rings of the past
- System: nintendo switch
- Publisher: nintendo
- Developer: intelligent system
- Release Date: January 20, 2023
Fire Emblem, a franchise that has stood the test of time with giants like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Using a system of strategic turn-based gameplay, Fire Emblem games have always prompted players to move ten moves ahead to avoid losing their units – sometimes permanently – and on a specific warrior. To level up the warriors to the best in order to avoid being dominated. Fire Emblem: Three Houses was the last Intelligent Systems developed title, and it was met with some great fanfare to prove that this franchise isn’t going anywhere, which makes our hive of Honey anime happy!
Now in 2023, we’ve been treated to another Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem: Engage, and it has some serious shoes to fill after how amazing Three Houses was! Does Fire Emblem: Engage continue to show why it’s one of Nintendo’s best works or is it time for TRPGs to rethink their strategy? We find out in our review of Fire Emblem: Engage for the Nintendo Switch!
In Fire Emblem: Engage, players assume the role of the divine dragon Elior – whose name as well as gender can be changed – who has been slumbering for over a thousand years after saving the world from the evil Fel Dragon. Awakened from his slumber, the Divine Dragon discovers that his memories are basically gone – a common trope of the franchise – and that the Fell Dragon is being resurrected. Told that only they can stop evil from gaining power once again, the Divine Dragon along with their motley crew are tasked with retrieving the only thing that can put the Fell Dragon back to sleep, the Emblem The Rings, various heroes from other nations are called mighty rings symbolizing. Yes, it’s not the most original story for a Fire Emblem game, but there’s more to the story than anything else that’s sure to appeal to both newcomers and fans of the franchise.
The best part of the new story is that you’re going to notice that it’s fairly easy to get into regardless of your Fire Emblem knowledge. Yes, fans would love to see heroes like Lynn, Ike, and, of course, Marth reappear as new power icons — more on that in a moment — but the story is easy to get into and engaging, And full of drama/surprises. We also love that your MCs, regardless of gender choice, are fully voiced, meaning you hear them in every cutscene and moment within Fire Emblem: Engage!
We won’t spoil the big moments because there are so many but be prepared for some pretty eye opening moments and some really clever dialogue that only the Fire Emblem series can do so well!
At its core, Fire Emblem: Engage is basically like most other Fire Emblem games, but there are tons of big new changes that will surprise even the most seasoned player. Some of the bigger changes come in the form of new brake systems, engage rings, and a return to systems similar to Fire Emblem: Awakening’s Three Houses comparison. The brake system essentially works on the Fire Emblem brand’s Triangle Weapon System, but adds one new tweak.
Now, hitting an enemy with their weakness has a higher chance of breaking them and causing them to not be able to counter-attack as they used to in almost every Fire Emblem game! This means that players can’t force their main character through battles as they will see that your MC is not the tank they used to be. We lost some battles early on and learned that the brake system is a huge game changer! Don’t worry though, the ability to revert the flow of combat is back in case you messed up and were wondering if you needed to do it like the old days and reload a previous save!
The Emblem Rings are a core component of Fire Emblem: Engage and are where the core of the story/gameplay comes from. Using previous Emblem heroes and heroines, Fire Emblem: Engage allows players to equip rings to characters and gives the characters various additional abilities/talents. These emblem rings can also allow your player to engage and end up in a powered-up situation with the added strength of using a Super Special Attack that can turn the tide of any battle.
Emblem rings can make Fire Emblem: Engage feel a little easier, especially if you opt-in for resurrection after battles thanks to the lost allies versus permadeath system, but you still really need to think it through. Which rings are best suited for which character. We got a great idea to use the mount-focused Sigurd—from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War—on a healer so they can run away, heal an ally and then run away with their extra movement which Only horse users can.
We’ve also mentioned that Fire Emblem: Engage feels similar to titles like Awakening and/or older games, and that’s true. In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, unlike the school setting of Fire Emblem: Engage, players have to navigate a world map where they can choose the next skirmish instead of doing so from a central hub. There is still a central hub to be found in Fire Emblem: Engage called Somneal, which serves as a place to rest, talk to units, engage – no penalty – in various side activities No, and powers up his team of warriors. There are a lot and we do mean a lot of elements in Somnil but luckily, Fire Emblem: Engage takes a very simple explanation of how each area works and lets you explore alike to find new locations for yourself! It may not be as big as the academy in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but it gets the job done!
The Nintendo Switch gets a pretty bad rep compared to other big consoles like the PS5 and Xbox, which is understandable since it’s a hybrid unit. That being said, Fire Emblem: Engage still looks great with some impressive character details and some solid—and very colorful if we may add—cutscenes! Yes, the Nintendo Switch won’t produce Elden Ring levels of visual flair for Fire Emblem: Engage, but we can’t deny that of the recent games we’ve played on this console, it’s one of the better looking ones. This is important because when you start choosing your waifu or husband—which we know our fellow otaku would do with pride—you want to see every detail of your love! Good luck as Fire Emblem: Engage has some gorgeous characters, both male and female, so choosing just one to confess your love will be no easy feat!
We have a hunch about Fire Emblem: Engage that many fans of the Three Houses will have mixed feelings about how it veers away from that format in a more traditional take on the franchise. Honestly though, Fire Emblem: Engage is a step forward for the series as it focuses more on nail-biting battles and less on taking care of units to see who can be the better cook or house cleaner. Fire Emblem: Engage has eliminated the over-the-top unit micromanaging that was prevalent in Fire Emblem: Three Houses in exchange for a system that still requires you to change skills and armaments for characters – note which side The weapon is not a break they use unless they are stave – which means you really need to watch who has what and if they can use it properly.
Fire Emblem: Engage has added an extremely handy item optimization feature that skips through every character and convoy to automatically get the best item for that specific unit. Fire Emblem: Engage goes back to its roots and that’s what made this game so fresh and exciting! We can only hope for more DLC to take away from the already massive experience to tide us over until the next Fire Emblem game!
Are any of you readers currently playing Fire Emblem: Engage and have some thoughts on it, like who is your favorite new character or what’s your favorite thing about Fire Emblem: Engage? Comment below to let us know we love hearing from you! Stick to our fascinating hive – this is the last attached comment – here for more game reviews and more on all things Honey’s anime!