NS Review – Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (3DS)

Just like in Fire Emblem Fates Chapter 6: The Path Is Yours I’m going to offer you up a choice. It will be a decision to either continue reading onward within this sweetened Birthright review or to skip it entirely and go for something a little more Conquest savoury. Choose wisely, and don’t be being greedy now as they are near enough the same review only seasoned differently.


NS Review - Fire Emblem Fates Birthright 3DS 02

Spear to the chin. Chear spin.

My initial Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright experience is a Normal Classic tale of Serenity, not one of a Firefly-class transport ship but one of a Nohr Princess in a war torn world post polarising decision. Classic translated in Fire Emblem can be interpreted as one battle goof resulting in impeccably clean handed Subaki never being able to clamber back onto his Pegasus again.

For those of you whose stomachs churn at the utterance of permadeath don’t fret your uncooked briskets as there are other diluted modes included which would rather see Subaki right back in the saddle before you can exclaim “knighty-knight!” Personally, I’ve always compared playing permadeath inclusive turn based strategies to being akin to a dabble of poker with real money. An every decision counts play style makes for a far grander emotional pay-off. So sorry Subaki, may you and your clean hands rest in peace.


If you’ve never laid your fingerprints upon a 3DS Fire Emblem title before then it is probably best that I advise you to make sure the necessary purging has been done to your recreational schedule. If of course it is full immersion you’re striving for, as you’re not going to have time for anything else! Whichever path you choose; Birthright, Conquest or Revelation you’ll be in it for the long haul, and then some.

The storytelling scenes take time, the core battles take time, the infectious relationship developing takes time, the new castle management mode takes time (more on this later) and in true Birthright style the optional level-up grinding battles take time. Lots of time. Time, time, time. But is it all time well spent? I think this all depends on your gaming mannerisms. Fates wedged up is one chunk anime excessive role playing game, one slab tactical grid based turn based strategy, one lump Cupid simulator and a jumble of base building. If any of that description has got you salivating then there’s really not much more for me to say. You’re going to love it, honestly, because it has convincingly matured since its 3DS ‘Awakening’.


NS Review - Fire Emblem Fates Birthright 3DS 03

Buttercup, she’s the toughest fighter. I mean Hinoka, Hinoka’s the toughest fighter.


Predominately Birthright is a linear chapter expedition like Conquest but what separates it is its infinite source of battle opportunities and Japanese wrapping. Worried one or two of you’re party members are under levelled? A quick optional challenge or scout could be all it takes get them back up to snuff. The battle system very much revolves around the clever partnering of the characters you bring to the fray. Grid them up side to side or link them at the hip and when the micro cinematic bouts are initiated they support and buff each other accordingly. This idea of companionship is the core artery of Fire Emblem Fates, consistently matchmake on the battlefield to forge relationships which in turn will establish robust pairings.

This leads fittingly into the ‘downtime’ were your provided with a canvas of castle grounds to upkeep. Your Serenity Corrin avatar is free to roam and interact with the buildings she/he chooses to erect, but it will be your comrades’ gossip and flirtations where things get narratively entertaining. Invite that special someone to your own quarters for emotional homework, eves drop on potential newly-weds or gather pears to feed your pet dragon. This mode of sorts isn’t an entirely passive diversion as those grid based manoeuvres will come into play when it requires defending from StreetPass hits (hello there multiplayer) or AI invasions. My advice, architect in such a way which allows for your army to be able to route through your settlements. Things can get hairy if you find you cannot resist in time as you’re blocked by your own mess hall!


NS Review - Fire Emblem Fates Birthright 3DS 01

Oh Silas honey. You don’t know me at all.

I’ve decided not to delve into the story as that’s something worth discovering for yourself. You’ll be joined by a mixed cast of some irritating but otherwise mostly endearing characters (I grew fond of Hinoka with her hoarse Buttercup from the Powerpuff Girls twang) on their quest to fight the good Hoshidan kingdom fight against the corrupted superpower of Nohr. Families clash and I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not siding with Serenity’s stepsisters and stepbrothers. It’s all rather captivating stuff which conjures intriguing parallels for consecutive story arc playthroughs.


Fire Emblem fan or not there’s still a lot to digest amongst the entirety of the Fates package from the get-go and to soften the incoming tactical surge which rules a slab of your game time Birthright is the safest way start. A title predominately soaked within the ripening of fictional relationships of warring class based soldiers heishis. The strategic combat as always is marvellously satisfying and rewards the calculative over the brash although far more forgiving during this story arc. Off the battlefield there’s plenty to chunk, lump and jumble your time into if sharing a keep amongst a proud family of plucky anime samurai and ninjas is your preferred brand of portable gaming lore. 

Overall I still implore you to opt for an every decision counts Classic play style as for when you vicariously witness your hubby-to-be Jakob almost take a romance obliterating blade to the face the emotional investment will wrench THAT MUCH tighter!


Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright & Conquest are out now available in both 3DS game card and digital eShop formats. This Nintendo Scene Review wouldn’t have been made possible without press copies kindly provided courtesy of Nintendo UK.


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