Fire Emblem Warriors Nintendo Switch review - Who's it for?

Fire Emblem Warriors is not a traditional Fire Emblem experience. It's basically Dynasty Warriors reskinned, with a few Fire Emblem touches thrown in so it doesn't totally alienate that fanbase.

And while the Fire Emblem bits are both welcome and well implemented, I'm not entirely convinced that it's quite enough to convince pure fans.

Really, you need to be a huge fan of both franchises to get the most out of this. That's a big ask though, since Fire Emblem and Dynasty Warriors are like gaming chalk and cheese.

So how does it play?

Fire Emblem Warriors has a campaign and history mode, but both play entirely the same. You effectively have to control the sway of battle by capturing key points on the map.

To achieve that, you simply kill the boss in a specific location. It's simple stuff, but regular events are thrown at you. These could force you to drop what you're doing to rush to the other side of the map, or stretch your resources.

Enemies can even retake strategic locations, so you have to keep an eye on that too.

During a typical level, you'll face hordes of enemies trying to stop you. Seriously, you'll kill hundreds, if not thousands, of bad people in each level.

Combat is basically hack and slash. You've got a primary and secondary attack, and you can press them in different combinations to unleash a variety of powerful attacks. It's not a particularly deep system, but it is satisfying.

As you fight, you'll fill up a few different gauges that let you pull off incredibly powerful moves that will devastate an area, or eat a massive chunk out of a boss's health bar. They're flashy and cool.

How is this Fire Emblem again exactly?

None of the above will come as a surprise to Dynasty Warriors fans - that's what you sign up for with the franchise.

But Fire Emblem fans will likely wonder how exactly this is going to appeal to them. It's a fair question, and one that developer Koei Tecmo has made an effort to answer.

So first off, you've got characters from Awakening, Fates, and Shadow Dragon to unlock and play as. They'll even interact with each other, which leads to a few fun conversations.

Then there's some borrowed gameplay. You can select which heroes you want to bring into battle with you, and their starting location on a grid-based map.

Mid-battle, you can even head back to the map and provide orders to your units. This is by far the best new addition, as it allows you to accomplish multiple goals at once. That massively speeds things up.

It also plays into the weapon triangle system, which is in effect here. Each boss you encounter will have a specific weapon, which is shared with all nearby units.

This information is visible on the map, so you can send your sword user to take a fortress defended by an axe boss.

Finally, there's History Mode, which allows you to play key battles from previous games but with Warriors gameplay. If you're a serious fan of Fire Emblem lore, that's bound to bring a smile to your face.

What else is there?

The campaign has a plot to follow, in which the kingdom of Aytolis is under threat from the Chaos Dragon and twin prince and princess Rowan and Lianna have to recruit a bunch of heroes from throughout the franchise to help save it.

But it's totally garbage, and only really there as an excuse to bring a bunch of your favourite characters together. Cutscenes are a real chore to sit through for the most part, as the exposition is just dreadful.

Occasionally, two characters from different franchises will interact and it's often humorous. That's the only time it works really.

Then you've got all of the pre-battle preparation. You can equip your heroes with new weapons, crests that provide a variety of different perks, and useable items. Vulnary, anyone?

You can even upgrade their class. This gives them a massive stat boost and a visible makeover. The new costumes are admittedly great, which is good motivation.

There are secret items to find in battles, some of which only appear under certain circumstances. A merchant called Anna, for example, only appears after you kill 1,000 enemies and provides you with a scrap of artwork for the trouble.

Finally, you can play both the campaign and History Mode in local co-op, but there is no online multiplayer to speak of. It seems like a bizarre oversight, given that the Switch is quite capable of pulling off online multiplayer.

So should I get this?

If you like Dynasty Warriors and Fire Emblem, then it's an absolute no brainer. Go out and pre-order it right now because it will likely be game of the year for you.

But if you only like one of the franchises, it's not quite as easy a sell. Dynasty Warriors fans will struggle to connect to the awful plot, and won't know the characters that could potentially save it.

However, they might appreciate a few of the new additions - particularly ordering units around in battle.

Fire Emblem fans might not appreciate the hack and slash combat and on-the-fly strategy of Dynasty Warriors. It's really a far cry away from the turn-based strategy of Fire Emblem, and that's likely to alienate more than a few fans.

It's also immensely repetitive by nature, and if you don't take to it you'll get no pleasure long term.

So basically, understand what you're getting yourself in for before you grab this. It's by no means a must purchase for anyone who isn't an enormous fan of both franchises.

Fire Emblem Warriors Nintendo Switch review - Who's it for?

Fire Emblem Warriors tries to blend together two distinct franchises, and it almost manages to pull it off
Chris James
Chris James
A footy game fanatic and experienced editor of numerous computing and game titles, lively Chris is up for anything - including running Steel Media! (Madman!)