I have a habit of joining fan clubs late, but before I tell you what I really think about this game, it might be worth mentioning that:
- I’m generally not a fan of RPG strategy games
- I’m equally not a fan of silent main characters
- I never really played and completed any of the Fire Emblem prequels
This game applies to all three. Putting those into consideration; however, it says A LOT for me to give this game a 4 out of 5 rating. That’s not to say there weren’t a few drawbacks and I’ll get into those later.
If you’re new like me to the franchise, then the game is basically a turn-based strategy game where you lead a team of players and wage war. In between these battle sequences, you get the chance to interact with your characters and upgrade them.
One thing that has always deterred me from enjoying strategy RPG games is feeling limited in my scope of exploration. Some people play games because they enjoy the battle mechanism even if that outshines anything else. I, on the other hand, play to explore. I delight in navigating places, picking up lore, and piecing things together. It comes as no surprise then why I never really paid much attention to the series. The other factor that compels me is good storytelling and I read tons of reviews stating the game has an astounding plot.
In this particular installment, and without getting into too much details, I found myself playing as a mercenary who found my way into a city. I then was asked to become a professor in this town and take reins of a small group of students. You are given the option to choose and join one out of three factions in the game: The Blue Lions, Golden Deers, or Black Eagles. I personally went with the Golden Deers, mainly because I have a fan-girl crush on Claude; secondly because I have a crush on Claude and thirdly because of Claude 😛
On a serious note, I resonated more towards the characters of Golden Deers compared to the other two. And my choice didn’t disappoint, because I absolutely loved getting to know each and every one of the Golden Deers.
While looking at some game footage prior to my playing, I noticed given the ability to roam freely. That alone was a big motivator to pick up the game and while it was fun for the most part moving freely between battles to complete side missions, it later became repetitive and I found myself feeling less inspired to explore and just skip my free days all together. The side battles were also repetitive and in many occasions required the same strategies. The mission battles, on the other hand, showed potential to offer variations but that didn’t extend over to the side missions.
The story itself is interesting and takes plenty of turns and twists to keep players at their toes. Because of that, I found myself wanting to skip ahead in the story rather than spend more time developing characters. The way to interact with your team is either to walk up to them, have a conversation or trigger a support chat to form stronger links, which you’ve guessed it- projects on your characters bondage within battles. Aside from that, you also can give seminars and lectures to elevate student stats and then give them exams to fulfill requirements for character classes (pun intended).
Because there are three factions, it’s to be expected that the game can be replayed from different perspectives in order to shed some light on missing parts of the story. Having said that, I was later disappointed to find out that even though that’s the case, the games are also identical. Without spoiling the story much, let’s just say the background information and main incentive for each faction is different but more or less the main scenario is similar.
To recap here’s what I loved about the game:
- Beautiful soundtrack with memorable themes
- Interesting lovable and hateful characters to keep you intrigued
- Well written plot with unexpected turns
- Claude, Claude, Claude
What I didn’t like about the game:
- Feeling slightly disconnected and therefore uninterested in the main character
- Repetitive “collect-this; collect-that” side missions
- Normal difficulty is basically Easy Mode. It’s almost too easy to max out everything by the middle of the game (either that or I play too much Miyazaki games).
So getting back to where I started:
- Yes I’m still not a fan of RPG strategy games
- Yes I still do not like silent main characters
- I would probably go back and play the prequels if I didn’t have a long pending list of games to play.
Finally, would I recommend this game to anyone?
My final score is 4/5 ★★★★
- 2/5 for gameplay
- 5/5 for (side) characters
- 3/5 for battle system
- 4/5 for plot
Game Platform (played on): Nintendo Switch.
Note: For more information about the upcoming game DLC “Fourth House”, click here