Fire Emblem Warriors (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 18.10.2017 8

Review for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo Switch

After the success of Hyrule Warriors, it was only a matter of time before Koei Tecmo and Nintendo continued their close relationship to convert another classic franchise into a Musou brawler. Out of all of Nintendo's properties, Fire Emblem was a no-brainer, and puts a new spin on what fans have come to know from the turn-based strategy series.

Purely based on the strategic elements the franchise has always done so well, Fire Emblem is one of the most fitting titles to bring into the Warriors realm. Few could argue at the choice of Nintendo IP after having already pleased the majority with a Legend of Zelda collaboration. Spanning over ten games and almost thirty years' worth of fantastical stories and characters, there is a lot to work with for the expert Musou teams at Omega Force and Team Ninja.

There has always been a strategic side to Warriors games, no matter which mainline or subseries it is, and so the blending of the two franchises here has all the makings of a perfect match. Of course, Warriors is a real-time beat 'em up first and foremost, so by incorporating Fire Emblem's pre- and mid-battle tactical options, Fire Emblem Warriors becomes the game that Warriors fans have been waiting for for some time.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo Switch

The story is nothing to write home about at all - it's one of the most clichéd excuses for a crossover there is, as it brings together multiple characters from various Fire Emblem titles - and the voice acting can be especially grating. Nintendo has confirmed that Japanese voices will be available to download in a separate update on launch day, though, so that's a relief. That said, Warriors fans will know all too well how frustrating these games are because it is near impossible to read the pop-up text during gameplay when voices are all in Japanese, so it is refreshing to finally play one with English to help keep the eyes fixated on the action.

The campaign follows a very linear path of mission after mission, with only one slight branch that splits two ways for a few missions, then veers back onto the continued path to the endgame. It would have been appreciated to have some free reign, perhaps tackling side missions and recruiting different characters at the will of the player, in a similar fashion to Warriors All-Stars, but instead, all characters that can join your team do join your team as the stages are tackled.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo Switch

For anyone unfamiliar in how a Warriors game generally works, hacking and slashing is the core of it, with purposefully weak enemies littering the screen, and players cutting hundreds and thousands of them down in completely over-the-top vein. Special moves add to the flashiness of it all, and with a pair-up feature that Fire Emblem fans will recognise, two characters can pull off twice the mayhem on their poor victims.

The goal, though, is to take down the commanding soldiers of bases dotted around each map, effectively claiming these forts as your own, reducing the amount of area the enemy controls. Sub-missions crop up now and again based on developments in the mission, such as needing to claim certain forts or rescuing villagers from foes surrounding them and escorting them to safety, but there is usually always a boss to defeat to finish the stage.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo Switch

What is especially respectable is just how much of Fire Emblem's identity has been successfully incorporated into the Warriors setup here. Little things like stage hazards such as fog and damaging regions like lava and poison, the aforementioned ability to pair with other allies to increase stats, striking up bonds with characters through pair-ups or rescuing and healing them, and even the weapon triangle system where sword users beat axe wielders who beat lancers - these are all seamlessly integrated into the gameplay, making this feel just like a real-time Fire Emblem game.

The story mode doesn't feature enough variety in its stages, though, so more areas with the fog and other such hazards, as well as some more unique main and sub-missions as a whole, could have boosted the quality - but the core Warriors gameplay will always prevail, so that may have been asking for too much.


 
What of the strategy elements, then? Well, even though there is a decent selection of characters on offer, the choice still feels a little thin. There are notable omissions from the line-up that one feels either will make their appearance through DLC, or have had to be cut due to there being so many sword users (mostly ones with blue hair, at that). Despite that, there is enough choice and recognisable faces to pick from in each mission. Up to eight can normally be selected, depending on the size of the map, with four main characters that you can cycle through in real-time during the level. The remaining four allies are partners that will act independently, but can be paired-up with, just like any of the other primary characters you've picked.

Before battle - as well as during it, with a press of the pause button - you can direct your units to go and attack particular enemies or take over bases. The strategy comes in the form of thinking about the weapon triangle system and sending characters that have an advantage over others to battle certain foes. Additionally, Pegasus knights can cross gaps on the map foot soldiers can't, so the usual Fire Emblem tactics apply.

