Review: Fire Emblem Engage

Ja, ich will!

As one of the veterans of Nintendo’s history, the Fire Emblem franchise is one of the Japanese company’s most consistent game series. Since the start in 1990, a new offshoot of the turn-based strategy skirmish has actually appeared every 2-3 years. Similar to Nintendo’s other major series, the franchise, which thus comprises 17 main parts, fortunately remained dynamic and was able to reinvent itself again and again over the years. Fire Emblem Engage is no exception and starts the new year with a real grenade on Nintendo’s Hybird console.

spring cleaning

After the more Western-inspired Three Houses, the newest part returns to the pure Japanese look, but also uses this step immediately to clear up some legacy issues. The result is a good balance between various optimizations of known systems and interesting new experiments. These are so diverse and multi-faceted that listing them all here would simply go beyond the scope, which is why we will focus on the most important ones. You can find 100+ free Fire name styles on their website .

Enough with Hogwarts!

In typical Fire Emblem style, the player slips back into the role of a chosen hero or heroine (named Alear by default) and sets off to lead a band of motley characters from battlefield to battlefield. Alear has noticeably more character of its own than Byleth from the predecessor and thus feels noticeably more comfortable as a central story anchor on the one hand, but on the other hand no longer offers selectable dialogue options. In contrast to the predecessor, in which the player also had access to an entire Hogwarts house full of units, Engage’s own battalion is manageable small at the beginning and is only gradually expanded.

Nice to finally meet you

This has the advantage that the game can unfold more naturally and that each new character is given their own introduction mission. In these, the player often finds himself acting independently in always varied scenarios. For example, a young doctor defends his village against an incoming invasion or a money-hungry thief hides in the treasure chest of an enemy bandit group. If the player then rushes to help, the newcomers can either be approached and recruited directly in battle or join the lively squad after the battle.

Get them all!

A total of 36 characters can be unlocked, all of which have lovingly thought-out personalities, varied designs and their own strengths and weaknesses. Thanks to the class system known from the series, they can also be personalized and developed as the mood takes you.

Out for the nameless

The same was expanded with the eponymous Engage (to German employment) system, again by an additional level of depth. Although this replaces the battalions system introduced in the predecessor, it basically only continues its concept logically. 12 rings can now be gradually unlocked, each containing spirits of iconic characters such as Marth and Roy called Emblems. Once these have been created, they then serve as powerful allies in battle for the carrying character.

betrothal to a ghost

This not only improves the stats of the respective fighter, but also brings completely new active and passive abilities and even expands the weapon types that can be used. In addition, it can also be fused with the emblem to take on a completely new form with powerful new attacks for a short period of time. This Engage shape is noticeably different for each character and ring combination. Each fusion was given its own armor and color combination as well as various new magical weapons, which provide a lot of variety in the fights both in terms of gameplay and visually.

Let’s take a look!

Visual variety is generally very important in Engage and so this time every single battlefield was lovingly staged with a variety of objects as well as perfectly coordinated weather and lighting effects. The result can literally be seen and so each area can be explored and admired again in third person after the fight. Together with the spectacular animations and the detailed character models, every fight between two characters looks like an exciting stream of a Japanese beat’em’up and is still exciting even after dozens of hours.

Go away!

Said duels have also been mechanically revised and a new break mechanism has been added, which allows units whose weapon type is inferior to the opponent to be disarmed for a short time. With the new smash mechanic, some extra-heavy weapons now also have the ability to knock enemies back one square, for example, out of cover.

Optional soap opera

For fans of the Persona- based elements of Three Houses, this time there is the floating fortress Somniel. Here you can play mini-games, dress up characters, feed adopted animals and explore the background stories of all characters through hundreds of short conversations while building relationships. The soap opera humor is usually a matter of taste. However, the stat bonuses that can be unlocked in this way remain manageable and can basically simply be ignored or simply clicked through by players who don’t know what to do with them. Personally, I have to say that the colorful characters with their various little whims always entertained me in the end.

A home for perfectionists too

In addition, training battles can also be held in Somniel, for example to raise an underleveled character more quickly. The emblems can also be used to permanently unlock new skills and weapon types and the classes associated with them. Incidentally, for the first time these weapons are no longer limited to a predetermined number of uses and can be used as often as you like and leveled up as you wish.

Tactical Friendship

Even a multiplayer mode is celebrating its comeback here, and so you can finally play versus matches in arenas that you can even design yourself. In the new co-op mode, battles can also be joined by friends or complete strangers, in order to then alternately go through specially designed missions.

Please wait….

While all the new features make the multi-layered complexity a bit more accessible through various targeted improvements in the UI and gameplay, the somewhat overloaded micro-management remains my biggest criticism of the title. Predefinable loadouts for weapons, items and the new emblem rings would simply save a lot of time and are almost de rigueur these days. Also, some frequently used functions such as the training or the emblem room are banished to their own sections and thus behind loading time for no comprehensible reason. Additional access directly via the main menu would have been worth its weight in gold here.

The Expansion Pass thing


In addition to Fire Emblem Engage, an expansion pass can be purchased for a crisp €30, which is intended to provide the game with a total of four DLCs. The first DLC is available immediately at launch and unlocks another chapter with a varied battle lasting about an hour, with opponents automatically adapted to the current player level and two emblem bracelets. Similar to the 12 emblem rings, these have spirits of iconic characters within them. In this case, the respective leaders of the three houses of the predecessor have been placed in one and the other houses the well-known dragon princess Tiki. Both offer creative new abilities that break completely new ground even under an emblem and therefore have their charms.

The action of releasing a paid DLC right after the release of the main game is somewhat questionable. However, even without this expansion, Fire Emblem Engage offers more than enough content to more than justify its price. Whether the other three DLCs can ultimately offset the somewhat high price of the pass is difficult to estimate. If these are about as full as the first one, the amount of new content would ultimately be a bit meager for this price, despite the high quality. According to Nintendo’s official site, at least the fourth DLC should be a little bigger and even bring new characters and classes with it. Whether it’s ultimately worth it is something everyone has to decide for themselves.


Wertung: - 9.5



Fire Emblem Engage ist es echt gelungen, mich nahezu auf ganzer Linien zu überzeugen. Die spannenden Kämpfe (Schwierigkeitsgrad auf Hart war hier perfekt für mich), die vielfältigen Charaktere, denen nun auch wieder die Bühne geboten wird sich ordentlich vorzustellen, sowie die extrem durchdachten neuen Mechaniken, fügen sich zu einem unglaublich stimmigen Gesamtbild zusammen. Zeitgleich wird visuell beeindruckend gezeigt, was in der doch schon 6 Jahre alten Switch noch alles drinnen steckt und die teils etwas drögen Schlachtfelder aus dem Vorgänger werden durch saftig strahlende Kompositionen ersetzt. Die Geschichte ist argumentierbar etwas seichter ausgefallen, bietet aber dennoch genügend spannende Momente, die als Rahmenhandlung für die epischen Schlachten mehr als ausreichen. Zwar wurde der gesamte Charakter-Management-Aspekt merklich überarbeitet, die wenigen unzeitgemäßen Überbleibsel beginnen im Spielverlauf aber leider trotzdem etwas zu nerven. Dennoch ist Fire Emblem Engage argumentierbar das beste Fire Emblem der letzten Jahre und vielleicht sogar der ganzen Franchise-Geschichte und Switch-Besitzer, die mit der Materie und dem Stil irgendetwas anfangen, greifen hier bedenkenlos zu.

Genre: Turn-based strategy
Developer: Nintendo
System: Nintendo Switch
Release date : January 20, 2023
Price: approx. 60 euros

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