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Import Review: Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)

Import Review: Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)

Posted by Sherrie on 18th Feb 2016

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Fire Emblem: Fates is the newest entry in the long running strategy RPG series from Nintendo. The previous entry in the series for 3DS, Awakening, did quite well, and Fates both benefits and suffers from its success.

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First of all, Fates is divided into two versions, Birthright and Conquest, with the story and characters differing between the versions. There is also a third path, Revelation, which is only available as downloadable content (unless you were fortunate enough to snag the special edition of the game, which has all three versions on one cartridge, before the limited amount of copies disappeared into the ether). If it sounds complicated, it is, but at least regardless of which version you buy, the other paths are available to buy from the online shop for much cheaper than buying it physically.

Without spoiling anything, the story follows you, the main character (which you can choose to be either a male or female, with customizable options for hair and facial features) as you make the most difficult choice of your life; born into one royal family, kidnapped and raised by another, do you side with your biological family or the one that you love and grew up with when war breaks out between the two? Birthright follows the path of you choosing to side with your biological family, Conquest follows the path of staying with the family that you were raised with. Be aware that unless you buy the opposite DLC, you will ONLY be able to side with the family pictured on the box of that version. Revelation, the DLC only path, allows you to use characters from both versions, including the royal families, which leads me to believe it might be the 'true' path.

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I admit I was moved by the story in parts; they do a good job of making you care about both of your families, which makes your choice, and the events that stem from that choice, genuinely upsetting. All the characters are likeable, and it's fun pairing them up romantically (done through making two characters fight together in battle, and told through cutscenes), which is something that was also in Awakening, the previous Fire Emblem. Pairing up two units will result in them having a child, which through magical mumbo-jumbo is able to join your battle party as an adult. However, while the children were integral to the story in Awakening, in Fates they seem shoe-horned in, there only to give you more characters.

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The graphics, especially the animated cutscenes, are beautiful. Gameplay is sharp and fun, being easy enough to understand for new-comers to the strategy RPG scene, but with enough depth to appeal to seasoned players as well. Your familiarity with strategy games might also influence which version of the game you decide to purchase, as Birthright is easier, allowing you to buy extra battles to level up your characters, but Conquest has no such option, which means you are stuck with the number of battles they give you.

Overall, if you liked previous entries in the series, or if you are a strategy RPG fan, Fire Emblem: Fates is completely worthy of your time; just make sure you know which version you want to play, and be prepared to spend more money if you want to know every possible path the story can take.