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Being able to alter these tactics and take control of the mains you've picked allows for swift action during stages, which really helps to keep the battles flowing, reducing backtracking. As long as useful allies have been chosen, battles don't generally become too difficult, and there isn't always a necessity to apply strategic commands in battle - but difficulty options are there for those looking for extra challenge. Aside from the weapon triangle system, there isn't much in place to offer any great degree of depth in the combat - but again, it's a Warriors game, so nobody should be crossing their fingers for Devil May Cry levels of beat 'em up action.

Aside from illustrations, character models and system voices, there isn't much to unlock in the grand scheme of things, and modes are lacking when compared to Hyrule Warriors. That said, the History Mode - the other core mode of the game after the campaign - will likely be where most time is spent. Using famous scenarios from Fire Emblem titles gone by, players jump into a familiar looking turn-based grid, selecting which enemy to defeat, and then being thrown into a full-on Warriors stage.

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Different goals apply in each one, such as defeating as many enemies as possible in the time limit or defeating a certain enemy on the map, and returning to the grid afterwards defeats that enemy on the map. With the minor storyline playing out at certain intervals, and the main boss to conquer on this grid, as more enemies come in to fill it up, strong rewards can be found here, as well as more illustrations. Future DLC will add more of these scenarios, as well as other characters, but for now, History Mode is really the place players will return to once the story mode is done with.

Whilst there are limitations on what can be done with Warriors games, there was certainly no lack of effort in Hyrule Warriors, so it's a shame to see only two main modes here. Thankfully, free modes are in place once maps are completed in the story mode, and there is indeed a two-player option for a friend to join in at any time - although sadly no online co-op.

As a last gripe that may or may not bother some people, whether this is the work of Nintendo or one of the main developing teams on the game is unknown, but the constant voice chatter in menus is incredibly annoying. Upgrading characters and weapons and such means there will be a lot of voice lines confirming or denying things for you, but when it gets to a point where the system voice is telling the player to sit at an adequate distance from the TV in a brightly-lit room, and then judging them for playing the game late and asking if they need help getting to sleep when on the main menus…that's just too much. There is no reason for such reminders to not be shown in text form on loading screens. Whilst the intentions might be good, with no way to turn this noise off other than to alter the character spouting it or lowering all voice volume entirely, it just comes across as intrusive.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Despite making the most sense out of all Warriors crossovers so far, Fire Emblem Warriors hasn't quite lived up to its potential after the content-heavy Hyrule Warriors. Some questionable character omissions and a lack of modes, as well as an extremely subpar core narrative, is offset by relying on past scenarios in the History Mode. Fans of both sets of franchises will surely get good enjoyment out of this, though, as the strategic elements of Nintendo's long-running series meshes perfectly with the real-time combat of Koei Tecmo's property, creating one of the best Warriors entries, whereas it falls short of expectations as a spinoff of the RPG series.

Developer

Koei Tecmo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I've heard a lot of people complaining about the roster. I'm not a big enough follower of FE to realise the impact, but over at GAF they're speculating that's why sales have been lower than expected so far.

I wonder if Nintendo plans to push this more with a drip-fed DLC policy to stretch out sales for longer than with Hyrule Warriors.

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
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Roy is probably the biggest omission, and based on the titles of the DLC packs, not sure if he's still gonna make it in unless they plan to mix the packs up with characters from any of the games. No Path of Radiance characters either, like Ike and his crew. I figure it's possibly because there would be too many sword users (and so many with blue hair - they all look the same!), but also because they wanted to focus on the newest games. The 3DS titles - Awakening in particular - seemed to revive the series, so can understand that, but still think Roy and Ike are two of the biggest names that should be there.

DLC planned for December, Feb and March, and I guess they would need to try and prolong the life of it anyway, releasing in the shadow of Mario Odyssey and soon Xenoblade 2. Will be difficult for it to perform well, but honestly, I'd just imagine people will be saving up for Mario. I guess it's just great to have all this choice for Switch owners right now, but FEW will probably suffer for releasing a week before Mario.

Shame really tho - the FE elements work perfect for Warriors, and would be cool if they could carry some of that strategy into future Warriors games - but this should have been more than it ended up as. Still a really good Warriors game that I hope the DLC continues to add to...but won't be happy if they overlook Roy and POR characters. It sounds like the DLC stuff is already set in stone too, so doubt we can expect new modes like Hyrule Warriors brought in.

