In one of the most hype-fuelled and exciting months for Nintendo in a while, we finally received more details on the highly-anticipated Fire Emblem mobile game which we now know to be Fire Emblem: Heroes.
Marking the first time in the series that Fire Emblem has graced a smartphone screen, the insightful Nintendo Direct did a pretty decent job at giving us plenty of reasons to be excited for its arrival, with plenty of characters, systems, and mechanics that would have any tactical role-playing fan’s heart pumping. It’s been no easy task, but we’ve managed to whittle down just five of these reasons in a list.
Turn-based action has never looked so good on the small screen, so let’s jump in:
1. Easy to use vertical screen maps
Nintendo seems to have taken note just how well Super Mario Run’s verticality was received, and much in the same way that it opted for the convenience of letting players play in one hand, Fire Emblem: Heroes is very wisely doing the same. The good news is that there’ll be less of a need for twitch or time-based reaction, with the Fire Emblem games typically choosing to let you collect your thoughts before making that all important decision on the battlefield.
The vertical maps featured in Fire Emblem: Heroes will seemingly let us keep a general eye on the action, with a simple swipe to the side rather than up feeling the most natural and quick. Fire Emblem’s grid system only serves to enhance the verticality, bringing us in closer to the action rather than requiring us to squint ferociously and span the landscape.
2. It brings together fan favourite Fire Emblem heroes
Fire Emblem: Heroes is unabashedly aiming its appeal at diehard fans and newcomers alike by bundling characters from across the series into one handy digestible experience, meaning everyone will be able to trade and discover their favourite collectable characters. Any franchise veterans like me should make a note of 31st January: Nintendo is enticing us to “choose our heroes” until then.
The campaign will determine the two most popular heroes in Fire Emblem: one of each gender that’ll appear in the final game. Regardless, you can be sure that the final version of Heroes won’t be short on familiar faces to collect and summon.
3. A simple and easy “Rock, Paper, Scissors” attribute system
I wouldn’t blame anyone with a slight interest in downloading the game for experiencing at least a slight knee-jerk reaction at the thought of being overwhelmed by managing Fire Emblem’s in-depth stats and numbers. Fear not however; Fire Emblem: Heroes understands that this strategic experience is significantly more bitesize and swaps this out for a Pokémon-esque rock, paper, scissors system.
This is still presented through the series’ staple attribute wheel which feels like a seamless and natural addition to the smartphone set up. In Heroes sword beats axe, axe beats lance, and lance beats sword. It’s simple, understandable, but most importantly, it’s fun!
4. A pleasant yet stripped-back art style
Whenever a game series or collection of such feels the need to merge their respective universes, we’ve all experienced that slight worry of having each individual art style clash. And while the Fire Emblem series has always made a point of sticking to a welcome anime aesthetic (especially within cut scenes), Heroes is set to strip back these qualities slightly so as to not strain hardware or suck too much precious battery life.
The Nintendo Direct has already revealed the intro cinematic we’ll be treated to every time we load up the game should we want to see it more than once (why wouldn’t we?), but the character designs look noticeably more simplified while still being able to be identifiable and frankly quite beautiful.
5. Permadeath is no more!
One of Fire Emblem’s most intimidating gameplay elements has been the controversial idea of having a built-up or maxed-out character die, only to have lost said character to the grave forever. A relic of an earlier game period when games such as this relished in being a little crueller to its fan base, this factor has thankfully been trashed for the release of Fire Emblem: Heroes, making it much more user-friendly and appropriate for an on-the-go experience.
There’s every possibility that those with a glutton for punishment will be able to enjoy and indulge in some old school permadeath later on with a future game update, but until then Fire Emblem: Heroes seeks to be more approachable and convenient. Let’s just hope that an internet connection is not always required to play this time!
Fire Emblem Heroes releases on Android and iOS on 2nd February. For more information, visit the official website.