Review: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (Nintendo 3DS)

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…I got busy with other things, which put finishing Birthright on the shelf for a few weeks. Namely Anime Boston last month and Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow getting released on the eShop the week after Fates was released.

Moving on. I pulled an all-nighter to finish over the weekend Birthright. For those who missed my review of Conquest, I own a physical copy of both Birthright AND Conquest. I also bought the other campaign digitally in addition to a copy of the digital-only Revelations when it was released. In short, I have 2 copies of all three campaigns on each of my Nintendo 3DS consoles.

I don’t want to recycle the same stuff I said in my review of Conquest though the same number of pictures will be used to be…even. I did some asking around on Serenes Forest and it turns out the difficulty of some DLC Maps scales depending on your progress in the campaign. Fates were released two months ago so it will now be much easier to find folks via Spotpass who’ve cleared the game worldwide. As I mentioned in my review of Conquest, two DLC Maps you will want to get are the Gold and EXP ones. Their difficulties depend on the levels of your team though I have found it might actually be easier to spam Ghostly Gold after your second royal sibling (excluding Azura) joins you.

Visiting the Castles of players who’ve progressed further enables you to buy weapons, items and Seals you would not have ready access to until Chapter 19 or 20, when you’ll be able to buy the final upgrade for the item and weapon shops. I started my Nohr playthrough on my Birthright game card Monday morning. I started Chapter 10 with everyone promoted. Given you have to work for that Gold AND visit enough players’ towns to buy the Seals for everyone you have–and that takes alot of time–it’s worth the time sink in my book.

 

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…Now let’s talk about the Hoshido campaign itself. Those who played Conquest know you have to take out 4 Hoshidan units in Chapter 6 to clear it. In Birthright you need to beat Xander, which is no easy feat even with Ryoma taking point. The markedly easiest of the three campaigns, in Birthright Corrin decides to side with Hoshido and his birth siblings. After defeating Xander, Corrin decides to journey to Nohr to confront King Garon and end the conflict. This puts him at odds with Leo, Xander and to a lesser extent Camilla, who are furious with you for betraying the family that raised you.

Like Conquest, two royals from the other side will die before the credits roll. Given it’s been two months since the games were released, I will spoil who they are here and now: In Conquest, Takumi dies after falling to corruption and Ryoma sacrifices himself before the Hoshidan throne room, betting peace on Corrin’s resolve. In Birthright, Elise sacrifices herself in an effort to stop Corrin and Xander from fighting each other, which ended up being in vain: Xander falls to Corrin in the duel they have before the Nohrian throne room right after Elise dies.

King Garon is the final boss in both campaigns but his second form is different in each campaign: In Conquest, he is a sludge-like monster. In Birthright, he is a dragon. In Conquest, Hinoka becomes Queen of Hoshido. With Ryoma dead, she’s next in line. In Birthright, Leo becomes King of Nohr. Camilla, who is next in line after Xander abdicates the job to the more level-headed Leo.

…Like I said in the other review, some sacrifices are unavoidable.

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The main selling point of Birthright is unlike Conquest, the map’s objectives are much easier in comparison. Almost all of the objectives are clear all enemy units or take out the boss. Conquest offers more diverse map objectives and its difficulty is well-earned for this reason alone. I played it first so I can say that. Birthright also offers endless EXP, Gold and item farming opportunities outside the campaign: You can use the Scout mechanic to spend some Gold to spawn enemies on a map you cleared before. You are guaranteed to get Gold, a useful item and two wonder titles every time. Unlike Conquest, you can also gain EXP in DLC Maps in Birthright. That said, access to the Gold and EXP DLC Maps is prettymuch overkill.

The thing about the Scouting mechanic that makes it irresistable is the random chances of getting either an Arms Scroll or a Weapon Proficiency from Wonder Squares ala Awakening. Also like Awakening: Walk on onto a square while Paired and the two units might have their bond strengthened. On the subject of Pair Up, it was nerfed HARD in Fates: In Awakening, when you paired up (both units occupying the same tile) the 2nd unit automatically follow up attacks or helps defend and then counter attack. In Fates, only the latter happens when paired. This is called Dual Guard and can only happen during the Enemy Phase. Two units next to each other but not paired can attack. This is called Dual Strike and can only be done on the Player Phase. The change is meant to discourage folks from just pairing  up, sitting in a beneficial tile (Fort, Pillars, Trees, etc.) and then letting their combined stats take care of the rest on the Enemy Phase. It’s a question of weather you want to attack or defend depending on the situation. As an added twist, enemies can now take advantage of both mechanics as well.

I forgot to menton this other tidbit in my Conquest review but All Weapons and Tomes have infinite use. This is why there is no numbers next to them in Fates. Staaves and items still have limited uses though. There is a catch, though: All weapons of every tier now have a drawback to using them so you will need to carefully plan when and what you attack with what. By drawback I mean temporary drop of a particular stat until your next turn. This goes for enemies as well. Most items also boost a particular stat as well to balance it out. This is one change I don’t agree with at all even though I’m aware it applies to enemies and allies. More so given The Protagonist, Takumi, Leo, Xander and Ryoma all have their exclusive weapons to spam, which have no drawbacks to use. I think this should be scrapped altogether after Fates but I expect it to continue in the next game.

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Overall, I give Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright an 8/10.

Those who’ve played both Campaigns will have noticed about half the maps are shared though from the other side’s perspective. The “other” person the Rainbow Sage refers to in Birthright was Ryoma for those who haven’t played Conquest yet. So the four people who get the Sage’s blessing are King Garon, Xander, Ryoma and Corrin.

…Of course there is also the third Campaign, Revelations. I plan to clear Conquest (on my Birthright cart) and Birthright (on my Conquest cart) before I start Revelations. As a reminder: You can buy the Campaigns you don’t have yet digitally from within the game for $20 each. I did it twice for each cart PLUS bought the physical carts for a whopping $160: The carts were $40 each so $80 plus $40 (Conquest and Birthright digital) plus $40 (two copies of Revelations) = $160. Half that’s $80 if you want one copy of all 3 campaigns: Conquest or Birthright digital is always half price. Just remember to buy it from WITHIN your physical copy of the game.

It may be another month before I write my review of Revelations but I plan to finish my 2nd playthroughs first. I don’t mind waiting ^_^

 

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This entry was posted in Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, Fire Emblem, Nintendo 3DS, Review, RPG, Serene Adventure, Video Games and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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