Fire Emblem Warriors arrived on the Nintendo Switch in the West on October 20, 2017, a mere week before Super Mario Odyssey’s launch. Needless to say, the mustachioed plumber’s game eclipsed Koei Tecmo’s Fire Emblem themed Dynasty Warriors spinoff. Nevertheless, a season pass’ worth of content has managed to keep the medieval hack and slash game relevant. Just like with Hyrule Warriors, Fire Emblem Warriors’ DLC is jam-packed with additional missions. While the new characters aren’t as exciting as they could have been, the many new missions will keep hardcore fans busy.
The Fire Emblem Warriors Season Pass is divided into three packs: Fates, Shadow Dragon, and Awakening. Each contain three new characters with accompanying skills, three History Mode maps, and unlockable costumes, which include Armor Break outfits that are, more or less, undergarments... There are also extra items (notably the valuable Bond Charm which speeds up bonds between units), support conversations, and achievements. Each pack represents a different games in the series. The catch is, these three titles already have the largest representation in the base game. The DLC could have been a great opportunity to highlight the diversity of the series. Instead, we get more secondary, albeit fan-favorite, characters, some of which were already NPC opponents in the original version. Sorry, no Ike or Roy here. A bigger issue is that there are barely any new unit types; most equip standard swords and magic tomes. I would have loved to see more variety, such as units wielding daggers and shurikens.
Although the characters are the most interesting part of the DLC, the new History Mode maps are arguably the reason to pick the Season Pass up. With nine new maps filled with a couple dozen missions each and worthwhile costume/weapon rewards, the content is plentiful, even before factoring in achieving S-Ranks and grinding. The new mission varieties aren’t vastly different from the base game content, but they take advantage of the increased level cap, offering postgame challenges that may be tough even for the strongest warriors. Luckily, you can now upgrade your characters with triple power boosted weapons and bonus skills.
Of the three packs, the Fates DLC is my favorite. It introduces two new playstyles incorporating the grounded lancer unit, which despite being prominent in the mainline series, was strangely missing from the base game. The songstress Azura is not only one of the most important Fire Emblem Fates characters to have missed the original roster cut, but she has an elegant playstyle, with lance attacks that incorporates water and singing. The other lancer Oboro also sports an excellent moveset that focuses on swift spear strikes. These two enticing playstyles make up for the pack’s third character, the bow user Niles, who merely plays like the other archers in the game. Unfortunately, this issue of “clone” characters persists throughout the other packs.
Each DLC pack also introduces an equippable skill related to each character. As with all skills in the game, you can unlock them for your other warriors, which is where the true value lies. Between the three Fates heroes’ skills, I found Niles’ Lethality to be most useful, enhancing the chance for a critical hit based on a warrior’s Luck stat. I wasn’t as fond of Azura’s Amaterasu, which simply heals an ally whom she is paired up with. Likewise, Oboro’s Counter attack is hit-or-miss. It lets you stun enemies following a guard, but it can be tough to pull off efficiently.
The Shadow Dragon pack, inspired by the remake of the very first Fire Emblem, contains characters that might be less familiar to fans who started with the 3DS titles. As most of them play similarly to the base game characters, they hardly make a splash. Take Navarre, for example: he plays nearly identical to Lyn, a beloved Lord from the series. While Navarre has an effective moveset based on fast, damaging sword strikes, it’s hard to imagine using him over Lyn. Then there’s Minerva, an axe user on a flying mount who plays like Camilla, another popular character. Again, I would have preferred to see distinct axe-users like armored ones as opposed to a Camilla carbon copy. The mage Linde, though seemingly similar to other tome users, has an original moveset that is fairly strong, capable of taking down numerous foes at once. As such, she is the most appealing of the three.
The pack’s skills are its saving grace, as long as you equip them on the right warriors. Navarre’s skill strengthens unpaired units, which is an all-around helpful ability for lone wolves. Minerva carries a convenient skill that ignores enemy effectiveness. For example, arrows won’t be as devastatingly powerful against flying units like her. And Linde’s skill allows you to build up the power-granting Awakening gauge quickly, ignoring the criteria of having a weapon advantage. It’s especially beneficial for mages like her who fall outside the rock-paper-scissors weapon triangle. In the end, History Mode content aside, the Shadow Dragon pack and its clone characters may not allure anyone unfamiliar with the source game.
The final DLC pack delves into Fire Emblem Awakening, a popular game that helped revitalize the franchise. Again, two of the warriors are clones, but they’re also beloved characters by many. Owain, although he plays like the swordsman Ryoma, is an entertaining addition because of his goofy heroic persona and humorous quotes. It’s a shame his skill is situational; Resonating Power boosts damage depending on how close your Strength and Magic stats are. The infamous Tharja is also in the pack. Although she is a clone of the mage Robin, her memorable dark personality stands out over any other character in the game. Her skill Vengeance boosts power based on the difference in HP, but since it also drains your HP, it isn’t always a worthy trade-off. Finally, the dancer Olivia is a pure joy to control and my second favorite addition to the roster. She dances around the battlefield, striking up sword combos gracefully. Plus, her skill Galeforce benefits any character, filling up their special gauges more quickly. For its memorable characters and great skills, the Awakening pack easily gets my second place recommendation.
Overall, the Fire Emblem Warriors Season Pass characters could have used more variety, but at least the few novel playstyles are enjoyable to use. Additionally, the abundant History Mode content and power upgrades will be worth it to hardcore fans. If even one of the packs sounds appealing, you may want to consider picking up that individual DLC set. If you’re interested in two or three of them, the Season Pass is the most cost effective option (not to mention it includes a bonus bride costume for Lucina). For what it’s worth and the content it provides, the package is a solid purchase for those who have exhausted the base game content or for admirers of particular characters.
I am a lifelong gamer, having grown up with Nintendo since I was young. My passion for gaming led to one of the greatest moments of my life, my video game themed wedding!