Love them or hate them, Omega Force continuously pump out musou titles like they’re going out of fashion, and it feels like there’s a new one announced every week. This time around it’s the turn of another of Nintendo’s franchises to get the treatment – Fire Emblem. Last week we reviewed the Switch version, but how does the 3DS version measure up?
Now, try not to be shocked, but on 3DS the game doesn’t look quite as good as its Switch counterpart. Colours are bland, textures blurry, edges rough, even the 2D talking heads between missions don’t look quite as good as the ones we’ve seen in Intelligent Systems previous FE titles. Sound quality is good though, with pretty much all dialogue – between main characters and army grunts – recorded by voice actors. It’s just a shame that from UI to in game the it’s so uninspiring to look at.
Fire Emblem Warriors follows a storyline similar to that of Warriors All-Stars, with some cataclysmic even causing monsters to rain down from the sky and heroes from other worlds to appear in the kingdom of Aytolis. The heirs to Aytolis’ throne Roman and Lianna must seek out these heroes who (just because they’re heroes) carry within them something called a Gleamstone. That shield you’ve seen in the logo? Those round holes on it? The gleamstones go in there and that’s the aim of the story.
The gameplay follows the template laid out in the 3DS version of Hyrule Warriors, with a landscape filled with forts and outposts, you capture those points to ensure your troops control the map, while things constantly happen around you. You’ll need to stop messengers from getting to their destinations, put an end to the charge of reinforcements and kill gatekeepers to access previously inaccessible areas additionally some forts contain things called Dragon Veins which when activated can also open up areas you couldn’t go to before. During battle in some areas there are natural hazards such as lava, water or fog, activating these veins can also make these disappear, to me this seems more like an unnecessary complication to a game that can cause sensory overload.
Borrowing a nice element from the DS version of Hyrule Warriors, you can use the map screen to direct units to go to particular areas to take out named enemies, capture points or guard your forts, it’s incredibly handy and easily the best mechanic a musou game can ever have, why the big boy versions of this can’t ever implement it I don’t know. The map sizes are large and certain areas can be more easily reached by certain unit types, so moving them to handy locations to intercept certain enemies or capture a tactical point and to even switch to them later to handle it yourself makes a musou much better to play.
Where this falls down though is in the sheer quantity of things that are happening on the map at once. You have four main characters in your party that you can switch to whenever you want, and then several sub characters that you can order around. Missions, sub missions and action elements occur so frequently that you’ll be in and out of the pause map constantly to keep moving your units around, a much slower distribution of objectives or removing the need to use the pause screen
would have been much better for this.
As far as features go the game is identical to its bigger brother. An interesting element is the game’s History mode, which is similar to Hyrule Warriors’ Adventure mode. In this you’re dropped onto a Fire Emblem type battle grid and are asked to re-enact fight a Fire Emblem battle from one of the series’ previous titles. But, it isn’t really a typical Fire Emblem fight. Each enemy on the grid is a Warriors style battle with you controlling characters under certain conditions, win the battle and you can move on to the next part of the fight. It’s not really different enough to be considered a separate mode, but it’s at least a nice distraction from the main story, even if it’s not a distraction from the same nature of musou action.
It’s interesting how once again a Nintendo franchise has brought about the best of what this genre of game can be. It’s not Omega Force’s franchise so it almost feels they’ve been a bit more careful with it. The character interaction is well done, the mid-fight cut-scenes do a good job of getting you fired up and the strategic element adds a much needed layer to the usually rote proceedings of musou battles. If I were given a choice I’d pick Hyrule Warriors over this for making things a bit more streamlines, but for sheer customisation and depth Fire Emblem Warriors is an excellent slice of action for those not normally into this sort of game and for 3DS owners it’s close enough to the Switch version so that you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
Great strategic element
Plenty of FE fan service
An excellent introduction to musou
A bit ugly
Too much time spent in the pause menu