Fire Emblem Engage Review – A Brilliant Celebration

    A bold and bright entry in the storied series.

    The Fire Emblem series has never been in a better position than it is now. Just around four years ago, we saw Fire Emblem Three Houses storm onto the Nintendo Switch, which was met with love from critics and fans alike. This led to a Fire Emblem Warriors title, Three Hopes, that took place in the same world as Three Houses. With so much popularity behind it, how would Intelligent Systems and Nintendo follow it up?

    This answer is Fire Emblem Engage, the latest title in the long-running Fire Emblem series. Engage is a bold follow-up to Three Houses, as it largely is different in structure, characterization, and more. The heart and soul of Engage is its combat system, with a large number of additions and refinements this time around. Heroes from series past all return for a grand celebration of Fire Emblem, which takes us to the story of Engage

    A Story for the Ages

    Fire Emblem Engage dazzled me from start to finish and kept me extremely engaged in its expansive story. You play as Alear, the Divine Dragon, who has just awoken from a 1,000-year slumber. You’re not the only one who has woken up, however, as the Fell Dragon has also been awakened and looks to wreak havoc across Elyos, the continent Engage takes place on. To stop the Fell Dragon, you must seek the twelve Emblem Rings, which are rings containing heroes from past Fire Emblem titles. Their power will allow you to stop the Fell Dragon and free Elyos of his terror.

    Fire Emblem Engage story trailer

    It’s a classic tale of heroes clashing against an ancient evil, but it’s fresh and has plenty of twists to keep you on the edge of your seat. I won’t dive into the story as it is something you’ll need to experience for yourself, but I do want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. The game phenomenally paces itself, with story bits being delivered before and after battles through both beautifully animated cutscenes and character dialogue. The story and premise of Fire Emblem Engage are somewhat simple, yet executed extremely well. It fits right into the grand series of Fire Emblem, but those on the outside might walk away a little disappointed.

    Something I’ve seen divide fans is the fact that while Engage offers a serious toned story, it doesn’t take itself seriously like that with some character interactions. I enjoyed this aspect of the game, as I felt it broadened my love of the characters and assisted me in working to raise each one’s support levels. In the current games industry, too many games take themselves way too seriously. It was nice to play through a title that keeps things fun and has plenty of characters for you to engage with. Engage is just simply best described as pure fun, and I think most people who pick up the title will enjoy the story.

    I loved the approach Intelligent Systems decided to go with by having one singular story route for the game. This allowed for the experience to be consumed in one go, which honestly drove my attention up throughout the game. I was easily immersed into the world of Elyos, as I felt it was very well written and described throughout the story route. These feats would not have been possible, however, without the characters.

    Dozens of Characters to Meet

    Goldmary Final Fire Emblem Engage

    Intelligent Systems was very clever in intertwining each of the four nations that lie in Elyos. You traverse throughout each continent and along the way you unite with the crown prince and princesses of each nation. Each of these characters is extremely involved in the story and they easily have the most depth out of all of your party members. Of course, plenty of non-royalty characters join the fray as well. I cannot express enough how massive this game is with its dozens of characters available to play as. It honestly can be kind of overwhelming in your playthrough, especially when choosing who you’d like to bond with.

    One of the biggest problems I had with Engage is how characters are treated in the story after joining your party. Besides the royalty characters, you don’t see any of the others making an impact on the story at all. Unfortunately, they really only appear right before you recruit them and that’s about it. Sure, you can experience more development with these characters by building their support levels, but I personally would have liked to see more direct involvement in the story from quite a few of them.

    This sort of makes things shallow when it comes to certain characters’ development, which is something that wasn’t the case in Three Houses. While I would have liked to see more collective character bonding (especially non-royalty characters), I came away from Engage satisfied and extremely happy with the cast overall. The standout characters I ended up spending most of my time raising support with were Ivy, Goldmary, Yunaka, Diamant, and Fogado to name a few. 

    Fire Emblem Engage Ivy

    Additionally, I cannot stress enough how amazing it was to have the main protagonist, Alear, be fully voiced. This made a world of a difference, especially when looking back on the last protagonist, Byleth. Alear develops a personality and character quickly, which is nice to watch grow throughout the game. There is a lot of great development that occurs with Alear and the other characters, especially as the story progresses.

    I think this is an extremely fun cast that really helped to keep me interested in Elyos while also naturally progressing the narrative. The support conversations were all enjoyable to watch, especially with some of the standout characters with huge personalities. The main cast isn’t all the characters though, as heroes from the series’ past have returned once more in Engage.

    Celebrating the Series

    One of the greatest things about Fire Emblem Engage is the fact that the game basically acts as a celebration of the entire series. Legendary heroes who starred as main characters in prior titles have returned as Emblems, powerful beings who can accompany you in battle. These Emblems are inside each of the twelve rings, which you are tasked with collecting to stop the power of the Fell Dragon. 

