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.
Conquest on the other hand is a more enjoyable from my perspective as a strategy veteran. It's much more complex from the start, and offers bigger maps, more interesting objectives (such as point defense or sieges), and a more intriguing plot. You can't grind, so you're encouraged to instead play through the limited amount of sidequests or arena world map battles to fine tune your party makeup. This leads to a larger need for a more tactical approach from just about every facet of the game. It's more thrilling and has a different feel to it, especially if you crave a challenge and blow through other titles in the series.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is as lethal as it is lovingly crafted, with challenging tactical gameplay that will push series veterans to the edge. It's hugely satisfying when you successfully navigate any of its encounters, and you can't help but be drawn in by the likeable characters and engrossing narrative. I still have to wonder whether three separate releases was truly necessary, but it's hard to argue when the resulting games are all equally phenomenal.
Fire Emblem Fates exemplifies the best way to approach a sequel. It maintains and iterates on Awakening's best qualities, while also introducing new systems that have a profound impact alongside a richer and more poignant story. It's more than just a worthwhile successor to a recent hit. Taken as a whole, it's the best Fire Emblem to date.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is a monument to the elegance of Intelligent Systems. Hard, yet accessible, it's even deeper than the series' standards. Fans will love it and newbies should try it (maybe starting from the Birthright version).
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Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is one of the best RPGs available on a handheld device, offering a punishing challenge that is mischievously veiled by immaculate visual design and thought-provoking tactical gameplay.
A captivating story and strong cast of supporting characters, along with the very well designed gameplay and impressive breadth of pure content make Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation a must own trilogy for the Nintendo 3DS.
Fire Emblem: Fates is a fantastic turn-based strategy game. If you're worried about the multiple versions, you don't need to be. You'll get a full experience with a single campaign, but it's great to know that you can keep going and discover new content long after beating a single path.
Regardless of which version of the three editions you buy you'll be in for dozens of hours of top-notch turn-based tactics – plus a bit of old-fashioned Japanese melodrama
There's little doubt that Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest delivers on every front that it promised fans, serving up an interesting narrative and tough-as-nails gameplay.
Fire Emblem: Fates is easily one of the biggest and most intimidating entries in the series, but the refined systems and sheer breadth of content, mixed with a colorful and memorable cast of characters, makes this a grand offering for both Fire Emblem faithful and newcomers alike.