PAX 2017: Fire Emblem Warriors Mixes Strategy with Hack and Slash

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Sticking to the Dynasty Warriors formula, but with some fun Fire Emblem twists.

If you’ve ever played a Dynasty Warriors-style Musou game, you know the drill: hundreds of enemies rush toward you, and you mow them down in gigantic, sweeping combos that take out dozens at once. Nintendo entered the fray with Hyrule Warriors a few years ago and injected Zelda into the formula, and now they’re inserting Fire Emblem into the mix.

But Fire Emblem Warriors does more than simply tack on a few familiar characters and sound effects. In a demo at PAX West, we got to see a section of combat that included some smart nods to the main franchise.

At any point, it’s possible to switch between a selection of different party members to control, each with their own style of movement and attacks. We switched between Takumi wielding a bow and arrow, Xander on horseback, and Hinoka on a Pegasus, and each had a completely different style. Hinoka could fly, for example, lifting vertically to come crashing down on enemies.

While playing as any character, you can also assign orders, giving Fire Emblem Warriors a bit of a strategy component. Our mission was to take over a series of bases by wiping out their captains, who were notable Fire Emblem characters like Leo and Ryoma. From the menu, you can give orders to send any of your party members to attack a specific base or enemy, much like the actual Fire Emblem games. The weapon triangle also comes into play for bonus damage as you take on enemies.

Ultimately, the boss of our encounter was Corrin, who was the commander of the enemy troops. While working my toward her by overtaking enemy bases wasn’t quite as strategic or satisfying as conquering the battlefield in a core Fire Emblem game, I was still surprised that it felt as Fire Emblem-inspired as it did rather than sticking only to the button mashing I’m used to from Warriors titles.

With this plus Fire Emblem Heroes and even last year’s Tokyo Mirage Sessions, it’s always fun seeing tiny tweaks to the Fire Emblem format and the fan service and cameos that come along with it. I’m still not as excited for Warriors as I am for the next actual core Fire Emblem title, but it might be a good way to pass the time on Switch while we wait.

Andrew is IGN’s executive editor of news and just wants to hang out with his friend Marth. You can find him rambling about Persona and cute animals on Twitter.


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