Intelligent Systems’ latest work of brilliance, Fire Emblem: Fates, has just been released across Australia and New Zealand, and fans living on the underside of the Earth could not be happier to finally get their hands on the game the rest of the world has been enjoying for quite some time now. Few retailers across our great country offered a special edition pack that featured both the Birthright and Conquest editions of the game accompanied by the third path Revelations, this limited edition pack was sold worldwide so chances are no matter where you’re reading from you’re well aware of this incredible release.
I, being someone who mostly leaves things to the last minute, never pre-ordered the special edition triple pack, so upon the games release only a few days before the writing of this article I spent most of the morning ringing local retailers in the hopes that someone was silly enough NOT to pick up their pre-order copy. I am hopeful, if anything. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my quest, but this experience did lead me to write this article, so I can’t help but be thankful of my inability to do anything appropriately early.
Why, all of the sudden, did I decide I wanted to experience each of the Fire Emblem: Fates paths? Well, it has a lot to do with the stigma that surrounds video games featuring multiple version which did not originally start with Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue, but definitely gained mainstream notice because of them. Over the years, as experience would dictate, I began to not look into the alternate versions of what I though were the same games, simply relying on a preferred aesthetic to lead my judgement.
This, in turn, didn’t work out so well when it came to deciding between Birthright and Conquest because, unlike Pokemon titles, these two versions of Fire Emblem: Fates are drastically different. Unfortunately for me, I discovered this only a few days before the new title’s release, leaving me with a hair’s length of a chance at grabbing myself the special edition that has been open for pre-orders for almost a year now.
You see, Fire Emblem: Fates – Birthright and Conquest are not a pair of games that share everything bar a palette swap and a couple of exclusive characters, their differences are far more extensive than that! In Birthright you fight along side the forces of Hoshido who, for the most part, are people of peace only in the mixes of combat for the sake of their own survival. Your character, whose default name is Corrin, was kidnapped from their Hoshidan home after baring witness to the slaying of their Father at the hands of the Nohr King, the same King that personally takes your from your once-peaceful home only to raise you as Nohr royalty, but for reasons more sinister than you can imagine.
Taking the Edo Japan-inspired path of Birthright will have you join forces with your true brothers and sisters as you try to cultivate peace across both lands, but taking the side of the Medieval Europe-inspired Nohr will have you battling your true family, scared, confused, and looking for a way to stop the age-old war for good.
While classes on either side of the duo feature similar traits, they are each as unique as the cultures they are based upon. Most of the characters you will come to form relationships with battling alongside the Nohr troops will not be featured while playing through Birthright and vice versa, so your experience with other characters will be drastically different depending on which of the two versions you decide to sink your teeth into. As a cause of the two armies being in two remarkably different locations, your experience with environment and terrain will also be vastly different.
Each of the two versions also features their very own in-built difficulty system: Despite the fact that, regardless of which you choose, you can play the game on three different difficulty settings, it seems as though Birthright offers a more relaxed gameplay experience suited more to those of you out there who aren’t TOO familiar with the Fire Emblem series or Intelligent Systems’ work as a whole, whereas what you’ll encounter throughout playing Conquest is that of a more cutthroat Fire Emblem experience that demands every move be meticulously thought out.
Still, you can make the games as easy or difficult as you please by properly utilising the three tiered system. If you love the aesthetic of Edo Japan but want a difficult experience, play with Classic Mode (perma-death) enabled and on a higher difficulty. If you love the idea of being a Medieval Knight but don’t want an overtly Game Of Thrones (lots-o-death) experience, play Conquest on easy Phoenix Mode (units return to life in battle) enabled.
Now there’s also a third path that the full game experience offers, and it’s titled Revelations. Those of you out there who were smart enough to pre-order and subsequently receive their copy of the special edition pack will already have this alternative path loaded into their game cartridge alongside the other two paths. For those of us out there that have had to take the long road around; that particular path will be released digitally as add-on content on the 10th of June; giving us more than enough time to play through at least one of the game’s paths.
Revelations, unlike the other two, will have protagonist Corrin choose to go his or her own way, searching for peace without being connect to that of either side. Being joined by certain individuals hailing from either side of the war, Revelations will take players on a trip unlike either of the two they’ve played previously. Essentially, you will play as a Vagabond-type character who will try to end the war in their own way, virtually standing against two military juggernauts doing everything they can to come out of it victorious. The difficulty of this path lies somewhere in between that of Birthright and Conquest but, as I’ve mentioned, there are enough difficulty settings to play with so that you can make your experience as personal as you possibly can.
Here’s where my downfall will help all of you reading this; through research and talking to the right people, I have discovered an easy and fairly cheap way to get the complete Fire Emblem: Fates experience (all three paths): Purchase the game from the Nintendo eShop. It will be labelled only as Fire Emblem: Fates and will cost you a fairly standard $59. As you head towards chapter six, the game will begin giving you small nudges in certain directions eventually leading you to a crossroads wherein which you’re tasked with choosing to follow the path of Birthright, or the path of Conquest. Regardless of which you choose, the your system will then begin downloading the data of the path you chose to follow.
It will take you into the eShop momentarily as it begins it’s download. You will NOT be charged for the first path you choose to download because, as it should, the $59 dollars you paid earlier will cover your for one full version of the game, regardless of which you choose. Let’s say you want to experience one of the game’s other paths now that you’ve cleared your first, simply head back into the menu of the game’s title screen and select Branch Of Fates; this will take back to where you have to make your ultimate decision and offer you the opportunity to play through the same path again or purchase the alternative path, which will only cost you $26. Thankfully, you will not be paying full price for the second version of the game! Once Revelations gets released on the 10th of June, you can go through this process again, once again paying $26 for the third path, paying a total of $111 for what is essentially three Fire Emblem games.
Intelligent Systems have been developing fantastic video games ever since the early years of the 1980s, and they’ve have only proven to have gotten more and more masterful. Perhaps you don’t want to experience all three paths of Fire Emblem: Fates, there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but I feel as though, even if your interest in the game is only that of a slight one, it’s still worth giving at least one path a good playthrough. These games mix wonderfully-developed tactical role-playing game mechanics with somewhat of a dating simulator, and enough content to keep you going for weeks on end. Fire Emblem: Fates truly is the game we’ve all been waiting for.
Official Australian Website: Click Here
Official North American Website: Click Here