By: Christian Crawford
Fire Emblem Fates has forgotten that the real meat of the series isn’t in its presentation of individual battles, but in the player’s position as a wider strategist.
Recently I bumped into one of the few of my friends who was looking forward to the release of Fire Emblem Fates as much as I was. They of course asked me for my thoughts on the game and how far I had gotten. It was then that I realized that while my impressions had been nothing but positive so far, I had to hedge everything with the fact I just couldn’t seem to sink that many hours into it.
When I thought about this I was pretty shocked, considering the GBA versions of Fire Emblem are staples of my rotating game library to this day ,and I’ve beaten both more times then I can count. Despite this love it seems I can’t make myself play Fates with quite the same fervor. I decided to look at the series as a whole and found the change that has put me out of step with the series: the battle animations.
Now before I go any further I would like to reiterate that from what little I’ve played I quite like Fates. The addition of stats effects and the polishing of the side-by-side attack system from Awakening have only added to what was already a solid turn based strategy game. If you liked the style of Awakening then Fates shouldn’t give you any problems. But I digress.
The animations of the GBA versions were iconic for the game and added to the overall satisfaction of your methodical planning. Perhaps most importantly they were short and snappy. I think that Fates has forgotten that the real meat of the series isn’t in its presentation of the individual fights but the players position as a wider strategist. The individual battles were only part of a larger scenario and gave feedback on what the next move would be going forward.
The animations in Fates are big, dramatic and look great – but they ultimately take too long and disrupt the flow of the overall strategic elements. For perhaps the first time in my entire Fire Emblem life I have honestly considered turning the animations off because I would rather have a much less flashy presentation if it gave me the same information and got me back to my next phase of my plan faster.
I will admit the animations in both Awakening and Fates look great. The cutscenes are stunning and that translates into the battle animations. Unfortunately in the battle section this level of animated drama isn’t what I want.
What it comes down to is that although Fire Emblem is often remembered for its cool criticals and fun animations, they alone were not what made the series great. They were just a particularly good compliment to a finally tuned strategy experience, an experience that need not be overshadowed.
This is, of course, only one person’s opinion of Fire Emblem: Fates. What do you think about Fates and the battle animations? For more opinions and news, you can stay caught up by following us on Twitter or liking the Button Masher Facebook page.