For my 3DS Game of the Month for May, I’ll be featuring a game from one of my all time favourite video game franchises. This is a game that might not have existed if the previous instalment didn’t sell well, so that’s something I’m extremely thankful for.
This franchise has got a fair bit of representation within Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U – something I love seeing, but others may not be as thrilled about it as I am.
Regardless, the game I’m featuring is the fourteenth entry in the series, though only the seventh one to get an international release.
Fire Emblem Fates is the second Fire Emblem game released on the Nintendo 3DS, and I was able to get my hands on the Limited Edition, as seen above.
The Limited Edition contains a steelbook, double-sided poster and artbook, as well as a Fire Emblem Fates cartridge with all 3 paths on it. I’ll get to that in a moment.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Fire Emblem, the game is a turn-based tactical RPG. You are given control of a group of characters, directing them where to go and when and who to attack. Once you’ve finished moving your characters, the enemy moves theirs and gameplay continues like that.
Obviously you don’t have to attack – there’s a whole myriad of choices available, depending upon the circumstances.
A key part of the Fire Emblem games since Genealogy of the Holy War (that would be the 4th game, originally released on the SNES) is the weapon triangle. Swords beat axes, axes beat lances and lances beat swords – always a good idea to keep that in mind when you’re attacking the enemy. That’s just the basics.
Throughout the game, you have access to a guide that will explain the different mechanics and such, and you always have access to the electronic manual.
I’ll talk about the game’s story, since that is related to the previously mentioned 3 paths.
Much like Awakening, you create an avatar – you might know this character better as Corrin, from Smash Bros.. You set the gender, body type, hairstyle and name for the avatar. Smash Bros.‘ Corrin is pretty much just the default.
Anyway, the avatar serves as the main character for Fates. They find themselves caught up between the kingdoms of Hoshido and Nohr – the avatar was born in Hoshido, but was raised by Nohr from an early age.
The first few chapters play out like you’d expect, but come chapter 5 you are presented with a choice.
You can choose to side with either Hoshido or Nohr. There is a 3rd option, though it isn’t available to everyone just yet.
If you choose Hoshido, you’ll get to play the ‘Birthright’ route. This is the easier of the two routes, which presents you with the option to freely grind for money and experience.
Siding with Nohr will get you the ‘Conquest’ path, which is harder and limits the experience and money you can earn.
The third option is to simply refuse to choose a side, which leads to the ‘Revelations’ path. This one is best saved for after you’ve completed both Birthright and Conquest, or at least that’s what the game tells me.
Whereas the previous Fire Emblem games had a European-style medieval fantasy thing going on, Fates has a far more Eastern feel.
We have ninjas, samurai, shrine maidens and characters with Japanese names, amongst other things. I have to say, I really quite like that.
A new feature in Fates is ‘My Castle’. As you play through the game, you gain access to a castle where you can freely build shops and such. This castle serves as a base of operations, so its a very good idea to build some shops so you can restock on items.
Though saying that, weapons no longer have finite uses. This does result in stronger weapons having slight drawbacks, since weight is no longer a factor (and hasn’t been since Awakening).
Staves still have a limited amount of uses, which doesn’t exactly seem fair to the classes that only use staves…
Naturally, you’ll be wanting to take at least one staff user with you, since if you choose to play Classic Mode, once a character dies, they’re gone for good. This has always been one of the main draws of Fire Emblem.
Characters can have support conversations, which results in you learning a bit more about them and giving them a stat boost when they’re in the vicinity of the person they’ve supported.
Through these conversations, you generally come to find that you grow attached to the different characters and watching them fall because you accidentally left them within an enemy’s range becomes a heart-wrenching event.
Much like Awakening before it, this game features two generations of characters. Getting an S rank Support between two characters can result in you being able to recruit their offspring.
Talking of S rank Supports, these are no longer limited to just heterosexual couples. Both the male and female avatar get one character of the same gender that they can S support, and thus marry. The male is only in Conquest, whilst the female is in Birthright. Both characters appear in Revelations.
If you do decide to go for the same-sex marriage, it does prevent the avatar from having any children. Still, multiple playthroughs are pretty much encouraged.
As you can see from that packaging pictured above, Fire Emblem Fates has amiibo compatibility.
Naturally, the amiibo you can use with Fates are the Fire Emblem characters – Marth, Ike, Robin, Lucina and Roy. It’ll be interesting to see what the Corrin amiibo will do once that is released.
Anyway, scanning an amiibo will net you gifts from them the first two times. The third time, you’ll be able to battle them. Winning the battle allows you to recruit that character.
From what I’ve played of Fire Emblem Fates thus far, it’s certainly proving to be a worthy follow-up to Awakening. For the moment, I’m playing through Birthright, and naturally I fully intend to play through Conquest and Revelations after that. Fire Emblem Fates is going to keep me occupied for a fair while.
Oh, and then there’s all the upcoming DLC as well…
I could probably write about Fire Emblem at length, and I recommend reading my post all about yuri within the franchise by clicking here if you haven’t done so already.
With that said and done, I’ll now go back to playing the game.