So, you’re an Hoshidan Bastard then? Good to know.
The first route I will review is Birthright, which follows Hoshido. Birthright is seen as the ‘white’ version, and Hoshido is seen as the ‘good’ country. In Japan, the game is called 白夜王国 (Byakuya Oukoku) which means White Night Kingdom.
Hoshido is a peace loving country, founded by those loyal to the Dawn Dragon. Unlike Nohr, Hoshido has sunny weather, blue skies and plenty of food. In fact, their food supply is so great, it is mentioned in the game they’d have enough to feed the people of Nohr and Hoshido combined. Crime is rare in Hoshido, and the people are generally quite loving. The royal family is regarded as just and kind, and are therefore loved by their people.
In the game it is revealed that Azura was a princess of Nohr, who was kidnapped to Hoshido in order to trade her back for the Avatar. However, Nohr wasn’t willing to make this trade, and Azura was forced to stay in Hoshido. The plan to kidnap a Nohrian Princess was created by Yukimura, after king Sumeragi went to Cheve to meet the king of Nohr for a truce. Garon, the Nohrian king, however killed Sumeragi and then kidnapped Corrin, who accompanied their father. Because, you know, every proper parent brings their super young child to a meeting with some evil king who might try to kill you. That’s what good folks do. They bring their children to dangerous places with even more dangerous people and risk getting themselves and their children killed. Or as in this case, kidnapped. Well done Sumeragi. Dad of the year.
In Birthright, the Avatar Corrin chooses to side with their birth family, the Hoshidan royal family. From that moment on, Corrin becomes an Hoshidan Bastard and tries to defend Hoshido from invasion by Nohr. During the story, Corrin tries to convince their Nohrian siblings to stop fighting and join the Hoshidans, which of course, they refuse. Eventually, Corrin travels to Nohrian territory in order to defeat Garon, the Nohrian king.
Birthright has a total of 28 Chapters (29 if you count chapter 6 twice due to the route choice), and 14 Paralogue chapters. This is all excluding the Hero Battles, which are linked to the Amiibos and the Xenologue chapters. There are enough chapters to keep you busy and entertained for a while.
Birthright is based on games such as Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones and Fire Emblem: Awakening. As such, it is a lot easier to finish than Conquest because of the eternal grinding opportunities you’re given. This way, the player can try out and train up every single character they want, without having to worry about items, money or exp. In Birthright, you will be able to ‘scout’ for enemies in places you have already visited – meaning, Chapters you have already finished. These skirmishes will give you some exp, and can also help you up your support levels. On top of this, you’re able to gain exp from Castle battles, as well, which is exclusive to Birthright and Revelation.
Gold is also not an issue in Birthright. Not only will you get a lot of gold in the playable chapters, but you will be able to receive a lot of gold from Scouting and fighting enemies in the skirmishes. They often drop a few thousand gold for you to spend. As for items such as promotional items, you will be able to buy those in some of the Castles you visit when using Spotpass. Since Birthright offers infinite amount of gold and exp, you can easily spend that money on new promotional items.
Grinding like this makes the game a whole lot easier to beat. While Hoshido’s route isn’t particularly hard to begin with, grinding makes it even easier. If you’re a new Fire Emblem gamer, or someone who likes to be over powered and beat the game easily, I suggest grinding your butt off and buying tons of skills after some Castle battles.
Personally, I liked the story. As I mentioned in the general review, I don’t agree with the general opinions on Corrin. While a lot of people think they’re bland and stupid – which in some cases they truly are – I can understand the feelings that Corrin has. For example, through the entire story, Corrin tries to stop the war between Nohr and Hoshido, and tries to talk things through with their Nohrian siblings. While a lot of people find this foolish or dumb, because we know they won’t comply, doesn’t actually make it so. Corrin genuinely cares for the Nohrian royals, but does what has to be done in order for Hoshido to win.
The story itself is quite simple: You fight for Hoshido, try to stop Nohr, eventually invade Nohr and kick the boss’ ass. Voilà, peace has been achieved. It’s simple, but it works. Sure, it’s nothing too complicated, but it’s honestly what I would expect from a war between two countries and having to choose a side. The Fire Emblem series doesn’t always have a good story for its games, and the gameplay in Fates makes up for the more ‘lackluster’ story. Either way, the story is still enjoyable.
The characters in the game are likeable but not that special. There’s only a few characters that really stand out to me, but I don’t think there’s many characters that are horribly written or generally just ‘bad’. I personally didn’t like Hana a lot. I thought I would like Takumi a lot more than I actually did, but he’s not too bad. He’s also a great unit, so that definitely helps. Hayato was a clear copy of Ricken from Fire Emblem: Awakening, and it bothered me a little. Sakura ended up growing on me a bit, while Azama was just the worst possible human ever. I do absolutely love Orochi, I think she’s funny.
What I really disliked about the characters in Birthright were the characters that originally came from Awakening. As I mentioned, Hayato is basically Ricken with a ‘new design’. But what bothers me even more are Caeldori, Asugi and Rhajat. Not only are their designs pretty much exactly the same as Cordelia, Gaius and Tharja, their names are honestly not very original either (they are literally anagrams). Even their personalities and backgrounds are the same or similar.
I know these characters were added after a poll that was held in Japan about the favorite Awakening characters, and adding them was a way to please the fans. But I feel this is super lazy. You’re literally inserting the exact same characters under a different name and a different pose in a completely different game, and then pretend they’re different characters. How is that not lazy?
