Strategic button mashing.
There are a lot of Warriors games on the market. I mean, like a whole lot. So when Nintendo announced it was bringing its Fire Emblem series into the fray, I wasn’t shocked. After the success of Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem seems like an ideal fit for the genre. The question was would developer Omega Force simply paste the format we have all come to know onto these existing characters, or bring some of the series’ trademark strategy elements into the mix. Thankfully the answer is the latter, making Fire Emblem Warriors more than just a simple reskinned entry.
Fans of the series will recognize a lot of familiar faces in the campaign. Marth makes an appearance, which is about the extent of my Fire Emblem knowledge. The story itself never gets a foothold though. It feels tossed together and sloppy. It is impossible to tell which universe this game takes place in, nor does it seem to care. The main protagonists are a set of twins having to seal away a dragon, but outside of that, it is all over the place. It never really matters though because of its insanity. It adds charm to the chaotic game play, so it works.
Platforms: Switch (reviewed), 3DS
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
On the surface this feels like any other musou game. Players wipe out entire armies while mashing the same combination of buttons. What Omega Force did here though, was add in some of the strategic elements from the Fire Emblem series.
The biggest shift in focus is multiple characters. Early on the game gives players access to multiple characters on the battlefield. Switching between them is as easy as tapping the d-pad. There are also a lot more objectives on any given map. This means a lot of planning, strategy, and micro-managing. It becomes hectic. Keeping track of every possible encounter on the mini-map is nigh impossible. Switching characters also quickly becomes a necessity as the AI simply cannot handle the more complex missions. It can be overwhelming, but when it works, it is also immensely satisfying.
Characters also feel more unique here. Omega Force has implemented the traits and abilities of the various characters into their combat repertoire. Using each strength to push forward is extremely rewarding. There are also team-up attacks between characters, and of course the lavish super moves which fill the screen with visual treats galore.
There is a lot going on in Fire Emblem Warriors. This means that fans of standard musou games might be turned off by the complexity. Mashing buttons for combos is still fun, but this game requires more. Again, these types of games are usually as strong as their source material. If Fire Emblem fans can get past the wonky story, there is a ton of fan service and care dripping at every corner.
Content wise this game also delivers. There is the campaign mode as well as a History mode that takes players through classic maps from the franchise. Looking for a challenge? Then ratchet up the difficulty. This also incorporates permadeath, a series staple, along with consequences for actions. Again, fans of Fire Emblem will appreciate the amount of care taken to make this game feel like more than just another musou game.
The art style and characters also transition into 3D nicely. The super moves are some of the best the series has ever seen, and the stages are ripped right out of the Fire Emblem games. It looks spectacular whether I was playing in portable mode, or on my 4K TV set.
Fire Emblem Warriors continues the excellent port of Nintendo’s franchises into the world of musou. The little additives from the franchise translate well into the genre. The art style is outstanding and the combat is just as fun (if not repetitive) as it has always been. This is another solid entry for Nintendo’s latest machine.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.