Out of the many Warriors spin-offs out there, Hyrule Warriors particularly stood out thanks to its ability to seamlessly blend traditional Zelda mechanics into the army slaying hack-and-slash action we’ve come to expect from Koei Tecmo’s series. When it came to Fire Emblem Warriors however, knowing that this series is a lot closer to the core Warriors franchise led me to believe that we would end up with a much more traditional interpretation when it was Chrom’s turn to take up his blade. Once I got some time to play the E3 build of the game for myself however, I quickly learned how wrong I was. A little bit of creativity goes a long way, which is why Fire Emblem Warriors truly surprised me with how well it blends the hectic combat with the conventions of Nintendo’s strategy RPG series.
At its core, Fire Emblem Warriors is still a Warriors game, following the decade plus tradition of using a single character to wipe out hundreds of soldiers at once. Only this time, it’s with some of the most popular characters from Nintendo’s strategy series. Playing as Marth, Chrom, Corrin, Xander, and Ryoma felt distinct despite all of them being sword wielders thanks to the attention to detail that stays true to the series. For example, Xander fights on horseback while Corrin uses her dragon transformations to compliment her fighting style, complimented by some fantastic animations that need to be seen in action. The two new characters never felt out of place either, with some amazing looking shield combos put into action. Needless to say, the game looks beautiful in motion, oftentimes looking like the jaw dropping cutscenes that the 3DS games have featured.
Visuals aren’t the only piece of Fire Emblem to make the transition. Defeating enough enemies leads to a level up, with the stats gained being random. So yes, the heartbreak of getting one point up out of a potential six or so will be felt playing through this. While it was said that the weapons triangle would be in the game, meaning certain weapons are strong and weak against others, we weren’t able to put that in action when everyone in the demo used swords. It’ll make that character swap ability to take over any ally on the field at any time important when you find yourself in an unfavorable matchup.
Or you could just bring a partner with you, since the pair-up mechanic from Awakening makes the transition here as well. By linking up with a teammate on the field, you’ll gain a variety of options, including switching on the fly, creating opportunities for double team combos, or unleashing powerful ultimate attacks that combines the might of your paired warriors. In typical Fire Emblem fashion, consistently using the same pair and constantly fighting side by side will unlock special conversations, all the way up to S-Ranks. Does this mean we’ll be able to have Marth and Lucina have some kind of weird, centuries old incest going on? I doubt it’ll go deep enough to include marriage, but it’ll be interesting to see characters who would never be able to interact otherwise like Tiki and Corrin find their way to each other.
With so much of Fire Emblem‘s identity enveloping Fire Emblem Warriors, I find myself being even more excited than I was before I played it. The attention to detail will make this feel like a truly special love letter to longtime FE fans, and if it ends up being anything like its Hyrule counterpart, then we’re going to be playing this for a long, long time. Let’s just hope the roster lives up to its potential.
Fire Emblem Warriors will go to war on the Switch and 3DS this September.