Looking Back, Fire Emblem Engage’s Poor Writing Overshadowed Its Gameplay

Gameplay shouldn't be the only boat of Fire Emblem franchise.

                                                                  Story Highlights

  •  Fire Emblem Engage offered innovative gameplay and visuals.
  • The inconsistent writing failed to create a ripple in a pond.
  • If something isn’t broken, then it doesn’t need any fixing.

In 2023, Intelligent Systems released the long-awaited 17th entry to the Fire Emblem franchiseFire Emblem Engage. I didn’t think it would succeed, considering Nintendo almost killed all the hype. However, the 17th title turned out to be a success. Regardless of the sales, part of the community was left disappointed by the new Fire Emblem game, rather than amazed. 

So, what made the fanbase wish for something more than the dish they had been served? It was the game’s inconsistency in writing. Somehow the game managed to cover its biggest weakness by providing much more polished gameplay and improved graphics. Moreover, the game introduced a new gimmickEngage. The gimmick allowed you to merge your characters with past heroes from the previous titles through Emblem Rings. 

Fire Emblem Engage – Top Tier Gameplay
byu/Shrimperor inJRPG

For many fans, this new feature was a surprise considering it came way too early in the game, unlike other RPGs. In an interview, Masahiro Higuchi revealed that he felt it was necessary to ignite the taste of tactics as early as possible in the game. 

In platformer games, for instance, you start the game, press buttons, and Mario jumps and stomps on enemies. That alone is intuitive and fun from the start, you know? But in tactical strategy games, you must use tactics to defeat enemies slowly and to steadily advance to take control of the area before you can complete the stage. You need to go through all these steps to experience the fun. …In that sense, the fun comes a little later. We thought that the lack of intuitive fun in how it controls may create some barriers for those who have never tried these types of games. So, for this title, by having the unique Engage feature with Emblems available early on, we wanted players to feel the fun from the get-go as they experience the unleashing of overwhelming power and special attacks,” said Higuchi.

However, you can’t cover the game’s biggest weakness with an innovative mechanic. At some point, the lack of consistent writing had to float on the surface. Since the game keeps you engaged with the gameplay and the new gimmick, the series does incredibly well to shroud the story and characters, but once you reach the halfway point, you have to ask whether there is anything more available.

Waves Of Inconsistency In Fire Emblem Engage’s Storytelling And Character-writing

Even The Best-written Character Lacks Consistency. | Source: Prima Games

Imagine a character waking up from a thousand-year slumber, and immediately losing their mother-figure. Oh, actually, she wasn’t the mother, she just happened to find him in a war before he went into a coma. You didn’t find this twist amazing? Look, the main villain is actually the protagonist’s father. 

What’s your opinion on Fire Emblem: Engage’s story?
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This is the kind of writing you’d expect from an amateur who is handed an assignment and told to twist the series as much as possible. The developers failed to consider that the game isn’t just made for ten-year-old children. No matter how much you try to ignore the baseless story, it punches you in the face at every confrontation. The final few moments remind you once again how unserious the developers were while making this game. 

If Fire Emblem Engage was made a comedy-tactical RPG, then it might have revived the tactical-comedy trope, but that wasn’t the case at all. The series constantly reminded you how serious the situation was at times, but failed to deliver an impact. Moreover, there were constant ripples of inconsistency with the characters’ dialogues.

YouTube video

At one point, Diamant completely understands the sufferings of the commoners and proclaims himself to be a pacifist. But then, in another instance, the series informs you that Diamant would go to any length if he sensed the slightest harm toward his kingdom. Such waves pass through every couple of chapters in Fire Emblem Engage.

One thing Fire Emblem Engage did excel in was the game’s DLC, which was divided into three parts. The new maps not only rewarded the players with new Emblem Rings but also encouraged them to employ various tactics. 

Losing Track Of A Proven Path

Fire Emblem Fates provided fans with multiple routes. While it wasn’t such a brilliant game, mainly due to its cast of characters, the series proved that multiple routes could be the way forward for the franchise. Intelligent System once again implemented the idea into the 16th title, Fire Emblem Three Houses, where it saw massive success. 

Intelligent had successfully created a formula, and all they needed was to improve it further. Don’t fix something that isn’t already broken. The developers went out of their way to embrace tradition and the fanbase didn’t get to feast on a well-written story. 

Main character
The Lack Of Concentration Was Visible In The Game’s Writing. | Source: GoNintendo

As time continues to drift, I hope the next new entry in the Fire Emblem franchise steps on the right path once again.

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Ahmed Shayan is a News Writer on eXputer with decent experience writing about games. He’s a machine learning enthusiast with a passion for a plethora of gaming genres. Ahmed is fond of Soulsborne games in which he has invested more than 3,000 hours! You can follow Ahmed's gaming activity on his PSN Profile.

Experience: 1.5+ Years || Mainly Covers News Stories on eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Data Science.

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