Presentation: A Fuzzy Mess
This being the first HD Fire Emblem game, I thought that this would look decently good. I mean, come on! This is the same console that gave us the beautiful Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey! Everything pointed to this game being gorgeous!
And then I discovered the fruit textures.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times when this game looks great! Some of the character models are rock solid (even if the others feature lots of grainy, out-of-focus textures), and the environments look pretty nice (even if the characters have no sense of presence within them). It mostly runs well, at a low but smooth framerate (keyword there being mostly, there are a few dips very consistently). The game looks great!
Okay, all joking aside, this game looks far from great. While I can excuse the character models being a mixed bag, I cannot excuse their stiff facial animations. During support conversations, characters will go through the same repetitive gestures and faces. Worse yet, there are no facial animations during a battle, which make the characters seem like lifeless dolls rather than organic, living people.
In animation, it’s important to animate the character’s eyes. It’s the eyes that really bring them to life since the expression in said eyes is an easy reflection of that character’s emotions. But when that character’s eyes just stare forward, unblinking and unfeeling, it transforms them into lifeless dolls. And sadly, that’s exactly what these characters become during battle.
And then there are the support conversations! Hoo fucking boy, these things are a mess! The environments and the characters go about as well together as oil and water! Each support conversation feels like watching a high school green-screen project! The characters never have any sense of presence within any scene!
It gets especially bad when the characters need to do something that they weren’t animated to do. Like sitting! See, none of these characters were animated to do that. But there are plenty of scenes where the characters need to sit down to talk! So what do they do? They fade to black and position the camera at a low enough angle to disguise the fact that the characters are totally standing up.
Yeah. The illusion didn’t work.
Worse yet, the game suffers from some major frame rate drops all throughout. When setting up for battle, the map overview is noticeably choppy. Later in the game, when more people start hanging around the Monastery, the frame rate can drop to single-digit numbers for a long period of time!
And no. Before you ask, it doesn’t improve in Docked Mode over Handheld Mode. In fact, I’m pretty sure it gets worse.
Luckily, there is one area where the game’s presentation doesn’t falter. The music!
It’s no secret that Fire Emblem soundtracks are always incredible. And this one is no different! While no track is especially memorable, all of them are excellently composed and a joy to listen to. The credits song, ‘Edge of Dawn’, has also taken the slot as my new favorite Fire Emblem song ever made. I’ll have to take the time to seek out the OST because it is pretty damn good!
I do wish I could’ve been more positive in this segment of the review. Unfortunately, my list of complaints simply overwhelmed all of the positives. Luckily, we’ll be taking a turn for the positive in Part 3.
We’ll also be taking the most time. Because there is a lot to talk about in the Gameplay department.