Five Years of Fire Emblem Heroes: The Good, Bad and Still Missing

fire emblem heroes 5th anniversary

Nintendo mobile hit Fire Emblem Heroes is celebrating its fifth anniversary this week. It’s a great time to look back at what it’s accomplished, good and bad, and what we’d still like to see from the game. Let’s hear from you too! Drop by the comments and share your thoughts.

fire emblem heroes good

The Good

STREAMLINED STRATEGY: Heroes strikes a good balance between the tactics of traditional Fire Emblem and a friendlier, mobile simplicity. Battles are short and fit easily on a phone, but they also still feel tactical. This wasn’t the easiest thing to manage. — Graham

GACHA THAT WORKS: Fire Emblem Heroes really distilled the key appeal of Fire Emblem — its characters — into that most character-focused of games: The gacha hero collector, and made it work. The latter chapters also introduced a number of interesting wrinkles to its multiversal lore, and added appealing original characters of its own. — Josh

DISCOVERING CHARACTERS: I love that Fire Emblem Heroes exposes people to characters from games we didn’t get. The Binding Blade? Roy’s our boy and here! Thracia 776? Leif’s leading his army into our lives! By doing so, maybe it is also encouraging players to look up details about the Japan-exclusive titles. — Jenni

SUSTAINED DEVELOPMENT: Has every addition been a hit? Not remotely. But you can tell that Intelligent Systems and Nintendo are at least trying new things, and that’s given the game legs! In ways the rest of the Nintendo Mobile offerings really haven’t. — Graham

fire emblem heroes bad

The Bad

THE MONETIZATION: For as many gacha games as I play, make no mistake: gacha monetization is inherently predatory, which is automatically bad! — Josh

MODE EXECUTION: After years of some truly abysmal new “mode” efforts that didn’t add any interesting gameplay, recent Fire Emblem Heroes efforts have seen fun ideas like Pawns of Loki and Summoner Duels. These have tried players’ patience, though, as power creep and nigh-broken units have made them a lot more frustrating to play. Hopefully we can see some work to remedy these. (And hey, maybe fixing some of the old stuff would be good, too! Like merge-and-skill-dependent scoring, which limits creativity and favors whales.) — Graham

FEH PASS CHOICES: I hate the Feh Pass-exclusive spark system. Some banners now give you a guaranteed character if you pull 40 times… if you subscribe. It feels quite predatory and I’m not a fan. Don’t lock that behind a subscription, Intelligent Systems. — Jenni

MORE FEH PASS CHOICES: Honestly, in principle, I don’t hate Feh Pass. The idea of paying a small amount and getting a good set of bonuses? More palatable to me than the normal, pay-a-bunch-for-very-little microtransactions. But quality-of-life features like more auto-battling and balance problems like summoner support boosts? That’s less great. — Graham

feh missing

The Still Missing

HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO: We’re missing male original characters who are the free, focus units for each book. So far we’ve had Fjorm, Peony, Reginn and now Ash. Heroines are great! But I need a hero. — Jenni

MORE SPINOFF LOVE: While there was a brief nod at Tokyo Mirage Sessions a few years ago, spinoff heroes have otherwise been left out in the cold. We want Cipher! We want Warriors, sort of, though those characters weren’t particularly special! — Graham

A TRADITIONAL RELEASE: I wouldn’t mind a full-fledged, single-player Fire Emblem game that uses the original characters and elements of Fire Emblem Heroes! When’s that happening? — Josh

KELLAM: At least I think so? I suppose he might be in there somewhere and I’d never know it. — Graham

What are your thoughts on Fire Emblem Heroes? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter! And read our other handy roundtables for more thoughts from the Siliconera team.

Graham Russell
About The Author
Graham Russell, editor-at-large, has been writing about games for various sites and publications since 2007. He’s a fan of streamlined strategy games, local multiplayer and upbeat aesthetics. He joined Siliconera in February 2020, and served as its Managing Editor until July 2022. When he’s not writing about games, he’s a graphic designer, web developer, card/board game designer and editor.