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17th January
written by Splash

Title: Fire Emblem Engage ファイアーエムブレム エンゲージ
Platform: Switch
Genre: SRPG
Language: Japanese
Company: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo
Summary: Cleared Hard without skipping cutscenes, watching all the supports I got on the way etc, in less than 60 hrs.

I early on preordered two copies of 3H, one physical for the limited edition bonuses, one digital so I wouldn’t have to wait on shipping. For this one however, I’m just sticking with just the physical limited edition. The main selling point would’ve been an art designer that I really like (the character designer’s art is nice, but it’s not Kozaki Yuusuke or Kurahana Chinatsu levels for me), or confirmation of Kondoh Rei’s involvement with the music, and this title has neither of those. Many aspects I’ve heard about the game have been positive though, so I still look forward to it once it arrives within a week after launch. Just a few days to wait! XD

Also still seeking confirmation on Koei Tecmo/Gust involvement for this title? No one seems to have the full deets on this. I’ve been informed that this is this game is built on Unity though, so modding is fairly easy.
Story: The cutscenes are so easily the longest in any FE game so far and it just makes me wish I could’ve had this with Byleth content. It’s nice to see how much they’ve stepped it up for Engage still.

Story maps overall, aside from the first 6 or so simple maps, are pretty good.

Characters: The character designs did grow a bit better on me after the full game clear, but it’s still awkward seeing how modern a lot of the outfits are for this title. Makes it pretty meme-y. Merrin is wonderful at least.
And Amber’s Alpaca threads are fine with me.

Graphics: Easily this game’s strongest point. There’s still some staircasing going on with the anti-aliasing, but it’s considerably better than 3H, and battle animations in general are also excellent. Hopefully this sets a new starting standard for FE titles here on.

Sound: All my biases are for Kondoh Rei who does not seem to be present for this FE title, but Baba Yasuhisa/Kanazaki Takeru are both also very strong in-house IS composers with lots of ties to Echoes of Valentia and Fates. Fates is still my top OST of the franchise and many of my favorite tracks there are not from Kondoh Rei, and the tracks here do hit close to those beats, along with a few that are definitely a hit like Echoes had. Still… I need that long-term epicness from Kondoh Rei. Next time for sure…!

One thing for certain though, if you did not like how “overused” the grey waves riff was used in Fates, it’s even worse in this title with the main theme song, because Fates had way more than 2 main composers involved in its huge repertoire. There certainly is a good mixture of other pieces in Engage still, but perhaps a full third of the main meat of the game background audio ends up being a variation of the main theme riff. I personally grew to like it quick a bit and I’m the type of person who can listen to something I like for days and weeks without end, so that was no problem for me.

Replay Value: Apparently no NG+ which is kind of a bummer, but even more of a bummer for me personally is there’s no grind available in Maddening difficulty. I understand the “intent” to make Maddening the full challenge mode, but I wanted the challenge with the availability to still grind all the supports. With how much more punishing they’ve made even just Hard difficulty in terms of unlocking supports, I’m more likely to just have a separate Normal file solely for unlocking those supports. While I don’t like how NOT-hard 3H’s Hard difficulty was, it still had a much better overall set of options to work with in terms of replayability.

Other end-game content like Tempest Trials and whatever their Aether Raids mode is… huge skip for me. Not appealing. They set the game up with VERY LONG grinds with minimal gains post-game, and it’s just terrible.

Overall: 9 of 10. I’m doing a full point down for terrible UI. Big agree with the other vets that the menu UI is absolute garbo. Engage command shouldn’t be on top and no auto end are the biggest culprits for me. Another big beef people mention a lot and I agree with is that bond trainings with the rings and skill inheritance are in two different places for no good reason. I’ll be honest and I never used the bond trainings LOL. All just from natural battles.

There are some things that definitely redeem it well, like the graphics and animations for sure. But then… all-in-all, this still feels like an absolute fanservice/anniversary type of game in the same etchings that say… Fire Emblem Three Hopes had. There are a LOT of great things happening in it still, making it well worth the play. But it just lacks that oneeeee little push that would have me gushing all over everything about it far beyond its flaws, kinda like I would with 3H.

Bad UI/UX and Somniel’s existence mostly tbh… hahahahaha

Somniel is even worse than monastery but I guess maybe it’s fine if you treat it like Animal Crossing for the time sink 🤪. Unlike 3H, characters have zero say on plot progression so they’re just piles of memes if they’re not in the cutscenes.

More details in Twitter thread (or I just repeated a lot of it in this post):

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