    Fire Emblem Engage Micaiah

    You’re met with Marth at the very beginning of the game, voiced by the fantastic Yuri Lowenthal. As you progress through the different kingdoms of Elyos, you will collect more rings, which in turn unlock brand-new Emblems. Fan-favorite characters like Micaiah, Lyn, and Ike return as Emblems, offering their strength to the characters of Engage. The game is very focused on the Emblems, which truly makes it feel like a massive celebration of the Fire Emblem series as a whole.

    The celebration does not stop there, however, with the Paralogues hosting returning maps from previous Fire Emblem titles. The neat thing about this is that it ties in with what Emblem‘s Paralogue you are playing through. For example, if you play through Corrin’s Paralogue, you will play on a map from Fire Emblem Fates. This touch was amazing, with some of the maps I remember playing being present in Engage. These Emblem Paralogue missions also allow for more exploration of the Emblems as characters, with new dialogue and conversations occurring before and after battles.

    Gameplay is King (Fire Emblem Engage Review)

    Now, it’s finally time to dive into the heart and soul of Engage – the combat system. For those unfamiliar with the signature gameplay found in Fire Emblem, you’re looking at an incredibly deep Tactical RPG. The game is turn-based, giving you a player phase, ally phase, and enemy phase. You individually move your party members across the maps, which are laid out as a grid. Some characters can travel further than others, such as the ones riding horses or using flying mounts. 

    Fire Emblem Engage Gameplay Alear Divine Dragon Sword

    It’s a game of strategy, where every decision matters and you need to account for all enemies across the battlefield. Engage reintroduces a core series mechanic, the weapon triangle. This made lots of battles extremely strategic, especially when considering the new mechanic, Break. An enemy can be inflicted with Break if they are attacked with the correct weapon according to the weapon triangle. When affected, the enemy is unable to counterattack until the next turn. This makes for a great way to eliminate enemies quickly on the battlefield, especially if neighboring party members are nearby.

    The true main feature of the game is Emblems. As aforementioned, these are the heroes that you are able to gain through the power of the twelve rings. Throughout the narrative, you will unlock the rings naturally. You’re able to equip them on any of your characters, giving them the ability to engage and harness the power of the Emblems. You gain each Emblem’s skills and abilities, such as the ability to shoot enemies far across the map with Emblem Lyn. Combining with an Emblem also fuses the character designs of the Emblem and party member, which is a neat touch that looks like a power-up just as much as it feels like one.

    Lyn Ivy Menu Fire Emblem Engage

    After ranking up with Emblems, you can inherit their skills and then utilize them with a new Emblem. You’ll need to be at Level 5 bond first, but afterward, you can utilize SP to purchase skills to inherit. Mixing and matching skills from different Emblems can assist you in getting powerful. For example, you can inherit Speed +5 from Lyn, which will directly apply to the character you purchase the skill with. 

    You can get ridiculously powerful extremely quickly. I had a blast customizing different Emblems, skills, and weapons on each of my characters to demolish enemies on the battlefield. Upgrading weapons is a breeze, which you can do by utilizing the blacksmith. Combine this with the Emblem features and Engage serves a deep combat system that you can spend hours changing things up in.

    Engage cranks the difficulty up from the prior entry. I loved this change as it had me strategizing much more during each battle. Every decision mattered as I did not want to lose a troop or two to some measly enemy soldier. To counter the harder nature of the game, Intelligent Systems allows you to utilize the Draconic Time Crystal. This allows you to rewind battles to avoid an outcome if it was not what you had hoped for.

    Fire Emblem Engage Emblem

    Side note regarding the combat – the music is incredible. Each of the battlefields have unique renditions of the battle theme, which are all just a joy to listen to as you battle enemies. My favorite theme has to be either the Brodia or Solm battle themes. Those renditions are incredible and you just need to listen to the for yourself. Additionally, the themes for each of the Emblem’s Paralogues are all such a nice and refreshing blast from the past.

    Out of all the Fire Emblem titles I have played, I found Engage to offer the most enjoyable gameplay loop. It has so much depth and allows you to get really creative, which is an area I previously felt a little constrained in with previous titles. Coupled with the celebratory elements in the game, I believe Engage is the perfect title for new players to try out. It serves as a great entry point with phenomenal gameplay, while not diving too deep into some of the thematical elements the series is known for. Additionally, it offers a fantastic hub world of sorts, which acts as your base of operations.

    The Somniel

    As outlined above, the Somniel acts as the hub world between battles for Fire Emblem Engage. Here, you’ll be able to choose different outfits to wear, interact with characters, work out, manage a farm, and so much more. I really liked this area as it was pretty open but not too big. It’s easily traversable and by the end of the first few chapters, you will practically have the area memorized.

    Alear Somniel Workout Fire Emblem Engage
    Get your workouts in with Sommie.

    You’ll also be partaking in all of your bond/support conversations here, whether it be over a meal or just Alear and a character of your choosing. You can enter the cafe and use some of the ingredients you collect to craft dishes for increased support. I tended to choose the characters I wanted high support with and had meals with them between each battle.

