Fire Emblem Heroes Review Roundup And Information Explanation

With a mere handful of days remaining until Fire Emblem Heroes becomes available worldwide*, the review embargo has been lifted and we’re getting our first glimpse at hands-on reviews of the game from pre-release coverage gaming sites such as IGN, Polygon and Gamexplain.

Here’s the breakdown of what we’ve learned from the reviews that wasn’t quite explained during the Fire Emblem Direct & on the videos from the Fire Emblem Heroes website:

First off, the reviews themselves. Find links to the aforementioned trio right here!

IGN’s Review

Polygon’s Review

For starters, touch controls are looking to be pretty tight and snappy, which is always a relief for a game making a transition to a mobile interface.

Speaking of ease to play; In-App purchases might be required to fully build your team in the way that you want, but you shouldn’t need to pull your hair out to acquire the in-game currency needed to do so. Orbs appear to be a prize after virtually every mission, and even with as little as one Orb per battle, you’ll have a new ally after five.

While this isn’t a surprise, my hunch of handling hero summoning was right on the money, in the sense that each Focus is essentially a “pack” of potential heroes that you can recruit, much like opening a pack of trading cards with knowledge on what could be included. Interestingly, a twist appears that if you have bad luck with summoning high-star units, you’ll be more likely to get one as you summon more units.

We’re given alert that immediately available will be the Legendary Heroes Focus, featuring prominent characters in the franchise like Marth, Tiki and Lucina, and the Deep Devotion Focus, featuring an assortment including Roy, Lyn, Takumi and Camilla.

With some semantics clarity, we’re given the name of some weapon types. While we have the standard Sword/Axe/Lance triangle, we also have confirmed names on Blue Tome, implying that magic is no longer classified under its previously established elemental trees.

After summoning new units, you can spend accumulated Shards and Crystals to level them up, catching those units up to the rest of your team at a cost of reward (or through micro-transaction investment). Shards can be used on units at level 19 or below, while Crystals will be used for Level 20 and up. Additionally, Shards and Crystals are color-coded to be used on units based on type, but there are Universal Shards and Universal Crystals, that will work on anybody. You cannot yet buy these.

What looks to be a relief, is that if you happen across some spare money, you can do more than just buy more playtime and units. You can expand your initial 200-slot Barracks size, or Upgrade your Castle. As you can see above, there are Dueling Swords, in addition to Stamina, which tie into PVP. More on that later.

When upgrading your castle, you’ll receive what appears to be permanent EXP boosts and a change to your castle’s appearance ever so slightly. You cannot customize your castle, but you can come close.

After leveling up and making some SP investments, you’ll notice that when you equip skills, that a small pink number appears next to your unit. This is a Cool-Down, and when that number reaches 0 (and vanishes), you’ll be able to use your skill. In the above case, you can activate Daylight yourself after four turns, and trigger its special effect of restoring 30% of your attacking damage into your HP.

An interesting twist is that if you fail a mission and achieve a Game Over, you’re prompted with a Proceed or Give Up menu. Selecting Continue allows you to revive all dead allies, recharge their HP, refresh their movement and let them use their specials immediately, functioning almost like the Fire Emblem Fates Phoenix Mode, where units that die are brought back immediately. Enemies retain accumulated damage and maintain their positions on the map, so this is method to sort of buy your way through a challenging battle. This can be useful to finish out that one mission that’s been taking its toll on your time, but costs an Orb, so choose wisely.

Alternatively, you can manually trigger this with use of Light’s Blessing via the game’s in-battle pause menu. While paused, if you are confident in your team, you can enable Auto-Battle.

Speaking of menus, fans of playing quickly should take note of the Settings menu. In here, you’re allowed to play more quickly through the game by disabling Combat Animations and automatically ending your turns. These elements existed in virtually every Fire Emblem game from the SNES onward, but were not necessarily a shoe-in for the Mobile release.

Loads of fans were concerned about the Stamina system impeding gameplay, but reports of every attempted mission taking out only 2 Stamina per battle indicates that you’ll be able to play for quite a while before running out. This is only for Normal Difficulty, however. Hard and Lunatic will need more, and Stamina costs will increase as you progress through the game’s story, but will no doubt offer better rewards. Special Missions will cost more Stamina. To unlock Hard and Lunatic versions of the main Story chapters, you need to complete them at a lower difficulty first.

Earning Orbs, Shards and Crystals is fortunately easier than originally anticipated, with not only rewards for completing missions themselves, but also for completing tasks as you go through missions.

Sadly, the Arena doesn’t look to support live Player-vs-Player battling. The battles will emulate how Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates work, in that you battle your opponent’s “Defending Team”, which will be controlled entirely by AI. The harder you battle, the better your prize (measured in Feathers, through the Arena only).

You’re limited to three of these per day (unless you buy more, of course). Conversely, your Stamina recovers at one Stamina Point per 5 Real-Time minutes. When doing Normal Battles, you shouldn’t run out of Stamina unless you have Auto-Battle turned on and Animation turned off, and you fly through battles.

You’ll also find your Home screen, which randomly populates with your many summoned units. Tap your ready units, and they’ll greet you with one of their lines of dialogue. Occasionally, you’ll get a gift as well. This assortment updates constantly, upon refreshing your screen, so you’ll see many units as you go through your day. As mentioned earlier, you can upgrade your appearance

Additionally, the January and February Calendar Artwork has been posted for Fire Emblem Heroes, featuring Alfonse and Sharena, as well as Veronica. Future artwork should be decided by the end results of the Fire Emblem Heroes voting event, where you choose your favorite characters from any game in the franchise. You’ll find these announced on Nintendo’s various Twitter accounts.

Speaking of Nintendo, Nintendo Treehouse is responsible for the localization of Fire Emblem Heroes. They’re pretty reliable, and fans seem quite content with the general voicework and translation of the game so far, as well as the new voices prominent throughout the game as a whole.

Finally, there’s also a rumor going around that the game will possess nearly 1GB of data upon download, but this has yet to be confirmed. This came from Reddit’s /r/FireEmblem, so it’s not necessarily unreliable, but it is difficult to confirm because the source did not state the size based on the platform. I’d be sure to clear up some space on your mobile device anyway just in case, just so you can take dozens of screenshots of your play!


FE_Heroes_JP shared an interview which, translated by our always helpful VincentASM, lets us know some new information.

Q. Can you recruit boss (enemy) characters from past games?

A. Some enemies can be recruited via the “(Great) Hero Battle” events. The first available one starts with “Na”… Please look forward to the rest!

[Editor’s notes: Likely referring to Narcian from Binding Blade?]

Q. Is there a support conversation or marriage system?

A. Although it won’t be available at the very start, there are various conversations between summoners and heroes, where you can deepen your understanding. Also, if you strongly develop a hero, a special bond between summoner and hero can be born, which is said to lead to friendship event(s)!

[Editor’s notes: It seems like this functionality will be added in an update?]

Q. Can you raise a 1* hero to a 5* hero?

A. Yes, of course! We hope you train your Heroes via the “Awakening” mechanic.

[Editor’s notes: You can boost the rarity of a hero by training them to Level 20+ and consuming items. Each time their rarity increases, their level and stats reset to the Level 1 stats for the new rarity.]

Q. Is there a log-in bonus?

A. Yes, we can confirm that there is a log-in bonus! It seems there will be a commemorative log-in bonus at the start of distribution as well!

*Worldwide implies many but not all countries.

About the Author: Elieson
Single father of 2 in Texas. Avid enthusiast of tile-based games and overall upstanding fellow.
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