After a two year run with continued success, Fire Emblem Heroes recently added its third major overhaul patch. This mobile Gacha Game gained instant fame due to being Fire Emblem. Lets take a look at how the game looks two years after its launch.
Fire Emblem in general is a turn based strategy game series. For those who do not know, this means that the player controls units on a map and takes turns with the enemy to try and destroy the opposing army. Normally, Fire Emblem is (in)famous for its perma death feature. This series combines this factor alongside a compelling story line that forces the player to get attached to each and every character they encounter.
Many of the critics of Fire Emblem Heroes point out that two of the three selling points for the series are lacking in the mobile game. Given the nature of a Gacha Game, one continually spends either in game currency, or real money to get new characters. Such a system does not allow for permanent death for obvious in game reasons.
Of course, a common complaint with many mobile games is the weak story, assuming there is one of all. Fire Emblem Heroes when compared to the rest of the series is lackluster in this department. This is problematic given the nature of the series alongside the fact that there arguably have been so many missed opportunities.
Let’s talk about what has been added leading up to this new patch as well as what we can expect. Fire Emblem Heroes generates content at a fairly rapid pace. Though like any game that has content added over time, there are dry spells. Notably if one looks at Reddit, it is very easy to spot when these dry spells occur.
The most important recent addition that had a major change on the game is the Aether Raid. This special game mode allows players to customize their own map and defense team. On the flip-side, players try to attack other player’s maps and win. You gain rank from each battle and the way that this is kept track of is quite effective. Not only do you see your ranking against other players, but those of your friends as well.
Aether Raids does have a few issues though. Notably, many of the best characters for the mode are extremely difficult to get via the Gacha pulls which can put many at a disadvantage. The other major problem with Aether Raids is that it requires a unique resource to play. It is a slow process to get more of this resource. A single loss in Aether Raids can be extremely costly.
The other major game mode added to Fire Emblem Heroes before patch 3.0 is one that I personally have a love hate relationship with. This mode is called Forging Bonds and seeks to fix another issue in Heroes. Remember the character driven aspects of the game? Most modes lack this part of Fire Emblem.
However, Forging Bonds has unique conversations featuring characters in the game. Many of these discussions are very well written. Some of them are arguably the best writing that Fire Emblem Heroes has to offer. However, as I mentioned before, there is one issue I have with this game mode. It is a significant and repetitive grind with only a few rewards that make the mode worth it.
However, everything mentioned above was simply a lead in to patch 3.0. Lets talk about what was recently added. There have been some great additions so far as well as hints of even nicer prizes coming in 2019. I am glad to see that Intelligent Systems, the creators of the game have listened to player feedback more than some other game developers.
The biggest update brought about as a result of Fire Emblem Heroes Patch 3.0 is a new story Book. This time the player must venture into Hel itself to stop the forces of the dead. Now if this sounds like a tacky Norse Mythology plot, you would be right. And this is exactly what happened with Book 2 which featured Surtr Lord of Flame. Both are homages to Norse Myth.
I felt a bit hyped after I played the first few chapters of the story which dealt with some important issue. One of the central themes of Book 3 is what the meaning of leadership is. However, I am being cautious with the storytelling elements. I was convinced right when Book 2 first came out that an incredible story was coming. But I was wrong. It ended up being dragged out and the antagonist was a generic doomsday villain.
Perhaps Intelligent Studios has learned from their mistakes. I am hoping that a year from now, I can read this review and be pleased with my positive predictions.
I am eagerly awaiting to see what units are released next. After all, trailers have teased the Laguz Units from the Ike Fire Emblem Games. These popular characters have been noticeably absent since the start. The chance at new mechanics is one of the reasons I continue to play this Gacha Game. The Laguz have a shape-shifting mechanic that could drastically alter game play.
Problems With the Game:
Now that I have discussed what I am most excited about, lets point out something that keeps happening in this game that I am not thrilled about at all. No, I will not waste time complaining about the unfairness of Gacha Games. There are entire posts dedicated to that. Not to mention, I realize that this game involves gambling and have learned to live with it.
However, what I do have issue with is the increasingly bloated stats in game modes. There is a difference between difficult and unfair. Difficult is when a mechanic is properly implemented. Unfair is when the difficulty comes from something that the player is not properly equipped to handle.
Many of the new maps, labeled as “Abyssal” are outright not fun. The enemies have such insane stats that the most viable strategy against them is fixed chip damage. This slow strategy requires extensive stalling which gets quite tedious. Also many of these fights require such trial and error that the fun is taken out. The final salt in the wound is that the rewards are simply cosmetic.
When a mode is added to the game that only appeals to the most hard core, it is a serious problem. Abyssal Maps are not fun in my opinion and the fact that Intelligent Systems continues to use them and worse, add the bloated stats to other game modes does not bode well in my opinion.Tweet