Fire Emblem has always been about discovering your people, whether those you can rely on, those you worry about, or those you can’t assist despite your best efforts.
Intelligent Systems has prioritized this procedure for Fire Emblem Engage. All the extraneous material was left on the cutting room floor. Fire Emblem Engage follows the standard formula for a fantasy adventure game.
As the protagonist, Alear, you’ll explore a ring-shaped continent as you engage in turn-based fights against demons, bandits, and other villains while enlisting new fighters for your ragtag group.
The Somniel serves as your base of operations between battles, where you may stock up on supplies, train recruits, improve their weaponry, and foster stronger ties among your troops. That reason? By amassing a set of 12 “Emblem” rings, a Good dragon can be strengthened to the point where it can defeat a Bad dragon.
That’s the entire plot. It’s full of clichés, from the mildly amusing (the protagonist sleeps for a thousand years and awakens to fight a great evil) to the thoroughly tiresome (the camera introduces many female characters by panning slowly from their feet up to their cleavage).
Four Heroes from the Fire Emblem Engage game, including Alear: Dragon Child and Rearmed Hero Alfred: Floral Protector, are here! There are also new story maps in Book VII, Chapter 6: King of Light, limited-time quests and a Log-In Bonus where you can get up to 13 Orbs. #FEHeroes pic.twitter.com/7yFdUeZtmd
— Fire Emblem Heroes (@FE_Heroes_EN) January 17, 2023
Its speech vacillates between campy and cheesy, never settling on one style or the other with any conviction. Your army holds the hero in such high esteem that they constantly engage in gushy, annoying discourse about how wonderful he or she is. The scripting in Engage is atrocious.
Yet, I admire Engage for its emphasis on conciseness. I’m not kidding when I say that about half of all the cutscenes follow this formula:
- Alear and teammates approach a location in search of an Emblem ring
- One character notes how safe the location seems
- Another character shouts, “Oh no, are those bandits?”
- The cutscene ends and a battle begins
One of the better entries in the series this year was Three Houses (although my favorite is still Awakening on the 3DS), which makes excellent use of social simulation in a school setting by letting you instruct, comfort, and critique a small group of students in two different eras.
This Fire Emblem Engage review over at Polygon is really, really good.https://t.co/gdEXrc9Mmt
— Tycho Brahe (@TychoBrahe) January 17, 2023
I won’t go into detail here on how Engage differs from its predecessor; I’ve already done so in other articles. To put it simply, Engage does not borrow from the role-playing game (RPG) genre known for its intricate interpersonal story arcs and calendar-focused loop, which is typical of relationship simulators.
Fire Emblem Engage (Switch) w/ tarot card deck preorder exclusive bonus is $59.99 at GameStop (out this Friday) https://t.co/zrjAxXtuBW
— Wario64 (@Wario64) January 15, 2023
It’s one of the most focused tactical games I’ve played in a long time, with most of the game’s personality and conflict manifesting in turn-based combat. It’s not uncommon for fights on grasslands crisscrossed by rivers and bridges; these features can quickly become vital chokepoints for your heavily armored units, putting you in the position of having to make some tough decisions about who survives and who dies.
Meet Lumera: Dragon Monarch from the #FireEmblem Engage game. Divine Dragon Monarch, ruler of the holy land of Lythos. She is Alear’s mother and the hero who once saved all of Elyos #FEHeroeshttps://t.co/O6mtGB79ix pic.twitter.com/yN7YMYt30G
— Fire Emblem Heroes (@FE_Heroes_EN) January 18, 2023
The high tide that comes and goes every few turns along the coast might hamper units’ Movement and Evasion stats for the duration of the battle. Players willing to engage in more fights will also be rewarded in Engage.
Skirmishes, the random encounters that appear on finished nodes and award gold, equipment, and experience for your newer units, might grow tiresome after a while.
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