After playing all three components of Fire Emblem Fates back to back, I'm more than a little weary of the game, but I'm still glad that I had the chance to take in the whole experience. Birthright and Conquest are of course the principal halves of Fire Emblem Fates but in Revelation, available as DLC, the two warring countries of Hoshido and Nohr are forced to band together to confront an even greater threat lurking beneath them. As with the previous iterations of Fates, the first 5 chapters are identical and serve as an introduction to the opposing sides and their motivations, to the fearsome Disney villain King Garon, and the noble samurai warrior of Hoshido, Prince Ryoma. In both Conquest and Birthright, the protagonist is given a choice during chapter 6 on whether to support his or her biological family in Hoshido or to side with the family he or she grew up with. If Revelation is present on the Nintendo 3DS system, a third option is available, which allows the player to choose to decline to side with either faction. If this had been an option initially, I feel pretty certain that's the choice I would instinctively pick!
|King Garon of Nohr|
Still, Revelation serves as context for those who have already played both sides of the conflict and essentially becomes the true storyline of Fire Emblem Fates. The endings for both Birthright and Conquest are bittersweet because it's clear that the choice the player makes directly results in a lot of loss and bloodshed. In Revelation, the protagonist seeks to convince Nohr and Hoshido to work together against a common enemy. Interestingly, this enemy is very seldom alluded to in the main game, although it's clear a lot is uncertain about the motivations of certain characters, particularly Garon and Azura. As a result, both Birthright and Conquest are lacking in closure. Revelation goes a long way toward expanding on this, but I feel conflicted on how the whole package was presented.
|Prince Ryoma of Hoshido|
For a game with such an ambitious and intricate setup for its plot and characterization, Fire Emblem Fates is certainly disappointingly lacking in its writing. Many plot points are depressingly shallow and characters one-note, especially when it comes to villains. The principle villains in Revelation are alarmingly evil with no sympathetic or human qualities whatsoever. I found myself missing the moral conflict of the previous iterations of the game where I was forced to fight against family simply because I'd had to make an impossible choice in an effort to end the war. There is conflict in the early stages of Revelation when the protagonist must convince the warring factions to cooperate but these characters who have been at odds with each other for their entire lives fall into rhythm laughably quickly. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief a bit and praise the Fates protagonist for his or her outstanding mediation skills--to a certain point--but it would have made a lot more sense to put more emphasis on the struggle for these disparate characters to not only get along but to communicate at all without open hostility. The plot of Revelation is as feasible and as simplistic as fanfiction.
|Hoshido and Nohr stand together.|
Because Revelation allows you to field every playable character of Fire Emblem Fates, regardless of faction, there are dozens of new character interactions available in support conversations. I made a point of pairing Hoshido and Nohr characters together if I could because I thought that might lead to some interesting conflict. Of course, since Revelation places so little emphasis on the fact that these countries hated each other for years and years until the Fates protagonist told them to maybe not do that, these interactions are less interesting than I might have imagined. As usual, I was not impressed overall at the writing in these support conversations--but that's not to say that there aren't a few gems scattered around. Several of the quirky/humorous conversations are fun to read, but none of the more serious ones are particularly interesting or have any real depth. It's possible I harp on this kind of thing too much, but it's particularly jarring when so much emphasis is put on these conversations for gameplay purposes. When they're not well written, it does detract from the experience!
|Kaden the Kitsune and Keaton the Wolfskin|