Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation for Nintendo 3DS
After over 100 hours, my trusty little Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright card is now my most played 3DS game, although that is largely because there’s pretty much three full Fire Emblem games worth of play time on there. Revelations is the third path and definitely the one you should save for last, combining game elements from Birthright and Conquest to come together into an exciting finale.
In Birthright, Corrin chooses to side with her birth family of Hoshido against the conquering Nohrian Empire. In Conquest, she sides with her adopted family in Nohr and takes the war to Hoshido. In Revelations, Corrin takes the most interesting choice of all; refuse to take sides and flee. It isn’t long before Corrin discovers that the war between Hoshido and Nohr is simply part of a larger plan by a terrible entity and so must set forth to unite the two nations to have any hope to save the world. One problem; a curse means that Corrin cannot speak of the terrible being and so she must gather an army based on trust alone.
The finale of the Fates games probably has the second best story of the lot. It’s much better than the bland Birthright, but I don’t think it ever achieved the emotional resonance and compelling darkness of the Conquest path, which remains the best story of the three. That said, it is hugely satisfying seeing the Hoshidan and Nohrian characters come together, which makes for some interesting encounters. Having the sworn enemies from Birthright and Conquest team up feels pretty exciting and this is backed up in the gameplay; a Xander/Ryoma dreamteam pair up is pretty much unstoppable. In the end though, the actual main plot of Revelations isn’t that interesting, particularly in the final 8 or so chapters which all began to blur into one from a plot perspective. The best writing is still to be found in the support conversations, which are often laugh out loud funny and charming. This doesn’t really make its way into the main story, which is overburdened with portentous and cheesy dialogue. Revelations is billed as the instalment which reveals the great truth behind the Fates games, but the great truth winds up not being so…er, great.
Revelations probably slots neatly down the middle in terms of difficulty between Birthright and Conquest. Unlike Conquest you are allowed to grind between missions, although the sheer number of child mission paralogues available here rendered that pretty much unnecessary. Revelations also has the mission variety of Conquest, with lots of interesting little mechanics at play, such as stealth. Some of the map designs here are really clever and this definitely feels like a team which has got itself properly warmed up and ready to experiment. There’s little to say about Revelations that doesn’t also apply to Birthright and Conquest so I won’t repeat myself; this is still one of the best turn based strategy games around.
Revelations is a worthy conclusion to an excellent trilogy of games. On balance, I think I would prefer Nintendo to go back to a simple one game release for this series, both for the sake of my wallet and overall cohesion. As good as these Fates games were, I still preferred Awakening over all three of them. Although each individual story is worth the price, repeated dialogue in the support conversations and the same paralogues across all three games meant I spent a fair bit of that time repeating stuff. All said though, Revelations is a very good conclusion to a mostly successful experiment from Nintendo.