Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
- Developer: Intelligent Systems
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
- Release Date: 20th May 2016
The fire emblem series has been going for many years now starting out on the good old GameBoy Advance and being on every Nintendo console since, both big and small. The format has remained largely unchanged through this time and the reason for this is that it works. Fire Emblem Awakening was the first time I played any of the series and I thoroughly enjoyed it and have since gone back and played some of the older ones. The basic format is turn based, you have a group of people under your command, you get to choose who to take with you and they all have different weapon/skill sets. Each character will also level up in an RPG style gaining ability points and other skills as the characters’ level increases. Each unit can also gain affinity with other units if they battle alongside each other giving added bonuses to various stats depending on affinity level.
This time around you create your character and find yourself as a member of the royal family, there are two kingdoms and you have links to both, you play through the first few chapters then at the end of chapter 5 you have to make a choice as to where your loyalties lie. This is the splitting point between Birthright and Conquest. Birthright is the easier one to go for and this is the natural starting point as there are 3 games as part of this set as a whole, the first two already mentioned and the third – Revelations, was released shortly after these two which has a different path completely.
Easy, only if you want it
In the last few incarnations the game has been made slightly easier if you choose it to be. You can have it so that if a unit dies on the battlefield then they stay dead; you can have it so that they stay dead for the battle but come back after; or and this I believe is new to this incarnation, you can set it to its easiest where the unit will appear back on the battlefield with full health at the start of your next turn. To save myself having to restart battles constantly I went for the non-permadeath option (yes I’m a pussy!). Probably the main difference between this game and its predecessor is the removal of weapon degradation which I personally think is great as previously you would often keep your best weapons in storage, saving their precious uses for when you really “needed” them. This could mean that your best weaponry could be left unused. You also have your own “astral plane” which is your home/castle that you can build, edit, and upgrade as you please. You can also visit other castles, rate them and various other streetpass based tomfoolery. That part never interested me but I am sure plenty of people out there will enjoy that element.
The story is good, it’s never going to completely blow you away but it was enough to keep me interested right to the end. You have optional battles that you can choose to ignore or even scout for others if you have done all currently available. Now these are not just for grinding. Part of the affinity element is that each character can gain S rank with one other person, and if you get a male and female character to S rank then they marry and have a child. This is where the excuse is a little thin, the child is then placed in a “deeprealm” where time passes much quicker as they are safer there, you then get paralogue quests to rescue them or some such and after that they join your army. Although it’s a poor explanation it’s nice to get additions to your army which take skills from either the mother or father. You also get small scenes when they gain affinity and it encourages you to have units work together.
In total I spent 46 hours on this which I really enjoyed, and although I have not 100% completed it (there are still 2 children I could have but the parents are terrible characters in my opinion) I would say I have done most of it. There are also map packs etc that are purchasable in game but I shall be waiting until I have gone through the others before even thinking about these. The little bits of dialogue between the characters is what really makes this game and can be really amusing at times and is just enough to keep you interested. For veterans and new players alike I would recommend this game and although there is nothing really breaking the mould here, if it aint broke don’t fix it!
I give it a solid 8/10