Fire Emblem: Heroes
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars on iTunes
Platform: iOS and Android
Differences from the series-
You will find the Heroes is a simplified edition of the Fire Emblem series. Here are some of the areas where you will notice the difference:
You have unlock your characters latent skills and weapons by acquiring SP points.
You can not swap weapons and equipment between characters. Each character has to earn their weapon enhancement by following a skill tree with their XP.
You do not have to worry about weapons breaking.
You do not have the option of sending unit into battle with no weapons, so you can forget using high defense characters as walls for building up the XP of weaker ranged units.
You do not need to worry about weapons breaking, so once your character unlocks great equipment you can use it as much as you like, no more saving those “Brave~” weapons for special challenges.
The “Brave~” weapons only double your attack if you are on the offensive. If you are being attacked they are the weakest weapons, less likely to pierce defenses than even the “Iron~” weapons.
This game does not support the support mechanic. In other games you could build a relationship between compatible characters by which you unlock dialog and and stat boosts.
This game a variety of specific support skills which you can use to support your teams, but usually they are very specific and you need to spend that character’s turn to generate these support bonuses for your teammates; typical support skills will boost your opponent resistance and/or defense a point a few points.
XP- there are quite a few considerations for leveling up your characters:
Your characters each earn experience points by damaging opponents or healing allies. So you can’t gain any experience by inflicting 0 damage on over-powered opponents.
Overpowered units do not gain any experience by beating weak foes, so you are wasting potential XP by using them to dispatch enemies. This is a problem for characters that are over level 20.
The key to leveling is setting pursuing doable challenges with a balanced team, so you will probable want to create an array of teams. Before you go into battle the stage icons will give you a hint as to how many opponents you will face and what their weapons will be so you can take advantage of the rock-paper-scissors weapons triangles to minimize risk and maximize rewards.
You will be able to level up your healers quickly because there is more often a chance for them to use their skill and you can deploy them in higher level battles alongside strong allies as long as you can prevent enemies from reaching them. You can let enemies attack your units and end turns without attacking as a tactic to earn more experience for your healers without using your game stamina or minimizing your risks. This makes rolling a healer more useful than the rarity stars may indicate.
In other Fire Emblem installments you receive experience for absorbing damage or evading attacks, but not in Heroes.
You can also use the yellow crystals which you receive as gifts/rewards to level up your characters. Use these crystals to help jumpstart your level 1 recruits to fighting shape. You can also sacrifice a duplicate characters to enhance its twin, similar to the Puzzle & Dragons game.
Earlier iterations of the game had a progressive evolution of classes for characters. In The Sacred Stones game, for example, myrmidons became swordmasters or assassins, but either class could only use swords. Other starting classes gave you options for movement types and weapon use when they were promoted; such as archers who could become snipers (infantry) or rangers (cavalry that could use swords in addition to bows). Heroes has a star system for each character. You can upgrade a character beyond their starting star level after you reach level 20 but you will need to collect matching color badges from special training events and huge numbers of hero feathers: 200 to upgrade to 3 stars, 2,000 for 4 stars and 20,000 feathers for 5 stars. This takes unreasonable amounts of effort, so hopefully Nintendo will be give out large bundles of these feathers in future promotions (as of 2/9 it appears we can count on an occasional 10,000 gift 🙂
Your characters can not carry/use as they did in earlier Fire Emblem games. You receive items which go into an inventory menu but these are to be used for extending your gameplay stamina (potions), competitive online arena play (dueling swords).
The battle system is simplified: Accuracy, weight, constitution, luck and bio-rhythms are not a consideration.
You can not rescue other units. Some characters have specific position swapping skills.
Every attack is a hit; you won’t ever miss your opponent but you will never dodge anything either. So you won’t have the thrill of missing a 99% accurate attack or the frustration of getting hit by a attacker who is 1% accurate.
Feathers; you need these to upgrade the star level of your characters. You only receive a small quantities of these for ordinary tasks such as connecting with ingame friends (5 feathers) and clearing levels. This is reasonable for upgrading low level characters, as it only takes 200 to upgrade from 2-stars to 3-stars. Upgrading the more powerful characters is extremely prohibitive; requiring 2,000 feathers which would translate to hundreds of bonus completions. So watch for bonus gifts from game developers for a chance to get 10,000 feathers.
You can not re-equip during battle. You can change some of your abilities and weapons before battle in the menus.
When a character’s HP drops to zero, they are not perma-dead like in other Fire Emblem games. They are simply removed from that play in that stage and lose the XP they accumulated from that stage.
The stages are small (6×8 tiles) are you can only employ four units per stage but you will sometimes face as few as three opponents or as many as 5(?). This shortens the gameplay and makes it ideal for for situations in which you are probably playing mobile games.
Art and Animation
The chibi-style battle animations are tiresome. You will probably want to turn off the animation after your first day of playing.
The are also artistic representations of each character that represent a status pose, attacking pose, special attack pose and damage pose. The female damage art have a lot of fan-service in the form of ripped clothing and removed armor.
The artistic stylings vary quite a bit as they were created by many different artists. You can see the artistic attributions for each on the character’s status pages.
The Himukai Yuji artwork (Raigh, Fae…) is colorful and cartoonish with a cell-shaded look while artists pikomaro and Yamada Akiro have more realistic sketch and pastel styles. Others have different styling with different sense of realism and color vibrancy, texture and fan-service. If you have the animation turned on then these different styles being constantly cycled across your creates a greater sense of contrast if you don’t mind inconsistency.
Nintendo Link Account- Signing up will give you 10 crystals (that equates to two character rolls or half of a 5-character roll). You can also get bonus points by playing other Nintendo apps like Marion Run. The account settings reveal user ID information and and a user’s QR code which can be used for a “check in at select Nintendo events and locations.” No news yet as to what that means.
Building a team-
You can get characters from special event dungeons, but these will only be one a two star characters. The good news is that you can “merge” these together in the “Advanced Growth” menu for experience and SP boost for the stronger specimen. The character dungeons are also useful as an occasional source of two new orbs.
REROLLING- When you start a new game you should want to uninstall the game and start over if you don’t get a good group on your first attempt at redeeming orbs for characters. You get a discount for summoning multiple characters in a single session. The first character is 5 orbs, next two are 4 each and the last two are only 3 each; so the most efficient way to use orbs is to wait until you have 20 then roll far many characters.
When you install a new copy of the game you get 15 orbs after passing the tutorial, then there are two orbs for the launch bonus. After three story levels you will have 20 orbs having spent a minimal amount of time on the easiest levels.
5 star characters are extremely rare (3.5%), but you will want to keep rerolling for at least some 4 star characters (35%). Kotaku recently reported in a player who spent $1,000 on rolls but never got the powerful and elusive Hector.
You will also want a healer from your roll, they will prevent you from losing characters in stages and the XP that those characters accumulated in that stage.
I rolled five times for a team that I was satisfied with: three 4-star characters, a healer and an unfortunate 3-star character.