The latest SRPG from Intelligent Systems is upon us and Fire Emblem Engage is quite an impressive offering so let's get to it.
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Is Fire Emblem Engage for newbies?
First of all, Fire Emblem Engage is the first mainline game in the series that I played. For whatever reason, I've never got into the Fire Emblem games even though I grew up loving SRPGs such as Vandal Hearts and Tactics Ogre. I figured it's over 20 years later; I may as well give it a shot! 😅 Well, I'm glad that I did because Fire Emblem Engage is such an awesome experience that I now want to play the previous games in the series. If you're in a similar situation then you're bound to appreciate the old-school approach to SRPG gameplay, striking aesthetics, and phenomenal cast of characters. Oh, and if you've ever played the Advance Wars games then Fire Emblem is very similar as Intelligent Systems made both series. v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154
A wondrous adventure
Before discussing its gameplay, let me just say that Fire Emblem Engage is one of the best-looking games on Switch. Now, I don't mean that it has realistic visuals; in fact, it's very anime-oriented. What's so striking about it is just how beautifully animated, detailed, and colourful everything is. From lovely character models to gorgeous environments and eye-popping effects to over-the-top animations in battle when you unleash a powerful skill; it's stunning to say the least. 🤩
Plus, the audio is equally superb complete with a fitting orchestral soundtrack that adapts given what's currently happening, effects that really pack a punch whenever an attack lands, and voice acting that brings the characters to life wonderfully. Well, some of the lines are delivered in a way that doesn't match the tone which can take you out of the experience but these moments are rare.
A strategic endeavour
I'm sure that fans will be very familiar with what Fire Emblem Engage has to offer gameplay-wise and to make them even happier, a primary mechanic involves teaming up with heroes from the previous games which I imagine will be quite nostalgic for long-time players. To be honest, I even felt the nostalgia because I'm familiar with many of the characters from Super Smash Bros.
Anyway, the core gameplay has you command your small army across grid-based battle maps in a turn-based fashion where all of your units get a chance to move before your enemies do. Ensuring that your defenses are strong while also thinning out the horde poses a satisfying balance and mechanics such as how weapon types are strong or weak against others and allies can chain attacks if left next to each other make things complex enough to create a rewarding formula without ever leaving you in the dust. 😊
That's right; Fire Emblem Engage incorporates a very gradual learning curve that even genre newbies can easily grasp and as mechanics get introduced and new challenges present themselves, the gameplay becomes increasingly rewarding. With that in mind, I found more than a few battles to be on the tedious side of the equation due to similar battle maps and situations. When you factor in that I played on Normal difficulty which is actually incredibly easy, I was left somewhat unsatisfied, especially because you can't increase the difficulty setting after beginning a new game. Needless to say, I really don't want to start over again at this point in the campaign.
An immersive world
Before wrapping things up, I'd like to discuss Fire Emblem Engage's game world as I wasn't expecting to fall in love with it as much as I did. For starters, the cast of characters is incredibly endearing with a wide range of personalities on display including enthusiastic youngsters, dedicated warriors, and sympathetic nobility. Of course, your adversaries are noteworthy, too, although they're mostly stereotypical ne'er-do-wells and mysterious behind-the-curtain folks. Anyway, you can spend an impressive amount of time with everyone thanks to relaxing exploration-based segments between battles where you can chat, discover items, and even adopt animals! 🐶
Speaking of relaxing with your chums, the hub area of Somniel acts as a cozy refuge where you can chat more with party members as well as give them gifts and ready your troops for their next battle. Specifically, you'll find things like shops including one where you can alter your characters' appearances, a blacksmith that can enhance your weapons, an area where you can strength train for temporary stat boosts, and even an amiibo gazebo! 😄 This area is very fun to explore whether you're chatting, training, or setting up your party.
If you're new to the mainline Fire Emblem games albeit an enthusiast of SRPGs in general like I am then Engage will surely wow you with its tight old-school gameplay, incredible presentation, and fantastic cast of characters. Heck, it might even turn you into a dedicated fan.
- + Intuitive and enjoyable strategic gameplay that gradually opens up throughout
- + Gorgeous visuals, music, and effects
- + Awesome characters and engaging story
- - Normal difficulty setting is way too easy and you have to start over to change it
- - Some battle maps are kind of tedious
- - Voice acting doesn't always match the tone