There are a ton of characters in Fire Emblem Heroes. You can summon people from Fire Emblem Awakening, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, Fire Emblem Fates, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. With so many people, getting so little time in the spotlight in the campaign, it may leave players wondering how true this mobile title can be to a standard Fire Emblem. While the campaign isn’t as robust or deep, at the very least it does its best to honor the characters who appear here.
It isn’t Fire Emblem Heroes’ campaign that does these characters’ justice. While there can be moments when familiar faces’ enthusiasm or personalities can come through, they aren’t the best way of showing off these people we’ve loved over the years. Each chapter follows a set pattern. Alfonse, Sharena, Anna, and the Summoner (hey, that’s us!) go into a realm in which Veronica and the Emblian Empire have enslaved iconic heroes. They proclaim that they must fight us, even if they don’t really want to fight us, and wish for their freedom. You battle them a few times. After the final fight in that word, there’s some exposition about how you’ve freedom them and saved their realm. The only story development really comes in the introduction and final chapter, giving us a handful of hints about what’s happening in the Askr Kingdom and Emblian Empire. It’s the other elements in the game that help flesh out these people we know and love.
Fire Emblem Heroes’ first paralogue does a better job of paying justice to the series and its characters. In these three maps, we face Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones’ Ephraim and Eirika and Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War’s Seliph and Julia. The Seliph and Julia dialogue shows a typical relationship where an elder brother who has been separated from his little sister before is clearly concerned for her wellbeing. He’s a little more cautious with her, and she’s behaves as though she’s a bit more dependent on him. On the other hand, the Ephraim and Eirika conversation is hilarious. As twins, they’re often said to be quite close. Let’s just say there are certain fan-creations that go into how close they may be. In his storyline, Ephraim references such works, calling them disgusting. (This comes after extolling the virtues of his bond with Eirika, of course.)
Perhaps the best parts are the Incidental references that pop up as you play Fire Emblem Heroes. The game is always offering little winks and nods to people able to pick up on them. When Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem’s Wrys doesn’t do a good job upon leveling up, he makes sure to note that his progress is still pretty good for someone like him. Shanna, from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, laments that she’ll never become a full-fledged pegasus knight, like her sisters Juno and Thea, if she doesn’t advance. Tapping characters in your castle’s hall prompts similar comments related to their pasts and lifestyles. Effie, a Fire Emblem Fates knight always training to protect princess Elise, notes that she keeps stones in her armor so she’s becoming stronger even when just standing around. Camilla shows her constant flirtatious behavior, the sort she shows her beloved Corrin in Fire Emblem Fates, with quotes like, “Let’s watch out for each other. You know what they say: I’ll wash your back if you’ll wash mine!”
Unfortunately, for lesser known characters, people may not realize when things are or aren’t accurate. Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War’s Seliph is a good example. He references his father Sigurd, saying he wants to uphold his legacy, and often talks about trying to meet people’s expectations and be strong. Fitting, since in his game the second Book stars him, as he attempts to live up to the standard his father set in the first half of the game. Raigh, a character from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, is available to all of us as we start out. He seems stand-offish and sarcastic, saying that he needs to get stronger for a reason. However, people who didn’t play his Game Boy Advance game wouldn’t know that was because he and his twin brother, Lugh, sons of Nino, were raised in an orphanage. He wants to be known for ancient and dark magic, while also helping children in situations like his own.
These little extras matter so much more than you’d expect. They help keep Fire Emblem Heroes interesting. It allows us to identify with the characters we care about. We’re able to remember how much they mean to us whenever they make a reference we recognize. While the battles are entertaining enough and the drive to build perfect teams are great reasons to keep playing, it is these little pieces of personality packed in that allow us to make deeper connections.
Fire Emblem Heroes is available for Apple iOS and Android devices.