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STORY

Overall score 82

The Fire Emblem series is the next franchise to get merged into the style and gameplay of Dynasty Warriors. Similar to Hyrule Warriors on Wii U and 3DS, the game is a mash-up featuring the action gameplay of Dynasty Warriors, but with the characters of Fire Emblem. When first announced, I was actually quite excited for the game. Hyrule Warriors turned out to be a neat game, but it was still an odd mix. With Fire Emblem, I felt it was a choice that made much more sense for the Dynasty Warriors style. After playing a lot of Fire Emblem Warriors for the Nintendo Switch, I’m happy to say that it was indeed a great choice to mix the two, and that I was genuinely surprised at how well they not only meshed together but how much fun I had with the game overall.

I’m no stranger to the Dynasty Warriors games. I’ve played several games in the series, so I’m already familiar with the style of game this is and how it plays. Didn’t mind them that much, but I will admit that I’ve never got too into them. I was hoping with Hyrule Warriors that I would come to enjoy these types of games more, but even the heavy Zelda influence wasn’t enough to keep me attached to the game. I eventually dropped the game after several hours of play. So coming into Fire Emblem Warriors, I did have some doubt on whether or not I could stick with it.

Fire Emblem Warriors plays just like the other Warriors game. It’s a heavy button mashing action game that will have you controlling a character that goes up against hordes of enemy waves. Multiple objectives will be given to you along the way, so its not only about just taking out a lot of enemies. Also, just like with Hyrule Warriors, the crafting system returns where you can use the various materials picked up in battle to power up your characters with things like extending their combo attacks, equipping them with unique skills, or even taking less damage from certain attacks.

*Reviewer’s Note: Just wanted to be clear that this review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game. The game is also available for New Nintendo 3DS systems as well, but I’ve no experience at all on what the game is like on that system.

THE GOOD: While much of the core gameplay of Fire Emblem Warriors is what you already expect, if you’re familiar with Dynasty Warriors or Hyrule Warriors, it’s the additions that were made thanks to the Fire Emblem side of things. First of which is the strategy style that the Fire Emblem series is based off of. Before battle, and even during, you can select any of your units on the field and give them orders. It’s even presented in a overhead view with the sprites you see in a Fire Emblem game. Really captures the feel of a traditional Fire Emblem title.

Another element that was added is the familiar weapon triangle that the FE series is well known for. Swords beat axes, axes beat spears, and spears beat swords. So if you’re a character with a sword, you’ll gain a big advantage for fighting enemies that are equipped with axes. While being at a disadvantage should you encounter enemies with spears. Even other weapon advantages are included, like Pegasus Knights being extremely weak against bows.

Even more smaller things were added like characters leveling up during battle, which even plays the FE jingle along with it, and even promoting them with a Master Seal. A Classic mode option that causes units who fall in battle to be permanently unavailable in future battles. A revive option is available though for these characters, but it does come at a steep cost of materials. There’s also a pair up option like in the most recent Fates, where two characters can travel the battlefield together to combine special attacks and help gain bonds. Speaking of bonds, Support Conversations are also present between the characters. So seeing some of the most recent cast of characters interact with past characters is a truly unique thing to experience, especially for long-time fans.

Along with the story mode, which takes a good few hours to complete, there’s also the History Mode. It’s a mode that pays homage to certain events that play out in past Fire Emblem games. Not all FE games though, as it’s tied to the cast that is featured. Still, it was neat to see certain events be played out as they did in their respective games. It will also provide a lot of good challenge for those who are deeply invested in the gameplay. Neat rewards can be found here too, like materials to fully upgrade a character’s legendary weapon and even unlocking secret characters. It’s a lot of content too that helps greatly expand the experience beyond the main story.

The presentation is great as well. Has a nice look, but nothing too special. Does a good job at giving off that feel of being a powerful character that just destroys armies, as you can see multiples of bodies being flown into the air with your attacks. Has a nice option too where you can choose to have a higher resolution with reduced framerate or a lower resolution with a higher framerate. One thing that I wished was better was the draw distance with enemies. Even on the performance setting with the lowered resolution, enemies would pop in all the time, which would cause brief confusion since I would run into an empty battlefield, then suddenly have a huge army appear on top of me. Wasn’t too huge an issue, but just something to keep in mind. Other than that, the game ran quite well.

Just like with the most recent Fire Emblem Echoes, this is yet another fully voiced FE title. From sequences before and after battle, small banter during battle, and to the Support Conversations, it’s all voiced. It was nice to see characters who didn’t voice much or at all during their games to come more into life thanks to finally being able to speak fully. Paired along with this is a decent soundtrack as well. Featuring some original stuff, but also some nice remixes of familiar tracks. For me though, having the fully voiced cast is what makes it. I was happy to see FE Echoes be fully voiced and it’s nice to see that continue with this release, even if it’s not a traditional FE game. I hope that this further confirms that fully voiced is a standard now for FE games.

THE BAD: As much as I enjoyed Fire Emblem Warriors, it’s still very much a Dynasty Warriors game. Not a bad thing as this is what’s expected, but those who have always disliked those types of games, will likely not change their mind with this release. I will say the Fire Emblem additions certainly made me enjoy the game much more than other Warriors titles, but it’s still a very repetitive experience with not that much variation from battle to battle. Some neat ideas to change things up, but just know that this is still very much a Warriors game.

The story is also not that great, which can cause some to struggle with playing the game. I didn’t mind the new main characters, but they’re also not anything too special when compared to the cast of Fire Emblem’s past. Story overall seemed a bit too generic in most parts and also predictable. Was hoping for something a bit more, and what’s present just felt like something that was quickly put together in order to serve as an excuse for them to have all these characters in the same world. While Fire Emblem Heroes on mobile great either, I felt like it handled that stuff better. I had some enjoyment with it though, mainly thanks to the gameplay.

Finally, there’s the cast of characters that’s featured. Fire Emblem is a long running series and has a huge cast of characters. While I understand the need to feature the recent cast of characters, it would have been nice to see the past games be more represented. Fire Emblem has gained a lot of popularity thanks to recent releases, but I also think there’s a need to better promote the past characters too. Much of my time with FE was with recent games, but I’m also very curious of the more classic titles in the franchise. Would have been nice to have seen those characters in order to help draw interest, especially if Nintendo ever decided to remake more past games.

OVERALL THOUGHTS: I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed Fire Emblem Warriors. Even if I felt it was a great mash-up, I had some doubts since past Warriors games never hooked me for that long. Thanks to my love of Fire Emblem and the way they merged a lot of Fire Emblem elements into the Warriors formula, I found a lot to enjoy with this game. Still a lot of button mashing, but the fan service that can be found was more than enough to keep me engaged. With future DLC planned, I’m looking forward to continuing my time with Fire Emblem Warriors. I just greatly hope that they consider a sequel or at least with some future DLC, to bring in more characters from past games that weren’t represented. If you’ve any interest in Fire Emblem at all, then I would highly recommend Fire Emblem Warriors, as long as you are fine with the fact that this is a Warriors game. Even with no interest in Fire Emblem, I still think this is a great action game that may be still worth checking out if you’re looking for more games to play on your Nintendo Switch. Definitely the most fun I’ve had with a Warriors title.

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