Also available on 3DS
Anyone who knows my gaming tastes knows that I'm a HUGE Fire Emblem fan. It's my favorite Nintendo IP even surpassing Legend of Zelda and Mario. Fire Emblem Warriors is, like Hyrule Warriors was for Zelda, a big departure for the Fire Emblem series in terms of genre. Like Hyrule Warriors was for Zelda, however, it's a fantastic new take on the series that will likely appeal to fans of both Fire Emblem and Koei Tecmo's musou games and may well serve as a gateway for one of those series for players.
If you've played Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, or any of the Warriors/randomIP crossovers (Zelda, Gundam, One Piece), then you exactly how this game plays - you run around killing hundreds or thousands of enemies single handedly and take control points while occasionally killing bosses. For those unfamiliar with any of those games, it's basically large scale hack 'n' slash. You've got a handful of ally characters, a handful of playable characters (you can choose what characters you want to be allied and playable before starting a battle), and a gazillion random grunts who die for you. Each character handles a little differently and has different pros and cons, and they all level up the more they kill, so who you choose to play as can have a big impact on changing your gameplay experience.
The game obviously doesn't play much like Fire Emblem given how drastically different the genre is, but it does have a few features that keep it somewhat similar. When you pause and bring up the map, you can give simple orders to any allied unit. For example, you can have an allied unit protect another one, attack an enemy fort, protect one of your forts, attack an enemy boss or sub-boss, or just move to a specific area. It's not as direct control as you'd get in a proper Fire Emblem game, but it's still a nice degree of strategy. Most significantly, however, is that they kept class ups and the weapon triangle intact. There are a small handful of missions that reward you with a Master Seal upon completion, allowing you to promote a unit at level 15 or higher to the next class, granting additional skill upgrades as well as dramatic stat boosts.
The game isn't perfect, however. A lot of folks I know don't particularly care for the stories in Fire Emblem, but even by Fire Emblem standards, the plot of Fire Emblem Warriors isn't especially great. It's not awful, mind you, but it's EXTREMELY predictable and cliche. I typically like the stories in Fire Emblem games, but I found myself a bit disappointed with this one. I predicted the "plot twist" towards the end at the very beginning of the game. The voice acting is especially bad for most characters. There are a few characters who sound fine, but in general, it's...bad. Not mid 90s level of bad, of course, but by modern standards? Yeah, it's not great.
For all of the game's shortcomings in terms of narrative and voice acting, Fire Emblem Warriors more than makes up for that with visuals and music. It's not the best looking game on Switch (although it is worth noting that development began when the Wii U still had another two years of life), but it does look extremely pretty. The real star of the show the soundtrack, however. The game's music is another nod to the Fire Emblem series proper with grandiose orchestral scores that really elevate the feeling of awe behind the massive battles.
Fire Emblem Warriors is definitely a musou game first and foremost, but if you're into that style of gameplay and a fan of the Fire Emblem series, there is a LOT to love here. It's a much more balanced crossover than the Shin Megami Tensei/Fire Emblem crossover, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and that will likely be a big relief to long time Fire Emblem fans. Class promotions and the weapon triangle are kept intact, and while there are some big Fire Emblem characters who I felt shouldn't have been omitted from the game, there's always a chance that they'll be added later in DLC, and the characters who were featured are big names from the most recent games - something to be expected, honestly. All in all, there are a few notable flaws in the game, but it's an extremely enjoyable experience and one that I highly recommend to Switch and New 3DS owners.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.