I've been so into Splatoon 2 lately, but I wanted to have something else I could play alternately so as not to let myself get burned out. I figured it'd be easiest if it was something NOT on Switch. And maybe an entirely different genre. Something slow, and chill.
Now when most people think of Nintendo exclusives they think of Marios and Zeldas and Metroids. But I've gotta say, I really think the Fire Emblem series is one of the greatest Nintendo series out there. Of course, it chugged along in Japan from way back in the Famicom days, and didn't grace our shores until the GBA. And even after that, the games trickled out to a frothing cult fanbase here and there.
I do think that Marth's showing up in Smash has helped the brand gain some name recognition, and certainly Three Houses was a fairly heavily promoted game. But I feel like there have been some pretty under the radar releases in the Fire Emblem series of the years. Games that I'd think "I should play that someday," but never seemed to get around to it. I think the last FE game I played was Awakening (and I loved it).
I recently got FE Fates: Conquest via a B3G2 sale at Gamestop and I'm pleased as punch to finally be playing this one. I think I initially overlooked it because it sounded slightly gimmicky to have two versions of the same game released (not unlike Pokemon), and wasn't really sure which to look into. It turns out that Birthright is the "easy" game and "Conquest" is the difficult one. So here we are.
Well, Conquest has everything I loved about Awakening. Everything I've loved about the FE series period. I'm a huge sucker for a good tactical RPG. And as I approach Chapter 11 of the campaign, this one is knocking everything out of the park. I love the characters, love the art style, love the music... but more than anything it's the refined battle system that sucks me in. The FE games are pretty much perfect tactics games.
I will say that I don't think it's QUITE as good as Awakening. At least not so far. I don't really care about the base building stuff between chapters for instance. And I've caught myself skipping some of the story cut scenes here and there - but that's more because I just want to get right into that next battle.
Anyway, this is a great game, and a perfect compliment to Splatoon 2 depending on if I'm in the mood for something fast and competitive or slow and meditative.
Awakening is a tough act to follow, but I think Fates is a great follow-up. Again, I think the addition of base building is superfluous. And other than using it as a way to build shops to buy new gear, I don't see a point. I'm not bothering with having the game online, so there's no base invasions or anything.
But the core gameplay is just that classic (and excellent) Fire Emblem. Having clearly defined (numbered) chapters keeps it easy and fulfilling to track your progress. Such an awesome game.
I'm currently on Chapter 17 and am getting destroyed. At this point, I think I'd say that Fates is as good - maybe better - than Awakenings. However, I'd also say that while these sorts of deep strategy games are my total thing, it can sometimes be tough for me to put in the mental ability required right now. It turns out that having a teething toddler in the house can take a lot out of you, mentally. And sometimes my brain isn't up for such a heady challenge like this. So while I do think this game is fantastic, I think I might switch to something a little less taxing on my mind right now.