Four years after Fire Emblem’s impressive debut on Nintendo Switch with Fire Emblem: Three Houseswe expected a lot with the launch of the next opus, Fire Emblem Engage. Three Houses rekindled a lot of love for the franchise, and as the series debut on a new system, it had a lot of expectations to fulfill. The popularity of the Fire Emblem series meant there were some big boots to fill with the launch of Engage, and while the latest installment offers something new without losing the charm of the traditional formula, the line remains slightly blurred. as to whether the game meets the bar set by its predecessor.
At the start of our story, we assume the role of the divine dragon, Alear, who lay dormant for a thousand years after being injured by the Fell Dragon Sombron, but finally Alear woke up. Rather than waking up and remembering the battle with Sombron and being able to resume his life as normal, the second their eyes are opened, Alear struggles to recall their memories and figure out where they are. Despite encountering a handful of excited citizens who remember the story of the Dragonborn, nothing dims the memory of the Divine, and it quickly becomes your responsibility to do what you can to remember their past life and save the world from peril. Again.
Comprised of 26 chapters, Fire Emblem Engage’s approximately 40-hour campaign will guide you through Alear’s process of coming to terms with what happened while confronting the opposing force that hurt them in the first place, exploring the relationships that Alear develops with the characters encountered along the way. Instead of relying entirely on the story to produce an engaging experience, Fire Emblem Engage spotlights a number of alternate features for you to take advantage of, such as building a relationship with comrades outside of combat and construction of a safe space for everyone at the central hub, Somniel.
Continuing on from Three Houses, Fire Emblem Engage really focuses on combat, which is necessary because that’s what drives the whole game. combat, and it’s refreshing to get hands-on experience right away rather than sitting through lengthy cutscenes as the story unfolds. After a brief introduction to Franne, Clanne, and Vander, the three characters who first appear at the bedside of the divine dragons when you awaken, you jump straight into battle once again, this is where you can really take the reins and experience what Fire Emblem Engage has to offer.
The cutscenes you encounter throughout the game and between chapters are visually impressive and incredibly well animated, resembling some of Intelligent Systems’ best work to date. As you explore new areas and meet the cast of eclectic characters, these cutscenes help you get to grips with the different personalities and the relationships between them, which can also provide valuable insight into which characters may well team up with combat to create chain attacks, like Boucheron and Alfred for example, which can cause significant damage to an enemy when placed in the same vicinity.
Additionally, these cutscenes help convey the desperation Alear feels towards the opposition on the battlefield, which is aided by the fully narrated cast. Once you return to combat after a cutscene, everything feels smooth and fast, which maintains any tension built into the cutscene. Since you learn the basics of combat right from the start of the game, you never feel intimidated by the mass of enemies you’re about to face. It’s great for players new to Fire Emblem or tactical RPGs as a whole, and the variety of units and abilities makes even the longest combat sequences even more exciting. The focus on harnessing the unique abilities of each unit and emblem keeps you on your toes and thinking about how you can succeed.
Additionally, the emphasis on exploration and relationship building was also refreshing after finishing a fight, although this is nothing new to the Fire Emblem series as Three Houses also strongly emphasizes the importance to establish a relationship with your units. Thankfully, this carries over into Fire Emblem Engage and is used to increase the strength of your partnerships, which translates into attacks during combat.
Once you complete a battle, you are free to explore the location and loot items placed on the map while talking to the units you fought with to get a different perspective on the battle. While not a huge part of the gameplay, it does help bring the characters to life a bit, which is needed given that the story leaves a lot of room for some characters to fall through the cracks. this is where Fire Emblem Engage starts to let down.
When considering its story, Fire Emblem Engage lacks in comparison to previous games. It feels like a huge amount of content in cutscenes takes away from the plot and focuses on stories and the importance of characters, new and old, blurring the point of the game in places and making the elements look more like filler. Although the cutscenes are visually impressive, there are plenty of things you can skip without losing any vital information. Much of the story frequently shifts from focusing on Alear reminiscing about their memories to resting on the shoulders of his returning supporting characters including Ike, Byleth, and Roy.
Given that Fire Emblem games typically focus on story, it was slightly disappointing to feel like the corners had been cut to make combat the main focus of Engage. The story itself is predictable in places and doesn’t feel as tight and tense as previous games, but the sheer nostalgia its cast offers players, along with the compelling social aspects between Dragon and Unit, keep you encapsulated in the game without you feeling like things are quickly stale.
However, only a few select returning characters get consistent appearances in cutscenes and the central storyline, so unless you’re constantly fighting alongside every emblem, chances are you won’t have much time. among the most favorites of fans. characters. That said, a handful of these cutscenes are essential to character development, so even if the story deflates in places, some sequences will make your eyes widen and you feel slightly betrayed.
As a tactical RPG, it would have been nice to feel more attached to the motivations of Alear and their corresponding units. While there is a huge dose of nostalgia in bringing back returning characters for players who are already familiar with the franchise, for a brand new player I can see the lack of a deeper story being shocking and causing some confusion. . You never quite know who you’re working with and why they’re so important, and as soon as their backstory starts to develop, you’re thrust into the next area to meet the next batch of new characters.
Overall, it’s impressive that Fire Emblem Engage manages to carve out its own identity within the franchise without straying too far from previous games. Still, there are some elements that let it down that aren’t small enough to go unnoticed. If the gameplay’s core combat wasn’t so tight, the lack of dynamism in the story might have been detrimental to the experience, but there’s still a lot of good to be had from the title.
While it’s obvious that some corners have been cut, with the main focus being on returning characters and combat mechanics, there are plenty of instances in Fire Emblem Engage that also make for an unforgettable experience. Watching your social hub grow alongside Alear as you progress, filling it with the characters you’ve helped along the way, is all you need to fully enjoy each of the chapters and battle again the dark forces of Sombron.
A copy of Fire Emblem Engage was provided to My Nintendo News by Nintendo UK for the purposes of this review.
Article source https://mynintendonews.com/2023/02/14/fire-emblem-engage-review/