Game Review | Fire Emblem Engage Isn’t All That Engaging

In its latest release, Engage, the Fire Emblem franchise takes a step towards catering to a more mobile gaming audience, but the transition comes with mixed results. While the game boasts beautiful cutscenes and improved combat mechanics, it falls short in delivering the immersive storytelling and character development that fans have come to love.

One of the noticeable shifts is in how characters communicate with each other. Instead of the vibrant and organic interactions seen in previous titles, Engage opts for brief and disjointed dialogues. These conversations feel designed for social media sharing rather than building a captivating narrative. As a result, players may find themselves skipping through the dialogue, leading to a sense of detachment from the game’s world and characters.

The decision to streamline the experience for casual mobile gamers is understandable, but it doesn’t align well with console gaming expectations. The game’s shallow world-building and characters leave players feeling unattached and unsatisfied. Even the main protagonist, Alear, lacks the depth needed to create a meaningful connection with players.

One area where Engage excels is its combat system, which offers a balanced and satisfying experience. The removal of weapon weaknesses and the addition of Emblem rings provide customizable character options without resorting to controversial mechanics like child marriage. However, the limited deployment slots per map force players to prioritize certain characters, leaving others neglected.


The minigames, reminiscent of the Persona series, add variety and freedom to the gameplay. While the social aspects are more casual compared to previous Fire Emblem titles, the lack of consequences for social progression diminishes the sense of urgency and personal connections.

Furthermore, the game’s attempt at redeeming its villains proves to be a clumsy misstep. The rushed heel-face turns of the antagonists lack the emotional depth needed to make them believable or compelling. Poor writing undermines any sense of gravitas, leaving players feeling unsatisfied with the narrative resolution.

Despite these shortcomings, Engage still offers some redeeming qualities. The combat system, in particular, shines as the most balanced and strategic among modern Fire Emblem games. The simplified weapons triangle and tactical complexity add depth to battles, making engagements deep and satisfying for players.

Moreover, the game’s Persona-esque minigames provide a plethora of optional activities, allowing players to train characters and spend leisure time without the constraints seen in previous installments. While the social progression feels more casual, it offers a more relaxed approach to building relationships with characters.

However, the overall lack of focus on character development and cohesive storytelling leaves players feeling disconnected from the game’s world. Fire Emblem fans have come to expect intricate plots and well-rounded characters, and Engage falls short in delivering that experience.

In conclusion, while Engage attempts to cater to a broader audience by streamlining gameplay and offering accessible features, it struggles to maintain the essence of a classic Fire Emblem title. The mobile-fication of the game compromises its narrative depth and character arcs, leaving long-time fans longing for a more immersive experience. As the gaming industry continues to evolve, striking a balance between appealing to new players and satisfying the expectations of dedicated fans remains a challenge for developers. Nippon Ichi Software must carefully assess the impact of these changes to ensure the Fire Emblem franchise continues to thrive in the ever-changing landscape of gaming.

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