    Additionally, you also have a pet at the Somniel. Its name is Sommie by default, but you are free to name it whatever your heart desires. If you feed it each time you visit the Somniel, you will drive its happiness up, and as a result, you will be rewarded with Bond Fragments. These are able to be used in the Ring Chamber by the cafe, but I’ll let you explore that for yourself as it’s pretty neat.

    Fogado Fire Emblem Engage Support Conversation

    Overall, there is a surprising amount of things to do in the Somniel, which can make for a great unwind after some of the tougher battles. After each battle, you will be able to find all sorts of items throughout the Somniel on the ground, so I would advise making sure you pick up anything that has a yellow shining icon over it. The Somniel itself is where the Divine Dragon, Alear, slept for 1000 years. It floats high in the sky above the clouds, which makes for a fantastic view especially considering how vibrant Engage is.

    Vivaciously Vibrant

    Visually, Engage serves as one of the Nintendo Switch’s best-looking titles to date. Back at the title’s reveal, there was a surprising amount of talk surrounding the art style of Engage. After playing through the title, I can firmly say that this is the best Fire Emblem has looked to date. The entire world of Elyos and each of the 30+ characters are incredibly expressive, with an astounding amount of detail on each of their models. 

    This is especially apparent in emotional scenes, where I truly felt the anger or sadness coming from the characters’ expressions in a way I haven’t in previous Fire Emblem titles. Each of the support conversations between characters or any of the numerous cutscenes contained in the game has an exquisite level of polish. 

    Fire Emblem Engage Alear Time to Beat Length

    One aspect of the game I really loved was how vibrant and colorful it was. All of the color pallets used in the game are very bright, which helps sell the tone both the story and characters convey. Each of the character designs is striking with vibrancy throughout, which also shines through each of their voice actors.

    The characters and world of Elyos are sharp and incredibly detailed, with exceptional performance in either handheld or docked mode. Those familiar with Three Houses would agree that the title had its rough edges on Switch. Even during the game’s cutscenes, it felt as if the Switch struggled to keep a high resolution in some instances.

    I spent a large majority of my time for this review in Fire Emblem Engage utilizing handheld mode on my OLED Switch. This game is gorgeous, with vibrant colors being brought out thanks to the display. I felt that the performance was exceptional, as I never ran into any major frame dips or resolution decreases. The ability to have such an amazing strategy RPG run as well as this does on handheld mode is such a treat, and I enjoyed my time with the game utilizing it on the go.

    Ivy and Diamant in Fire Emblem Engage

    Of course, I played around a dozen hours of the game docked on my TV as well. Again, this game looks fantastic and it is a joy to experience regardless of which way you play. It’s nice to have options, and luckily, Engage does not offer an unbearable handheld mode. I clocked in just around 40 hours for the title, and I do plan to dive back in and play through the DLC as it drops

    Another Incredible Title to the Switch Library

    It seems like every year Nintendo has blessed us with a terrific JRPG, and already 2023 is no exception. Fire Emblem Engage is a must-play title on Nintendo Switch, with the game being one of the console’s best RPG offerings. If you’ve never played a Tactics RPG, I highly recommend giving Engage a go as your first. I had a phenomenal time playing through Fire Emblem Engage for this review, and I think anyone who tries the game out will as well. 

    Engage is a celebration of an incredibly storied series that has an incredibly bright future. Regardless if you’ve been here from the beginning or just starting now with Engage, you will have an excellent experience with a title that celebrates the series as a whole. Engage is a celebration of past memories that isn’t afraid to hold a newcomer’s hand to introduce them to the series. It’s an incredibly fun time that I cannot recommend enough, especially if you’re on the fence about buying the title. Fire Emblem has never been in a better place, and I am ecstatic to see where this series goes next.

    Disclaimer: Nintendo provided Final Weapon with a copy of Fire Emblem Engage for review purposes.


    Fire Emblem Engage is a fantastic entry in the long-running strategy RPG series, offering a fun and enjoyable story with some of the best gameplay the series has to offer. New and old fans alike have a spectacular title in front of them that will be fondly looked upon for years to come. Engage is a celebration of the past and the worlds we’ve seen, while also celebrating the strong future this franchise holds.
    Noah Hunter
    Noah Hunter
    Noah is Final Weapon’s Editor-in-Chief. He co-founded the website in June 2019 and has been writing for it ever since. In total, he has over five years of writing experience across many publications, including IGN Entertainment. His favorite series include Xeno and Final Fantasy.

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    Fire Emblem Engage is a fantastic entry in the long-running strategy RPG series, offering a fun and enjoyable story with some of the best gameplay the series has to offer. New and old fans alike have a spectacular title in front of them that will be fondly looked upon for years to come. Engage is a celebration of the past and the worlds we’ve seen, while also celebrating the strong future this franchise holds. Fire Emblem Engage Review - A Brilliant Celebration