Traditionally, I haven’t been a fan of strategy games, but with age, I find myself coming around. I have never played a Fire Emblem title before, and when I saw the ads for Engage, I thought this would be a great time to start. I loved the art style, and the animation looked very cool. I was not disappointed by this title, and Engage quickly became one of my obsessions. I recommend this game to anyone looking for a new game to play, even if you don’t like the genre.
Fire Emblem Engage is a strategy JRPG for the Nintendo Switch where you play as Alear and her allies as they fight against the evil ancient dragon Sombron and try to stop him from taking over the world. With the help of the spirits of great warriors, you and your allies fight against formidable foes in decisive battles that can change everything. Can you collect all the emblems and defeat Sombron before it is too late?
I found the story for this title a bit generic and predictable. It leans heavily on anime tropes, and I found some of the character development a bit lacking. That said, the story is good enough for the casual experience this became for me. It isn’t a bad story, but I have a feeling that there are better stories in the series that I will be exploring in the future.
The gameplay is a bit of a mixed bag. There are elements of the gameplay like the combat that I loved, but there are other elements that felt like they bogged the game down, like the training mini-games. What sets Engage apart from other strategy games I’ve played is its social mechanics You are encouraged to make friends with your allies through a series of activities you complete in-between battles. You can eat, train, and talk with allies to unlock additional backstory and small buffs. This was an interesting concept that quickly became a chore as the stories I sat through stopped being as interesting, and the minigames stopped being fun. I just wanted to beat the next chapter, but I also wanted to make sure I collected all the available buffs. If you like the characters you interact with, this might not feel as much of a chore.
I loved the combat in this game. I played this game on normal difficulty and on casual because I couldn’t handle the permanence of death. There is a mode in this game where death is permanent. Units that die in combat die in the story, and you no longer have access to them. This is a very cool mechanic, but one that I wasn’t ready for at the start of my adventure. I found the normal difficulty challenging enough for my abilities, but the options are available from the start for those of you who need the extra challenge. One thing to note about the normal difficulty is that it is very easy to over-level. I can’t speak for harder difficulties, but you don’t really need to grind much on normal to beat the story.
So is this game worth it? Yes. Although it has its flaws, it serves as a fantastic introduction to the series. As someone who has never played another Fire Emblem game, I am left wanting more. I went into this title blind without knowing anything about the series, and never felt lost with the lore. The mechanics were easy to pick up, the story is good enough, and the animation is very cool. There are settings in this game to speed up combat by turning off animations, but I left them on because I loved watching the combat. If you are looking for a fun strategy game that isn’t a huge commitment, check out Fire Emblem Engage.
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Image By Giant Bomb, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72742725