Fire Emblem Engage is a proud celebration of what came before

Fire Emblem Engage feels like the tactical RPG game I’ve been waiting for, but after a few hours in its presence I’m still not sure I prefer it over Three Houses. It’s a natural progression from the series with a classic twist, building on Fire Emblem’s modern gameplay while taking cues from older entries. That might sound obvious when former protagonists like Marth are back, but this goes beyond the 12 familiar faces. Engage reminds me more of Fire Emblem Awakening, the 3DS entry that propelled the series’ popularity to new heights – and while it may not yet trump Three Houses, after eight chapters I find it hard to put down .

On Elyos, you play as Alear, a divine dragon who has spent the last millennium asleep after defeating the Fell Dragon Sombron. With both sides awake again, it’s a race to recover the twelve Emblem Rings, each harboring the spirit of a former hero. Engage falls into some tired tropes like the amnesiac protagonist, although I’m currently enjoying the character writing. Alear is a charming leader, and there’s a likable supporting cast, though I miss the moral gray that made Three Houses (and Fates, somewhat) so intriguing. However, this is a likely consequence of forgoing multiple routes for a single campaign.

After completing the first few chapters, Engage will open and you can visit The Somniel, an airborne base that functions similarly to Garreg Mach from Three Houses. Along with a training arena and fitness mini-games to boost stats temporarily, this is where the socializing happens. Alear can invite allies to meals, give them gifts, or even polish an emblem’s ring to strengthen your bond. don’t look at me like that Once you’re ready to launch, select a mission on the Overworld map and prepare for battle.



Don’t get bogged down with the basics; They still eliminate commanders or route enemy forces. Emblems are arguably the most complete addition to Engage, and units equipped with a ring can temporarily fuse with that emblem. Along with new weapons, each one has a unique ability available once per activation. For example, Celica’s Warp Ragnarok teleports your unit across the battlefield to unleash a devastating magic attack, useful against tricky out-of-range enemies. Meanwhile, Micaiah’s Last Sacrifice restores HP to everyone, but reduces your paired unit to 1 HP.

These abilities can end or break a mission by adding more layers to an already rich combat system, and the changes don’t stop there. The durability of weapons and magic tomes is gone, though staves still have a limit and no longer battalions. The famous weapon triangle is also back. This time, hitting enemies with a beneficial weapon causes a pause that prevents units from counterattacking. Single unit grabbing became much easier, although this works both ways and I lost a few key units due to my own carelessness.

Visually, this is a huge step up from Three Houses (and let’s not forget the footless wonders of Fire Emblem Awakening, too).

I enjoy the fight, but a surprising highlight comes after the fight when Alear is able to fully explore the battlefield. You can chat with allies and local NPCs, enjoy the scenery, and even adopt animals to take with you to Somniel, which feels like Three Houses’ ground-level battlefield view without the combat. It breathes new life into those places and emphasizes one of Engage’s most important improvements – the visuals. It’s cleaner, livelier, there’s more attention to detail, and not a single unusually flat fruit in sight.

Engage shows promise, and while I currently think Three Houses has a stronger story, this feels like a refreshing throwback to older entries. Tactical combat remains thrilling, it’s nice to see old favorites return, and it never relies on nostalgia to remain compelling. Which is reassuring considering Sigurd, Leif, and Roy’s games remain unlocalized. That being said, Intelligent Systems is on the hunt for another RPG winner right now and I can’t wait to finish this one. Fire Emblem Engage is a proud celebration of what came before

Fry Electronics Team

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