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Fire Emblem Warriors

Posted by GG Goblin On October - 19 - 2017

It’s all a bit Musou.

 
The Dynasty Warriors games really do polarize opinions. You are either a fan of the hack and slash games, or you find them dull and repetitive and wouldn’t bother touching them with a barge pole. No matter which side of the division gamers fall in, most gamers will have at some point played a Musou game and most will know that they haven’t changed much in all of the years that they have been around. The core gameplay of running around a battlefield and cutting down hundreds, if not thousands, or enemy warriors always remains the same. The real differences between the games come from their theme. Omega Force have combined the Dynasty Warriors formula with all manner of different IPs over the years, with perhaps the Hyrule Warriors crossover being the most surprising, placing the action in Nintendo’s Zelda universe.

 
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Once again, Omega Force have managed to work their collaboration magic, with the result being Fire Emblem Warriors coming to both the 3DS and, more importantly, the Nintendo Switch. Offering some familiar gameplay for Dynasty Warrior fans and fan service for Fire Emblem followers on Nintendo’s new handheld/big screen hybrid console really is something to get excited about.

 
As a fan of the Musou genre, I find it quite easy to slip into the strangely relaxing gameplay of running around like a super-heroic warrior and cutting down swathes of enemy soldiers, only having to slow down when something happens elsewhere in the battlefield that needs my attention, or when facing a boss of some sort. It’s the sort of gameplay that some would describe as repetitive, generally requiring little more than mashing buttons, but for others it’s a feel good experience that it is easy to slip into, requiring little more thought than working out what is happening on the map and where to head next.

 
Fire Emblem Warriors follows that formula pretty much to the letter, although there are a few little tweaks that have been thrown in by the developer. At its most basic, players will choose one an alarmingly large selection of characters from the Fire Emblem series and then work their way through a large, relatively open area, cutting down enemies and the occasional sub boss in order to open up a route to another part of the map. Characters only have a couple of basic attacks, but button-pressing combinations give way to some more impressive attacks, and there are also special attacks that are hugely over-powered and wipe away the enemies in large numbers. The body count will quickly top a thousand in any given level, and damn it feels badass. Events happening elsewhere on the map will have the player switching between characters or running across the battlefield, keeping the player on their toes, all while they work towards a boss that will complete the level.

 
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Of course, there is a story behind all of this slaughter. Explaining why all of these different characters from the Fire Emblem series have come together like this must have been a stretch for the developers, as the story is probably the weakest part of the game. Essentially, you have the Kingdom of Aytolis where the royal twins Rowan and Lianna need to recruit a selection of heroes from the Fire Emblem series to save the Kingdom. Yeah, it really is that simple. While the story in campaign mode is somewhat hit and miss, seeing well known characters in a different setting will be a huge draw for Fire Emblem fans, and the interactions between characters is quite well done, although certain repeated misunderstandings in the story does drag the narrative down again. Anyone who has played any of the Dynasty Warriors games will recognize that the series is not known for its narrative excellence, but the Fire Emblem fans that flock to this title may be a little shocked by the lack of imagination.

 
Playing more into the fantasies of the Fire Emblem followers, there is the History Mode in which players can re-enact important battles from previous Fire Emblem games with a Musou flavour. It does feel like a slightly tacked on mode, but for those who have played a lot of Fire Emblem games, the appeal will be there.

 
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Tweaking the regular Dynasty Warriors formula, Fire Emblem Warriors adds some new features that bring further depth to the gameplay. The weapon triangle, in which certain weapons are stronger against other certain weapons, will be familiar to Fire Emblem players, but it now makes an appearance here. Players can give orders to allies on the battlefield, and relationships can be formed between characters, adding more depth. Then there is an upgrade system for each character, where new combos or abilities can be purchased in exchange for resources found during the game. As it happens, this system is quite deep with plenty of options for the player to develop their favorite characters into individual power houses. Of course, there are the usual new weapons and items that a character can equip to further improve them.

 
These little tweaks go a long way towards making the core gameplay less repetitive, and the result is perhaps one of the best Musou games so far. It is difficult because there are other IPs that I think work better with the formula, and I must admit that the Fire Emblem characters don’t have the same appeal. But purely on gameplay, it really is quite good.

 
Visually, Fire Emblem Warriors leaves a lot to be desired. Again, there have been little changes in the Warriors games over the years, and this includes how they look. While the characters themselves look nice, the environments lean towards the bland and uninteresting. Also, there is a difference between playing the game in handheld mode and on the big screen that further emphasizes the games lack of visual quality. The inclusion of local co-op , where the screen is cut in two both in handheld and big screen mode, is a nice idea, but just makes the game look worse.

 
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Most gamers will already know if they like the Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay. For the Musou fans, Fire Emblem Warriors is just great, offering some new additions to the formula alongside the chance of taking the game mobile on the Switch in handheld mode. Fire Emblem fans who have never played a Warriors game will find Fire Emblem Warriors something more of a shock to the system. The core gameplay may be repetitive, but the sheer amount of content and the new additions to the formula, along with the feel good factor, result in an entertaining game. Fire Emblem Warriors makes a few missteps, but is a great addition to the Switch library for fans of both series.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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