Fire Emblem Fates

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Fire Emblem Fates Game Poster Image
Branching turn-based strategy game with moderate violence.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy and reflect on family relationships in this polished and lengthy strategy game. The turn-based battles encourage players to think before acting, taking time to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both their units and the enemy to work out advantageous tactics. There's even more motivation to be strategic on harder difficulty levels, where units that die stay dead forever. Players will also spend time reflecting on family bonds and relationships thanks to a story that delves deeply into the backgrounds and motivations of dozens of characters. They'll be forced to imagine the difficulty of choosing between birth and adoptive families and to consider the meaning of loyalty and unavoidable betrayal. Fire Emblem Fates is designed as entertainment, but its deep strategy and emotional themes may end up getting kids to think about people and events in their own lives in new ways.

Positive Messages

Strong themes of family, patriarchy, friendship, love, loyalty and betrayal. Examines relationships, jealousies involved in people torn between birth, adoptive families. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The heroes -- a motley crew with different personalities, backgrounds -- are good people who generally prefer to avoid conflict. But just about every situation they find themselves in demands violence. Many (though not all) enjoy, take pride in battlefield prowess. Primary protagonist is customizable, allowing players to select gender, skin tone.

Ease of Play

Players can choose from multiple difficulty settings to tailor experience to their abilities. Hardest setting -- where characters die, never return -- makes for a serious challenge, but easier settings are more forgiving.

Violence

Human, human-like characters attack each other with swords, axes, spears, arrows, claws, magical energy. Hits cause characters to yell out in pain, sometimes fall to ground. Wounded characters slouch, limp. Depending on difficulty chosen, defeated heroes could die, be gone for good.

Sex

Characters about to bathe appear in towels, bikinis. Several female characters have large, cartoonish breasts, wear revealing tops exposing deep cleavage. An animated cut scene focuses on a character's bikini-clad buttocks, crotch, then moves on to linger on her breasts.

Language

Infrequent use of "hell," "damn."

Consumerism

Supports paid downloadable content.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Fire Emblem Fates is a turn-based strategy game involving swords, magic, and arrows. The violence depicted is relatively moderate and without gore. That said, depending on the difficulty level chosen, important characters who die due to player mistakes may remain dead forever. The story concerns a prince or princess (the lead character's gender and skin tone are customizable) who is torn between her birth and adoptive families, resulting in strong themes of family, friendship, loyalty, and betrayal. Characters can also fall in love, including two of the same gender -- a first for a Nintendo game. Parents should be aware that some of the female characters are highly sexualized, especially in an anime scene in which the camera lingers on a sexy character's bikini-clad crotch, buttocks, and breasts.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byAmimegamer May 17, 2016

Fire emblem with new ideas

Nintendo made fire emblem rates with censorship but it's still fun I am playing for the 3rd time in a row and it's still fun. The two things that are... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byA Girl Gamer March 19, 2016

Great Story

Two Kingdoms are at war. One kingdom is the kingdom that you grew up with and the other kingdom is the kingdom that is actually related in terms of blood. You... Continue reading

What's it about?

FIRE EMBLEM FATES is actually sold as three separate games: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright, Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, and Fire Emblem Fates: Special Edition. All three games are identical for the first few chapters, depicting a prince (or princess) who is torn between her birth and adoptive families, rival rulers of neighboring kingdoms. Eventually the hero is forced to choose between them. In Birthright, he or she sides with her birth family, a group of good and honorable people. In Conquest, the hero goes with the adoptive family, also composed of generally good people but led by a tyrant king. The Special Edition version lets players choose which path to take as well as offering a third path called Revelations in which the hero refuses both families and goes off in search of the origin of the two kingdoms' conflict. These three paths differ greatly in terms of characters, maps, and story, and some are more challenging than others, but they all follow the same basic structure. Players engage in turn-based missions set on gridded battlefields upon which they move units with varying abilities like chess pieces, matching heroes against enemies they feel confident they can defeat. Between missions, players visit a customizable fortress in the astral plane where they build shops and defenses, initiate dialogue between characters to strengthen their bonds inside and outside of combat, and collect resources. Players continue alternating between missions and castle-building activities until the end of the game.

Is it any good?

The thing that makes this title -- and indeed all the games in the franchise -- so memorable isn't solely its terrific turn-based combat or bevy of interesting activities between missions, but it's really the characters and story that stand out. By diving deeply into the personalities of our warriors, exploring who they are, where they come from, and what motivates them, we come to care for them much more than we do the faceless units in other strategy games. And what makes the game so intense is that -- assuming you're playing on classic mode -- they're all terribly mortal. Any of them can die, permanently, at any moment due to a player's mistake. You'll never know what they could have become or whom they could have loved. It's tragic. And compelling. And with three story lines -- each full of original characters -- to play through, there's more epic narrative here than in any other Fire Emblem game to date.

All of this said, the top-notch combat is a pretty strong draw, too. It facilitates a variety of play styles, ranging from cautious to bold to strategic. Players need to develop a good understanding of each character's strengths and weaknesses and -- thanks to the game's complex relationship-building system -- whom they fight well with. And the new fortress-based activities between missions provide a wealth of ways that players can give their units extra advantages, from cooking up bonus-bestowing meals to equipping individual warriors with special accessories built from rare resources. It's a massive package for a hand-held game. All you need to decide is whether you want to side with the good guys in Birthright or the not-so-obviously good guys in Conquest, or if you want to experience both stories plus the game's "true" ending in the Special Edition.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Most games don't allow important characters to die permanently due to player mismanagement, but this one does, so how do you feel when one of your favorite heroes falls in battle? Do you feel the need to restart the mission so you can save him or her? Or do you accept your mistake and move on?

  • Families can also talk about sexuality. Most of the women in this game are just as strong as the men, but why do you think they're frequently presented in much more sexual clothing?

Game details

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