Fire Emblem Warriors is the first Warriors, or Musou, game for the series. The title is developed by Team Ninja from Koei Tecmo and was released on October 20, 2017, for the Nintendo Switch and 3DS. When I first heard Fire Emblem would be getting a Warriors spinoff, I was really excited for the game because of all the possibilities that could happen. But as the development went on and I kept hearing news about the game, I slowly became disenchanted with it because of the limited character selections and the questionable developer choices… Thankfully, I ultimately decided to pick up the game because even though there were multiple missteps taken with the title, the game itself is enjoyable and fun to play.
The story for Fire Emblem Warriors is lacklustre but I wouldn’t expect anything else from a Warriors game where the main focus is the gameplay. It mainly follows the twins, Lianna and Rowan, and their journey to free their kingdom from Velezark, a Chaos Dragon. The twins then must gather allies from the Outrealm portals to help them along the way. It is a standard story a player expects from a Fire Emblem game honestly.
As for the presentation of the story, it was presented as different chapters, similar to Hyrule Warriors, which I did not like after playing a bit of History Mode. I really wished the Story Mode was set up like History Mode to retain the feel of a Fire Emblem game because of how the mode is set up. History Mode is where the player enters a map styled like a map seen in the Fire Emblem series, and then the player can slowly progress through the map by selecting the enemy the player chooses. Of course, with each battle, there are different requirements that are needed to be met in order to obtain a certain rank on the map. More on that later in the gameplay section.
As for characters, the player can only select from several characters from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Fire Emblem: Fates. Lyn from Fire Emblem and Celica from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia are also available to play as well but only unlockable after clearing the story and their respective maps in History Mode. Unfortunately, the character choices only expand as far as the main lords and a couple of important supporting characters.
As far as the gameplay goes, Fire Emblem Warriors is pretty much your Warriors-style game except with Fire Emblem characters. Just by skimming the roster (not including the DLC units), most of the available heroes are wielding a sword so there is little variety in the weapon choices. How does the game make up for these limited choices? The gameplay style of each hero is slightly different.
I was really excited to play as the mounted units, but after playing several rounds as Frederick, Cordelia, Camilla, Xander, and Elise, I found the controls were… odd and wonky for lack of better words.
(The horses can do backflips for crying out loud! That’s not even supposed to be possible!) I felt I had less control over the mounted units. I could attack the enemy but sometimes, it felt like my attacks were not connecting because either the horse was facing the wrong direction, or the pegasus or wyvern was just slightly too high in the air for me to attack the enemy units. Granted it could be issue between the chair and the console, but I had enemies in front of me at all times and my flying unit was still taking damage and just barely hoovering over the enemies.
What did I like about the gameplay of Fire Emblem Warriors? I enjoyed it was almost mindless and I could use it as a stress-reliever. I enjoyed that Team Ninja implemented the weapon triangle and specialized weapons so certain units were more difficult to defeat if I was playing as a hero who was at a disadvantage or if I have a different weapon equipped. Such as, if the armored enemy unit was using as lance and I was using Chrom, then it would take longer for me to defeat the enemy unless I had equipped an Armorslayer to Chrom or I was using Lissa, who is an axe unit.
I also loved the implementation of the Master Seal to increase the battle efficiency of the unit while also retaining an element of Fire Emblem. Then there are the supports in this game. I was not expecting the supports but when I read Leo’s and Frederick’s? I was sold on the supports. Then there is the Xander and Celica support where Xander calls out Celica on her decisions. I just love how the supports in this title touch on a small aspect of a hero and then expands upon it.
Lastly, I loved the idea behind History Mode where the player re-enacts the famous battles from the series represented in Warriors. Like what I mentioned above, in the mode, the player enters a map where there are certain requirements and restrictions imposed on the player on certain battles in the map that challenges the player especially if some units are neglected. Of course in History Mode you can unlock Lyn and Celica by completing their respective maps. I honestly wished Story Mode was styled like History Mode where there is a map of the entire kingdom and then each battle on a map would represent a chapter progressed in the story. History Mode felt more of a combination between Fire Emblem and a Warriors-styled game and it would have made the game more interesting and slightly more difficult with the different restrictions and requirements!
The graphics are average but vibrant. It is crisp and the art style carried over from Awakening and Fates. Although sometimes, when there is too much going on on the screen, the visual does become pixelated. As for the enemy units, they are mostly the same with the exception for some units that are seen as mini-bosses. Also, the designs of the heroes’ class changes are very detailed that I really prefer some of their designs to their original class design.
Overall, the game is fairly average. I found the game to be fun to play despite some misgivings. The gameplay is fun and entertaining, and I really loved playing as a few of my favorite Fire Emblem heroes. I did like how the weapon triangle was included in the game and caused me to pause for a moment to think which unit I should control before fighting the enemies. With History Mode, I thought it was a different way to view some of the game-changing events in their respective games and I loved how there are requirements and restrictions attached to certain battles on the maps as well. Lastly, I loved how the support conversations opened up several different topics of conversations among the heroes too.
I do think the biggest issue was the lack of heroes with different weapons and the exclusion of a lance infantry unit (Azura and Oboro are DLC) because the only units with a lance are the pegasus knights (Hinoka, Caeda, and Cordelia) and they’re prone to take extra damage against bow units. Then there is the issue with how the mounted units play and I think if the gameplay for those units were tightened, it would be slightly better. In the end, if you’re looking for a Warriors-styled game to play, then you can easily pick up Fire Emblem Warriors to fill that desire because it is a fun game and the story is simple. Just remember there are limited heroes to select from and the mounted units play a bit strangely and you’ll be set!