Fire Emblem Engage is the latest installment in the long-running tactical RPG series, which has traditionally been focused on strategy-based combat and a deep narrative. However, recent entries have been tailored towards newcomers, with a gentle difficulty curve and more emphasis on storytelling.
Engage takes a different approach, retaining the same grid-based RPG gameplay as before, but also adding an extra layer of tactical depth through the introduction of Emblem Rings. The game also sees the return of several fan-favorite characters from the franchise, including Marth from the original game and Byleth from Three Houses. These characters may not have a significant impact on the story, but their inclusion serves as a nod to long-time Fire Emblem fans.
As a result, Engage feels like a love letter to loyal fans of the series, providing a sense of nostalgia with recognizable characters, as well as an even deeper combat system that builds upon the already solid foundations of the series. However, it should be noted that Engage may not be the best entry point into the series, as it is relatively shallow in terms of story and character development.
The story of Fire Emblem Engage is relatively simple compared to previous entries in the series. The main protagonist, Alear, wakes from a thousand-year slumber and is immediately thrust into a war to save the continent of Elyos. It soon becomes clear that collecting all 12 Emblem Rings is essential for victory, and thus begins a tug-of-war between Alear and the new villain, Sombron.
Both Alear and Sombron are able to use the Emblem Rings to summon the spiritual forms of classic Fire Emblem heroes, including Marth, Byleth, Roy, and Ike, among others. These summons not only provide a welcome dose of nostalgia but also provide the ring’s wearer with immense power.
Aside from a couple of surprise character revelations along the way, the story lacks much depth. There are countless cutscenes, but they mostly consist of heavy exposition and generic dialogue, which can be skipped without missing much. You’ll encounter various characters along the way to broaden your army, but the vast majority of them are limited to a couple of cutscenes before being relegated to the background. As a result, it is difficult to form a connection to most of the characters in the game.
The combat system in Fire Emblem Engage is similar to previous entries in the series and plays out like an elaborate game of chess. The game features a grid-based arena and a wide variety of unit and class types. There is a captivating rock-paper-scissors system at play, with spear units weak to axes, axes vulnerable to swords, and swords ineffective against spears. There are also numerous other unit types, including mages, dragon riders, archers, heavy armor, and more.
A successful strategy in Fire Emblem Engage requires players to remember each unit’s strengths and weaknesses and pit them against the correct enemy units to gain an advantage. This is made more challenging by the introduction of Emblem Rings, which can be equipped by any character to summon powerful allies and gain a tactical advantage in battle.
The combat system remains engaging and rewarding, and the addition of Emblem Rings adds an extra layer of depth and complexity. Additionally, the game offers a wide range of difficulty settings to cater to players of all skill levels.
Fire Emblem Engage is a solid addition to the series, offering a deeper and more challenging combat system through the introduction of Emblem Rings. The game’s nostalgia-inducing nods to classic Fire Emblem heroes and its focus on combat make it a great choice for long-time fans of the series. However, newcomers may find the game’s lack of character