This is my first Musou game and also the first time I ever played a Fire Emblem game. Like many here in the west, I learned about the franchise when some of the characters from the series were included in Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Fire Emblem was originally a small obscure JRPG game but rose in popularity with western gamers through the Super Smash series, which is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises behind Mario and Zelda. The game is a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Fire Emblem and is not the first time Nintendo crossed over with other franchises besides Mario and Rabbids. Nintendo also collaborated with Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja before with Hyrule Warriors, a crossover between the Zelda franchise and Dynasty Warriors. The game is made by the Dynasty Warriors developers Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja with assistance from the original developer team Inteligent Systems.
The game mixes both tactical elements from the fire emblem series and also the hack and slash elements of Dynasty Warriors. The game’s story focuses on twins Lianna and Rowan, the prince and princess of Aytolis, who are forced to flee their home when a group of otherworld invaders raid and capture the city. This event is the catalyst that brings together many of the heroes and villains from across the Fire Emblem universe fighting the ruthless invaders. Lianna and Rowan havet to unite with other Fire Emblem heroes in order to stop this threat invading their worlds and find out who is behind this.
The game is pretty lengthy with about 20 levels. The story itself is not original or memorable but the characters remain true to their original counterparts. There was even the occasional plot holes or things being left not explained in full detail. The detailed graphics looks really good either on portable or docked on the switch and the anime art direction of the Fire Emblem series is there as well. The resolution is certainly a big step up from the 3DS version.
As you progress through the game you earn new, allies to help you in battle from many different eras of the Fire Emblem history. Before you go to combat, there is camp feature where you prepare yourself for battle. You can purchase new weapons, armor and get blessings that improve the odds during combat. In addition, you can also sell weapons you do not want anymore. You can place your allies in different locations of the map and you can give them various commands such as attacking a target or defending a location. There is an option to auto battle where you can watch your allies fight and complete objectives while giving out commands.
The game has many different customization options for gameplay. One of the most notable features of Fire Emblem is permanent death which is carried over to this game. You could revive fallen allies at the temple and you could set a feature while you are setting up the game to have fallen allies carried over to the next mission without consequence. Otherwise, you can turn this feature off and have allies carried over even if they fallen in battle, to use for the rest of the game. You can also customize battle situations to make combat slower and easier or faster and harder during gameplay. The classic mode customization feature is there for more traditional fans of the Fire Emblem series. You can have up to 4 characters during combat that you can switch at any time.
The game is very accessible to both newcomers and returning Fire Emblem fans.
You can utilize a variety of different weapons from bows, spears, axes, swords and lances. Each weapon has its advantages and disadvantages and you can choose the right one depending on the type of combat. Weapons are classed from D to S and they can be assigned different skills such as increased damage to armored enemies or being able to stun enemies for a certain amount of time.
The control system for the game is easy to utilize and were very comfortable.
Characters can use two different types of special attacks known as Awakening and Finisher during combat and each character you select has their own type of special attacks. The way to activate these attacks is to kill a lot of enemies during combat. During combat, you can also link up with allies to support you and this allows you to increase the potency of the special attacks and give you more health just in case you are in an intense fight.
There is a large amount waves of enemies in the game and there is variety of them as well. Later in the game, enemies can turn into monsters and this is where you can get much more rarer items to use for crafting new items or perks. Each mission you embark on has multiple different objectives from capturing forts, defeating high ranking enemies to rescuing allies. The missions have different conditions of failure. If a fort falls into enemy hands, then its game over. Capturing forts not only increases the morale of the foot troops during combat, it also allows you to use the captured forts weapons against the enemies. Besides forts, you can take over enemy outposts which gives you more foot soldiers to help during battles. Enemies will stop at nothing to reclaim their forts and you have to defend them whenever possible.
As you progress through the game, your characters levels up after defeating waves of enemies and this increases their stats from magic to agility. At the end of each mission, the character with the most kills is referred to as the “MVP” which will level up and increase the status of the character that stood out in combat.
You can play as many different characters from the Fire Emblem series like Marth, Chron or Robin. They all have many different abilities and classes and with each class there is a different type of character growth system that helps differentiate characters from each other. If someone is a Wyvern rider or Pegasus Knight, she will be able to fly across gaps in the battlefield that other characters cannot go through. You can even upgrade the level of your classes and be able to access more powerful weapons and perks by finding master seals at each mission. You can even change the terrain of battlefields in some missions by finding Dragon Veins which allows you to access different areas that you cannot reach through normal means in the game.
