Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 20.02.2016

Review for Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest on Nintendo 3DS

Fire Emblem, Nintendo's long running strategy role-playing game series, brings its fourteenth entry to the Nintendo 3DS. The previous (and highly acclaimed) title Fire Emblem: Awakening bridged the gap between new and old fans alike through its accessibility and its showcase of the best mechanics the series has had to offer. Fire Emblem: Fates attempts to go one step further, delivering a massive three-part epic, while still continuing to innovate on what the series has succeeded at for over 15 years. Conquest brings an experience tailored to long-time fans of the series; one designed to test players against friend and foe alike.

Fire Emblem has changed over the years, but at its core, it's still a tactical role-playing game series with a definite narrative edge. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, in particular, really nails down one of the core tropes of the series: war. This version puts the player-created avatar and their adoptive family on the aggressing side of the war between the ambitious Nohr kingdom and the peaceful Hoshido kingdom. As the war unfolds, more and more allies join the cause, bringing their own unique skills and classes to the sprawling conflict.

Classes work similarly to how they did in previous titles, but with a few unique twists. In addition to the promotion and class change options, new items have been added to offer an even wider range of roles characters wouldn't normally have access to. Skills gained from them and how they're learned have changed quite a bit; rather than resetting a character's level each time they jump to a new class tree, levels are now shared across every class, requiring strict - even tedious - micromanagement to get the most out of each character's skill sets.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest on Nintendo 3DS

A lot of the class options have their ups and downs - some are obviously more compatible with a specific character's stats and growth rates, but others might fill out your army better. While there are ways around a lot of the downsides, the tutorials in this regard don't really offer enough to make the mechanics behind all of the statistics manageable, let alone palatable. While fans of the series are likely used to this, some of the systems here take it a few steps past the bounds of complex, edging a bit into the incomprehensible territory.

Despite the enigma the character management can become, the turn-based tactical combat is still going strong. Some new mechanics have been added to this entry that really allow for complex strategies and planning, even in ways the series hasn't really explored before. While the core systems will be familiar, there are enough that shakes things up, keeping it from feeling stale. The maps offer a good progression between areas in the story, giving a good sense of momentum as they progress.

The storyline really feels like part of something more. While the task that the protagonist and their surrogate siblings undertake of reforming Nohr is fulfilling certainly, the central conflict against Hoshido poses a lot of questions about the choices that have been made along the way. The extreme duality of the two paths and the foes you'll inevitably have to cut down really make the already few choices the game allows you to make tip the characterisation into black and white territory.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest on Nintendo 3DS

Given the strength the series has often had in its narrative, it's a bit of a bummer that the choices presented never move past the rather binary one near the start. While your choices in the Fire Emblem titles are always open-ended on the battlefield, you have a lot less control over what happens before and after. Given the heavy emphasis this entry has placed on "choice," it is unfortunate that the events couldn't have unfolded more organically, guided by a more open-ended string of decisions.

However, the support conversations the main character can have with literally anyone in their army really do a lot to flesh out their individual personalities. Between that and the more sociable features offered at the main base, never more than now in the series has camaraderie been so readily available. Support dialogue is extensive; while the avatar character can interact with anyone, most characters have several others who they can chat up, as well, creating a real sense of bonds as your army grows in number.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest on Nintendo 3DS

The best gems of the script and the localisation are definitely buried in these conversations. It's a point that some of the more relatively recent titles have really shone through on. With the setting that the Nohr campaign takes place in being so unrelenting, the levity these interactions between characters bring offers a welcome respite from the sometimes heavy-handed narrative.

It's worth mentioning that this is definitely the more difficult of the two entries. Even given the removal of aspects such as weapon durability, you'll often feel like you're barely scraping by through missions in the Nohr side. Even compared to more traditional games in the series, there's a difficulty curve that honestly feels extremely satisfying if you're looking for a challenge. It's definitely not as beginner friendly, but it's a great challenge for those looking to test their mettle.

Screenshot for Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

There's something that definitely seems to be missing from Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest. The challenge is certainly there, but it brings its own sacrifices, as well. Ultimately, the narrative feels a little worse off for its separation into three parts, and despite each telling a complete story, there's something nagging about the "What if?" that always seems to come to mind while playing. Despite that, the characters and the challenges provided give so much that, aside from its shortcomings, it's still a compelling story, and an excellent role-playing game.


Intelligent Systems







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 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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