Fire Emblem Engage Review

The Fire Emblem series of games have always had a wide variety of units and multiple ways to use them. The series has more recently become known for having a large cast of characters that have created “Waifu” and “Husbando” wars for years as fans can never settle on the best characters. This is the 17th main title game to usher in a new age of this war and features some brand-new elements and the return of the few series main stays.

If you have watched any of the trailers you get a beginning portion of the game heavily spoiled, up to chapter 3 but thankfully there are enough chapters to make up for it. You play as Alear, the Divine Dragon, having awoken from a 1000-year slumber after defeating the Fell Dragon threatening the world. You are tasked with collecting the Emblem Rings that allows you to summon the heroes from previous games. As you travel the world, you gain more allies that you can use in combat, foster relationships with and hopefully save the world from the evil.

Fire Emblem Engage

Gameplay starts on the overworld where you can move your character from point to point along a selected path. These points can be main missions that advance the story, side missions to recruit new units or get items or skirmishes that really allow you to level up your characters. Every action your characters make nets them some experience points to level them up. Attacking, healing friendly units using staves and defeating enemies all give you a decent amount from least to most in the mentioned order. Once a battle starts, you can select what characters will participate and the order they appear on the field and position. The number of characters you can deploy varies per mission and with the number of characters on hand, picking the right characters to use and level up become a strategic move in of itself. Once the preparation phase is completed, the play phase starts, and this allows you to move your characters and if possible, take actions like attacking or healing. A highlighted grid shows you where the characters can move and depending on weapons, where they need to be positioned to attack the enemies. Most melee weapons need to be parallel; bows can be diagonal, and magic can be either or within a few blocks with enemies. Once all your characters have moved, attacked, or even just waited, the play phase ends, and the enemy phase begins, and this does exactly what it sounds like and allows the enemies to act. This pattern is rinse and repeat until the win or lose conditions are completed which can also vary but is mostly kill the enemy general and don’t let the Divine Dragon die. Pretty easy stuff. A nice little addition is basically a highlighted line of sight from the enemy units that you can use to make better tactical decisions. A red line will appear when a friendly character is moved within attack range of the enemies and will normally mean that they will move on their next turn. And in the event, you make a bad move, the game adds a large bit of assistance with the Draconic Time Crystal; a mechanic that allows you to reverse time and undo some decisions making it a lot more forgiving for newcomers to tactical RPGs.

Each character or unit is broken down into various classes like calvary, armoured, archer and mage with each one has strengths and weaknesses. Armoured characters can tank a lot of melee weapon damage and can even negate damage from archers but against a mage, that spews fireballs, will not last very long. Likewise with Pegasus riders, they have a large amount of movements points and can easily traverse any area and attack from a safe range equipped with a ranged weapon but is vulnerable to range attacks from archers and mages, although they can on occasion make a successful dodge. The starting classes are predetermined but can be change at a later stage to add more variety to the characters and possibly strengthen a weakness they might have with their initial stats. If you keep levelling up the classes and get them to level ten, you then get the opportunity to have them became an advance class with more abilities and bigger stat boosts down the line.

Fire Emblem Engage

As with the classes, each weapon has a strength and weakness; lances are strong against swords, swords strong against axes and axes strong against lances. This will also determine how effective they are against the classes that have it equipped as attacking an enemy with the right weapon will trigger a break and they will not be able to counter attack and can be finished off more easily reducing the total damage that would have been dealt. Mages on the other hand act more like mobile artillery and can rain damage from affair or even cast unmissable attacks at close range that tend to work for weaking a foe or finishing them off after another attack.

What Engage adds different to the mix is the ability to use Emblem Rings that each contain various Emblems, heroes from past games, that provide new abilities and stats to the characters that have the rings equipped. As that characters perform actions, their sync status increases and this provides a stat boost when fully synced and can make a difference in battles as you could deal more damage, have better chances to land critical hits or even able to move further. Being synced also allows for the use of special skills that are unique to each Emblem. While fully synced, the character can Engage with their Emblem to get an ever-higher boost and newer abilities for 3 turns which if used correctly can turn the tide in battle.

Fire Emblem Engage

Most of the decisions before and after the battles are made on your flying island castle, the Somniel. This acts as a hub where you can converse with the unique characters to increase their support levels, purchase, and sell weapons and accessories, do some training for stat boosts, and develop the various rings and the skills. There is a lot more to find so exploring the island each visit allows you to find new things that are not mentioned.

The ring chamber allows you to level up the Emblem Rings, inherent skills and create Bond Rings which allow some of the stats of the rings to be infused in other lesser rings that can be used by characters that do not have an Emblem Ring providing a wide variety of ways to play or change characters as needed.

As with previous Fire Emblem games, there is a visual novel style portion that is attached that will allow you to increase your support with characters that will grant support scenes between them and will allow them to support bonuses when next to each other on the battlefield. There are multiple ways to increase this level such as giving them gifts while in Somniel and the most common, using them next to each other in battle whether it be healing each other or attacking an enemy. Each scene will give an increase on the support scale and will result in better bonuses. Unlike the previous games in the series, a decision was made to move away from branching narrative paths and focus more on a linear story to allow players to focus more on the tactical side of the gameplay and just enjoy the story instead of obsessing over the decisions they made was the correct one. This suits me just fine as I tend to get a bit bored of the levels of dialogue and trying to get the support level ups outside of battle.

The game can be quite fun and very forgiving to newcomers as it provides a few ways of playing it with various difficulties and classic mode which has perma-death or casual mode that has the characters heal up after being defeated in battle. Mechanics like the time crystal battlefield information system also allows you to gauge what you can get away with and when it might be best to pull a character back. Along with the gameplay, the audio and voice acting is suburb; while the visuals show a very anime style while not taking it overboard and still keeping the environments grounded in fantasy classics. One aspect I do like is that after each battle, you can normally move around the areas and interact with the characters or people from the villages or areas. Doing this normally gets you Bond Fragments  to be used in crafting of Bond Rings but if you missed a character, leaving the area automatically gives you the fragments so you do not miss out.

Fire Emblem Engage Divine Boxart

While not a huge fan of the visual novel interactions and gameplay parts to unlock skills; this game does allow more focus on the tactical gameplay and  feels more RPG than anything. While some will be disappointed by the lack of options with the story and the relationships you can make, this also does put a damper on the replayability of the title as there is only one ending. The various classes and levelling does add a bit more variety so you can try replaying it to try out some other combinations until you get the perfect balance or overwhelming force.

Overall, the game can be a lot of fun, if not a bit daunting at first until you get into the groove of what works best. There is no definitive way of playing and with the various difficulties and modes, this opens up the experience to any new players or returning players looking for a challenge. Along with the release of the game, there is a expansion pass as well that will add 4 waves of new content with the first being released at the same time as the launch. These will feature more Emblems, classes and new stories that can further expand on the content and might even add to the replayability.

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  • A variety of options and characters
  • Good place for newcomers to the series
  • Voice acting is great and really does immerse you in the game


  • RNG when it comes to attacks on occasion
  • The variety can be daunting until you find what works best for your playstyle
  • Trailers spoiling a portion of the story