I’ve been so scared to write this review. Musou games are still quite foreign to me, and every time I try to play one, I feel like I’m missing the real point of it. That’s not to say hacking and slashing dozens – or hundreds- of enemies at once isn’t satisfying, it is. But as surface level, it seemed shallow… Fire Emblem Warriors has been the Musou title that has clicked the most for me, but I still feel like I’m missing a lot.
There’s really not that much to Fire Emblem Warriors. You run around, work combos to attack enemies, build up special gauges to to more powerful techniques, then do it all over again. Sometimes there’s tougher enemies, and bosses, but yeah. It’s satisfying, for sure.
The story mode takes place on a different battleground, with a variety of forts and objectives and develop over time. Defeat a fort captain to take it for your side, and claim more territory across the map. Work towards defeating the boss or whatever the level wants you to do.
It’s all sorta blended with Fire Emblem mechanics, like teaming up with other teammates, using a grid to command troops, and even a mode where if a hero on your team dies, they’re gone for good. It works together surprisingly well, but overall just feels like another Musou game- a satisfying one, at least.
While Hyrule Warriors was my first Musou game, the variety of characters and play styles of each one made it hard for me to really understand what the game was about. Fire Emblem Warriors has a lot of characters that have similar roles and abilities, which simplified the game enough for me to truly click. Even having the weapon triangle from mainline Fire Emblem games was a big help.
If you’re playing this for story, you’ll probably be disappointed. Fire Emblem Warriors is basically a trope filled narrative, held together with references for fans of Fire Emblem. The characters from existing games act about how you’d expect them to, but the new characters range from incredibly annoying to boring.
The sense of progression is incredibly robust. Killing enemies in-game will sometimes drop materials, which are used to purchase ‘badges’, which is basically a sort of skill tree. You can also unlock abilities that closely resemble abilities from mainline Fire Emblem games.
Levelling up your characters looks just like a mainline Fire Emblem game too, with each stat getting a few extra points. I highly recommend turning off level up notifications in game, seeing as they can slow the game down a lot when you have a character levelling up every few seconds.
Master Seals also come into play as rarer rewards. Just like the original games, they allow you to class change, granting large boosts and more upgrades for that character’s skill tree. A lot of them are locked behind some pretty neat challenges, too.
The story mode will take a little while to finish, with each level having their own set of challenges and sub-missions. Going back and getting everything you missed adds a tiny bit of replay value, but I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of replaying story content right after finishing it.
Luckily, there’s History Mode, featuring classic scenarios from previous Fire Emblem games. Each map in this mode has a variety of different battles, each with their own win conditions or play styles. It works really well on Switch, with each battle taking a small amount of time to complete.
The DLC also adds more of these maps, on top of more characters to play as. I was weak, and bought the season pass, but I can also see just how much more content it really adds, with 3 history mode maps each (9 total). They take a long time to completely finish, so it means if I ever feel like mashing buttons to get rid of some stress, I’ll have plenty of bubble wrap to go through.
Fire Emblem is definitely out of my regular sort of game. I enjoy (most of) Fire Emblem, outside of the romance mechanics. Musou games seem like simple fun. Put the two together, and apparently it’s something I quite enjoy.
With my newfound appreciation for the genre, I’m looking forward to replaying Hyrule Warriors, with more recognisable characters, and a more varied selection of characters and gameplay to choose from.
Is it worth the money? ($89.95 AUD – Switch eShop)
Is it worth the time?