Fire Emblem Warriors (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Drew Hurley 19.11.2017

Review for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo 3DS

There certainly have been plenty of Musou games recently. Omega Force must be loving the amount of licences manically scrambling for its next adaptation. Legendary seinen manga series, Berserk, hot new anime on the block, Attack on Titan, long-running JRPG series Dragon Quest, and Nintendo's iconic Zelda series with Hyrule Warriors. Now the next major gaming franchise has received its Musou adaptation, in the form of Fire Emblem. It makes sense as the series has a huge history filled with plenty of characters to adapt and a huge amount of enemies and locations to use. The formula all looks right but does it add up to a winner? Available on Nintendo Switch (reviewed here), Fire Emblem Warriors is also exclusive on the New Nintendo 3DS and 2DS models, and Cubed3 checks out how it fares on the weaker hardware.

Fire Emblem Warriors opens in the Kingdom of Aytolis, a land that seems to be made up of familiar locales from across the games of the Fire Emblem franchise. The royal twins of this kingdom, Rowan and Lianna, are practising sparring with a family friend, Prince Darios, under the watchful eye of their mother, Queen Yelena, when demons begin to attack through portals. It turns out Darios' father is trying to revive an ancient evil and the Queen sends her children on a quest to restore the power of an ancient artefact, known as the Shield of Flames, to stop the evil from destroying the kingdom. To restore the power, the twins must travel the realm, collecting Gleamstones from heroes from other worlds.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo 3DS

These heroes are, of course, the characters from the franchise's history; they have been somehow pulled through to this world. It's not just the characters, either, as it seems every stage is using locales from other games, too. The twins travel these lands and meet up with the many characters from the franchise history, usually resulting in a misunderstanding that means the new character has to be beaten down before they are recruited to the cause. Frankly, the story is pretty poor, even by Musou standards. This isn't just because of the narrative and beats themselves, but accentuated by some awful writing.

The story isn't the focus here, though; the focus is on the fan-service of the characters for Fire Emblem franchise fans and, of course, on the hack-and-slash gameplay. From a fan-service point of view, this certainly lives up to what fans hoped for, giving a cast of characters from Fire Emblem history in fabulous 3D… at least in the Switch version. Since not everyone has made - nor plans to make - the jump to Switch yet, it's great to see Nintendo still supporting the New Nintendo 3DS/2DS. There is a worry, though, that this will be more the type of cut down port that handhelds have received for many years. Another worry is that this may end up like Hyrule Warriors on 3DS, chugging along with numerous performance and graphical issues.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo 3DS

The good news here is that neither of those are the case. By locking this just to the New Nintendo 3DS/2DS systems, a lot more power is here for the developer to play with, and so it makes for a much smoother experience. Obviously, it can't match up to the graphical fidelity of the Switch and there aren't as many things on screen at once, but it plays as smooth as butter. There's no cut down on the content, either; all the same maps are here, the same ridiculous roster - although with some strange omissions, some offered up to the god of DLC for future charges to the player, but other fan favourite characters are completely absent, with seemingly no good reason. The addition of the map on the bottom screen is a useful addition when taking on stages with multiple simultaneous objectives, too. Multiplayer is missing, which is a considerable disappointment, especially with Nintendo's recent spate of including download play in many titles. The graphical fidelity issue is going to be a big negative here, though, since such a big selling point is fans being able to marvel at their favourite characters in glorious, fully rendered 3D, and they just look rather ugly here when compared to the Switch versions.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo 3DS

The gameplay is a strange amalgamation of Musou with Fire Emblem elements tacked on; for example, there's an option at the beginning to play in "Classic" mode, which means perma-death! Then, when in combat, while the Musou titles have regularly focused on the "one versus an army" approach, Fire Emblem has always understood that it takes an army to succeed, and that has been integrated into the gameplay here. The game tries to encourage using the allied army by adding bonus conditions to the stages, extra objectives that are impossible to pull off alone, and where allies need to be dispatched to capture points, defend objectives, and so on. This can be easily be done simply by pausing the game and giving out orders to commanders. The core Fire Emblem combat system is somewhat recreated here, too, utilising the rock-paper-scissor style swords, lance, axes, along with magical tomes and bows. A little knowledge of this system and balance of teams make for a much more efficient and enjoyable battle.

There are 25 hours or so here in the base campaign, but there's more than enough post-game to give this lots of life, not to mention future DLC, which will obviously start to drop some fan favourite characters who are criminally missing. Completing each stage unlocks free-play for that stage and there is also "History Mode." This will be where players will spend most of their time. This mode offers up numerous events from the series' history as scenarios to battle through, with bonus objectives to meet along the way.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Warriors on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Fire Emblem Warriors falls a little short of what it could be, or rather what it should be. The dull slog of the story, along with some awful writing, leaves a terrible taste throughout the course of the campaign. The post-game history mode is where the game does its best, but it's not enough, especially when it's lacking so many key characters and events from the series' history. For the New Nintendo 3DS port, it is impressive how well it runs, but the visuals look, frankly, ugly, something that hugely impacts the fan-service element. Those with the choice between 3DS and Switch would be wise to go for the latter.

Developer

Omega Force

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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   

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