NS Review – Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest (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 savoury Conquest review or to skip it entirely and go for something a little more Birthright sweeter. Choose wisely, and don’t be being greedy now as they are near enough the same review only seasoned differently.
My initial Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest 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 justice champion Arthur never being able to swing his lumbering axe 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 Arthur right back swingin’ before you can exclaim “but-but-but you were going to have a son named Percy, PERCY!” 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 Arthur, may you and your justice chasing 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; Conquest, Birthright 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). 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’.
Predominately Conquest is a linear chapter expedition but what separates it is its ramped up difficulty curve retrofitted for Fire Emblem veterans not shy of taxation towards the brain basket. Where Birthright’s objectives are clear-cut, Conquest thrusts more into the mix with ‘being a nuisance’ in mind. 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 wheat 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!
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 (Elise) but otherwise mostly endearing characters on their quest to fight in amongst the corrupt Nohrian kingdom and against the peaceful Hoshidans. Families clash and I couldn’t help but feel guilty for not siding with Serenity’s true blood sisters and brothers. 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 if you’d rather be put to the test tactically during the hefty slab of your game time Conquest is the paramount way to begin. A title predominately soaked within the ripening of fictional relationships of warring class based soldiers. The strategic combat as always is marvellously satisfying and rewards the calculative over the brash. Off the battlefield there’s plenty to chunk, lump and jumble your time into if sharing a keep amongst a confused anime family with corrupt King daddy issues 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: Conquest & Birthright 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.