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Best Nintendo 3DS Games – #3 Fire Emblem Fates

Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD

Birthright/Conquest Release Date: February 19th, 2016

Revelation Release Date: March 10th, 2016

Synopsis: Fire Emblem: Fates features the same tactical role-playing mechanics from prior Fire Emblem games, with some new mechanics and a new take on the storyline that arches across three different games. The main character, a customizable Avatar, must choose between either his birth family, Hoshido (Birthright), and his adopted family, Nohr (Conquest) after the first few chapters of the game. Each side of the story has a completely different plotline and distinct challenges, with Birthright being the more straightforward, traditional Fire Emblem experience and Conquest upping the difficulty and eliminating level grinding.

A third path, where the Avatar chooses neither side, is available through an additional add-on title called Revelation that provides the conclusion and true ending to both storylines. The split storyline is a new feature for the franchise. Fates borrowed much of its gameplay from the wildly successful Fire Emblem: Awakening, but new features such as a Phoenix Mode that allows dead units to be revived on a subsequent player turn and the My Castle function allowing for shopping and relationship-related interactions were new additions.

Why It’s One Of The Best Nintendo Games: Thank goodness Nintendo didn’t call it quits with Fire Emblem after Awakening, because Fates is the cream of the crop. Though some found the game’s split into three parts a disappointing money grab, far more found that each version of the title was a full and unique experience with its own gameplay and storyline separate from the others, and thereby deserving of its own cartridge and price tag. Fates didn’t fix what wasn’t broken coming out of Awakening, but instead augmented its relationship systems and added more strategic and challenging elements on the Nohr side of the field for those Fire Emblem veterans lamenting that Awakening opened the gates too wide to a general audience and made the game too easy.

Complex character interactions, a well-written and thrillingly connected story, and the best of Fire Emblem’s tactical genius combined in Fates to make the best Fire Emblem game we’ve seen so far.

Next: 2 - Animal Crossing: New Leaf