Having recently sat down with Dynasty Warriors 3 I did decide to hold off on Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity and instead went back to Fire Emblem Warriors, a game I hadn't really picked up again since its release three years ago.

At the time of its release my (and virtually every Fire Emblem fan's) disappointment at the limited roster of characters overshadowed my appreciation for the game itself, but with a bit of distance I was able to enjoy the game more than the first time. I went in thinking I might check out the DLC, but it turns out I had plenty of the base game to keep me occupied. I dipped back into the story mode to refresh my memory of how the game works and crossed off a few of the missions there, but I spent the bulk of my time in the History Mode, which is a series of challenges set into a framework that recreates storylines from previous Fire Emblem games. I had two final characters to unlock, and the pacing of the History Mode worked out pretty well in general in the sense that as long as I tackled the missions in order of difficulty I was able to level up my characters enough to meet the increased challenge. Even though I was levelling up all the characters as evenly as possible I didn't have to use gold to auto-level characters, although unlocking the final character was a bit of a stretch and did require more effort than the rest of my time.

A lot of repetition is par for the course with a Warriors game, and although the number of clone characters is still disappointing, this time I did appreciate the differences in the various characters and the tactics mechanics that are incorporated (having to consider weapon advantages and give orders to your teammates). This game more than any other Warriors game really takes the number of grunts to an extreme, and mowing them down starts to feel a little bit ridiculous since the regular enemies seem to be paper thin and they fall to the slightest bit of damage. There's not a ton of variety in the challenges or the maps, but there are enough different characters that I didn't get too bored even as I obsessively worked my way through clearing the maps. As with all Fire Emblem games, unlocking support conversations between characters helped provide an extra bit of motivation to play as well.

Overall I was happy to pour in a lot of time into my second look at Fire Emblem Warriors, but I wasn't motivated enough to reach the next milestone, which would be unlocking all of the characters' unique S-ranked weapons. For my next sit-down with the game I'm definitely going to have to pick up some of the DLC in order to add a bit more variety, although it's disappointing that even then only four of the nine new characters have somewhat new movesets. Still, having new maps to tackle and levelling up the new characters will add some new variety and I'm looking forward to it, even though it may take a few more years before I have enough interest to do so.

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