Hello there! I’m Jedi, and I’ve had Fire Emblem Warriors since the Japanese launch. I’ve been a Warriors fan since the early 2000’s starting with Dynasty Warriors 3, all the way to current games such as Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends, Samurai Warriors: Spirit Of Sanada, Warrior’s All-Stars and more. I have a vast amount of experience with both Fire Emblem and Warriors games, so I was excited to tackle this game.
Despite all the controversy surrounding Fire Emblem Warriors, it’s turned out much better than I could have hoped in pretty much every department, barring the roster; even the controversial and (to me, unimpressive) roster has merits in terms of supports and interactions.
Lets start from the top with the most important aspect of any Musou: The Gameplay. FEW is probably one of the most fluid and well playing Musou games out of the entire set. As is typical of these games, multitasking is more prevalent than ever in this title. The game feels nice to play in almost every aspect and doesn’t really feel tedious unless you play for an extended period of time, and even then, there’s advanced tech like frame cancels and animation canceling with dodges to keep the boredom away.
May contain some brief spoilers.
Your allies are competent enough and you can order them to approach various forts and heal up, or target certain enemies, much like the Empires subset of games in both the Dynasty and Samurai Warriors series. This alone makes taking on multiple objectives feel less stressful. Along with having up to four main units to control per battle, you can also select who your allies NPC units bring along. This is incredibly important, considering you can use them for pair up or orders. They also level up as if you were using them, which makes the tedium of leveling up multiple people not as inconvenient.
Movesets all feel fun. There are not as many unique movesets as say in Samurai Warriors or Dynasty Warriors (barring 6 and 7), but all the movesets that do exist in the game work really well and none feel as awkward as say, Agatha’s in Hyrule Warriors, etc. I personally have the most fun with Marth, Chrom/Lucina, Lissa, Robin and Xander, (wow…for once, I like Xander over Ryoma in a way but his moveset is rad too since it takes a lot of Fates’ Swordmaster animations) but everyone feels super easy to play. In particular, Tiki, who folks thought would be awkward to use, has easy ways to build her Awakening meter, for transformation into her Dragon form (you can simply add Musou bars into her meter).
The archers (Sakura, Takumi) are really fun, sacrificing damage for pure AoE and speed, while not doing as heavy damage to defensive units.
Elise and Leo have a super awesome mounted mage set and I’d imagine they’ll be really good when people start tiering characters in how effective they are. I can probably say the same about Frederick, whom himself has a super brutal moveset on his steed.
Pegasus Knights feel a little odd at first, but with their lances, really shine when you need them to, especially due to the massive influx of swords and their unique shortcut routes (which Wyverns can use as well), indicated on the map with a little wing icon.
Camilla brings the heat with a really cool Wyvern moveset. Along with the usual flier advantages such as dodging sending you into a flight mode, she has moves that combo together her aggressive axe usage with fire magic. One move even has her wyvern launch a fireball, she summons with its tail!
Corrin takes a bit of inspiration from her Smash Bros. alter ego, featuring a lot of Dragon Fang usage and using the fang to stick in the ground, spin etc.
Lyn, Celica and Anna must be unlocked, as well as the alternate genders for Robin & Corrin (whom after you unlock said alts, can change into their other genders as costumes the costume menu).
Lianna and Rowan also flow their attacks really well and have a nice moveset. For new protagonists to the series, I quite like them, especially Lianna. Rowan might look like a goofy Naruto/Super Saiyan, but he’s a big dork in personality so it works out. Lianna reminds me of Sophita (from Soul Calibur) on promotion so that’s a huge plus.
Fire Emblem Warriors runs at 30 frames per second on 1080p, however, there is also an option for 60FPS at 720p. Both run very smoothly and I noticed only a very rare frame drop every now and again (and we’re talking the span of roughly five maps at a time for just a solitary second). Even in handheld mode, the game runs very nicely.
Weapon effectiveness plays a huge role in this game, quite a bit more than the weapon triangle itself. For instance, if you’re fighting a Falchion user and you send Tiki, Camilla or Corrin at said threat, they’ll get torn to pieces in a matter of seconds. You need to actually take care of your team composition…a welcome element to encourage planning ahead.
You can promote at level 15 or higher with Master Seals. While you only get a select amount in the story itself, you get tons in History Mode as S-Rank bonuses. Promotion massively boosts your characters stats and gives the character a new look, some of which are entirely original. If you prefer their unpromoted appearance, you can still use those after promotion. Characters who are already promoted in their base games, do not count as prepromotes here, so you can promote characters such as Ryoma & Xander
History Mode is basically Hyrule Warriors Adventure mode, but 10x better, because it cuts out the needless fat and just lets you go from battle to battle without having to grind for map items. For those unaware, you move from fight to fight on a grid map. Each defeated opponent gives you specific materials or items them, or you can acquire goodies by earning an S rank on the map, determined generally by amount of enemies KO’d, damage you took and time you took to complete the main objective.
FE:W brings back the Badges from Hyrule Warriors, which require materials to unlock aspects of a characters growth, such as more of their combo, resistances, weapon ranks and more. It’s a system that honestly, just works. Although some may find it a bit grind-heavy to get the materials you need, you generally get plenty of materials on maps. BE aware, you do have to KO certain enemies (like manaketes for some of Tiki’s upgrades). Protip: If you plan on heavily utilzing Tiki, I advise doing some of the Shadow Dragon maps in Story Mode, as that’s when those materials start showing up.
