The Fire Emblem series has gone from niche to legitimately mainstream over the past few years, with 2019’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses standing as the best-selling entry in the series to date and Fire Emblem Heroes being Nintendo’s highest-grossing mobile game. So, while a new entry in the series might have come and gone without too much fanfare outside of a certain hardcore fanbase in the past, the upcoming Fire Emblem Engage has a lot of eyes on it.

Featuring a vivid anime-infused presentation and a new “Engage” system that sees units teaming up with favorite characters of the past like Marth, Roy, and Lyn, Fire Emblem Engage looks to be a bit of a departure from other recent entries in the series. Will this new approach light your fire? Here’s everything you need to know about Fire Emblem Engage…

Setting and Story

Fire Emblem Engage takes place in the never-before-seen land of Elyos, which is divided between four nations that surround the holy island of Lythos. Players take on the role of the “Divine Dragon” in human form (named Alear officially, although you can determine your name and gender). After sleeping for a thousand years, you awaken to find the Fell Dragon has been revived by the nation of Elusia. It’s up to you to stop the Fell Dragon and Elusian forces from claiming the 12 Emblem Rings, which would return the Fell Dragon to its full power. Along the way, you’ll meet a wide range of colorful characters and weather various twists, turns, and setbacks, but that’s all in a day’s work for a good commander.

Fire Emblem Engage

Does the tone feel a little different this time around?

It does indeed seem like Nintendo and developer Intelligent Systems are trying out something new here. The Fire Emblem series has a reputation for being more grounded and politically and morally complex than your average JRPG or Nintendo game. Some have even described it as “anime Game of Thrones.” Fire Emblem Engage, on the other hand, looks to stick to more traditional JRPG tropes and storytelling. Whether the series going full anime is a good thing or not will largely come down to personal taste.

Combat Gameplay

For the most part, Fire Emblem Engage adheres to series’ familiar blueprint when it comes to combat. This is a tactical RPG in which you and the enemy take turns moving all available units on various grid-based maps. Your units all have individual strengths, weaknesses, personalities, and backstories, rather than just being random grunts. Various rock-paper-scissors-style systems, most notably the classic Weapon Triangle (swords beat axes, axes beat lances, lances beat swords), are in place and will need to be kept in mind if you want to win the day.

The big addition is the new Engage system. As you progress through the story you’ll collect a number of Emblem Rings, each of which contains the spirit of a classic Fire Emblem character (Marth, Roy, Sigurd, Lyn, and other favorites are represented). These rings can be equipped to any unit, at which point, that unit will be accompanied by the spirit of the ring into battle. This essentially allows you to create impromptu tag teams, with the Emblem spirits granting the unit they’re attached to various bonuses and sometimes pitching in during fights.

You can also “Engage,” merging the unit and Emblem spirit into one, which further boosts stats and grants you some powerful special attacks. You can only remain Engaged for four turns, after which you’ll have to wait for a power gauge to refill before you can do it again. You can freely switch up who carries the Emblem rings between battles, but you get bonuses if you keep certain teams together longer term.

Is permadeath still a thing?

Yes, units can still die permanently, but it’s not forced on you. You can turn permadeath off altogether and even if you turn it on, you get access to an item that allows you to freely rewind turns to fix mistakes. Basically, you only have to accept deaths as permanent if you want to.

Are the social elements between battles still intact?

Yes. As in most Fire Emblem games, you can increase the bond between characters and learn more about them via various conversations. Your home base, called the Somniel, is where you can prepare for your next battle, socialize, and more. A number of quirky side activities, including fishing, exercising, and building up a farm full of fuzzy friends are also available to the player.

Will there be DLC?

Nintendo has announced a Fire Emblem Engage Expansion Pass, which includes additional Emblem characters, cosmetics, and, eventually, new story content. Here’s what’s included in the $30 pass

DLC Wave 1 (January 20, 2023)

Additional Emblems

  • Emblem Bracelet for Edelgard/Dimitri/Claude will be added (three Emblems that dwell in one bracelet).
  • When a unit wears the Emblem Bracelet, they receive stat boosts (including a 20% increase in earned EXP).
    • Note: Bracelet becomes available after clearing the newly added Divine Paralogue map.
  • Emblem bracelet for Tiki will be added. A unit wearing the bracelet will have improved stat growth.
    • Note: Bracelet becomes available after clearing the newly added Divine Paralogue map.

Support Items

  • Boots, Seraph Robe, Energy Drop, Spirit Dust, Secret Book, Speedwing, Goddess Icon, Dracoshield, and Talisman

New Accessories

  • Rare Set, Frilled Band, Big Ribbon, Single Earring, Round Specs

Silver Card

  • While you possess this item, in-game purchases in the Armory and Item Shop will be discounted by 30%.

DLC Wave 2 (2023)

  • Additional Emblems
  • Support Items
  • New Accessories

DLC Wave 3 (2023)

  • Additional Emblems
  • Note: Details to be revealed later.

DLC Wave 4 (2023)

  • Additional story content. New characters, new maps and a separate story from the main, chapter-based story.
  • Additional Classes

Pricing, platform, release date, and special edition

Fire Emblem Engage launches on Nintendo Switch on January 20, 2023 at a price of $60. A $100 “Divine Edition” featuring an artbook, poster, and more was initially offered, but it’s currently sold out. You can pre-order a copy of the game here.

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