Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
“If you battle monsters, you don’t always become a monster. But you aren’t entirely human anymore, either.”(Jonathan Maberry) Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright wastes no time in establishing who the
real monsters are. Your avatar takes on the colors of the Hoshido family, fighting a war against Nohr. This takes place after near disaster and the loss of your mother. Events begin to unfold pitting sibling against sibling and paving the path to possible reconciliation; the only question, at what cost?
The music is an “A” class aspect of the game. With alternate Nohr themes to the Hoshido themes available the themes add to the family vibe of trust, friendship and honor. The art style and layout of different areas are vibrant and mesh well with the story line; Nohr being more western designed and Hoshido with traditional Japanese roots. Just based on those two factors alone Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright has enough beauty so that different areas don’t feel like a grind until you get to the 100+ hour mark of game play.
Much like previous installments of the Fire Emblem series Fire Emblem Fates: Birthrights combat takes place in grid based locales. Each independent square represents the graphics that are on top of it giving you advantages or disadvantages. With attacks and healing occurring as close as a square away to halfway across the map with the use of turrets, you learn early on the difference between strategy and tactics as you struggle to keep your in-game friends alive. Dragon veins are oftentimes the key to combat, triggering various effects on the map. Like previous Fire Emblem games, the weapons have type (dis)advantages and are key. Oftentimes those types are the difference between fighting another hour long battle on lunatic without losing a soul and cutting your losses. Depending on your game mode the AI is either easy to maneuver around or… It can be compared to what Robin would devise were he not chilling on a beach with Chrom and the crew. Wait. You mean he isn’t on a beach? Shut up and take my gold, that amiibo is fine with me.
Money grabs aside, the story line for Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright instills a sense of justice, anger and a few cheap generic tears. I haven’t felt that sad since Aerith “died” in Final Fantasy 7. The story does get confusing, but try to keep up! Spoilers. King Garon is very much the evil dictator that you think he is, but it isn’t really him. He died a long, long time ago and was replaced by a water familiar under the command of Ankanos with orders to cause a war and chaos throughout the land. Your avatar was kidnapped by Nohr and is only actually a half sibling of the Hoshido family. She could not be killed because of some arbitrary reasoning by Ankanos. People die along the way because of pride, foolishness, kindness and betrayal. The story becomes more convoluted from there, with your kids that you bang out in Fire Emblem fashion being placed into a alternate reality. A reality that keep in mind runs faster than the current reality and is there to protect them from bad people. Which leads to the question, why doesn’t everyone that wants peace just go into a Deeprealm and ignore fighting a stupid war? End Spoilers. And that’s what you missed on Glee. The feelings that Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright invoked with the handful of characters I met in each play-through sometimes led to confusion, to happiness, to disgust and more. As the casual game of the Fates trifecta, Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright gets my Fire Emblem of approval.
Multiplayer, is a terrifying prospect when you take the philosophy of Fire Emblem and apply it to the entire world but somehow Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Conquest nail it! You are introduced to the castle concept early on in your play-through as a “place to rest”. In actuality it becomes one of the most efficient ways to gain skills. With cross game support for both of those installments and Revelations, it allows you to travel to other castles. From these other locations you can do everything from gather resources, fight other dream teams in a capture the castle or kill all enemies type combat as well as purchase items, skills and Einherjar. (Think fighters for hire) As previously mentioned, the most efficient of those is learning the skills as they apply directly onto the same person in your world/play-through. Castles are the easiest way in Fire Emblem Fates:Birthright, Conquest and Revelations to shorten the grind and min/max your team efficiently.
As the game that many are citing as the easiest of the Fire Emblem Fates trifecta, I’m inclined to agree. Gold is fairly plentiful, the storyline is solid and with optional permadeath on the horizon what’s not to love? Two other games delve deeper into the story, the different angles and comrades you meet might just make your point of view on Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright change for the better or for the worse. Looking ahead, the DLC for this game is a killer for the wallet but will inevitably be worth it.
A moment of silence for the sprites that died in the making of this review: