Fire Emblem Fates was announced a fair bit of time ago. It looked amazing and offered the player something new an different in the Fire Emblem franchise. Choices. Three different routes that would all have their own unique choices and consequences. The game looked gorgeous and the teaser trailers looked fantastic. Over all it took me six days to beat Birth Right, here are a few thoughts on this mild disaster. Oh yeah some obligatory spoiler warnings.
The game starts off with you designing Corrin, male or female, short or tall, bad hair or really bad hair the decision is entirely in your hands. Except eye colour, odds are your character is going to look like a failed anime vampire because they make you have red eyes and pointed ears…… This is what the creators of this game must have meant by choice because there weren’t really any others, but more on that later. So you now have an avatar that looks like a Seraph of the end reject (hint: that isn’t a good thing). So the first chapter has you find out that Corrin is the classic princess locked in a tower, no I don’t really care if you play it as a boy or girl, you are locked away in Nohrian fortress for your own good (?), I can only presume you turn into an ogre at night or something. There is no legitimate reason for this that I can remember. So you learn the basics of combat by fighting your dear older brother Xander. Because the first five chapters are all prologue stuff that has no real relevance. It has so little to do with anything you can skip to the point in the game of making a choice. Doing so cuts out a few character introductions with the two royal families, but not much else. It does help you make a slightly more informed decision on which side to join.
Choosing your side is the second and only other choice in Birth Right. Apparently in Conquest there is a third choice, but not much going on over there either. So obviously for the purpose of this I sided with Hoshido, they seemed kind of like the legit way to go anyway, I mean in chapter five King Garon is responsible for the death of the Hoshidan queen Mikoto as well as a whole pile of other people. I thought Nohr seemed a little interesting, but not quite as cool as playing samurai.
Throughout the course of the game you find that more then anything else you aren’t trying to actively save or change anything instead you spend the whole game running from Nohr. Yay. Or at least most of the game, somewhere around halfway or so though you FINALLY decide that the king needs to be assassinated and then you continue running from Nohr until chapter 21. It’s a little bit ridiculous. Throughout the course of it you run into illusionists disguised as friends, possessed characters, and traitors. But none of this is particularly compelling because the story doesn’t give you any reason to care about the characters in question. Oh my god Takumi’s possessed! “But Takumi’s kind of an asshole so who cares?” Flora betrayed us! “So let’s set the whiny bitch on fire (there’s irony in there)” Every character involved in one of these oh so deep and dark story points sucks. With the exception of one. There is the possibility of ONE party member dying in story, that is the ninja Kaze who lives or dies depending on whether or not you did his social link. He is a genuinely nice individual and the only one who it is a shame what can happen to them.
When you finally reach the epic climax of the game three members of the Nohrian royal family die. Princess Elise dies saving Corrin, which is sad in and of it’s self, Prince Xander dies in the fight against your party and he is a sin and a shame. Xander’s death should have been meaningful, it should have been heart wrenching, but instead it was just a death. Had he not died in the chapter following his little sister it may have come off better, but I feel like him letting himself die at this point was cheapening her death. The third and final death is finally getting to kill Garon, for someone you’ve been actively trying to kill for hours of gameplay it felt really dull to have him change into a dragon to fight you. “Don’t you know I have dragon blood running through my veins too!” For your end fight? I felt nothing over this other then disappoint over how cheap it was. Hinata throwing his wakazashi even made quick work of the villain.
The fighting pyramid of swords, versus axes, versus, lances is officially no longer relevant and I finally having had beaten the game two days ago figured out the reason. This is on the list of things changed for Fates. Now the weapon colour is the relevant piece to the puzzle. Where does it show the weapon colour you may ask. It’s in your inventory and is never explained. Hope you didn’t want that info. Another thing I noticed is my characters rocked in the first half of the game they were all ‘no damage’ all over the place and crits and dodges left and right, but the second half of the game once my people had support ranks all over the place they no longer protected each other. Don’t know if anyone else had that problem, but it was driving me a little batshit crazy. So no relevant weapons chart, s ranks that meant nothing, and seals that made it so you could change classes without being able to level up and train further. This shit sucks.
The voice acting is absolute crap pretty much all over the board. Matt Mercer does a fantastic job as Ryouma, but that pretty much ends my support for this dub. Azura’s song is especially aggravating because there is no emoting in it at all, of course Azura herself barely emotes either. Having her as a key party member was fairly annoying because of that. She came off to me as curt and kind of mean. Another major offender in the voice cast is Shiro voiced by Kaiji Tang, he sounds a lot more like a surfer bum then any samurai prince has any right to.
The animation in the game is fairly nice but for most of it I felt like I was watching a commercial for Nohr. “Aren’t the characters on the other side of the war attractive? Play Nohr only 19.99” And I am well aware that it works the same way on the other side of the fence. Here’s Xander looking badass, Leo looking less badass then Xander, Camilla being sexy, and Elise being cute, please buy more. To be fair though the scenes are a nice touch and will look great in a twenty six episode overhyped anime.
Street passing is relevant in Fire Emblem so that I can see my characters battle in towels…. I mean wait street passing is so you can battle other people and collect resources from them. The added resources are nice, but I don’t see any real reasons for the battles. You can recruit their avatar if you win, but who needs more then one Corrin. One is just above likable so why desire two? So getting more resources means you can buy more accessories. Now what’s the benefit of accessories? Oh they aid you in castle battles against other players………….
Lastly I’m going to talk a bit about the characters. There were a lot of them. Some I liked, some I really hated. I watched a girl tell her partner that he could be missing and it wouldn’t faze her in the slightest (I never used her again) and I watched as a childhood friend stood loyally next to a girl who didn’t even remember him. It’s like night and day with these characters. My sister did a chart on how she felt about the characters in Nohr, I will end this one with the same.
The Hoshido chart!
The Nohrians I despise already:
And the few the proud the Nohrians I currently like!