special place in my heart, and I loved Fire Emblem Blazing Sword and Awakening. So any critiques I have for Fates only come from a place of love for the series. To be blunt, I loved Fire Emblem Fates, but I absolutely hated the story. Characters felt very singular in their execution. Events were often unexplained or hidden behind unnecessary pay walls. If you wanted to experience Fire Emblem Fates in its entirety, at least from a narrative perspective, you’d have to pay something close to $105. Thankfully, I got my hands on the special edition early on, so I got to experience all of Fates as intended.
Last spoiler warning. We’re getting into the nitty gritty here! Spoilers for Fates and Awakening ahead.
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright opens a lot of doors. It shows you a lot of possibilities, and gives you glimpses of what could have been, should you have chosen the other route. It was no doubt the most “vanilla” of the paths. It was weak willed in execution, without really allowing the same level of emotional string tugging that Awakening had.
The best thing that was done in Fire Emblem Awakening was the death of Emmeryn. Being Chrom and Lissa’s sister made it sad enough, but the level of helplessness that the situation showed was incredible. But it wasn’t abrupt. It had build up. Three chapters of a wild goose chase trying to protect Emmeryn, only to find that she was set to be executed. Then, when you confront and defeat Gangrel’s army, he does his last ditch villainous deed to try and steal the Fire Emblem from Chrom. Then there was a whole chapter dedicated to grieving Emm. She was a voice of reason for several chapters. The pacing set events in motion at the right time.
Almost every event in Fates was abrupt, without reason, and without a chance to truly process it. You meet the mother character, Mikoto, and within mere minutes of gameplay, she’s gone. We don’t get to see the Hoshido siblings grieve, and that’s probably the worst part. Nothing tells you more about a person than their grieving process. A lot goes on during the processing of grief, including, arguably the most charming trait about Fire Emblem characters, the setting of goals. Grief causes you to make plans and follow dreams. Emmeryn’s death made Chrom want to be a king. It turned vassals into soldiers. It shook the political world, and it strengthened the loyalty between Chrom and Robin.
Mikoto’s death made no impact. All it did was further instigate a war with some of the arguably most dispensable casualties in this entire series. I don’t want to continue going on for too long, so I’m going to segment this off into various parts. But this was a big complaint I had with this game.
Fire Emblem Fates is mechanically strong, but the narrative falls very short in my book. For more on Fates and other cool strategy gems, come back soon for more from the GAME ROOM!!!