You may have heard, but the United States is going through a difficult decision this year. There are two political sides vying for control, each with their own candidates and ideals. Some put up an honorable front; some use vile deceit to achieve their goals. But one side MUST be chosen. Yes, that’s right–! The new Fire Emblem games are out!
What? As if you NEEDED more Trump jokes. Anyway, there are two versions you can buy: Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. In both games you design a lead character that starts out in the nation of Nohr. That’s them on the left. They raise you as their own family, keeping you locked away in a castle. But zounds, it turns out you were kidnapped as a child: The guys on the right, the Hoshidans, are your TRUE blood relatives! What to do? These mighty nations are at war, and BOTH want you to join their cause. The first five stages let you sample each side of the conflict and then, THEN you must choose who to align yourself with.
I didn’t really know all of that before I went into Gamestop, though. I just made the cashier show me the boxes and I picked the cool guys in dark armor. I still had to make the choice I spoke of earlier, however. The other faction’s side is available as DLC if you own either physical game. And at half price, too. Very nice.
Alright, now for the actual gameplay. I’ve heard that Conquest is the tougher of the two, and what I’ve seen so far is quite difficult. However, these levels are without a doubt the most entertaining levels I’ve seen in a Fire Emblem game. The previous game, Awakening, had two big problems: all the enemies on the map would just rush you, and the reinforcements would appear from nowhere and rush you on the TURN THEY APPEARED. What a crock. Fates brings things back to how they used to be: some enemies chase you, some stand guard, and the reinforcements give you a turn to react before they start running around.
Not to say this is all easy, however. The reinforcements ARE timed for maximum pressure. Did you just engage the boss? They’ll pop out of the nearby stairs. And most levels have effects that either you or the enemies can trigger. Freeze a lake. Flatten a wall. Use wind to blow entire armies all over the place. And if you think you’ll be able to creep forward in formation at leisure, think again: some of the missions are timed. “Beat the bosses in 20 turns” sounds like long enough to do what you want, but in the end I was pulling out all the stops just to get the final hits in on the paired up generals. It’s hectic and awesome.
And yes I’m playing on the mode where any unit death is permanent. You can play with “rez mode” turned on, however, so go ahead and do that if you want.
There is something else you need to know: There is way more “sim” crap in this game. You can make a main base. Build shops and statues. You can get married. You can make a little treehouse where your spouse will show up on the bottom screen and kiss you from your character’s point of view.
Most of the sim stuff is optional, though. I only married off my main character for the support stats: everyone else is single. I mean, it’s not like I care about that nonsense. Just get me into the next thrilling battle, am I right? I certainly don’t fantasize about buxom women ogling my avatar.
Ha,ha,ha. Enjoy the chapter. I have to go, uh, fight more battles.