By Luke

The Warriors series has had a few crossovers in its time. The first title I played (and played a lot of) was Hyrule Warriors where Link and friends fought in conflict larger in scale than you’d come to expect from Zelda games. It was a lot of fun and since then there has been another team up that to be honest makes a lot more sense, since the Fire Emblem series has always been about fights that are a part of a bigger battle.

Fire Emblem Warriors brings together the characters from a few of the fan favourite Fire Emblem games and covers the story of Rowen and Lianna; the prince and princess of Aytolis. Monsters attack their nation and they go on a world spanning adventure to stop a dark dragon from being revived. Basically, it’s a nice excuse to say that magic has drawn in the heroes and villains from other worlds so they can have a big jolly old scrap.

The gameplay follows the standard warriors affair as you control a unit and fight literally hundreds of enemies at once. While most of these enemies are there are simply fodder – who will only hit you if you’re very unlucky (or very rubbish) – the main threat are the captains and named units. These put up a fight in a very flashy way, usually lots of spinning attacks. The win criteria for each level is normally to capture forts by taking out the enemy fort captain and to protect your own, but often the game likes to throw curve balls your way. Enemy units roam around the battlefield taking back forts, attacking your units or sometimes go straight for the base. Victory comes not from how well you fight, but instead from where you fight. You can kill a thousand units, but if you don’t take out the person attacking your base, it’s game over.

This game seemed a lot easier to me than Hyrule Warriors, but I think it’s because you have a lot more control over how the fight flows and progresses. In Hyrule Warriors you would only control one unit while the rest of the fight happened around you. Consequently, you had to be in the right place at the right time to deal with the stupid fights your allies were getting into. Here you have can switch between four different units and have control of up to around eight in total. Since you can order them around the map, you can tell them to avoid getting drawn into the conflict and instead go capture forts while you pick the fights. It makes for a much more entertaining experience.

Fire Emblem Warriors also takes a fair few features from the Fire Emblem franchise. For one, the traditional series staple of the weapons triangle is in effect meaning your units’ weapons can often dictate battlefield tactics (it’s probably best to not send the AI against the unit type it’s at an disadvantage to). It also has the pair up system so you can fight alongside another unit. Flying units are a new addition and while they obviously have its weaknesses (i.e. to bows), they can take routes not available to standard units, meaning a few more options available to you as to how you approach the fight.

The story mode is pretty standard with the mission objectives varied and the story getting quite heartwarming towards the end; culminating is a nice big scrap with a dragon. But the main bulk of the game is the Histories Mode, which effectively takes the place of Hyrule Warriors’ Adventure Mode and is a massive improvement. While it seems a bit less epic compared to the massive adventure mode map of the Hyrule, it removes the item system so you don’t have to replay levels, and there’s less of the “filler” mission types Hyrule Warriors had so each fight is a bit more fun. The Histories Mode have you fighting some of the more iconic battles from the Fire Emblem series and there are about twenty or so levels per map so there is a lot of content to by the time you unlock all five maps!

There are a few downsides however, with one being that despite being about twenty five characters there are really only about fifteen unique fighting styles, some of the characters are clones for story reasons but a lot just seems to be out of laziness. Another is that the enemies also use the attack patterns of some of the characters as well. You only really notice this later on, but it still feels a bit cheap. Due to the ability to control the fight yourself, a lot of missions are easier as well, that’s not to say some aren’t challenging (especially if you’re going for S ranks) but I never felt as pressured as I did playing Hyrule Warriors.

Overall though, the game is a lot of fun. The fights are a lot larger than previous games (one battle ended with six thousand kills when all the friendly AI kills were tallied) and it does really feel like a major conflict is happening. The combat is fun and flashy and the new strategic options really do help the game. It won’t be for everyone, but if you like the newer Fire Emblem games and like smashing through hundreds of enemies, you could do worse. It’s a right blast.