Whereas it launched for Japanese audiences in June 2015, Fireplace Emblem Fates acquired its worldwide launch 5 years in the past on February 18, 2016. In some ways the sport felt like a victory lap, telling its story throughout three titles; Birthright, Conquest, and Revelations; in a method paying homage to Pokemon. After weak performances on the GameCube and Wii, 2012’s Fireplace Emblem Awakening saved the franchise from extinction, and Fates was to comply with up that success. Clever Programs had excessive ambitions for the sport, and whereas this did not at all times repay it did arrange concepts arguably elevated by 2019’s Fireplace Emblem: Three Homes.
Fates primarily tells the story of Corrin, a player-insert protagonist who was initially born within the Japanese-inspired Hoshido to Queen Mikoto, however was stolen by the European-inspired Nohr at a younger age; raised beneath its hardened King Garon. In Birthright model, Corrin sides with their start siblings to cease the warmongering Garon as he makes an attempt to take over the continent. In Conquest model, they aspect with their adoptive siblings and act as a commander for Garon’s military whereas investigating the nation’s evil.
This twin story supplied followers the possibility to expertise the identical battle from two views, but in addition mechanical variety. Birthright was structured to be simpler with ample alternatives to grind for expertise, whereas Conquest took notes from older Fireplace Emblem video games with harder degree layouts and extra restrictive development. In each respects, Revelations was the center floor, offering the chance to recruit most each character for the “true” narrative revealing a crazed historical dragon from a hidden third land secretly drove the others into battle.
Regardless of Revelations being the model meant to tie all the things collectively, it’s arguably the place many of the cracks start to point out in Fireplace Emblem Fates‘ attention-grabbing strategy to sport design. Many of the flaws emerge in its try to inform a cohesive story with an overabundance of characters.
Although Fates had various particular points comparable to a controversial help with Soleil faraway from the Western launch, its final shortcoming was the promise of its narrative not proving justified. Slightly than the selection at its core letting gamers see the identical battle from a number of angles, it pans out into three serviceable, but largely disconnected tales that battle with each other at occasions. Revelations acts as a 3rd “selection” for Corrin, so it tries to face alone whereas placing forth data that explains what gamers noticed within the different choices.
Model variations in titles like Pokemon Sword and Protect usually boil all the way down to which monsters can be found, and whereas many want Recreation Freak went additional, Fates exhibits that telling radically completely different tales with the identical characters may end up in personalities fluctuating. Conquest is notably rocky for this, as preserving King Garon the first antagonist leads the sport to try to justify Corrin’s intuition that their siblings will aspect with good whereas additionally forcing them to blindly commit atrocities and decry the concept of “justice” for the sake of the plot.
Major characters like Nohr’s Prince Xander undergo from being too extraordinarily diverse for plot functions, however the sport’s unwieldy roster additionally means many aren’t stretched far sufficient. There are eight noble siblings with two retainers every, in addition to auxiliary items and little one characters based mostly on Fates carrying ahead Awakening‘s relationship system. Due to this dimension, some characters get the brief follow one-note personalities. For instance, Prince Ryoma’s retainer Kagero has an enormous quantity of dialogue revolving solely round her incapability to paint non-terrifying artwork. Fireplace Emblem is constructed upon archetypes, however Fates feels lazy with differentiating its forged at occasions.
One other token instance of lazy character work is Scarlet, a tertiary character who joins Corrin in Birthright as a freedom fighter from Nohr (in Conquest she’s killed as an enemy boss). Scarlet is minor sufficient that solely male Corrin is a romance choice, although Fireplace Emblem Fates added gay romances for choose items, but when gamers select to marry her within the Revelations path too they solely have a brief period of time earlier than she dies within the story.
Whereas Scarlet’s demise is just not essentially unhealthy, because it provides her extra plot relevance, the difficulty is a seeming oversight in offering the choice to marry her within the first place. No dialogue is added to her demise scene, and neither Corrin nor their daughter Kana deliver it up when she returns as a zombified boss managed by the mad dragon Anankos. That is regardless of the sport letting Hoshido ninja Kaze die in Birthright ought to the participant not have a sure help degree; and in Fireplace Emblem: Awakening there are distinctive scenes if player-insert Robin marries Lucina. Thus, it’s a weird exclusion given Clever Programs determined to extend Scarlet’s function.
All of this isn’t to say Fates is an utter failure in its storytelling; it has some stand-out characters and an attention-grabbing mythology surrounding Anankos and the legendary weapons owned by Hoshido and Nohr’s royalty. Nonetheless, the best way Fireplace Emblem: Three Homes handles its branching narrative feels as if Clever Programs took quite a lot of classes from its triple-game experiment.
Three Homes additionally has three major paths for gamers to ship its protagonist Byleth down, however affords these selections in a extra intelligent manner. No matter which home Byleth teaches, the first half of the sport is basically the identical, providing gamers the chance to get hooked up to each character earlier than the paths diverge. Fates has a prologue earlier than its selection, however it’s brief and solely provides a short impression of every aspect.
After the time skip in Three Homes, each path follows the identical battle in broad strokes regardless of completely different sides popping out on high, however what makes each home extra distinctive is that they concentrate on completely different targets and supply completely different lore because of this. The Black Eagles route focuses on Fodlan’s class system and the atrocities of the Church of Seiros; the Blue Lions route focuses on rebelling in opposition to the tyrannical rule of the Adrestian Empire; and the Golden Deer route focuses on the continent’s mythology and tackles its evil secret society, These Who Slither within the Darkish.
As a result of each path in Three Homes makes use of its battle as a set dressing to discover completely different targets and inform distinctive tales, it finally comes out stronger than Fates, which strained to show the identical battle into three completely different tales totally. A part of that’s undoubtedly because of the extra restricted forged of characters in Three Homes, and the much less plentiful help conversations. Whereas this takes away some participant company in selecting who to pair collectively, it means each interplay exists to provide new insights into its forged members.
A few of Fates‘ bold shortcomings pushed the collection ahead, however the video games additionally outlined an period of success due to its characters headlining titles like Fireplace Emblem Warriors and Fireplace Emblem Heroes – to not point out Corrin’s addition to Tremendous Smash Bros. 4. Mechanical selections like utilizing Fireplace Emblem video games of the previous to create tiers of problem constructed upon well-honed gameplay with choices for gamers to additional customise their items. 5 years later, Fates undoubtedly stands out, even when some could not look upon it because the strongest displaying within the franchise.
Fireplace Emblem Fates is obtainable now on the Nintendo 3DS.