You learn skills and can also give skills to other characters through supports, which makes it more like Xenoblade Chronicles, where characters can allow others to use different skills then they’d usually have access to, such as Chrom allowing Ryoma to have access to Luna.
Speaking of character improvement, weapon ranks return. Additionally, forging your various weapons together exists in this game (Much like the Warriors Orochi games), although I have not messed with it too much quite yet.
Pair up also returns, allowing two units to boost each others power, tank hits, and extend combos with pair up attacks that you activate yourself. Ryoma & Camilla, for instance, have already been found to be a potent combination because Camilla’s Axe Strike assist allows Ryoma to follow up on foes even easier.
The story is very basic, but it suffices. Its divided into a traditional FE chapter format, with four difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard and Lunatic (unlocked after beating the story the first time).
The maps are all really well designed, taking advantage of both your multitasking ability and also your reactions to enemy pressure. Unit types such as Pegasus or Wyverns (your or enemies) being able to take short cuts, and in a particular map, Hinoka and her Pegasus Knights do a very solid job of rushing you down if you don’t properly counter it.
Objectives are simple, yet may require some dedicated attempts to clear (more so on higher difficulties where enemies can and will have effective weaponry, forcing you to run a varied team to counter them). Stats also matter to an extent; sending people like Frederick against mages could end very poorly for him unless he overpowers them quickly, while someone like Lissa has the power of an axe, but also has high resistance to tolerate their offenses.
The difficulty is just right. Even Normal mode can give you a run for your gold coins depending on enemy composition and your lack of proper preparation to what the enemy has (or if you get locked into a team long-term for a History Mode challenge). Using only Nohrians & Lianna/Rowan vs Ryoma on the Fates map will definitely push your tactical capabilities on a first attempt.
Hard Mode and Lunatic will test your team, as well as your orders on the menu. Since your allies are more competent, the AI is also really quick on trying to take as much ground as physically possible, compared to other Warriors games.
Like recent Fire Emblem games, Classic and Casual modes exist here. For those unfamiliar; if you lose anyone on Classic mode they are unavailable for any modes whatsoever on your save file. You can switch the game from Classic to Casual anytime you wish, (but not the other way around), reviving anyone you may have lost. My personal recommendation is to tackle the story on Classic, then switching to Casual for the rest of the game so you can properly 100% it. Classic does allow some interesting ideas for story mode challenges, like attempting a base level Ironman run of the story on Hard Mode.
Through History Mode and the main Campaign via merchant Anna, you have to find scrolls which function akin to collecting the Skulltulas from Hyrule Warriors. There are tons of scrolls awarded to the player; the most basic requirement is getting 1,000 KOs but many others have different requirements.
The game takes what Hyrule Warriors did but takes out the clunky features, such as Boss Enemies who took way too long to kill, requiring items to progress in the story, or demanding S Rank objectives on a map. The game also runs much more smoothly, technically speaking.
Supports exist and from what I’ve seen of fan translations, they’re all enjoyable, not only for associated cast but also for some crossover conversations (shout outs to Celica and Xander and a number of others). While some are solid reads, others are utterly adorable (see Caeda and Tiki). All characters can get support ranks, but not all of them have conversations only particular sets of characters do, and you only get one support conversation between compatible partners so the A+ support talks are longer than typical supports from their prior installments.
While the roster is mediocre at best and the PR was quite honestly some of the worst I’ve ever seen (most definitely the worst I’ve seen out of KT who I’ve liked for years), I’d urge you to look past it. If you have the vaguest interest in the game itself, or love the Musou franchise, you should give this game a try. It covers the FE bases as well as it can while improving on well established HWs formulas, giving it a familiar feel with enough unique twists to keep you engaged.
While some may decry the lack of as much weapon variety there should be, the focus on weapons properties tend to be more important than the triangle itself, although as the enemies get tougher the triangle is a bit more key to doing things faster.
The music is absolutely spectacular, what with the classic Koei-Tecmo rock and more traditional FE sounds mashed up together in a great way. It just creates spectacular themes all over again, and when you’re on the Menu the music even calms down, before firing right back up when you enter the action once more, there’s pretty much always a good tune in the background to play with.
In conclusion, I’d like to say this is truly one of the most enjoyable Musou games I’ve ever played, ranking among the likes of Orochi 3, Samurai Warriors 4-II, Dynasty Warriors 5 & 8. I have been playing them for an even longer time then I have been playing Fire Emblem itself, so that means a lot, coming from me. I give it a high recommendation to those willing to take the dive into it.
Furthermore, according to a recent article, the game has sold nearly 60k units in Japan in its first week, which outdoes the recent sales of most Warriors games debuts in Japan. Outselling all their other more recent crossover titles besides Hyrule Warriors in terms of its first week is a pretty big deal for the new kid on the block!
I will continue to cover this game as we approach English release, as well as the various bits of DLC down the road.
If you wanted to see the game in full action, then I advise you check out my streams of the Story mode (available on my Youtube Channel):