Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
Top Critic Average
Vast, gorgeous (and confusingly delivered), Fire Emblem Fates sees Intelligent Systems at the very top of its game.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is a rewarding and deep turn-based tactical game with a grand story and characters I liked enough that losing them in combat really stings. The intense difficulty is squarely aimed at veteran Fire Emblem players, and its satisfying campaign is full of variety and challenge. And even though a win or loss can down to sheer luck, I walked away either satisfied or eager to give it another shot.
It often lacks the accessibility and sense of fun of Birthright, but for Fire Emblem and strategy veterans this is still an excellent entry in the series.
Fire Emblem Fates smartly revises a quarter-century old battle system and offers ever more reasons to care about your little chess pieces, but neither version does enough to welcome new players.
Conquest is a challenging game that richly rewards players willing to undergo its trial by fire
Fire Emblem Fates is an emotional war game
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is a punishing strategy RPG that marches forward and never looks back.
With Fates, the series hasn't frayed under the pressure. Instead, Intelligent Systems has created one of the most narratively ambitious games to hit a Nintendo platform. Fire Emblem Fates lets you explore the value of familial love and friendship, then offers you the option to go back and kill everyone you love, while loving everyone you killed.
Fire Emblem: Conquest is billed as the "hardcore" side of Fire Emblem Fates, and it doesn't disappoint with its intricate and challenging maps. On top of that, the core of Fire Emblem's relationship mechanics are strong as ever, and the castle hub is a very nice addition. Even if you opt to ignore Birthright, Conquest is a full-featured and satisfying RPG on its own.
What this all makes for is a much tighter and more precisely balanced game than Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, where decisions matter, even in Casual mode. The story in Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is stronger, but still feels somewhat like filler meant to set up the true narrative to be revealed in Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation. While this feels like a vastly superior game, it also feels very much like part-two of three, in a three-part title. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is an excellent, challenging SRPG that requires a great deal of forethought and precision, rewarding the player for hard choices, and keeping your characters in play. While the story is stronger with more engaging characters, it still feels like another "bad ending" setting up the player to have to purchase the third campaign when it releases in March.