Fire Emblem Engage is the latest entry in a long-running series of strategy games. Fire Emblem has always been a brutally difficult and unforgiving game series, although recent entries have (thankfully) introduced more accessibility options. This opens up Fire Emblem, and Fire Emblem Engage by extension, to a wider audience.
However, just because you can crank down the difficulty doesn’t mean the game loses depth. Fire Emblem Engage, even at its easiest, has a lot of systems and mechanics that work together to weave a compelling battle system. This can be quite overwhelming, so we’ve compiled a guide to break down combat.
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The first thing to note in Fire Emblem Engage is the Weapon Triangle. Fire Emblem operates with a rather rigid – but easy-to-grasp – rock-paper-scissors system. In this case, it is Sword-Axe-Lance. This system has some exceptions, however, in general, Swords beat, Axes, Axes beat Lances, and Lances beat Swords.
Get your brain around that, and you will go far. Adhering to the Weapon Triangle has all kinds of benefits, but the biggest boon is the increase in damage and accuracy. Always be aware of what enemies are nearby, and bring the right tool for the job.
Dealing With Armoured Units
Following on from the Weapon Triangle are things that make the Triangle more complex. The most common is Armoured enemies. These foes are, as the name implies, covered in armour. These units make a mockery of the Weapon Triangle, as their sheer bulk makes them practically immune to regular weapons.
This is where Magic comes into play. Whilst Armoured enemies will laugh off a wayward sword or a brutal axe swing, they are very susceptible to being smitten by a fireball or struck by arcane lightning. For this reason, you want to ensure you have a mage or two on your team. Clanne is a great starting point.
Dealing With Flying Units
Yet another spanner in the works, Flying units are the terror of the skies and are devilishly quick. Their high speed and decent defences make them very tough to deal with by regular means, and unsurprisingly, they are experts at picking off your squishy backline. They come in two variants – Pegasus Knights and Wyvern Knights.
Whilst there are some differences between the two, they largely operate in the same way. They can also be dealt with without much issue if you bring the right tools – in this case, a Bow. Flying units take massive damage from Bows, with even the weakest of Bows packing enough punch to down most foes in a single shot.
Now we’ve covered the basics of the Weapon Triangle and all the niggling exceptions to it, let’s go into the biggest benefit of sticking to it – Break. Break is a status in Fire Emblem Engage that cripples an enemy’s ability to Counter. Breaking an enemy allows you to gang up on one enemy and attack without fear of reprisal.
Not only that, many abilities can trigger off of Break, such as Alear and Marth being able to get bonus Attacks off whenever they Break an enemy. Be aware that enemies can also Break your allies, so always keep an eye out for enemies packing weapons your units don’t want to deal with.
The terrain in Fire Emblem is not that interesting visually and this is mostly down to the lack of verticality when it comes to level design. Fire Emblem is no Tactics Ogre, that’s for certain. However, that doesn’t mean terrain is not important, nor does it reduce the impact terrain can have on a battle.
The most common form of terrain is overgrown grass – at least early on. This will increase a unit’s chance to avoid damage in combat, which can drastically change the outcome of a battle. More interesting terrain gets introduced the further you go, but the effects are almost always positive. When in doubt, stand in a bush.
Points Of Interest
Battles will nearly always have one primary objective, however, that doesn’t mean you should rush to complete it. Battlefields are often littered with interesting bits to interact with, with the most common being characters, chests, and locations. Computer-controlled allies are often sprinkled around Fire Emblem, and talking to them (usually with Alear) can get them to join your party permanently. If they die before that, however, they are gone forever.
This is the same with chests and locations. If an enemy loots a chest and you don’t kill the thief before the end of the mission, then that item is gone for good. Chests always have something worth looting, so this is always a bad thing. Locations you fail to reach in time will also lock you out of important items and funds. Plan your gameplan around achieving these optional side goals, and you’ll be far better off in the long run.
Make Use Of Engage
One of the coolest concepts added to Fire Emblem Engage is the Engage system. This system is tied to Emblem Rings and allows characters to fuse with their Emblem Rings to gain massive amounts of power. These forms are game-changingly powerful, providing you with new weapons, abilities, and even attacks.
The downside? This form can only be sustained for 3 turns. This timer makes activating Engage a smidge more stressful, as using it at the wrong time could lead to you wasting it. Alternatively, not using it could lead to defeat. Thankfully you can recharge your Engage throughout a battle, so theoretically, you could activate this powerful form multiple times per battle.
Carry Ranged Weapons
Most weapon types have access to a slightly weaker weapon that can be used at a range. For example, you could carry a Hand Axe into battle. This does OK damage in melee, but can be thrown as a ranged weapon in a pinch. These weapons are always handy to have, and you should pack as many of them on as many characters as you can.
Why? Well, you have plenty of equipment slots on your characters, so dedicating one slot to a ranged weapon isn’t a big deal. The upside to doing this is that your allies can exert more influence over the battlefield. Nothing is worse than being too far away to attack an enemy. Well, with a ranged attack in your kit, that is no longer an issue. Sick of being shot by archers? Carry a Javelin and you can punish that archer for daring to shoot you.
Just be aware that your opponents will use these weapons too.
Make Use Of Bane Weapons
Banes are the final hook on the Fire Emblem Engage line. Banes are incredibly powerful, but also incredibly situational. The Weapon Triangle is king, but Banes break it apart. For example, having a Lance Breaker Sword allows a Sword user to tackle Lance enemies with ease.
These go further, however. What about an Axe that is specifically suited to kill Cavalry, a Sword that is designed to pierce armour or even a Lance that can slay a Dragon? It’s all here, and putting the right Banes on the right characters can drastically increase your efficacy in battle. Not only that, you gain access to some of these powerful weapons very early on.
Check Enemy Threat Ranges
Our final piece of advice is to check enemy Threat. This is a big part of Fire Emblem, and if you can keep out of Threat Range, you can’t take damage. This is very important if you want to keep your squishy units alive, but can be used to bait enemies into YOUR Threat Range.
To check Threat, all you have to do is highlight an enemy and press ‘A’. This will show you where the danger zones are. If you want to check the Threat of ALL enemies at once, press ‘L’. This is a quick way to see where is safe, and where death potentially lies. Remember, knowledge is power, and the Fire Emblem gives you all the tools to gather it.
That’s all we have for Fire Emblem Engage for now, but be sure to check out our other guides, lists, tips, and tricks articles.