When “Tokyo Mirage Session FE” was originally teased it seemed like a crossover between the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem franchises. What I saw was something more in lines of Persona with Fire Emblem characters acting as the facades used to face hardships of being an idol master. “Fire Emblem Heroes”, though, actually gave us something resembling a SMTxFE title. As the Summoner from modern Earth (yes, they acknowledge this in one of the chapters) you are called forth by the powers within the Breidablik, a sort of GUMP (“Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers”)/Demon Gun (“Final Fantasy Unlimited”) that shoots portals for heroes to pop out of. Why would they fight for you as well as the opposing Emblian Empire? Because like demons they have contracts, just like Shin Megami Tensei only with Fire Emblem heroes.
The core Fire Emblem gameplay is still intact, but it’s been simplified, even down to a colored weapon triangle system. This simplification is understandable, though, since this game was developed for quick sessions when you’re in the mood for a strategy RPG. However, since this is a mobile game it has the usual smart device app shtick like with “Bleach: Brave Souls” and “Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes”. For resources, we have Stamina for playing the stages, Dueling Swords for the Arena, and Summon Orbs for summoning heroes and upgrading the Castle and barracks for more EXP and hero space respectfully. Of course, there are items you can earn (or buy on My Nintendo) to recharge your Stamina and Dueling Swords, but there are also items for leveling your heroes as well as increasing their potential (rarity).
However, even if you don’t get the heroes with 5-Star Gold potential you can still get around with the lesser ones since you can earn crystals and badges to up their levels and star power. As their potential gets better so do the list of skills they can equip, which can be learned by using Skill Points earned from leveling and performing in battles. If you have doubles, then you can use the lesser hero to merge into the one you want to keep for more SP. What is strange about the skill pool is that weapons are also listed on the character sheet. Despite how odd that your hero can learn a new weapon they at least don’t have a durability counter (same goes with healing and other staffs).
There are assortments of maps to play between the different modes such as Story, Training, Arena, and Special Events. The rewards for completing them and the quests (which you can check under Quests on the Home screen) are things that you do want: more Orbs, badges (advances potential), crystals for leveling, and even heroes (special events). They’re easy to get as long as your team is up to though but farming for badges can be a bit of a grind fest (especially on the weekend since they’re random), but at least you can train some heroes since you’re playing the Training maps (when in Rome, or this case Askr). However, on Monday´s you can only go for EXP.
You’ll be burning through Summon Orbs for getting the heroes and FE Waifus from certain Focuses (series) you want but there is one perk to summoning: when you continuously summon under a Focus, you use fewer Orbs for the next hero. You save more Orbs by completing an entire Focus than just grabbing one and just end the session. If you really need to buy Orbs, then you better have a deep wallet because the in-app shop is expensive. This is to be expected, though after doing a bit of math. I found that you save a bit of money further down the list when compared to buying Orbs separately from near the top. Nevertheless, if you have $75 for 140 Orbs to spare, then at least it’s money that slightly more well spent than the $100 Something Special For Someone Special.
The battle backgrounds and maps are simple, but they are reminiscent to the pre-3D Fire Emblem games. They have what you would expect from the series, from the castles and plains to the lava stages with the narrow paths. For the hero portraits, they are wonderfully drawn. There are different portraits as well such as fighting poses and battle damage. You can view all the portraits as you please under the heroes’ character sheet, which you could take a screenshot of and use it as your phone’s wallpaper. An oddity I found with the portraits is Arthur (Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest) as he’s more drawn in the comic style used for Codename S.T.E.A.M. The sprites used for the map and battle animations look very similar to the Vault Boys and Girls from Fallout Shelter as though the Vault dwellers decided to cosplay as Fire Emblem character, just that their stats aren’t S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
The voice acting is pretty good, and they seem to match the heroes’ personalities. You can even hear some of their lines as well as view the voice actors on the character sheets. The music has the Fire Emblem vibe you would expect it to have with some recognizable renditions of memorable tunes.
The controls are of course touch screen based but there is something off about it. Tapping an enemy unit within range will move the hero into place, but for tacticians it can be frustrating if the space they will occupy doesn’t give you the advantage you wanted. Other than that dragging and tapping works fine and the game can accommodate which control method you want to play with.
+ Core Fire Emblem Gameplay simplified for quick sessions.
+ Summoning heroes costs less within a Focus as you call forth more.
+ Fine artwork for the heroes’ portraits.
+ Good voice acting and very nice music with renditions
– Summon Orbs RMT suffers from the overly priced in-game shop syndrome.
– Controls can be a little awkward to work if you want to play a smart Summoner.
– Can be too grindy on just getting badges for hero potential.
Replay value: 4/5
“Fire Emblem Heroes” is a pretty good FE app. In the matter of fact, this game may even be used as a template for a standalone Fire Emblem game if Nintendo ever does fall from the hardware grace, and after playing this game. I’m somewhat back into the mood for playing a bit of the 3DS Fire Emblem games and looking forward to “Fire Emblem Echoes”, though I guess all of us should brace ourselves for the localization of that game.
Title: Fire Emblem Heroes
Developer: Intelligent Systems, DeNA Co, Ltd
Genre: Strategy RPG
Resolution: 480 x 854
Release date: 2017-02-02
Spent time: 3+ hours
Average grade internationally: 73.15% Gamerankings.com
PEGI/ESRB age rating: PEGI 12+/Everyone 10+
Price: Free (In-game shop)
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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