From one-dimensional characters to an unfair difficulty spike, or gameplay changes from Three Houses, fans are finding plenty to complain about in Fire Emblem Engage.
Here’s a breakdown of the biggest issues and fan complaints regarding Fire Emblem Engage, the latest title in the critically-acclaimed tactical JRPG franchise:
A popular complaint about Fire Emblem Engage is that it has ‘one-dimensional characters’. We’re not so sure that’s entirely true, but there are some contributing factors that make it sometimes feel that way.
First of all, Support conversations seem a lot shorter in Engage than they have been in the past. And that, paired with the fact that so many of them revolve around enjoying drinking tea, doesn’t allow for more room for growth.
Support between units is also harder to increase than in previous titles, leading to players unlocking fewer Support cutscenes. Therefore the character development that occurs later down the line is easy to miss.
Units only gain Support in battle now when they’re attacking directly adjacent to one another. They also no longer develop bonds on the enemy’s turn, a feature that has strangely been removed.
Thankfully, some of the later characters you can recruit in Fire Emblem Engage are a lot more interesting than the early-game units.
When Fire Emblem Engage’s critical reviews dropped, many reviewers mentioned the title’s significant increase in difficulty.
Fans of the franchise are used to hardcore tactical gameplay – after all, Fire Emblem’s Classic mode has permadeath, meaning units don’t come back after being lost in battle.
But Engage increases the difficulty in ways that aren’t always fun to experience. XP gains appear to have been nerfed across the board, and support units have it hardest.
You can try and raise your weaker units in the Arena training, but they’ll get lower XP gains if they lose the sparring – and you can’t choose the opponent they go up against!
When you’re trying to train Jean and he’s going up against Marth, the young boy will be lucky to get in so much as a hit.
On top of that, Fire Emblem Engage’s Skirmishes offer great battle experience but they’re not ideal for training units. Oftentimes Skirmishes will be far harder than standard story encounters so taking in weaker characters could get your better units killed alongside them.
Poor Design Choices
Design choices seem to be a coinflip in Fire Emblem Engage as to whether or not a feature will be better or worse than it was in Three Houses.
Of course, the game was made by a completely different development team to its predecessor, and both titles were being developed at the same time, so the setbacks are understandable.
Here are a few things that fans feel have been poorly designed in Fire Emblem Engage:
- Emblem Bond Training is in the Arena, separate from the Ring Chamber where the rest of the Emblem Ring options can be found. And both the Arena AND Ring Chamber require players to sit through loading screens to enter.
- Petting and feeding Sommie is agonizingly slow but needs to be done after each battle for maximum affection.
- Class Change & Skills are found under Inventory on the menu, Support and Bonds are under Reference. These feel like they’d benefit from their own sections.
- Some S-Rank Support options are romantic, others aren’t. There’s no way to know which are which without checking our Fire Emblem Engage Romance guide.
- In combat, the Engage option is top of the list for a unit, replacing Attack. This can lead to having to sit through a transformation cutscene by accident when going to attack another unit (though thankfully it can be undone).
- Camera cannot swivel 360 degrees in battle, and the map can’t be previewed before combat other than in the Swap Units section.
While Fire Emblem Engage does offer a few nice customization options that steadily increase throughout the game, there are a few issues with changing your characters’ appearances.
Firstly, female Alear is almost entirely restricted to dresses this time around. And no matter what outfit you dress up your characters in, they’ll be back in their basic wear for Support cutscenes.
More disappointingly, however, is the fact that a lot of Engage’s best customization options are locked behind amiibo purchases.
Day One DLC
Although this doesn’t affect the game itself, it bothers us that Fire Emblem Engage released with Day One DLC already available.
It’s one thing for Engage to lock popular upcoming characters behind a DLC paywall, and another thing entirely to make those purchases available on release day.
As it stands, we already have 4 characters that are unplayable without opening our wallets – and the game has only just launched!
On top of that, Engage’s DLC promises 4 waves of content but it’s really just 3, including the one that’s already available. It’s unlikely that anyone is excited for new Support Items and Accessories coming in Wave 2.
How far do you agree with our list of Fire Emblem Engage’s biggest issues? Is there anything we’ve missed? Leave us a comment and let us know!