I do not like the Dynasty Warriors games and I’ve only just recently started to play the Fire Emblem series, so it was not very likely that I would pick up the Dynasty Warriors-style Fire Emblem game. However, a good Amazon sale can be hard to ignore, and one day I found myself with a copy of the special edition of Fire Emblem Warriors. I didn’t play it, mind you. It just kind of sat on my shelf, looking kind of cool with its extra large box. This morning, the random number generator decided it was time to finally put it in my Switch and see how it is.
If you’re not familiar, the “Warriors” games, like Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, and Dynasty Warriors Gundam, are hack and slash action games that take place on a map with different objectives. You might have to take over enemy forts that are scattered about the map or take out commanders. The big gimmick is the way the game throws hundreds of enemies at you, making for some pretty ridiculous looking fights.
As cool as the idea of being a single swordsman cutting down hundreds of soldiers is, the combat has always fallen flat for me. Enemies just kind of stand around looking at you, occasionally swinging a weapon, while you just mash a single button and wipe out fifty and once. There are stronger enemies that you have to use a little more strategy on, and you do have two different strengths of attacks you can use, and supers and all that, but it just isn’t enough to ever feel satisfying.
Fire Emblem Warriors adds a little extra to the combat with the inclusion of the weapon triangle, a staple of the Fire Emblem games. Basically, there are three main types of weapons, swords, axes, and spears, and each one is strong against one of the other and weak to the other one. For example, swords are strong against axes but weak to spears. In the first few chapters of the game, I was still just fine mashing my buttons at any enemy, but this does give some added depth.
In the beginning of the game, you only control one character, but quickly Lucina-er-Marth shows up to help you out. She doesn’t stick around very long, but in that short bit, the game teaches you about switching between different characters. With different characters having different kinds of weapons, you can swap to ones that have a more appropriate weapon for the encounter. You can also command the characters you aren’t controlling to go work on a different part of the map then you were, then switch to that character to check in on them or take over.
The game also includes the option to team up two characters, another element from Fire Emblem. This increases your attack power as well as enables you to pull off a version of your special attack that uses both characters. This all sounds great, and it is, but it’s at the cost of being able to be in two places at once, so you still have to think about what the right choice to make would be.
So, basically what I’m trying to say is, there’s a lot more options and strategy than what I’ve seen from most Warriors games. However, at the end of the day, you’re still just mashing those buttons and watching brainless enemies go flying. Maybe that’s your thing, and if it is, that’s cool. For me though, it just feels a little too brainless. That being said, there is a time and a place for brainless fun, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy what I played this morning. It just wasn’t fulfilling in a way that has me really looking forward to jumping back in.
So far, the story isn’t really doing it for me either. At the start, you have to choose between two main characters, both of which are made up for this game. There’s Prince Rowan, an annoying doofus who’s obsessed with knights and his sister, Princess Lianna, who’s much less annoying but still pretty generic. The two are sparring with a family friend when suddenly a portal opens in the sky and monsters come out. The monsters rush to the throne room, so the siblings run there to save their mother, the queen. Long story short, the queen gives them a magical MacGuffin before seemingly dying. Now the two of them need to figure out what to do with this thing, while at the same time portals are bringing in characters from other Fire Emblem games.
Yeah, it’s nothing you’ve never heard before. As someone who’s currently playing through Fire Emblem Awakening, it is pretty cool to see these characters in a different context and a totally different genre. This was the biggest draw of the previous Nintendo/Warriors crossover game, Hyrule Warriors too. If you can’t tell much of an original story, you can at least put a smile on your players’ faces with some decent fan service.
I’ll be popping back into Fire Emblem Warriors every now and then. It seems like it’d be a good way to kill some time, maybe on a commute or something. I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to get back to it though. But I didn’t hate my time with it, which is more than I can say for most Warriors games.