When Nintendo announced Hyrule Warriors for Wii U fans went a little bit nuts.
It sold well enough to get a port to 3DS and showed fans that Nintendo was willing to work with 3rd parties.
Hoping to catch lightning in a bottle twice, Nintendo has once again partnered with Team Ninja and Omega Force.
Only this time they’re mashing up Fire Emblem with the hack ‘n slash franchise.
On the surface, it would seem that the combat-heavy Fire Emblem franchise would be a perfect fit for Warriors over-the-top style.
In reality, while there’s definitely some parts of Fire Emblem Warriors that work. But it’s not the match made in heaven that Hyrule Warriors was.
Paper covers Rock
The basic premise of Fire Emblem Warriors is much like any Fire Emblem title. A kingdom is in peril and only a select few heroes can save the day. There’s are time-travelling shenanigans, children from the future, love triangles and overblown histrionics. Without these things, we couldn’t call it Fire Emblem, could we?
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The obvious divergence from what we’re used to seeing in Fire Emblem is the combat. It’s instead, real-time. hack ‘n slash. It’s a fairly significant shift too. In Fire Emblem, we’re used to turn-based battles, with relatively few enemies and a deliberate pace. Fire Emblem Warriors throws all of this out the window.
There are thousands of enemies on screen at any given time. Most of them are pure fodder for your heroes and only a few require more than a withering look to put down. In typical Warriors style, players will need to work through a couple of objectives before facing a boss. These objectives are all of the same flavour; go here, kill this, rinse and repeat.
That’s not to say that playing Fire Emblem Warriors is boring. It simply follows the Warriors playbook absolutely. Basically, Fire Emblem Warriors has the setting, story and characters of a Fire Emblem game and the gameplay of a Warriors one. Though there are a few attempts to infuse gameplay with Fire Emblem mechanics.
Chrom, I am..Your Daughter
The famed Fire Emblem weapon triangle has been included, though it’s difficult to fully implement in such a frantic game. As is standard, swords are effective against axes, axes against lances and lances against swords. Ranged weapons also deal significant damage to flying units like pegasi. While this is very much a part of Fire Emblem, it never really makes much of a difference when you’re in the heat of battle in Fire Emblem Warriors.
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Sure, you can knock down some enemies a little faster or slower depending on which character you’re using, but in the end, it’s not more than a few seconds here and there. It’s more window dressing than anything else. Another element from Fire Emblem that’s included in Fire Emblem Warriors is the ability to team up. When you’re near another character, you can team-up with them to gain their weapon advantage and perform insane combo attacks.
Like the weapon triangle, it’s a neat feature for fans, but it really adds very little to the gameplay. The final Fire Emblem feature I want to mention is strategic control via the map screen. Like in Fire Emblem, there is a map of the battle and you’re able to direct your teammates. However, as it’s all happening in real-time, using the map to direct units is not hugely effective.
Chop Chop, Dig Dig
The best use I found was to assign characters to defend each other. That way I’d know where they were, rather than have to hunt for them. They’d also be guaranteed to have a back-up. Some missions require that certain characters not go down.
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Either teaming up with them yourself or assigning a defender is the best way to make sure they survive. Fire Emblem Warriors includes both a Classic and Easy mode. Classic Mode will mean that when your teammates die, they don’t return. It’s one for the Fire Emblem devotees.
The combat in Fire Emblem Warriors, while ridiculously over the top, is rock-solid. Combos flow together smoothly and easily, even for the unskilled. There’s a thrill to watching your character dispatch hundreds of enemies at one time with a special move.
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After a while though, it all gets a little samey. Thankfully the story is worth following. Otherwise, I would have lost interest in moving forward fairly quickly.
Fire Emblem Warriors is a niche game and will certainly find fans in both Fire Emblem and Warriors players. I can’t help but think it’s the latter who will benefit more though. The elements of Fire Emblem that are present are only a garnish and the meat of the game is the hack ‘n slash fighting.
Even though Fire Emblem Warriors is filled with great characters and Fire Emblem elements, it’s more Warriors than it is Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem Warriors was reviewed using a digital download provided to PowerUp! by Nintendo.
Game Title: Fire Emblem Warrior