This week I have been dedicating a lot of my time to the highly anticipated Fire Emblem Heroes, by Nintendo. The game has come a long way since its initial 1990 release on the NES and Fire Emblem Heroes most certainly doesn’t disappoint.
If you are unfamiliar with the series, the gameplay may seem confusing at first, but the slow progression of difficulty and helpful tips in the early stages of the game ease you in slowly. Turn based, strategic combat is Fire Emblem’s bread and butter. You summon heroes from across the series to attack opposing enemies using clever placement and abusing attack mechanics to successfully defeat all of the enemies. Nintendo have retained the classic Fire Emblem weapon triangle where certain weapon groups trump others – think fire beating grass and water destroying fire in Pokémon. It’s super effective!
The combat system is admittedly not as complicated as in previous console versions, but it still packs enough of a punch to keep you thinking. Something which Nintendo have done to make this game more accessible to the mobile community is to remove the permadeath and weapon duribilty elements which plagued previous versions. The map design is OK, not as versatile as in other Fire Emblem titles, but still developed enough to allow your own strategic approach to the problem to be realised.
Your currency within the world are Orbs, which can be spent to acquire new heroes for you to play with. Stamina is used to enter missions and restores over time at a rate of one stamina point every five minutes. Orbs are obtained by missions or through the dreaded buy to win in app purchases. One pretty cool aspect of the currency system is the summoning of new heroes. You spend Orbs and are rewarded with random heroes of varying rarity and quality. Bronze 3 star heroes are common but the gold 5 star heroes, when you get one, really do add a lot of excitement to the game.
Beyond the main storyline, there are other game modes to enjoy. I must emphasize that these game modes are not mere side shows. They form an integral and rewarding aside to the main plot. Arena mode allows you to hone a heroes combat skills through worldwide multiplayer combat whilst the training tower provides an area where new heroes can be pimped up. A new paralogue mode is a rotating story mode with themes changing regularly. The amount and variety of gameplay you get from Fire Emblem heroes is astounding and Nintendo have done a really good job of providing an immersive, engaging main story whilst simultaneously providing high quality additional content to keep you playing.
One big bug bear I have is the stamina cost to do pretty much anything. It’s one of those annoying resources that takes ages to replenish but you can spend it all in minutes. Actually it reminds me of real life cash…There is no way to increase your stamina beyond 50 and you can find yourself playing for an hour, only to wait another 5 until your stamina is back.
If you play Fire Emblem for its story, lore and characters you will find the hero summoning frustrating unless you pay for orbs. These run out quickly and it is pure luck whether you get a hero that you want, let alone need.
For the purist, Fire Emblem Heroes will not disappoint, but it probably won’t tear you away from console versions either. However, this is a very strong attempt by Nintendo to bring the series to the mobile community and any newcomers will more than likely spend hours playing this, falling in love with Fire Emblem in the process. This is most certainly one of the hottest titles available on the play store at the moment, so don’t miss out.