Choose your fate: Will you stay with family, or forge your own path?

Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest sees you defending the family who raised you against the family who birthed you.


Photo courtesy of BagoGames Flickr page.

Rafael Baez, Assistant Copy Desk Chief

Screw permadeath. Seriously.

Conquest is the tougher route in “Fire Emblem Fates,” to the point that the game actually warns you before choosing the path. To me, that meant that Conquest was more like the Fire Emblem games of old — tougher enemy units, less gold and fewer — if any — opportunities to farm XP.

“Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest” is all of that.

It’s also a manifestation of pure, unadulterated evil. Seriously, screw permadeath.

Without getting into spoiler territory, Conquest is one of three paths to take in “Fire Emblem Fates,” the most recent “Fire Emblem” title on the 3DS. It’s the story of Corrin, a prince, or princess, of the Kingdom of Nohr.

Your kingdom has had hostile relations with the kingdom of Hoshido for years, and it all comes to a head when Corrin’s father, King Garon, sends him to the Nohrian/Hoshidan border.

A confrontation ensues, and Corrin is captured and taken to Hoshido.

Once there, Corrin learns that he’s actually Hoshidan — his father was murdered when he was young, and Corrin was taken by his father’s killer. After this revelation, Corrin is forced to make a choice: Does he side with his birth family, or the family that’s raised him for years?

The choice you make determines the path the game will take: Conquest — choose Nohr — Birthright — choose Hoshido — and Revelation, a neutral path that’s only available as a digital download.

I chose Conquest because I wanted my first playthrough to be as realistic as possible, and honestly, I don’t think anyone would choose their birth family after only spending a few days in their company over the family that, regardless of the reason why, has raised and loved you for years. 

I also gave my character red hair because his two biological sisters are red-haired, and I wanted him to have a visible connection to his Hoshidan siblings.

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I also changed his name to Zhayne; I wasn’t a fan of Corrin.

Conquest brings a lot of changes to the “Fire Emblem”  formula. Class names have changed, and some classes, like the kitsune, are exclusive to Birthright.

In Conquest, you get Keaton instead of Kaden, the kitsune, who can turn into a fox. Keaton’s actually my favorite character so far: He’s a wolfskin with a fondness for bugs and broken plates.

Like the kitsune class in Birthright, Keaton can transform into an animal — a wolf — through the use of a beaststone. There’s a new class too: the maid/butler.

You ultimately get both of them, but the unit you receive first is tied to the gender of your Corrin. In my playthrough, I got Felicia: She’s a healer who can also use daggers.

With the exception of staves and other healing/stat-changing items, weapons no longer have a limited number of uses, so they never break.

But the biggest change is the “My Castle” feature.

Your castle serves as the gathering place for all your units. You can build shops that sell weapons, tonics and food, and all your buildings are upgradeable.

You can build a prison —  and if one of your units is an outlaw class, he can capture enemy units. Once they’re in prison, you can either bribe or persuade them to join your side.

Other players can visit your castle and leave feedback, or they can try to invade, forcing you to defend.

A word of warning: If you’re playing on Classic, you will lose your units if they die during an invasion, even though it’s not a story-related mission.

Another change is your choice in difficulty settings: You have your pick of normal, hard or lunatic. After picking one of these, you get to pick your playmode.

Classic forces you to permanently lose any units that die in battle. Casual allows the units to return to you at the beginning of the next chapter.

There’s a new choice this time around: Phoenix, which allows your fallen units to respawn on the map at the beginning of your next turn.

I started out in normal classic. I made it through 11 chapters on that setting, lost over half my units in one round, reset and switched to normal phoenix.

Permadeath isn’t fun anymore.

That said, I like Conquest a lot. Where Birthright’s Hoshido is very Asian, influenced heavily by Japan’s samurai culture, Conquest is more European, and I prefer the darker color scheme.

My only complaint is that if I want the full “Fire Emblem Fates” experience, I’d have to buy it in three parts.

Conquest and Birthright are both $39.99 if you buy them both as cartridges. If you buy either game as a digital add-on, it’s $19.99; Revelation is also $19.99.  

Rafael Baez is an assistant copy desk chief with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @rafbaez563.