Have you ever played a game so much that you just know it is good? But when asked your brain is completely stumped on how to reply properly?
Well that is how I feel with Fates. Even after putting in over 100 hours into the game (and already planning more) I just don’t know how I would tell someone the game is good. I know it is good, at least to me, but convincing someone else… probably impossible.
But I shall try to do a post as best as I can either way!
What is coined as Fates is simply more of a large calling card to the game as in reality Fates composes itself of three games: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. Each with its own campaign, gameplay, and story that starts after deciding on a crucial choice early in the game when you must decide whom you are laying your loyalty too in the war between Nohr, the players home that they have known all their life, or to Hoshido, the players birthplace with his biological family.
Now currently both Birthright and Conquest are out. Revelation is out only for ones who purchased the Special Edition, like me, but I will only talk about Birthright and Conquest for those who have yet to taste Revelation yet due to not even owning it yet.
Birthright and Conquest while they feel like two very different games share quite a bit with each other. Whichever family you choose to side against is often fighting against you on the frontlines of many of the areas you end up at. Meanwhile each game have great resolutions to each of their story arcs neither give a completely full picture of everything going on with the truth hidden behind the Revelation story.
Both Birthright and Conquest have their own set of unique roster of allies and enemies, classes, and gameplay mechanics. Such as in Birthright your Hoshidan allies are largely influenced by East Asian archetypes with Ninjas, Samurais, and Shrine Maidens often favoring lighter attacks with high critical rates, less defense but a larger movement field, and a score of ranged attackers. Meanwhile in Conquest your allies will take on roles of a more European like role with Knights, Swordsmen, and Mages all of whom compared to their Hoshidan enemies can take more of a hit with higher defense and keep lasting through multiple turns without any healing support.
While in both games you often go to many of the same locations no matter which side you choose your reasons for being there as well as your goals to complete the map have a wide varying degree of conditions to complete. For the Hoshidan’s of Birthright your campaign is often just a simple defeat the boss or wipe out the enemy before you continue on your march towards Nohr. Meanwhile in Conquest you are often more challenged with strategy coming in play to beat a map in a certain way, such as in a set amount of turns, using specific key items on the map, and things like that.
On top of the more challenging maps Conquest also does not offer a way to grind experience like Birthright with its optional skirmishes giving each and every decision you make a choice of who you want to have become stronger while others may be left on the back burner whether you want them to or not. Unfortunately, perhaps for some, is that this leads to less of one of my favorite parts of Fates, the support conversations.
With such a large cast of characters support conversations are really the only way to learn about your army. Through the stories you do not learn much about anyone except the protagonist, Azura, the royal families, and that is about it. For your other twenty or more allies on each side though you have to work with them on the battlefield to grow your support of each other to learn about them.
Now I know from some that support seems like a waste of time but the fact that other than being some of the best writing in the game it also offers units who constantly work together to work towards stat boosts with each other can make it a lifesaver in situations like in Conquest where more strategy is needed.
One of Fates largely unique additions is a customizable castle that the players manage and decorate with buildings and various structures such as weapon shops, a mess hall, and defenses. This offers even more random support-like conversations with your allies as they run the shops, mill around the courtyard, and are even invited into your private quarters.
The My Castle features the only bit of multiplayer component Fire Emblem Fates has. You are able to visit other players castles, rate their layout, collect resources to use for yourself, and even battle them in their or your own castle. Winning with no handicap allows you to either recruit one of their units or even buy a skill they may have that you do not.
Doing everything in another players castle as well as winning a battle nets you some points used to redeem some rewards that start out as nothing more than trash but eventually work their way up to some of the best items in the game, or at least on par with them, sadly even if you constantly went to others castles with all of your patience it will net you with maybe a hundred points which barely scratches the barely passable rewards meanwhile the great items are up in the thousands with the cream of the crop at a whopping 10k points.
Though there are ways to set up your castle that others will be more likely to visit it and help you earn your points the fact is it takes quite awhile to work your way up for these rewards and often give the “is it worth it” vibe which obviously is up to each person themselves to decide.
I will readily admit right now before I even list my score that there are things I didn’t talk about but it is more because I don’t even use them in the game so I wouldn’t even know how to talk about them, of course I am talking about the reclass system with the various seals, so there is still much more to this game than what I even know.
Also I will say I am heavily Fire Emblem biased. You will tell that from my score probably. Even with things like Japanese to English localization and things being changed or removed my score doesn’t change.
In the end after playing all three routes myself I give the game a solid 9.5 out of 10 and nothing probably could lower that. If anything the coming DLC will make it go closer to a 10 mattering what does or doesn’t happen in them.