You can bond with your teammates by either completing sub objectives or finishing the mission and having them as your support member. You can raise them up to level “A” and you earn personal items from them which can be used for getting new perks for your characters which is pretty useful. Every time you use the support system with a character, it increases the bond between characters.
The game has a wide variety of perks with either reducing damage or increasing the charge meter. Sometimes Anna, a store merchant who pops up for a limited time appears and you can pick up art pieces that form a bigger art design. She only appears after you have killed a large number of enemies during combat.
During combat, you can go on sub missions which are activities like protecting a civilian or stopping a soldier from calling reinforcements. Completing these sub missions will increase your bond with your teammates or you get a potion as a reward for your services and this can really help change the odds during battle.
You can take a look at the artwork you have found in the gallery mode in the main menu. The art style is very vibrant and it mixes in both the anime style of fire emblem and Dynasty Warriors. The battlefields settings are nicely detailed and are mostly different from one another. Each environment has its own hazards either be it from lava or magic and each combat mission feels different from the other.
You can replay previous missions to find stuff that you have might missed or to play with different characters in the roster. In addition, you can also play the missions in various levels of difficulty and each has its own rewards exclusive to the level.
There is a large amount of extra content in the game to unlock. After beating the game, a new level of difficulty called Lunatic is unlocked where the challenge becomes very hectic, challenging and intense. You can unlock multiple different costumes for characters such as Robin having his female counterpart being available to be used in combat. You can rewatch cutscenes you have already seen.
History mode is another feature where you can relive many of the well known battles throughout the series. You unlock them after completing missions.
If you own any of the Amiiibos of the Fire Emblem characters, you can unlock special weapons instantly that represents each character you own. The music was also quite good with some of the songs from the other series making an appearance.
I found some pretty strange flaws with the game. The voice acting is hit or miss and it can be pretty hammy at times, because of the occasional melodramatic and unintentionally cliched dialogue. The villains especially have very cheesy dialogue. Lip synching is a little bit off sometimes and sometimes, subtitles don’t even appear and skips over to the next line of dialogue. Some of the fights in the game could actually have been avoided as they were the results of minor misunderstandings. These same characters become your allies later on even though you and your team have just about massacred their own side as well.
There are really not that much different classes in the game and you will often feel like you are mostly playing the same characters during combat. This is done for padding the length of the game and is completely unnecessary.
Many of the strategic features Fire Emblem is well documented for is downplayed in this game in exchange for more combat oriented instead of tactical elements. Also, many fans would be disappointed that some of their favorite characters are not in the roster and are left out as paid DLC. The characters that are DLC should have been in the game in the first place even if it could only have worked as side stories. Some of the enemies in the game take many hits to be killed and this can take a while, especially the final boss. This causes the game to drag on and can be distracting. The characters for me are a bit hit and miss. Chron was my favorite character as he was the most level headed and calm, compared to the twins who were very one dimensional and flat. Lucina was also calm, collective and way more likable too.
Lianna is melodramatic, naïve and quite impulsive. Rowan on the other hand is very brash, impulsive and over eager to the point of recklessness and he is way too boastful and arrogant for his own good. They spend a lot of time in the game bickering unnecessarily and they often jump into action before thinking things through. One of the most annoying characters in the game is Orwain Dark. He Is not only very melodramatic his feeble attempts at humor falls flat or comes off as cheesy and annoying.
Every time you want to select an option there is an annoying pop up voice every few seconds. In addition, the dialogue boxes in the game happens every few seconds with the characters saying many different things all at once can be very distracting. Especially when you are busy doing something and something else happens all too quick without you having the chance to focus at the main task at hand.
There is no real villain until the end of the story and only then you start to know who is behind this very late in the game. Even then, the main villain does not really have a clear goal on why he is really invading the Fire Emblem worlds. The other villains in the game are merely evil for the sake of being evil and are more of a nuisance than anything else. They are mainly the archetype dark image who is powerful and wants to take over the realm and none of them really stood out from each other.
Despite the terrible dialogue and other flaws, this was a fun game and I enjoyed This gets about 4 stars out of 5.
If you enjoy Fire Emblem and Dynasty Warriors, you are going to find enjoyment from this game. I look forward to playing other Fire Emblem and Dynasty Warriors games eventually.