As I mentioned in my last blog post, I was super excited for this release. I’ve spent 4 days on Conquest so far, and this entry is seriously challenging! Here are some tips I’ve discovered so far along the way for new and old Fire Emblem players alike.

Conquest is no joke

As someone who logged 4 60+ hour games in Awakening on multiple difficulties and played through a few other Fire Emblem games, I figured I would dive into this one on Hard Classic mode and then adjust down if needed. Well, without the option to do alternate maps for exp and gold, Conquest is very reminiscent of the first 4 levels in Awakening on Lunatic difficulty, where exp decisions made in previous battles will affect you 2-3 levels down the road. As a result, for my first playthrough I have turned off permadeath for my sanity, and it’s still challenging to get through levels. No shame.

Utilize map terrain

A lot of the maps will have 2-3 choke points you can take advantage of with defensive units, so if you want to take that route build up 2-3 defensive units to station at these spots. You can then use your flyers to jump in and get kills (when safe) on your turns or place archers/mages behind the character walls to take a safe offense. I think Fates has done a really awesome job of creative map design so far.

Don’t forget macro play

I find I get focused on micro play, which is forming pairings and responding to immediate battles as necessary. However, after resetting a few battles I found that it’s much more important to focus on a more macro scale. When I say build up 2-3 defensive units, think about sorting your army into 2-5 character groups that buff each other well rather than just focusing on pairs. Also start thinking about the move beyond the immediate one–will those encroaching units kill yours in the next-next turn? Might be better to take a tactical retreat to heal and reorganize instead of going offense this turn, then.

Reset when you have to

Even now that I have permadeath off, sometimes there’s a new wave of enemies I wasn’t expecting and it ruins the game I had. Or sometimes that 1% enemy critical strike actually activates. Never trust 98% accuracy. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

So far I have played every level at least twice–once to see if I get special units in a chapter and if there are secret waves of enemies, and then I will plan out my battle properly in the second run. Sometimes I still reset and do a third run if I feel like I scraped through a battle with poor decision-making.

Also, if you’re finding that you’re having trouble with a battle, it’s worth resetting to buy some consumable items to use.

Use the online system

Visiting other castles to buy items and receive gifts is seriously a game-changer. I didn’t start taking advantage of it until yesterday and it has helped a lot. You can buy items from the other faction so take advantage of those ranged items from Hoshido or more aggressive/defensive weapons from Nohr.

Initial opinions on the game

I’m hesitant to jump the gun and start marrying off my characters, but I think that it may be one of the better buffs early game since there aren’t a ton of Seals lying around for your units. So far I think the story is grander than Awakening (Nintendo responded to critics) but the characters lack the same amount of dimension that made that game so great. It’s certainly a good game, but I will hold off on a real comparison until I get through it.