Musou games have come a long way since the days when they were confined to Romance of the Three Kingdoms. In recent times the Warriors franchise has migrated from China to outer space (Dynasty Warriors: Gundam) and even Zelda’s stomping grounds, in 2014’s Hyrule Warriors. Three years after Link’s game took the Wii U by storm we are once again treated to another Warriors title on a Nintendo machine. On this occasion Omega Force have decided to turn tactical Fire Emblem into an action packed button basher. Why bother with strategy when one guy can fell an entire army on their lonesome?
Fire Emblem Warriors is similar to Heroes, in that it stars characters from various games in the series. Set in the kingdom of Aytolis, which is under siege by monsters from another dimension, players take control of twin royals Rowan and Lianna. In order to save their country, the blonde duo trek across the region recruiting the aid of well known Fire Emblem soldiers. The roster of playable characters is dominated by personalities from the recent 3DS games. Marth makes an appearance too. I guess he was included as most people recognize him from Smash Bros. He’s the swordfighter who is less broken than Meta Knight.
The game plays like any other Musou title. For the most part you dash across the map securing forts whilst slaying anyone who gets in your way. It’s easy to decimate thousands of troops, because the regular grunts don’t pose much of a threat. Their commanding officers do however put up more of a fight. In order to best the mightier foes it’s advised that you take advantage of the Fire Emblem weapon triangle. For those who don’t know – swords are effective against axes, lances are strong versus swords and axes trump lances. Also be aware that archers deal bonus damage to flying units and magic can bypass armour (or summon rabbits out of top hats.)
One feature that I like about Fire Emblem Warriors is that during a battle you can swap between four characters. That’s different from other Musou games, which limit you to just one guy per skirmish. Characters not under your control will act on their own initiative, although you do have the option of issuing them with orders via the map screen. That’s probably for the best as the AI is dimmer than an abode that hasn’t paid its electric bill. If you run across an ally, on the battlefield, it’s possible to pair up with them. Your partner will occasionally block incoming damage and will assist when you unleash a special attack.
My rating for Fire Emblem Warriors is four stars. Right now it’s the game I have played the most on my Switch. The story only took me ten hours to complete, but since then I have been repeating chapters on higher difficulties. Once I am done with that I have the History Mode challenges to look forward to. Despite the simplistic combat system I have yet to tire of the game. There’s just something so satisfying about seeing your characters grow stronger with each passing level up (I call that RPG addiction.) Once a mission is over you can beef up your army even further by using loot to forge mightier weapons and unlock new abilities.
My only real complaint with Fire Emblem Warriors is the character selection. Twenty plus playable heroes is a respectable lineup, but alas not all of my favourite waifus made the cut. Why can’t we have clumsy maid Felicia or snarky tsundere Severa instead of that dullard Frederick? Another notable omission is racy sorceress Tharja. Where is she? Included in an upcoming DLC bundle that you have to pay for apparently. Nintendo may censor fan service in their games, but they aren’t above using titillation to blackmail consumers into spending their shekels. Cough up the dough or you get no SexyWITCH on your SWITCH.