Fire Emblem Warriors review: A fine-tuned button masher

Credit: Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo /

Fire Emblem Warriors is much more than a simple, yet satisfying button masher and requires slowing down to plan your next move.

Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (Version reviewed), Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: October 20, 2017

As more of an intermediate gamer rather than an expert, I always prefer to do a little bit of research about games before I actually play them so I know what I am getting myself into. Honestly, I was a little nervous to play Fire Emblem Warriors, knowing it was closely tied to the Warriors series and a title I had played recently, Hyrule Warriors. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy Hyrule Warriors, I just didn’t want a game that was exactly the same as something I have already played. I have to admit that this game far surpassed my expectations, and had many features that I didn’t expect to be quite so fine-tuned.

To set the scene, Fire Emblem Warriors takes place in a mash-up of all the worlds from previous Fire Emblem stories put together. The story does leave a bit to be desired, but does not really detract from the game. In the beginning, Rowan and Lianna are forced to witness the destruction of the Royal Castle due to the sudden and rude appearance of something called the Gates of the Other World. Through a chain of events involving multiple powerful monsters now running amuck, this leads to the downfall of the rest of their kingdom.

fire emblem warriors
Credit: Nintendo /

So the responsibility to restore light and justice upon the kingdom falls onto the pair. Throughout the game, the story progresses through boss fights of rising difficulty and appearances of welcomed allies leading up to the ultimate boss fight (which you won’t beat on your first try, take my word for it). As far as the story goes, that is all I will give away for those who have yet to play it.

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The game lets you choose your own difficulty setting, but unless you just want to button mash your way through, do not choose normal. I would hardly call anything on this setting a fight.

The game features 23 different characters at launch, many of which are quite similar and have been referred to as “clones.” Meaning, that the character playability basically mirrors another character as far as attack style goes, and stats are similar to a few other characters. Among the clone characters, only nine have truly unique play styles, which was disappointing compared to Hyrule Warriors’ around 21 unique styles. And it is truly the characters which are unique that make all the difference when on the battlefront.

fire emblem warriors
t: Nintendo /

Similar to the previous games in the franchise, this game can be a button masher at times. But what really drew me in was the fine-tuned strategy of the fights. First of all, when directing allies to different bases and generals to fight, they really take matters into their own hands without requiring too much supervision. The usability of the map makes it easy to direct the characters of choice in order to take control of the battle field. This makes the game seem more intelligent and less stressful when trying to focus yourself on a difficult or important battle.

My biggest problems with the playability of the game were with the mounts.

Yet another feature that makes Fire Emblem Warriors shine is that you can team up different players. When you link two players together, they both become stronger based on the other’s stats boosting their own. Building off that fact, their special attacks become much more advantageous when saved up and used together. Your main character uses their special attack which is obviously more powerful, and the character that you are teamed up with lifts them into the air for a more powerful blow.

This is also where you really want to get in-depth on the attributes associated with each weapon. For example, the axe-wielding character will add a stat of strength to their partner when linked together. The five weapon types are axe, sword, spear, bow and arrow, and magic. The first three mentioned create the anticipated Fire Emblem weapon triangle similar to rock, paper, scissors. Magic and bow and arrow aren’t part of the chain but do have their own advantages when facing different enemies.

fire emblem warriors
Credit: Nintendo /

My biggest problems with the playability of the game were with the mounts. Although they are certainly epic, they proved to be more of a hassle than help for me. The Pegasus mounts were really hard for me to consistently control because of the speed which they moved at. Once in a while they were actually able to help me take out a group of enemies accidentally which did save me in a few missions. The only other advantage offered was a better match up against enemies that were also on mounts.

In comparison with the Pegasus mount, the regular horse mounts were easier to control. However, when you think it would be to your advantage to put a heavily armored character on a mount, you’re wrong. The mounts react to a rider’s weight and will move considerably slower with a heavy character.

fire emblem warriors
Credit: Nintendo /

The fact that the game does not really have a hard story to follow is made up by the history mode which will bring a wave of nostalgia to long-term fans of Fire Emblem, as well as filling the void for those new to the Fire Emblem universe, such as myself. I also hope the game delivers some great DLC, which has been much discussed considering Nintendo provided really great free DLC for Hyrule Warriors to meet the needs of fans.

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All in all, although I am a Zelda geek at heart, I prefer this Nintendo’d rendition of the Warriors franchise to Hyrule Warriors. It is more fine-tuned than its predecessors and kept me wanting to play for longer. The organization of the game, specifically the ordering around of players, makes the fighting much more efficient and less frustrating when you starting delving into the harder, more chaotic levels.

. Fire Emblem Warriors. 7. Fire Emblem Warriors exceeded the expectations of fans and newcomers alike. The intense battles are a balanced combination of satisfying attacks and careful direction of your allies to take down generals. Strategy is key, making it impossible to take your eyes away even for a second.. Omega Force, Team Ninja

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.