‘Fire Emblem Heroes’ does justice to long-neglected series


Fire Emblem Heroes

As the birth child of Intelligence Systems and Nintendo, “Fire Emblem” didn’t start making any real traction until the release of “Fire Emblem: Awakening.”

The 2013 release for the Nintendo 3DS was intended to be the 11th and final entry of the series. However, by the grace of God, this was the title that broke the barrier for “Fire Emblem,” and since then Nintendo and Intelligence Systems have released three completely different versions, “Fire Emblem: Fates,” included three new characters to the Super Smash Bros roster, revived another, announced a remake as well as their first home console game since 2007 and delved into the mobile game market with “Fire Emblem: Heroes.”

As a longstanding fan of the series, I was naturally skeptical to see how such a complex and gratifying gameplay could adequately be made mobile, especially after the short-lived success of “Pokémon Go” and “Mario Run” (which, has anyone actually played?).  However I am pleased to report that in many ways the app does the series justice.

My favorite aspect is, naturally, the characters. “Fire Emblem” has always boasted an enormous cast of characters, each with their own personality and story, and “Heroes” does its best to replicate this. The app boasts a cast of dozens of characters from the series, summoned by way of orbs, which are won in battle and during events.

All of these characters are given new artist-rendered portraits (some better than others) as well as voice acting (again, some better than others) and new chibi forms that resemble “Paper Mario’s” art style, which is cute and full of character, but also somewhat tonally inappropriate for a series which has long focused on the loss and devastation of war.

Then again, the story is far from complex, serving mostly as a shallow attempt to throw some narrative together for the whole of this situation. It’s not bad, but it’s a mobile app; don’t expect anything groundbreaking and you won’t be disappointed.

Outside of the story maps, there are training levels for your characters to help them gain stats and, potentially, stars as well as an arena, which has for ages been a penchant of the series making for an endless amount of battles to be had.

Moreover, the developers made the prudent choice to limit the sizes of the maps/levels to fit the size of a phone screen as well as limiting players to four-character teams, which keeps it from being perhaps too overwhelming or trying to go beyond it’s place as an app.

However, these maps are still largely diverse and interesting, which keeps things from getting stale while also staying simple and accessible. The battles only last a few minutes normally, which makes it great to pick up in between back-to-back classes or while waiting in the line for Jo’s.

It may not be the perfect representation of “Fire Emblem,” but as a mobile app, it serves its function well. It’s entertaining, it’s simple, it’s rewarding and it’s totally free to play. There are some offered in-app purchases, but so long as you have decent willpower you should be able to play without spending a dime. Besides, it’s Nintendo and it’s not terrible, so why not?