Alfred is one of the first characters you meet in Fire Emblem Engage and, well, the first time I met him I wasn’t impressed! He didn’t seem like a bad kid, to be fair. He just seemed so overly enthusiastic. He, like the twins Clanne and Framme, emphasized how he kept visiting. He seemed overly desperate in some ways, both with regards to activities and relationships. However, it’s only after completing certain Fire Emblem Engage support conversation lines and beating the game that I realized just how good Alfred secretly is.
Editor’s Note: There will be Fire Emblem Engage spoilers for Alfred and other characters below.
In many ways, early on Intelligent Systems is trying to impart how important Alfred is in Fire Emblem Engage. He consistently supports Alear. Even from the very beginning, he has your back. When things turn dire, your background is called into question, and the truth behind the Fell Dragon Sombron and his children comes out, he never hesitates. The developers also seem to make a concentrated effort to show how Alfred is always hustling. He’s constantly training. He can speak with other Fire Emblem Engage characters who are members of the royal families, with some of those Support conversations getting into diplomacy and future plans. He’s trying to do all he can for Alear particularly. He’s too active. Too overburdened. Too nice.
And then, if you go through the Alfred and Celine Fire Emblem Engage Support conversation or pay attention to her chats with Fogado, it hits you. Something is wrong with Alfred. But even so, he’s still fighting on the front lines for his family, his friends, his kingdom, and the world.
It isn’t just that. Intelligent Systems could have left us with those crumbs and left us wondering if he’ll be fine once the war is over and he can recover and relax. But Fire Emblem games have a habit of showing “what happened next” for characters after the ending, and Engage is no exception. That’s when the gut punch comes. Alfred dies. Young. Even though he achieves his goals, he doesn’t really get the time to enjoy them. The only way to “save” Alfred in Fire Emblem Engage and get him a happier end is to have Alear enter into an S-Rank relationship with him.
This revelation adds so much more weight to all of Alfred’s other actions and interactions in Fire Emblem Engage. Of course he’d idolize Boucheron, who is incredibly strong and healthy. Yes, he’d be constantly training, in the hopes of staying as fit as possible. Absolutely, Alfred would go out of his way often to try and make Alear’s life better or spend time with people, because he wants to leave good impressions and memories behind. Alfred is making the most of what he has. He is appreciating what he can do while he can. He’s doing what he can to leave his mark.
I’d also say the revelation is especially shocking if you weren’t paying as much attention due to how many characters there are in Fire Emblem Engage. The idea of him being ill when he was young isn’t thrust in people’s faces. The unit’s stats don’t hint at it. He’s perfectly energetic and fine in pretty much every Support conversation. I didn’t see his A-rank conversation with Celine before the ending, only hers with Fogado, so I figured he completely recovered. It just hit me, and I didn’t expect it. But then, I also appreciate that it was a more subtle reveal and doesn’t even start to come up unless people get close to the Firene royal family.
In short, there’s more to Alfred than people might expect. They only will get to know that if they take the time to get to know him. If they do, they’ll get that foreshadowing and further insight into his character. They’ll know more about what drives him to be who he is. And, if they go through Fire Emblem Engage a second time, they might start looking to see if there are clues that hinted at his condition and story arc sooner.
Fire Emblem Engage is available for the Nintendo Switch.