Final Score: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright & Conquest

For those still waiting to choose a side, Shacknews has rounded up its review, along with four of the internet's best reviews for Fire Emblem Fates. But this edition of Final Score has a bit of a twist to it.


Fire Emblem Fates is an aptly named RPG, because its entire theme centers around a fateful decision and deciding on who to side with. Both sides are considered family, but fate means that one must be betrayed. Regardless of which side you choose, Fire Emblem Fates looks to be one of the highlights of Nintendo's long-running RPG strategy series and today, Shacknews is here to round up four more of the internet's best reviews. But this particular edition of Final Round is going to offer a bit of a twist. A few sites have deemed the design of Birthright and Conquest different enough to merit two distinct reviews. So we're going to include reviews for both of those games.

Shacknews 9/10: Fire Emblem Fates exemplifies the best way to approach a sequel. It maintains and iterates on Awakening's best qualities, while also introducing new systems that have a profound impact alongside a richer and more poignant story. It's more than just a worthwhile successor to a recent hit. Taken as a whole, it's the best Fire Emblem to date.

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright

Destructoid 8.5/10: Speaking of alleviating frustration, Birthright is probably the best starting place for newcomers. Not only does it offer unlimited grinding opportunities to beef up your party, but the actual missions mostly consist of easy "rout (kill) the enemy" parameters. The tale is also relatively open and shut, following a traditional storyline from a macro perspective, while keeping the complicated relationships intact. That's not to say it's a waste of time though, as you can still jack up the difficulty and add in permadeath if you want, and you still have to win those battles.

Gamespot 8/10: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright is an absolute delight to play, from the battlefield to the bedroom. If you loved its predecessor Awakening, you'll enjoy the heightened tension and intimacy imbued in every moment of Birthright. Between the strategy, the dating sim elements, the can't-help-but-swoon-over-it melodrama and some truly gorgeous visuals and music, you can overlook things like repetitive maps and cringeworthy-dumb parts of the writing. The series that kicked off the strategy RPG genre still has it, and you'll enjoy getting wrapped up in the conflict.

Game Informer 9.25/10: Birthright is its own epic saga, with at least 25 hours of playtime and a load of sidequests and goodies to discover during the course of its satisfying and moving story about identity, family, and love. It tricked me into falling in love with its cast of characters and then made me weigh their lives against the fate of the world over and over again. Birthright is a grueling, fantastic experience that not only matches the quality of its predecessor but possibly outshines it as well, more than earning its place at the table of must-play strategy/RPGs.

USGamer 4.5/5: When you cross the 25+ chapter finish line, Birthright comes across as more satisfying than Awakening. The difficulty spikes upwards towards the last few chapters, but by that point, you should have a solid understanding of the gameplay systems. Either way, you'll be emotionally tied to nearly every member in your army, which only makes the story resonate even stronger. Is it an amazing plot? No, but you will feel the pain of the sacrifices that have to be made.

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest

Destructoid 9.5/10: Conquest on the other hand is a more enjoyable from my perspective as a strategy veteran. It's much more complex from the start, and offers bigger maps, more interesting objectives (such as point defense or sieges), and a more intriguing plot. You can't grind, so you're encouraged to instead play through the limited amount of sidequests or arena world map battles to fine tune your party makeup. This leads to a larger need for a more tactical approach from just about every facet of the game. It's more thrilling and has a different feel to it, especially if you crave a challenge and blow through other titles in the series.

Gamespot 7/10: On one hand, the constant push forward ensures that Conquest will be challenging. On the other, you can also enable Phoenix or Casual mode to allow fallen comrades a second lease on life. Furthermore, Birthright can be made just as challenging as Conquest by raising the difficulty level and turning on Classic mode. Realizing this, I felt empty-handed by the lack of optional training missions. Conquest is a lesser game than its counterparts, and the omission of scouting missions isn't quite remedied by a slightly greater variety in mission objectives.

Game Informer 9.25/10: It's built on the same great foundation, but Conquest is more than just a harder version of Birthright. It creates a consistently tense journey with few lulls. I spent the majority of Conquest's campaign feeling like hope was some distant dream as I fought tooth-and-nail with limited resources against armies that vastly outnumbered my untrained troops. The campaign is a grueling challenge all the way through, but every time I snatched a win from the jaws of defeat I felt an undeniable surge of satisfaction and pride, one that made my victories that much sweeter. If that sounds fun to you, Conquest is the ideal way to play Fire Emblem Fates. If you want all of the fantastic gameplay with less pressure, don’t feel any shame about sticking to Birthright. You can't go wrong either way.

USGamer 4.5/5: With Conquest, though, it appears that Intelligent Systems hasn't entirely forgotten what originally made Fire Emblem so great. Conquest's challenging maps and inability to grind XP are clearly aimed at the hardcore set, and they are very welcome. Add in new mechanics like the castle and Fire Emblem's traditionally excellent presentation, and the result is another high-quality tactics RPG from Intelligent Systems.

These reviews should hopefully help readers decide which version of Fire Emblem Fates is right for them. However, if the differences between the two versions still are not clear, Shacknews has also posted a helpful guide on the major differences between Birthright, Conquest, and next month's Revelation.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola