Details: More information can be found at https://fireemblem.nintendo.com/fates/
This is an overall review of the game and a ton of information about just what is inside this Special Edition. I am going to write separate reviews for Birthright, Conquest and Revelations and post them tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and the day after that in that respective order.
Because of the success of the prior game, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Nintendo seemingly threw piles of money at this game and gave it the Pokemon treatment. This means that when this game was released, Nintendo released two versions of the game, Birthright and Conquest. This may seem like a real money grab because it is. Why make a single game when you can make gullible fans buy multiple versions of it? It’s easy money.
Both games are the same up until Chapter 6, which is about an hour or two into the game. Then the two games diverge into different stories, maps and gameplay styles. Birthright is generally considered the more newbie friendly version and more similar to Awakening in gameplay style. Conquest is considered the tougher version and gameplay style is varied and steps further away from what was established in Awakening. Revelations then was subsequent downloadable content that offered a third path after Chapter 6 and was pretty much another version of the game.
The Special Edition combines all three versions into one game. Basically, when you hit Chapter 6, you’ll have to make a plot decision, which then leads to one of the three versions. The decision is very obvious, so there’s little chance you won’t be aware of this fork in the road. What I did is I just made a save file right before Chapter 6 so that I could go back and play through all three versions.
So which one should you play first if you’re going to play all of them.? The general internet consensus is that Birthright comes first. Birthright is the most traditional and best jumping on point for old fans and new. Conquest is more difficult and experiments more with the Fire Emblem gameplay formula. Revelations was subsequent downloadable content and builds off of Birthright and Conquest.
After playing through all three versions, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed them. My primary complaint doesn’t really apply to me because I played the Special Edition, which combines all three into one package. There should never have been three versions of this game. There should have only been one and they should’ve included all the versions in that package from the very beginning. Instead, they chose to sell three slightly modified versions of this game for full price to the suckers who are fans to this series.
Normally, I’d be okay with multiple versions of a game if each version of the game is fun to play. In the case of this game, you can feel that the story was deliberately half assed so as to create a reason to create three versions to sell. It’s the same argument against locking content onto a disc which you will later have to pay more money for, even though it’s already on the disc you paid for.
You can tell that the developers of Fates deliberately left elements of the story out of each version just so that they’d have a reason to create more versions. You can also tell that gameplay elements were deliberately left out so that the other versions would look better. This is most apparent in Birthright which has the least innovative gameplay out of all three versions. Add onto that that many visual elements like animations and maps are reused between all three versions and it becomes obvious that all three versions are essentially the same game with a different coat of paint. The lack of voice acting through the games also doesn’t help.
Overall, the game was fun, but the idea of paying full price for three different versions of deliberately half assed games is grotesque. I’d advise anyone who wants to play Fire Emblem: Fates to buy the Special Edition… except that if you do a quick internet search on the price, the Special Edition goes for hundreds of dollars. So… the only other reasonable option to me is to either borrow copies from your friends, or just give up on playing this game because the combined price of all the versions is just too expensive for what they’re selling.