Fire Emblem Heroes Review: Let’s Ride to Battle
Nintendo’s third mobile game released on February 2nd, 2017 to what I think is a love letter to all Fire Emblem fans.
Intelligent Systems brings Fire Emblem Heroes to IOS and Android devices in the free-to-play format to spread awareness of the historic franchise to the casual market. The key word here is “casual” as the game feels like a stripped down version of the 3DS Fire Emblem games (Awakening and Fates). The strategic rock-paper-scissors weapon triangle is fully in-tact and archers continue to dominate airborne enemies, but being limited to 4 on 4 battles in a 6 x 8 grid limits the actual strategic elements of Fire Emblem dramatically.
Maps take no more than 5 minutes to clear and the first go-around on them are rather simple. Sometimes, I would purposely put my characters in the face of danger and they would still manage to survive battles somehow. I felt the game was letting me win, except for one instance when I got my lancer killed, which by the way had no repercussions unlike every other Fire Emblem game. My lancer was immediately ready to fight on the next map despite her untimely death. This should help new players manage through the story-lite driven game.
The game begins with Anna, commander of the Order of Heroes, looking for this game’s version of “the chosen one” who will summon Heroes from other worlds to battle against the evil Emblian Empire. The Emblian Empire goes around enslaving (basically) your favorite characters from previous games and it’s up to you to stop them from conquering the Askaran Kingdom, home to Alfonse and Sharena, this game’s duo protagonists. The game’s plot is weak to a sense that it feels shoehorned in to allow hundreds of potential playable characters from over a dozen games to be added into an enormous roster. Personally, I didn’t mind it at all as I got to have characters from different games working together.
Speaking of characters, you need to get lucky on how they get unlocked. Every mission that you accomplish awards you with orbs, which in return are used to summon a random character. This of course is how Nintendo gets a hold of your wallet, as you can buy orbs rather than earn them by progressing through the game. Luckily enough, as a My Nintendo account user I received a bonus 10 orbs just to whet my appetite. Sadly, I got stuck with characters that I dislike; however, I did managed to unlock Tharja early on giving me an amazing dark mage from the get-go. As I played through the entirety of the game, I spent $0 and got to play for hours on end without any interruptions. This free-to-play style that Intelligent Systems utilized makes playing Heroes never feel like a chore.
Remixes of classic songs from previous entries make their way into Fire Emblem Heroes too. This, along with the chibi-like avatars, makes the game feel like a fresh Fire Emblem experience that fans can appreciate and new players can enjoy without the need of resetting their game time and time again after a character’s death. At the low cost of free and hours upon hours of fun times, Fire Emblem Heroes makes for a great mobile experience. Its only reak hiccup is the simplicity of it strategical aspects.