Fire Emblem Fates comes in three versions, two of which are purchaseable as standalone games: Birthright and Conquest. This guide will give an overview of the differences between each version, as well as a recommended order if you plan to play all three.
Minor spoilers from the Prologue follow.
Each of the three games are identical for the first five chapters, which serve as the Tutorial and Prologue. As a young prince or princess from the Kingdom of Nohr, your player character discovers he or she was kidnapped as a child and is actually from the rival kingdom of Hoshido. This causes aggressions to boil over, leading to a choice of which side you fight for: your birth family, or your adoptive family. Whichever you choose, you'll spend the rest of the game fighting against the other side.
Never be unsure again. Learn about the different classes and when to promote your units in Fire Emblem Fates.
Birthright is the story if you side with Hoshido. Conquest is the story if you side with Nohr. If you purchased either of the standalone versions, the choice will be made for you when you reach that point in the story. The special edition of Fire Emblem Fates includes all three stories, presenting the choice as a prompt. In the special edition, anytime after completing the prologue you can choose to start a new game from the "Branch of Fate," allowing you to make a different choice.
The three games are meant to be played together, in order to see different sides of the conflict and how the choice impacts all of the characters. After completing Birthright or Conquest, you can purchase the other as downloadable content for $19.99 from the eShop. On March 10, Nintendo will release Revelation as DLC as well, also costing $19.99.
We recommend Birthright, then Conquest, then Revelation. This order provides the best difficulty ramp, as well as delivers the story of Revelation after playing the other two, as the writers intended.
Birthright - Defend Hoshido
- Easier of the two versions
- Optional "Challenge" missions
- More Japanese-style units
- Access to Hoshido royal family
- Special resources like Master Seals more plentiful
Hoshido is the easier of the two games. Enemy units are less aggressive and weaker than they are in Conquest, and missions are usually more straight-forward with objectives like defeating a boss or routing (defeating) all the enemy units. From the overworld map, you have access to Challenge Missions, procedurally generated encounters that give you more opportunities to level up your characters and gain currency. Optional missions also include Paralogue (story) missions and Invasion missions. Special resources like Master Seals are more plentiful.
While the versions offer some of the same allies, Birthright gives you access to the Hoshido royal family and their retainers. In general, this means more units styled after ninja and samurai. Exclusive characters to this version include Ryoma, Takumi, Subaki, Rinkah, Sakura, Saizo, Hinoka, Reina, Scarlet, Orochi, Hana, Setsuna, Kagero, Mozu, Oboro, Hinata, Azama, Hayato, Felicia, and Kaden.
Conquest - Fight with Nohr
- Harder of the two versions
- No "Challenge" missions
- More European-style units
- Access to Nohr royal family
- Special resources like Master Seals more scarce
Conquest is the more difficult of the two games. Enemy units are more aggressive and stronger than they are in Birthright, and missions sometimes offer more complex objectives like escaping an area or talking with enemy commanders to root out a spy. From the overworld map, you have no access to Challenge missions, but you can still access Paralogue (story) and Invasion missions. Special resources like Master Seals are harder to find, making them far more valuable.
While the versions offer some of the same allies, Conquest gives you access to the Nohr royal family and their retainers. In general, this means more units styled after knights and cavaliers. Exclusive characters to this version include Xander, Camilla, Leo, Charlotte, Effie, Odin, Niles, Selena, Beruka, Peri, Gunter, Arthur, Benny, Laslow, Nyx, Kaze, Elise, Felicia, and Keaton.
Revelation - Refuse to choose a side
Revelation pits you against both armies, but also includes units from both armies. It is intended to be played last, after having completed both Birthright and Conquest. There are no known exclusive characters to this version of the game.