To clarify about the title, it’s in essence a review of the game. But, I do not consider myself a professional or even unprofessional reviewer, so I chose to avoid the word. Opinion suits me much better in my opinion (heh). Also because I won’t be assigning any numbers to the games. Just a recommend or don’t recommend.
To start off, this is a review of all three paths of the whole game, not any one of them, as the experience of Fates is incomplete without playing all three of them.
A brief description of the game
Fire Emblem Fates is the 14th instalment of the series and it’s story places you where you need to choose between the family you were born in or the family that took care of you till adulthood. The path you choose decides the story and the events that unfold.
Now then, the positives
Gameplay: The gameplay of Fates is easily amongst my absolute favourite in the series, rivalling Radiant Dawn.
- Pair up as it in this game is a really good way of changing up the gameplay and is really fun. It also makes for some really great battle scenes, seeing four fighters at once, sometimes attacking together, other times defending one another. It’s also much more intuitive than Awakening’s implementation.
- The addition of a large number of Japan based classes are a plus. While the sheer number of them can get confusing, more options are better.
- The simplified RGB triangle was alright and probably necessary to make sense of the large number of weapon classes in this game. (I just wish the magic triangle returned. Ah well).
- The removal of limit on supports is a huge plus, as it really lets people grind for supports and get a much better picture of the character in just their first run.
- The removal of weapon durability… didn’t take away that much from the game. Although it did prevent the “Too awesome to use” weapon dilemma that players earlier sometimes had.
- My Castle is neat. It is quite useful to see your characters taking on different job in the various buildings, which adds to the immersion.
So, overall, I have no complaints with the gameplay. I wouldn’t have sunk 150 hours into the game otherwise.
Level Design: Conquest and Revelations hit it out of the park. They are by far the most innovative maps I’ve seen in any Fire Emblem game, which is saying a lot. Dragon veins feel like a lame excuse to add changes at first, but they seriously do run with it in some really fun ways.
Characters: This is really subjective territory, but in general, the character designs are pretty par for the course of the series. Generally likeable personalities and designs, with a personal quirk or two. No complaints there. While the addition of child characters was kind of pointless for the story, they are quite well designed and likeable, so I’m not complaining there either.
Music: Oh god, the music.The music in Fire Emblem Fates is absolutely phenomenal. Fire Emblem had always had top notch music, and Fates even managed to surpass that. Absolutely incredible. It knows how to get the player pumped up for any battle. Rena Strober did a wonderful job with Azura’s song too, and the endgame battle theme is fan-tas-tic.
And now the negatives [SPOILERS AHEAD]
Story: The story of FE Fates is easily its weakest point. It has numerous issues, such as
- The lopsided nature of the branch of fate. The game makes it seriously hard for anyone going in blind to pick Nohr, due to how Mikoto and Garon behave. Moreover, Conquest never really makes you feel like you did the right thing by choosing Nohr, unlike how it is in Birthright. I thought the favouritism ended there, but apparently nope. Revelations takes it even further, with Mikoto and Sumeragi getting expanded upon while Garon remains a one scene wonder.
- To continue on the point, the fact that no villain in the game is from Hoshido. Iago and Hans are both Nohrian and later on so the another late game Revelations villain. To give then credit, it’s not all black and white, as Mokushu is also based on Japan is treated as evil.
- Now, world building. This is one area where the game falls seriously flat. You may remember older games like Path of Radiance, Sacred Stones and Binding Blade all began with introducing the continent the game is based in, as well as the various countries in it. Or at the very leastn they were explained between the chapters. Very little of that happens in Fates, to the point that the continent the game is set in doesn’t even have a name.
- As for problems within the story, Conquest in a mess. Besides never feeling that you’re on the side of Justice (Arthur’s battle cries do start feeling bittersweet and ironic towards the end of the game), the way in which the plot progresses makes no sense at all. I can give it a slide as real wars do sometimes have flimsy reasons like this, but if you really want people to get invested in your story, then please avoid it. It also took away from the sacrifices that came in later. I personally felt more like they died for a foolish cause.
- Revelations is okay… it would have been better if Valla was actually mentioned beforehand. The supposed curse on mentioning Valla was a rather weak way to keep the story moving forward. If they instead treated Valla as something only believed to exist in legend but actually exists, it would have been better. Though I am grateful for the Ace Attorney esque twist towards the end. That was amazing.
Misc. negative: The… *ahem* Bonding feature is tacky, to say the least. While some people may appreciate it, I don’t think it adds anything worthwhile. Then again, this exists, so I can’t complain, I suppose. 😛
Fire Emblem Fates is a good game. While the story is not quite as good as compared to the rest of the series, it does enough with its gameplay mechanics and level design to make the games enjoyable and worth your time.
Hours Sunk: 150
Yes, especially to first time Fire Emblem fans.