Fire Emblem Fates Impressions
Choosing your Fate is hard to do…
On Friday, February 12th, I had the opportunity to go out and see the newest entries in the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, for myself. Actually, a lot of people had the opportunity to go see it, and for that, I apologize: I did not know it was open to those outside of the media, or else I would have posted about it here. By the time I learned this, I did not have the chance to do so; I can only hope that these pictures of the displays they had set up inside event will help make up for it.
I have a bit of a confession to make here: my interest in new Fire Emblem games is kind of weird. Generally speaking, I’ve only been paying light attention to Fire Emblem Fates up until recently — enough to keep up, but not to go in with a thorough knowledge. For whatever reason, leading up to the launch of a new game, my interest is generally faint. That is, up until the final few weeks leading up.
For the last week or so, I’ve found myself with a serious craving to get my hands on this one. The same thing happened with Fire Emblem Awakening, which I loved as well. Going to this event has only stoked the fires further. Of course, I think the video for Corrin from The Final Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Video Presentation helped a bit as well.
Though I didn’t get to see very much overall (there are three games to this release, after all — the aforementioned, plus Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation), but I did like what I got to see.
One of the big changes I like the looks of is the alteration to your home base/barracks in “My Castle” mode. It’s more like a full home turf now that you can build up as you need and see fit, and there’s a handy element where you can switch the camera angle from a traditional top-down view to a 3D rendered view of the map. This carries over into the battles, too, as positioning is more important than ever, as the shifting view changes to reflect where you are on the map directly.
In a way, it kind of reminds me of what Dragon Quest XI is doing for the Nintendo 3DS, with 3D graphics on the top screen and a retro-styled top-down view on the bottom, though these instead shift from one to the other. Much as I’ve always liked the way they’ve done battle in the cutaways before, this new prospect excites me, especially as it seems you can now team characters up in new ways.
Another big change is the addition of a new sort of difficulty mode. Fire Emblem Awakening had the classic “lose a unit and they’re gone for good” option, but added another (which I preferred) that would revive fallen units as a battle concluded. Fire Emblem Fates includes both of those and adds a new “Phoenix” mode, which revives a fallen unit on the next turn. That sounds like a bit much for my tastes, but for those who value the story above all, it should be a handy option among some of them.
Functionality with amiibo figures is pretty cool, too. Using any of the already-released characters from the Super Smash Bros. line of figures, you can basically “invite” them to see your castle, and they’ll give you different pieces of equipment on the first two visits. A third time will allow you to engage them in battle, and potentially recruit them to join your fold.
On the downside, there is no word at this time of any functionality with the Corrin amiibo. There’s no release date announced for those yet, though, so hopefully they’ll reveal something cool when the time comes.
Oh, and then there’s StreetPass, where you can visit other players’ castles to engage them in battle on their home turf. This sounds fascinating for the number of potential combinations that may arise as people build up their castles.
That’s all I really have to say about it from the limited experience for now. With any luck, I’ll have the opportunity to review at least one version of the game. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright is supposed to play a little more traditionally, whereas Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest adds an extra hook in that you have to factor in resource management as well. Either way, it sounds like an intriguing prospect to take on for fans of the series!
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest both release on February 19th, 2016 in the Nintendo 3DS eShop and at retail for $49.99, and purchasing one allows you to get the other as downloadable content for a reduced price of $24.99. A third branch, Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, reveals what would happen if you chose neither of the previous paths, and will be available as downloadable content for $24.99 on March 10th, 2016.
David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.