Fire Emblem Warriors (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Az Elias 18.10.2017

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  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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