At its core, Fire Emblem Fates is a game about duality. As your avatar, Corrin is a character stuck in the midst of a weighty decision – do they want to align with the family birthright that they lost, and the tranquility of Hoshido? Or is their path one of conquest, alongside the armies of Nohr? It’s a big choice, and one you can’t double back on. But what if there was the revelation of a third option – not siding with Hoshido or Nohr, but finding a way forward that helps unite the two warring kingdoms in the name of peace? Enter: Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation.
Available as DLC this week for either base version of the game – or packed in with both in the Special Edition – Revelation tells a third story for Corrin. In this branch of Fates’ narrative, Corrin refuses to side with either kingdom, not wanting to hurt their birth family or their adoptive one. Naturally this doesn’t sit well with either kingdom, so Corrin and the lost Nohrian princess Azura set off to find a true end to the war… By jumping off a bridge.
At first blush this might seem like a very quick, and fairly pointless end to the story. But what it actually does is open up the overall game’s mysteries a lot quicker and offer a deeper look into the overarching narrative of Fates. From the moment the Revelations path begins, it offers an insight into the true force behind the Hoshido-Nohr conflict. Corrin and Azura set out to recruit allies, stop the fighting between the two sides and put an end to the great evil lurking in the shadows.
Your presence as a third party in the war also means you’ll end up with a unique combination of units and characters from both kingdoms. This creates a lot of interesting interplay that wouldn’t be possible in either of the ‘main’ paths. Characters from opposing sides having unique bonding conversations exclusive to Revelations, as well as some whose existing conversations are replaced due to the differing nature of the version’s storyline. Watching the royal families from both sides interact and come closer is oddly satisfying, given their unilateral love of Corrin. The opportunity to marry off Hoshido-Nohr pairs of royals is appreciated, as well.
Revelations also acts as a blend of Birthright and Conquest’s different approaches. Difficulty is overall on the tougher side, especially given your relatively limited unit counts in the early stages. At the same time however, you have full access to challenge maps and scouting, allowing you to power-level your units for use. And it’s a good thing too – after an initial trickle, your army quickly explodes to the largest size of all three routes. All told, you can end up with an army numbering 67 unique units, including your various battle-kids. It would be impossible to give that many unique characters time to train in the main campaign, meaning the only way to optimise the lot of them is through side content. That said, you may still want to limit yourself to a subset of go-to units, as you’ll never have the time to evenly trade off between all of them in the main story path.
This version of Fates is recommended as your last stop for the overall game, as it acts as a sort of ‘true’ ending for the story. Secrets from both main versions are revealed in the course of this edition that could spoil you for their original reveals, and the culmination of the ‘hidden villain’ storyline nicely wraps up this instalment of Fire Emblem. I wouldn’t say it’s NECESSARY to play all three versions – definitely don’t try to do it in three weeks straight, like some people I could name, myself – but I would recommend at least giving Revelation a shot after playing whichever version you started on, if not the Special Edition.
Overall, it’s impressive that the model works – a branching story that acts as ‘either/or, then both’ could feel like a cash-in quite easily. The fact that each version of Fates manages to offer something unique is an impressive feat. I hope it doesn’t become an ongoing trend in the series, but as an experiment with the formula it feels just right.
Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation was reviewed using a promotional code on 3DS, as provided by the publisher.
Review: Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation