Deep and bold, the new installment in Nintendo’s tactical combat series doesn’t disappoint.
Could the title be a clue? After Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which hinted at its romantic dimension by recalling its rival Three Houses, the new episode of Nintendo’s tactical RPG saga puts a more mundane emphasis on one of its new game mechanics.
Fire Emblem Engage, then, from the name of the possibility offered to its protagonists, which has become “Fusion” in the French version, to forge spiritual alliances with former heroes of the series in order to benefit from additional powers on the battlefield. Unless that announced “engagement” has another meaning…
Join in, they said. Get involved in the campaigns of Fire Emblem, a war game far enough from our reality to avoid the purgatory of the releases suspended until further notice, in the Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp from the same publisher since the Russian one Aggression in Ukraine fell.
But deeper than that, Fire Emblem Engage invites you to meddle with the lives and desires, fears, dreams, and excitements of its many characters at all times, as well as the flying city (with its shops, its farm, its swimming pool…) that evolves gradually developed around it.
The game’s big business is explaining everyone’s reasons and feelings, being the focus of countless discussions, even in the midst of a highly strategic confrontation. Furthermore, on a turn-by-turn basis according to the principles of a genre that celebrates the marriage of chess (or possibly risk) and theater with great fanfare, the latter can be analyzed as the sometimes hesitant, sometimes certain action an ever-evolving reflection on the square scene of his miniature epics.
At the beginning of a year when even Final Fantasy seems to have succumbed to the temptation of non-stop combat with its Episode XVI, Fire Emblem Engage remains true to its principle of cutting up the action and stopping time again and again. Turn by turn is existence picture by picture, sentence by sentence, step by step, driven by the utopia of reconciling depth and legibility. Basically, it’s a celebration of thought.
Long marginalized in the West, the Fire Emblem series gained considerable popularity with the mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes (2017) and then Three Houses (2019). If certain elements of Engage (the appearance of “trails” of other players like FromSoftware, the Animal Crossing-style life sim…) show his openness to ideas from elsewhere, it’s his confidence that stands out today.
This can be felt in its aesthetic biases (very manga) as well as in the spread of its systems of play (solo but also online), in its changes of register or its breaks in tone (we lose a loved one, we do push-ups, we adopt a pigeon…) and its ramifications, which never let him lose sight of the essentials. Under these generous conditions, we do not hesitate to get involved.
Engage Fire Emblem (Smart Systems/Nintendo), on Switch, from €45 to €60.