Eric Kelly On March 7, 2016 at 4:44 pm

N3DS_FireEmblemFates_logo_BirthrightFire Emblem: Awakening was Intelligent Systems planned final game in the series. But due to their efforts, it ended a huge success, selling over 2 million globally. It effectively revitalized the franchise. With the tweaks made to the long standing formula, the game would seem hard to top. While Fire Emblem Fates manages this, it only just barely accomplished this task: Which is still a fact worth celebrating, even if it was split into three parts. Birthright, the more casual of the two titles, may not have the level of strategy seen in Conquest, but it’s still a great standalone game in its own right.

Regardless of which version you buy, the game follows a single path for the first few chapters. You play as Corrin, the avatar of the game, who can be either gender. They are a part of a Kingdom named Nohr, when a mission they are on goes foul, and he becomes captive to the Hoshidans. It’s there that he learns that they are his family, and he was abducted by the Nohrian emperor as a child: This in addition to having lost his memory of those events. However, after an incident where he awakens to his powers to turn into a beast, he remembers. It’s not long after this that the game forces you to make a decision to go back to the people you’ve known your entire life and working to change the darkness within the empire, or sticking with your family and fighting the empire. There is a third choice which is part of the Revelation DLC scenario where you choose to side with neither faction, but it’s currently only available as part of the Special Edition package. Oh, and the choice can only be made if the other scenario add-ons are present. If they aren’t, your choice is already locked.
With Birthright, the scenario can be seen as the more casual of the three games. You still have the ability to play in Hard Mode and Inferno and play with perma-death, but unlike Conquest, you have free reign to grind levels, items, or money. In addition to the returning Casual mode which turns off perma-death, there’s a Phoenix mode which resurrects fallen party members the following turn. Victory in battle still needs to be earned though, as the weapon effectiveness cycle still is punishing, and careless will see you lose. This mode just takes most of the edge off, so players can just enjoy the story. The scenario itself focuses on your decision to stay with Hoshido, so a lot of the game’s traditional classes have Eastern styled variants.

All versions of the game have been given tweaks to the formula to make it more interesting as well. The game has done away with its long standing degrading weapons mechanic. Instead, each weapon has various advantages and drawbacks. Usually, more powerful weapons will have a lower hit rate, or an attribute gets penalized. Weaker weapons tend to have higher accuracy, but you might be unable to do critical attacks, or follow-up attacks can happen less frequently. Some weapons do inflict status debuffs though, so knowing what to take in battle is more important. My Corrin was fighting with a Daikon Radish because it has such a high hit rate. But also because he’s so powerful he needed to be weakened so that I could use him to soften up enemies for weaker characters to get the kills for leveling up. The only weapons that still degrade are the staves, as they are non-combative and they would break the challenge if they could be used indefinitely. The game also has new seals to let them change their class based on their married or A+ ranked partners. There’s also Corrin’s ability to become a dragon, or to activate Dragon Veins, which can change the landscape or make healing titles to appear. You can even interact with things like ballistas to attack the enemy.

The game’s story is better than Awakenings, but the music is every bit as good, if not better than Fates’ predecessor. Voice acting is also of good quality. The game’s mission variety in Birthright is a disappointing though. Most missions consist of defeating a certain enemy or number of foes. The localization is also of high quality thankfully. Although there are some odd things that linger, some content has been removed, some for the better, but others are just strange. Names were arbitrarily changed for little reason, a the visitation event now just seemingly a stare-off with a conversation that we never actually hear. But aside from those odd alterations and the weird decision to split the game into three parts and not offer a deluxe digital edition of the game, Fire Emblem Fates is a great strategy RPG experience worth playing, bar none.


The game has been improved with some useful tweaks, but the game has a lineup of missions with little variety to them.


The graphics are pretty much the same as Awakening’s, but the characters now have proper feet.


The music is once again great, and the Hoshido tracks are especially nice.


An improved scenario and gameplay tweak put this game above Awakening’s level, although Birthright could have been a little more strategic in its mission objectives.

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