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

Undoubtedly as a big Fire Emblem fan it's hard to overlook this, and I've definitely been warming up to the idea of purchasing it but it seems that its not quite the complete package yet. Perhaps once the DLC packs have been released it might look more attractive.

I found Hyrule Warriors quite repetitive, however I do feel like the lore, settings and characters lend quite well to the Warriors concept. I didn't feel that Zelda was quite the right franchise for it, (albeit being quite cool). 

Funny that people often berrate Nintendo consoles for not having any games yet this quarter has seen/will see some amazing games and DLC packs (BoTW). I'm holding off buying games like Rabbids, Pokken, Warriors and Xenoblade because I just don't have the time to play them. 

Speaking of which, I reckon Xenoblade might be the next game to recieve the Warriors treatment Smilie 

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

Well, I think Nintendo's learnt a bit from the disastrous Wii U and knew they had to keep software strong. Granted, there have been ports and lo-fi releases that have been expanded with updates, but they're doing the right thing by ensuring there are first party titles available each month.

Doubt Xeno will get a Warriors spinoff. Needs some more games under its belt first if that's ever gonna happen. I would wager Final Fantasy as being lined up eventually, certainly after Dragon Quest got the treatment in two titles. But Dissidia coming next year might push any possible FF Warriors back a bit. I'd love to see one tho.

But yeah - Warriors games have a strong repetitiveness to them, so it's wise to only really purchase one with characters that greatly appeal to you at the right price. At a few less quid, FEW will be worth it, but as the crossover that had the most potential, it sadly didn't live up to it. However, I have to say that there is a bit more going on in the History Mode than I first realised. Lots of challenges awaiting in there that will prolong the life a little bit, provided you can tolerate the hacking and slashing.

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

The thing is the games on the WiiU weren't overly bad, it still has a great library of games to be honest.  Although the game pad is a bit clunky I do feel that the WiiU is a bit hard done by. It had the stuff that people are asking for now in the Entertainment apps and Virtual Console. Collectively the games in the 4 years of the WiiU aren't too bad. With that said though Switch's first year has been pretty stellar but then I look at my most played games being MK8D and BoTW and it makes me wonder...

Haha, don't get me wrong though I do love my Switch!

To be honest even if the price came down on FEW I'd still suffer from the problem of a lack of time to play it! Let alone all the games I mentioned in my original post there are a tonne of indie games that need to be played like Axiom Verge, Steamworld Dig, FAST, Yooka Laylee(?) , and many others! If only I had the ability to freeze time!

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

Oh, for sure. With Wii U I was more referencing their lack of first party content, relying on third party ports to sell it in its first year. Totally different story with Switch. Great to see. Hasn't even been a year yet, but we have a lot of choice from Nintendo.

Seems the DLC characters were revealed. No Roy or Ike. Even contains NPCs from the main game! They seem to only have focused on Fates, Awakening and Shadow Dragon for some bizarre reason. Hope they reconsider and bring a bonus pack in once it's all done with, with extras like Roy and Ike.

Should add it's actually a good line-up when you consider there are... 6 females in that list of 9, and good ones like Tharja, too. It's just the fact they overlook massive core games and characters and use characters already in the base game as NPCs. I was looking forward to a potential Path of Radiance history map. Fingers crossed for a bonus pack.

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

Oh yea, but it still had 2 Mario games and Pikmin in the first year. Personally I found NintendoLand to be quite fun, especially as a 'freebie'. 2017 is by far Nintendo's best year in a very long time, like you said its not even been a year and to be honest it wasn't until March that we saw a significant release from the Big N anyway.

I actually think that FEW will suffer due to congestion, I am also getting a little fatigued on Fire Emblem (something I never expected to happen!) 

Seeing how long they supported Hyrule Warriors for I can imagine that there will be even further editions. It would be strange to not include them. What do their respective amiibo do? Same with Tiki and Chrom? Anything significant? 

 

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

I think the FE amiibo just unlock weapons - not sure if they are anything special, though I doubt they are exceptional, since you can do it five times a day, I think. Other amiibo unlock gold, materials, etc. Nothing significant overall, thankfully.

FE will suffer, but hopefully they can make it worthwhile with the DLC over time. And it's true they might just continue with content even after the March DLC. Hopefully.

( Edited 30.10.2017 01:39 by Guest )

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