OK, so I am somewhat late to the party on Fire Emblem: Heroes, being as it’s a mobile game that launched in February 2017. At the time, however, I hadn’t played an actual Fire Emblem game (we will set TMS#FE aside) and the initial impressions I got of the title from watching online chatter was that it was pretty harsh to play if you weren’t willing to put some real money down, and fast.
I also saw far too many accounts of people starting and resetting the game over and over again to ensure that they could start with a 5-star hero for a leg up, and that just sounded far too tedious.
I eventually DID play a Fire Emblem title – three of them, actually, because I’d bought the Fire Emblem: Fates collected edition cartridge on a whim. It was a pretty damned good time, and that led to me playing through Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
Apparently I like going backwards, or something?
This still was not enough to make me play FE: Heroes.
This, however, was:
Corrin is the main character in all three of the Fates games, and she is simultaneously both Best Girl AND Best Dragon, since her story begins at about the point where she discovers that (a) she’s adopted, (b) her adoptive family is a bundle of dicks and (c) she tends to grow wings, scales, and a pointy tail when she is under stress.
Plus fire breath. Really, she’s the whole package.
I’ve since discovered that many of the Fire Emblem games contain cute girls that turn into dragons from time to time, but Corrin is exceptional in that she actually LOOKS like an adult rather than looking like a 12-year-old who claims she’s actually over a thousand and that gives her some serious points on the waifu scale.
At any rate, I obviously had to play this game, and I obviously had to keep resetting the game until I got her as one of my characters.
If you start a game of Fire Emblem: Heroes today, you get handed about 40 of the currency used to summon characters. Each summon attempt costs 5 of these, and you have about a 5% chance of getting a 5-star character like Corrin. There are multiple 5-star heroes in this event, however, so the actual odds were pretty bad.
I didn’t actually count the number of times I installed FE: Heroes, went through the tutorial, summoned a bunch of characters and then deleted the game, but I spent about three hours at it before this finally popped up:
I may have punched the air and exclaimed something along the lines of “woo” at this point.
After this, I ran through the rest of my currency and all of the other free summons that Nintendo handed me, and wound up with a lot of characters to choose from. I had two other 5-star units from Fates (Camilla and Rinkah), and that formed the basis for a pretty strong team.
I was used to typical Fire Emblem maps being huge, sprawling affairs that can take upwards of an hour to clear. Heroes battles are more tiny skirmishes on an 8×6 map.
This is my second team. It’s more more focused on characters from Awakening.
The battles are likewise fairly streamlined, but most of the considerations from the full-sized games are in place. You want to try to bait the enemy AI into coming into range of a unit that will have a tactical advantage, you need to consider the weapon triangle, your flying characters seem to have an amazing affinity for arrows, really it’s the whole Fire Emblem package with the exceptions being that there are no critical hits and there doesn’t seem to be any notion of a hit chance lower than 100%.
The actual battle screens are pretty adorable and full of energetic shouts as you engage in combat.
OH HAI MR. THIEF. DO YOU LIKE DRAGONS?
Thus far, I’ve played for four or five days, done a bunch of story missions and a bunch of side content and am very happy with what the game gives me for – as of this point in time – exactly zero dollars and zero cents. There are a ton of game modes, maps are gated behind a stamina bar BUT it refills pretty quickly, you collect a bunch of new characters just from completing quests and doing daily maps, and it seems like you get a new summon for free every time a new set of characters comes into the rotation. The latest one gave me yet ANOTHER 5-star healer.
DEFINITELY not Tom Hiddleston.
Let’s be perfectly clear here. Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, whoever is responsible for this game, they have decided that the average players are very likely male and easily influenced by the power of 2D hooters. This is even more apparent when they get wounded in combat and their “battle-damaged” versions look like this:
If I’m honest, I can’t fault their judgement on this issue. I’m a little unsure on the whole greaves-but-no-boots aesthetic though. Even girls who are dragons probably wear shoes of some sort.
Also the way Corrin’s waist is twisting here gives me a little pause. It doesn’t look ENTIRELY comfortable.
If you’d rather avoid the more scantily-clad characters, there ARE plenty with more modest outfits. Anna, here, was one of my favorite units in Awakening and I have been using her a lot.
Anna does NOT turn into a dragon. On the other hand, she has a big axe and likes to hit people. It’s a pretty reasonable tradeoff.
I probably would not have enjoyed this game when it came out. Reading some impressions from that time, it was super grindy and not very forgiving if your characters died in combat – you didn’t lose them, but they lost any experience they’d gained on that map. It also didn’t have nearly such a generous approach to handing out high-tier units. Really, starting this over three years into its lifespan means that I am playing on Super Baby Casual Mode.
I am perfectly OK with that.