Video Game Review: Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest

Details: Played through it in about sixteen hours. More information can be found at https://fireemblem.nintendo.com/fates/

Score: 7.1/10

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest builds off of the formula established in Awakening and Birthright and adds a few new gameplay elements to the combat. They also take away some things that make the game decidedly more difficult than Birthright… at least if you didn’t buy the downloadable content.

I posted the review for Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright yesterday and it covered a lot of my opinion on this game. This review is mainly going to cover what’s new and how it compares with Birthright.

In Conquest, you side the the Nohrians and fight against the Hoshido. Having played birthright first, the story felt a lot sadder as I had to defeat all the characters I allied with in Birthright. The game also offers some more context to plot points that were not explained in Birthright. There are still a lot of unexplained plot points though and I imagine they will be explained in Revelations.

Gameplay is mostly the same, but there are some big changes. Firstly, there are no challenge maps, which means you cannot grind levels. I mean, you could grind levels if you bought the downloadable content, but I opted not to play any of it because it felt like this was how Conquest was supposed to be played. The result is a substantially more difficult game where I was constantly micromanaging my units in ways that I did not in Birthright. Where I used strategy sometimes in Birthright, many of the missions in Birthright I steamrolled through because I was over leveled. I was never over leveled in Conquest and constantly had use planning and tactics to get through missions.

Adding onto the difficulty, Conquest introduces a number of new gameplay mechanics that increase difficulty and variety. For instance, many of the missions have some form of time limit in which you need to complete the mission or else something catastrophic would happen. Many of the missions also have endless waves of enemies which also effectively act as a time limit since you would be overwhelmed if you didn’t finish the objective as soon as possible.

Then there are the other missions where you have to defeat a specific boss in order to unlock a door. On another mission, you needed to split your army into two teams and progress together as each team is only able to unlock doors blocking the other team. There are a bunch of variety in the mission structures and I greatly appreciated. This variety fixed a problem that I found in Birthright’s simplistic, formulaic gameplay.

With that said, some of the maps are reused from Birthright, though most are not. What really bothered me was that this game could easily have been packaged together with Birthright on the same memory card, but they chose to sell them separately to price gouge customers. Some days, I feel like Nintendo is no better than Electronic Arts in terms of how they financially prey on their customers.

Another downside to the lack of grinding and urgency of gameplay is that unless you plan way ahead or buy the downloadable content, you won’t be able to meet all of the recruitable characters in the game because you will not be able to grind them out. Instead, you’ll likely just pick a dozen or so of your favorite characters and just level them up, ignoring all the other characters in your army.

Overall, Conquest was a lot of fun. It’s shorter than Birthright, but offers more variety. Where Birthright disappointed me because it did very little to build upon the Fire Emblem franchise, Conquest did not. There is more experimentation with the Fire Emblem formula and accordingly, it’s more fun.

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