Review by pigzig_n1
Great, but needs more polishing
Fire Emblem Warriors is a spinoff game, using "Warriors" gameplay from games like Dynasty Warriors along with some Fire Emblem series characters. I've never owned any Warriors games, but I've beaten all the mainline Fire Emblem games. This review won't go into too much gameplay detail, only mentioning some of the things that separate this from other Warriors games. If you want general info on how "Warriors" games play, you might want to look elsewhere.
Let's get the bad out of the way, starting with the character roster. If you haven't heard about the roster problem, well... Fire Emblem is a series with a long history, but this game focuses only on characters from 3 games, two of which(Awakening and Fates) are similar in style and appeal mainly to newer fans. Although there are some bonus characters from other games as well, they are exactly that, bonuses. They don't appear in the main story at all. The roster choices for this game have frustrated many fans. What can be said about the roster that hasn't been said already all over the message board and other forums? As a longtime fan myself, now that I've played through the game, more than anything, the roster just feels like it's not enough. I feel hungry for more. It's less disappointing, and instead just leaves me wanting. It feels like there should be more characters I haven't unlocked yet. Where are they? I want them. In the end, it's a hungering feeling. What's here is not enough.
DLC is coming, but it probably won't be enough to fix this roster. More unlockable classic characters especially, would be a sight for sore eyes here. There are definitely too many characters from Fates in this game. Despite this, they still intend to add more characters from the three focus games (Shadow Dragon, Awakening, Fates) before anything else. Still, I have hope that they could easily rectify most of my complaints with the roster through DLC or a sequel. It's disappointing that we didn't get many classic characters NOW, but the game is still by no means bad, as I'll explain later.
Apart from the disappointing roster, the graphics in this game needed some polishing, notably the character portraits, which just seem to be captured stills of the 3d models. Going through each graphical oddity is difficult in a text review. You should probably check out footage of the game on YouTube and the like. Just in a general sense, the graphics needed more polish.
So now for the good parts. Firstly, although the game is full of graphical hiccups, it often still looks good in motion. When you have Marth in his Star Lord costume mowing down soldiers to a Shadow Dragon remix the game is shining and any graphical technicalities weren't enough to spoil the experience for me personally. Probably at least one of your favorite characters is here, and you can have a lot of fun mowing down soldiers with them. Characters appear with a classic look when you first recruit them, but there is an alternate costume on promotion which sometimes feels more fanservicy and looks different to the characters portrayal in previous games. For example, Xander becomes Nohr King on promotion. Although some costumes don't change characters looks much, some are still well done, I particularly liked Tiki and Marth's. So despite my previous comments about the graphics, on a technical level yes, they blunder at points, but there is still nice stuff to see here.
The music is good also, both new tracks and remixed tracks. It's Shadow Dragon and the original tracks made for this game that stood out to me the most. I think it's perhaps that Fates and Awakening's music was already good to begin with and didn't need remixing, or maybe I'm just tired of Fates and Awakening in general, or something. In the same way, seeing the Shadow Dragon characters themselves fighting in 3d was more interesting than seeing someone like Camilla. It does make me think again, they should've had more classic characters in the game.
What about the gameplay? It's the most important part right? Well, the gameplay is lifted straight from the Warriors series where you hack and slash and mow down countless soldiers. As important as gameplay is, I am not going to comment much on it because this is my first Warriors game. If you are a veteran, you already know. If you're a first timer, I suggest looking at reviews of other games in the Warriors series like Hyrule Warriors to get the idea. What I'll cover is some of the differences here from other Warriors games. This game does add some elements from Fire Emblem, notably the weapon triangle. A big aspect of this game is using multiple characters and swapping between them to get the advantage against enemies. What can I say? It works. It's not quite as strategic as the main series because positioning is less of a problem in an action game, but it's definitely more efficient to use multiple characters to defeat enemies and put some thought into who you deploy. You can also double up characters (like Awakening and Fates) for some effects, and do combo special attacks. Getting the balance here is important, so that the player uses the feature but not all the time. What I've found is doubling is good for weak characters, but for raw area coverage and attacking, it's better to keep them separate. Mostly I stayed separate but there are definite uses for it. I could be wrong in how I used it though, perhaps series experts will find it better never to use it or always use it, but in my playthrough I felt some balance was achieved.
As for the story, it may surprise you. "Oh, the story doesn't matter, the original characters are wasted slots", I can hear you say it now. But I found the story to be well done. It's about as simple as you might expect, but it succeeds precisely because it is short but sweet. So many games have too much dialogue these days. Fire Emblem Warriors tells a simple but effective story with likeable characters that will keep your interest without boring you to death. There is not a huge amount of dialogue inbetween each chapter yet quite a lot still happens, each chapter throws something new at you. There is minimal to no filler. The main characters were likeable and I actually played as the male Shion as my main in the story mode. Considering how much of a Fire Emblem fan I am, they did something right if they managed to make me stick with him over the established characters. The biggest problem is going to be the voice acting in English, which may well ruin the whole thing. Good luck guys, you'll need to keep your fingers crossed for the English dialogue.
You could say Fire Emblem Warriors is a lot better than it has any right to be. With one of the most controversial character rosters I've come across, it does at times make you wonder if the developers really cared, or if they were just lazily cashing in using the "Warriors" gameplay along with some more recent and well known Fire Emblem characters. The graphics needed more work and the gameplay is not original, it's after all, just another one of these "Warriors" style games. Yet the game still somehow hits it's mark in many areas.
The story is simple but well done, proceeding at a fast pace that won't bog you down with dialogue and filler. It throws new playable characters and areas at you constantly and felt fresh all the way to the end. The original characters were all likeable. There is some great remixes AND original tracks. The cutscenes are high quality and used appropriately.
Ultimately Warriors just needs more polish and work done. It needed more characters from other games, it needed more polishing of the graphics. But a lot of the time I forgot my gripes, the good outshines the bad. I'm hoping to see more from this game via DLC in the following months.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Fire Emblem Musou (JP, 09/28/17)
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