Review: Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch/3DS)

Fire Emblem Warriors is a new game from Tecmo Koei coming out October 20th for Nintendo Switch and 3DS. Like many other ‘beloved franchise’ meets ‘Dynasty Warriors’ games that have been released in the last few years, Fire Emblem Warriors does a great job being appealing to fans of the original franchise, even if they might not be the biggest Dynasty Warriors fans.

I admit that I am one of those people; I love Fire Emblem, and I’ve played every one religiously since the Gamecube and Gameboy Advance games were released (I sadly was not aware of the series earlier than that), but I’m not a Dynasty Warriors fan. That being said, I really enjoyed Fire Emblem Warriors.

The characters are almost all taken from the 3DS games (both Awakening and Fates), although there are plans to release more characters through DLC in the future. The game boasts two main modes, Story and History Mode. Story Mode features an original story with new characters, the prince and princess of the Kingdom of Aytolis, who are charged with getting the five gems to complete the legendary ‘Shield of Flames’ to save their world. These five gems, according to legend, can only be obtained by receiving them from legendary heroes from another world, so it’s super convenient when portals start opening up in Aytolis from other Fire Emblem game realms, dumping popular characters from Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates into the prince and princess’ path.

In case you can’t tell, the story in Story Mode is pretty ridiculous; still, it’s nice to be able to play as these characters in a more action-oriented game. History Mode has a much better story, but that’s due to it taking well-known scenarios from other Fire Emblem games and letting you play them out, including the final battle from Fire Emblem Awakening. If you haven’t at least beaten Awakening and Fates, and are planning to do so in the near future, be warned: spoilers for those games abound in Fire Emblem Warrior’s History Mode.

The basic gameplay in Fire Emblem Warriors is the same as pretty much every other Dynasty Warriors game: you string together a bunch of light and strong attacks to form combos and destroy hundreds upon hundreds of enemies. Where FE: Warriors really shines is the little Fire Emblem touches they’ve added to the basic Dynasty Warriors concept; characters level up (complete with the little Fire Emblem song), have skills you can assign them, have the ability to equip different weapons to them, and you can even use a master seal to level them up to a higher class, just like in the normal Fire Emblem games. They even utilize Fire Emblem’s classic weapons triangle (Sword > Axe > Lance > Sword). You can still smash your way through anything, but it’s better to be strategic when choosing which enemies to fight with which characters.

The best part, however, is definitely the level over-map. There’s usually about 4 playable characters on a level map that you can freely switch between, plus random amounts of support characters that are un-playable. By going to the over-map (which looks like a classic Fire Emblem battle map), you can assign both playable and support characters to go to specific areas, battle specific enemies, or protect certain characters or units. As someone who gets easily overwhelmed by the chaos that usually happens in Dynasty Warrior games, being able to pause and pull up the over-map, then leisurely decide where to send people, is a godsend.

Overall, I really enjoyed Fire Emblem Warriors. The graphics are good, it plays well, and while the story is a bit ridiculous, it’s nice to see characters I enjoyed in other Fire Emblem games in a different setting. If you’re not a Fire Emblem fan you might want to skip this game, but for Fire Emblem Fans that aren’t that into Dynasty Warriors, I have no problem recommending this game. If you happen to be both a Fire Emblem fan AND a huge Dynasty Warriors fan, then you should just block out your whole weekend to revel in this game now, because you’re going to need it.