Another thing I personally didn’t like in the design of some characters was that Velouria and Selkie had that one, random, strand of hair that had a different color than the rest. I know that Keaton has two different hair colors, but it looks a lot cleaner than Velouria’s hair. It just looks so random with the child units.
On a random, more positive side note, I loved the design for Yukimura, it’s so classy. I also thought Saizo had a great design (very Greninja) and I liked Takumi’s hair a lot. Ryoma also looks really badass. All hail the Lobster Lord.
The voice acting in Birthright is quite decent in my opinion. I will only talk about those exclusive to Hoshido, or those who grew up in Hoshido (such as Setsuna). I kind of liked all the voices in Birthright and thought they all fit their characters quite well. I especially like the voice for Setsuna, who really got the ‘airhead’ thing right. The only one that I thought was a little weird – but at the same time did sort of fit his personality – was Kaden’s voice. While Kaden is a very playful character, the voice is too immature and playful to me, and therefore it just seemed a little off.
As in all Fire Emblem games, there is an option to have characters support one another. In Fates, these support conversations are triggered by having units fight together (either in Pair Up or by standing next to them). Once they have gathered a certain amount of ‘hearts’, these two characters will be able to support. Not all characters can support with each other, but ever since Awakening, the amount of supports each character is able to have has increased, meaning almost every character is able to marry nearly every other character in the game. This is probably done solely for the fanservice as well as the child units.
The Avatar is able to marry every person of the opposite gender in the game. In Birthright, however, if you’re a female Corrin, you’re able to marry Rhajat if you wish. Fire Emblem: Fates is the first game in the series that allows same-sex marriage, despite only allowing this for the avatar, and only with 2 characters in all games combined (one for Birthright, and one in Conquest).
In order to have two characters marry each other, you need to unlock 4 support conversations. The first support is level C, then B, then A and finally S. Each character can only S support one other character. Personally, I felt a lot of the supports – mainly the S-supports – were very cringe-worthy. Most of the regular support conversations were fine; not too interesting, and hardly revealing of said character’s personality or backstory, but they were entertaining enough to read. I wish they stopped at the A supports, as the S-supports are just horrible. They’re so rushed, and so random and generally just so BAD that it makes you cringe. Most of them were very awkward to read.
One other thing that bothers me with the supports is that you can actually marry your siblings in Birthright. The whole point of the game was that the Hoshidan royals are your blood siblings; your true family. However, for the sake of fanservice, they changed this and it is revealed (rather poorly, in my opinion) that you are not actually blood related. Instead, Queen Mikoto already gave birth to Corrin way before she married King Sumeragi. This basically ruins the base ‘plot’ for Birthright, as the whole point of Birthright was to join your birth family, instead of your adoptive family.
Personally, I married Kaze in my Birthright playthrough. Why? He’s adorable, and what girl doesn’t want a cute as heck ninja? I mean, just look at him. So cute!
Something that surprised me when playing Birthright was that one of your units can actually die half way through the story, and just disappear completely from your game. Kaze, my precious, can die in the story if you don’t have at least an A support with him by chapter 15. I don’t recall a single FE game where one of your playable units can die and then never returns. We all know Ninian dies in the story in Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword, but she is brought back to life by Bramimond. Kaze simply doesn’t return.
Speaking of deaths in this game, I’m shocked by some of the deaths we get to see. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re bad at all, but it simply surprised me that you get to see suicides etc. I did not expect those in this game. Flora actually kills herself near the end of the story, and the player actually watches her set herself on fire. I haven’t played all the Fire Emblem games in the series, but I have played 8 of them, and never have I seen a single character kill themselves. Deaths like Lilith’s and Elise’s were to be expected, though I have to admit that I wasn’t ready for all of them. Despite having been spoilered on Elise’s death, I took it hard. She’s such a cinnamon roll.
I also have to admit that I thought it was much harder for me to fight against the Nohrian siblings when playing Birthright than it was to fight the Hoshidan royalty when I played Conquest. It pretty much broke me when Elise and Xander died, and while I felt bad for Takumi and Ryoma, it wasn’t to the point of tears.
Since Hoshido is based on Japan, they have Japan-based classes too. I personally loved the Japanese/Hoshidan styled classes. We’re all used to European classes, as the previous games have been based on Medieval Europe, but this is a nice change. It took some getting used to for me, but I really enjoyed all the classes. I especially like the Ninja class a lot, they’re pretty interesting and look very cool. I also like the Samurai class, as they’re basically Myrmidons, and I thought the spearfighters were nice. I loved Nephenee in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, as well as Amelia in Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones, so this fighting class was a treat for me.
I also really like that Kaze and Saizo have become the new red and green ‘knights’ that we’re used to. In older games there were Cain and Abel, Sain and Kent, Kyle and Forde, Kieran and Oscar and so on. While not actually of the Knight class, and also very different from every personality I’ve seen for these archtypes, Kaze and Saizo do fit the style. Kaze is extremely fast and has super high resistance, while Saizo is physically stronger. This comes back to the previous red-green knights, whom all had similar stat differences.
Overall, I really enjoyed Birthright. The story was okay, the characters were nice, and the gameplay is fantastic. I love the Japan-based classes, as well as the artwork. the cutscenes were amazing and beautiful, as well as emotional in some scenes. The voice acting was quite nice as well, and I really enjoyed playing this game.
I highly recommend playing Birthright before Conquest if you’re new to the series, and I think long-time fans will also enjoy this game. It might not be up to the standards of some of the veteran FE gamers, but it’s certainly enjoyable and worth the try.
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