PATH OF THE DRAGON
Fire Emblem Fates
FOLLOW YOUR HEART
is one of Nintendo’s long-running franchises that have enjoyed strong success in Japan, and a steady following outside its home country beginning with the Game Boy Advance releases. Two more titles were localized for the GameCube and Wii respectively, but both were saddled with limited print runs, and criticized by mainstream gamers for their unforgiving difficulty and ‘dated’ graphics. Things were looking grim, but the release of helped turn the tide for the series (and the 3DS), thanks to positive reviews and strong sales. Now that
has arrived on our shores, how does it fare in comparison to previous entries?
First, there are three versions of Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation – each representing a path that the player will take in the war between the Kingdoms of Hoshido (Birthright) and Nohr (Conquest). For the full experience, you will have to unlock the second and final
APRIL 2016 paths for US$19.99 each. If you managed to secure the Special Edition, all three paths are unlocked from the get-go. Some will see this as a cash-grab move, but it does make for an interesting narrative turn, as the story diverges from Chapter 5 onwards, leading to different set of challenges, accompanying characters, and conclusions. FAMILY CAN BE YOUR WORST ENEMY Similar to the player can customize the Avatar’s name, gender, appearance, and voice to their liking. Unlike in the previous title, the Avatar serves as the main protagonist in Fates, with his or her army to command across various battlefields. Based on our multiple playthroughs, it’s clear that Birthright is aimed at newcomers and fans, while Conquest offers quite a challenge even for series’ veterans with its diverse objectives, and limited gold/ experience gains. Revelation, on the other hand, plays like a hybrid of the other two. In addition to Classic (read: permadeath) and Casual (units revived post battle) modes, Fates introduces Phoenix, a third mode under Normal difficulty that revives downed units to full health (with the exception of the Avatar and another key character) at the end of the turn. Also returning from
is the Support system, which plays a critical role in building affinities and developing relationships between characters, the latter which can result in marriage and offspring, who can then be recruited into your army (don’t ask). Much of the fun is derived from the My Castle hub and unlocking support conversations, which ranged from funny and awkward to serious and insightful. There was a brief controversy regarding the removal of a ‘petting’ minigame, but we’re glad that they kept the same-sex relationship option intact. Purists, however, will not be happy with the absence of Japanese voiceovers.
TESTED & RATED
Animated cutscenes are back!