As a deeply devoted Fire Emblem fan, I was initially a bit skeptical when Fire Emblem Warriors was announced. The game is a spinoff from the popular musou series Dynasty Warriors, in which players crunch through hordes of enemies in a capture-the-flag-like tower defense game in which you much capture and hold points on a map.
There have been many IPs linked with Dynasty Warriors spinoffs, including the Legend of Zelda-themed Hyrule Warriors back in 2014. And while I didn’t think much of Hyrule Warriors or the other spinoffs, I knew I would play Fire Emblem Warriors regardless because I adore Fire Emblem.
I am happy to report that Fire Emblem Warriors deviates from the Warriors spin-off norms and adds a few gameplay wrinkles that make it feel almost closer to a Fire Emblem game than a Warriors game.
Rock-paper-scissors for weapons
For example, Fire Emblem Warriors makes use of the often-used weapons triangle from the Fire Emblem series. In this triangle, certain weapons are more powerful against other weapons, and using the right weapon against the right enemy can result in higher hit accuracy and deal more damage. One example: a sword user has more power over an axe-wielder, an axe can better take out a lance, and a lancer is more effective against a sword user. Fire Emblem Warriors adopts this strategy as well, and depending on what boss enemies are on the battlefield, you may want to use one of your four available characters against them to your advantage.
It takes two
Another ability plucked from Fire Emblem involves pairing up two characters to fight in tandem. Back in Fire Emblem Awakening in 2013, players could “Pair Up” two characters on the battlefield, allowing them to move spaces together and to attack together. Fighting together also opened the opportunity for a stronger bond between the two characters, and as a result, more powerful attacks. In Fire Emblem Warriors, two characters can pair up on the battlefield and the more enemies they defeat, the more a special power gauge fills. Once it’s full the two can execute a joint attack, one that is more complex and powerful than a solo attack.
I paired up Takumi from Fire Emblem Fates and Robin from Awakening to utilize an incredibly overpowered attack that spun my enemies up into the air and skewered them all with arrows before whipping them around and onto the ground again. This mechanic allows you to wipe out entire hordes of enemies very quickly.
Be the boss
Normally in a Warriors game, you’ll have a few characters on the battlefield at once, and normally they all operate independently of the character you are controlling. In Fire Emblem Warriors, you can pause the game to issue orders to your fellow fighters. While fighting as Takumi, I stopped to send Camilla (from Fates) to one corner of the map to confront a general while I worked to clear out another section of the map. When I became overwhelmed, I ordered Hinoa (also from Fates) to stop fighting where she was and fly across the map to aid me.
These several small touches — in tandem with the color cast of characters that is the mish-mash of casts from Fire Emblem’s past — make Fire Emblem Warriors feel like a spin-off based on another franchise and more an accessory experience to the overall Fire Emblem universe. Like the popular mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes, it’s exciting as a lover of the series to summon my favorite characters into battle alongside me. Fans can get their hands on this Nintendo Switch title on October 20.