Improving each day
Fire Emblem Heroes is an interesting game that, in short, I would highly recommend provided you’ve played at least three other Fire Emblem games. It started out as a somewhat hallow experience that is expected of mobile games, with only nine chapters to clear each of which were divided into parts and ultimately totaled the size of nine standard Fire Emblem chapters (that’s about the size of the tutorial in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade for reference) and having only characters from a handful of games, but over the past year has grown into a very respectable game with a story mode that is about the size of New Mystery of the Emblem as of writing, with multiple gameplay modes and regular updates and events which add an ever growing amount of content to the game; finally having representation of every game in the series with the recent addition of Leif.
To address the elephant in the room; the game functions on a gacha system for recruiting most characters. This means, in short, that you are essentially pulling from a slot machine to try and get most characters. You spend Orbs to summon the majority of characters on summoning focuses, and orbs can be purchased with real money (I would like to place emphasis on “can”).
However, many reviewers here seem to be glossing over some key facts; Fire Emblem Heroes more often than not will give you daily orbs for the simple fact you booted up the game each day. If that isn’t enough, each chapter you complete gives you a set number of orbs for clearing them the first time on a given difficulty, and more orbs can be extracted by clearing the chapter on higher difficulties. The game also has “quests” to do on the home menu, the vast majority of which are either extremely simple to do or which are available to do for an entire year, which give you orbs and other supplies to further grow your army. Finally, you can also get even more orbs by participating in events, which are frequent enough to be near constant, or by participating in the Arena modes once you get at least 4 “decent” units. If you do not spend a dime, there is still no shortage of orbs to use for summoning-provided you show some patience and keep to it.
Beyond that, there is no shortage of units you can get through alternative means that do not involve orbs. Firstly, you start the game with Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna; they start as weak units- however the game expects you to use “unlock potential” on them from the Units menu; you have to put effort into them, but once you have brought Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna to a five star level, they are decent units and will be able to pull you through at least a large portion of the game, albeit probably not against the strongest of other players in the Arena. Training Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna to their full five star potential is one of the first things the game expects you to strive towards doing.
If that still is not enough, you get two additional free units by playing through the story mode; Fjorm, by clearing Book I and moving on to Book II, and Legendary Ike, who is obtained by clearing the paralogue chapters of the game. Both of these units come already at five stars; they are also both extremely powerful units which even the most adamant “whales” are known to utilize on occasion.
Finally, there are Hero Battles and Grand Hero Battles; Grand Hero Battles, in particular, give very highly prized units with great power behind them- they also are units which cannot be summoned at all, and are exclusively obtainable through the Grand Hero Battles. These battles involve a short confrontation with another unit, who you will then recruit into your army after the battle at different star ranks depending on which difficulty you fought them on. Formidable units such as Camus, Michalis, the female version of Robin, and Xander are all exclusive to Grand Hero Battles, and the lower difficulties are reasonably accessible to newer players once they have obtained the above characters from the story mode.
All of that said, summoning is still your primary method to obtain the large majority of heroes, but as mentioned previously there is no shortage of orbs even if you choose not to spend a dime. With that said, I would strongly caution that you should show restraint if you decide to purchase orbs. To that end, I would limit yourself to purchasing only the new Orb bundles: monthly one-time deals which include both orbs and additional items as a bit of a safety net- if you get a bad summoning session, hey, at least you got some other items out of the purchase that you can still make good use of, and your purchase is still justified to some extent. However, I again strongly caution limiting yourself to these bundle packs for that reason; they are monthly one-time deals, so it is extremely budget friendly should you decide to limit your purchasing to once a month, but splurging beyond that is somewhat ill-advised.
This is not to say that with all of the above considered that the game does not have it’s problems; the biggest problem is that the game is not afraid of spoiling the most shocking plot twists of the Fire Emblem series. Ninian’s true identity and the central plot twist of The Blazing Blade is made into a gameplay mechanic, the Black Knight’s closely guarded identity is revealed with little to no fanfare, Takumi’s fall to darkness near the climax of Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is used to make a special version of him, and much more. This makes it a bit hard to suggest for newcomers. I would instead suggest starting with Shadow Dragon, then Echoes, and New Mystery.
Additionally, vital gameplay features are locked until you clear Book I; this isn’t exactly “bad”, because you should clear Book I and the paralogues before moving on to Book II, but it is still something to keep in mind should you start the game.
Lastly, though the game is respectable enough to recommend now, it still has a few rough edges that should be ironed out in the coming updates.
On Fire, Emblem Heroes
By Julien Reviews
Almost no one, I included, takes time to actually review a mobile app. Touch don’t ask me again and continue playing but I love this game so much I reviewed it without being asked to. The gameplay is great with a addictive gatcha experience. You will not mind working towards in game currency, which is plentiful. I know, download a game, play for a week, claim your daily rewards, drop the game, allow the game to rest in the back of your game folder. A few months in and I’m still waking up at 5:00 to analyze the additions to the game, these are constantly updated. This game is special, a 110%. You do not need any prior franchise understanding but you will want it after you download this game. My thoughts about this game are overflowing, I must stop now before I write a novel. Join the niche community of Fire Emblem Heroes, you won’t regret it.