Fire Emblem Engage Review
Dive into a tactical combat experience with Fire Emblem Engage, fans of the series will enjoy reliving past experiences, but does it have enough for newcomers? My full review.
For those who have been following the series for years, Fire Emblem Engage is a welcome return to the tactical combat experience that has kept fans coming back. But does it offer enough new content and features to keep newcomers interested? In my review, I'll explore what this entry offers veterans and novices alike, let's dive into Fire Emblem Engage.
Fire Emblem Engage Details
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Developers: Intelligent Systems
Genre: Strategy, Role-Playing
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Fire Emblem Engage Story
If you are a fan of the series, you will really enjoy the story in Engage as it pays homage to Fire Emblem's long history. In fact, the 12 rings you are tasked with obtaining all contain the "spirit" of legendary characters from previous games. These characters can fight right alongside you bringing added depth to each battle. This nostalgic journey will have veterans feeling right at home, while newcomers at first might feel a little overwhelmed. Even with characters I didn't recognize, I was still intrigued enough to keep playing. The story of the game is a classic good vs. evil as you collect all the 12 rings to defeat the menacing Fell Dragon. As a Divine Dragon, Alear, it is your calling to collect twelve Emblem Rings, strengthen your party, defeat the Fell Dragon, and restore balance across the Continent of Elyos.
Engaging Gameplay and Combat
Fire Emblem Engage is an advanced tactical combat game at its core, and the gameplay is just as deep and complex as ever. You will be moving characters around a grid-based map to strategically attack and defend against enemies. It might sound simple enough, but this premise has multiple layers of strategy to it, and it's at its best with Engage. You can spend more time in the menu systems strategizing and planning than actually playing, but that is what makes it so enjoyable for core Fire Emblem fans.
An arsenal that can be endlessly customized
There are several weapons to choose from with varying properties, allowing you to customize your strategy according to the situation at hand. The various classes and weapons featured in the game add layers of complexity as you attempt to find a good balance for each battle. There are also extra options for weapon customization allowing players to make more precise adjustments to their party’s stats before setting off into battle.
Things can be simplified to Engage newcomers
If you are hoping for a more "action-packed" experience or are new to the franchise, there are options that will have the game automatically equip the best weapon to take on foes with. This will still require you to plan your movements and make decisions on the battlefield, but takes away a lot of the chaos for newer players. Even for veterans, things can be pretty overwhelming at first. The enemy AI is smart enough that each battle requires careful planning and strategy if you want to survive.
The Somniel hub area offers customization and surprises
"The Somniel" is a floating island of Lythos which acts as a "hub area" for you and your party. Here, you can customize weapons, change your attire, as well as build relationships with other characters. This is a great way to take a break from the main story and just explore all the features Engage has to offer. One of the biggest surprises is the Tower of Trials which offers side missions and asynchronous multiplayer options. It's an unexpected addition which adds to the replayability of the game in a big way.
Engage's Graphics and Performance
Overall, Engage is a smoother, more visually striking experience with a host of graphical and UI improvements that Intelligent Systems has introduced. After playing through the game, I was impressed with the graphics and performance of Engage. The character models are detailed, and the animations are fluid, making for an immersive gaming experience. The cutscenes are beautiful, bursting with colour and stunning art direction. Some graphical features may not be as polished as other games on the Switch but they still do their job well in this context.
Fire Emblem Engage Audio and Sound Design
Despite the intense battles and strategy-focused nature of the game, I found myself drawn in more than once by its musical score. What's more, especially if you are a long-time fan of the series, you'll recognize classic arrangements from past games have been remixed and added in. The sound effects are also well done, adding depth to battle scenarios and providing feedback when you select commands. Even if you are unfamiliar with Fire Emblem, I'm sure that you'll find the music to be a great accompaniment to the game.
Final Verdict for Fire Emblem Engage
Fire Emblem Engage is one of the best entries in the series, and Intelligent Systems has done an excellent job with it. It takes everything that makes Fire Emblem great, refines the signature combat and brings it to the Nintendo Switch. The battles are intense and strategic, while still being enjoyable for newcomers. The game's visuals, sound design, and musical score also help make it stand out among other RPGs on the system. If you are a fan of turn-based strategy games or just looking for something to sink your teeth into on the Switch, then this is worth checking out.
Fire Emblem Engage PROS
+ Refined battle system
+ Great visuals and sound design
+ Wide variety of weapons, classes, and customizations
Fire Emblem Engage CONS
- Some graphical features may not be as polished as other games on the Switch
- Can be overwhelming for newcomers at first.
Overall Rating: 36/40 (90%)
A copy of the game was provided by Nintendo for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!
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