Fire Emblem: Fates – First Look

First of all, this is not a full review, it’s more like an “I have been building a nursery for my coming child but have also had Fire Emblem Fates for a week and this is what I think” kind of thing.  My amazing wife preordered the special edition for me as a Christmas gift so that is the edition I’m going to talk about.

Fire Emblem is my favorite game series currently in development.  It is close to my favorite, but Mega Man Legends will probably hold that place in my heart forever.  The last two releases have been stellar, but ever since I convinced my little brother to buy Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (even though he didn’t play it for years afterward because it was really hard) I’ve been in love.  I’ve played numerous fan translations, and all of the games that were released in English, and “Fates” is my favorite for sure.

Themes of Reliance and Community

I’ll start with my thoughts on the special edition presentation and awards first.  The box art is beautiful.  I haven’t even opened the 3DS carrying case because I’d rather keep it in good condition.  The hardcover art book is spectacular.  It looks much better than the one included with “Awakening” and is also quite a lot bigger.  There is concept art that covers locations, playable characters, NPCs, and enemies as well.  I love the pixel sprites and the pages of box art for every Fire Emblem release was a nice touch.


Full disclosure, I haven’t finished Conquest yet, but now that I’m getting close to done with my construction project I expect to sink more than a few hours into it this weekend.  The story is a Fire Emblem one.  Evil advisors, dragons, political intrigue, and maniacal laughing are here, and they’re as good as ever.  One thing I’m loving about the story of Conquest is the love between siblings, both natural and adopted.  I found the passionate care and even self-sacrificing behaviors of the adopted siblings incredibly touching.  The adopted siblings grew up together not knowing that the main character was adopted, but even when they found out that he was from a rival kingdom by birth.  Being a foster dad I am learning how to love those who are not naturally my own, but by the grace and the glory of God and for our good, now are.  Another theme that reoccurs at least in the first half of the game is reliance on others to complete impossible tasks.  We can sympathize with this in our battle with sin.  Without the help of the Holy Spirit, and the corporate body of believers, our church family, we would be helpless.  I hope that this continues, I’m engaged by the story, though as I have already mentioned, it is a Fire Emblem title.

Visual Enhancements

Both new and redesigned features make the game stand out from its predecessors.  Support between characters follows the same formula as in “Awakening” but is enhanced by its complexity and I feel that the conversations between the characters you often pair up are better than they were previously.  The pairing-up feature has become a must, if not in Birthright, absolutely in Conquest.  This feature has been the only way I’ve been able to beat a few chapters.  You get two characters to team up and based on what class/level and support level the characters have, attributes of the character you will be using are enhanced.  It is helpful to give a tank a bit more DPS or a rogue more defense when they need to be used to take out an enemy they may have an advantage over, but need a boost to resistance, speed, or whatever else is helpful.  A new feature is the “My Castle” part of the game.  

It boosts the multiplayer aspect and adds resource management, crafting, design, and character interaction is greatly benefited by this.  In regards to the multiplayer, you can take resources, buy from shops, be inspired by other’s creative layouts, and even challenge them to battle either in your castle or at theirs.  When editing/building your town you can build defenses and place units where you’d like in hopes of being able to keep the enemy team from seizing your throne.  There are some bonuses for fighting and defeating enemies who are at a higher level than you and your team which makes it fun and rewarding to use this feature.  DLC looks like it will be about the same as in Fire Emblem: Awakening, but most of it has yet to be released.  Another new feature is “Dragon Veins”.  A square on the battle map where heroes with royal blood may alter the map in some way.  A gameplay mechanic that is not available in Conquest, is free roam and grinding opportunity, which makes the game harder, but also lends itself to the urgency that is felt by each quest in the story being told.


The visuals are the best they’ve ever been. Skills initiating in battle look cool, my favorite is Dragon Fang, it reminds me of “Dragon Aspect” from Skyrim.  Another nice touch in the battle sequences is the background.  They reflect the environment and even include standing armies that help with the feeling of immersion.  The overworld map is quite nice, it looks quite realistic and the colors are lovely.  Character design is probably the best it’s ever been.  I love the costumes for most of the characters, though a few of them could use a few more inches of fabric.  Looking at the kingdom you build from the third-person view is enjoyable and I’m glad they included it, even though it doesn’t do very much.

If you are a fan of SRPGs in general or a seasoned Fire Emblem veteran like myself, I recommend this game wholeheartedly.  If you’ve never played an SRPG before, start with Birthright.  I cannot wait to finish, and see what the other two versions of the story and the DLC have to offer.

Leave a Comment