Difficulty and Fire Emblem go hand-in-hand – like a disgruntled toddler waddling into a nursery for the first time. Not only is it a natural fit for the series, but following on from that analogy, it’s often quite a jarring experience that could leave people in tears when all is said and done. Fire Emblem has never been an ‘easy’ series.
Thankfully, times have changed and Fire Emblem has become far more accessible. What was once frustration, anger, and sadness, has turned into a deep tactical combat, and a smooth jumping-off point for more challenge if you so desire. So the question becomes, “Which difficulty should you play on?”
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Differences Between Difficulties
Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. Fire Emblem has two ways to alter difficulty:
We are going to start with Difficulty since that is the base level of challenge the game will provide. You get three options, Normal, Hard, and Maddening. Normal is where most players should reside. Normal provides a solid challenge that will force you to make the correct decision most of the time. Enemies deal a lot of damage, they will relentlessly hunt down your weaker units, and death is around every corner. It is not insurmountable, however.
Hard and Maddening take this to the next level, with each one providing a much higher level of challenge. Maddening in particular is brutal from the word go, and you are going to need to master Fire Emblem Engage’s combat very quickly if you want to come out on top. These two modes are for a second playthrough if you are new, or a first playthrough if you are a series veteran looking to jump into the abyss with both feet.
Differences Between Modes
Fire Emblem Engage has two Modes to choose from as well. You have Casual and Classic. Casual removes Perma Death, whilst Classic includes it. Every character in Fire Emblem can die, and providing it’s not Alear, the game will continue upon their death. This can be heartbreaking if your favourite character bites the dust, but the real kicker is that you caused their death. It was your error – your weakness.
Classic certainly adds more challenge to the game due to the permanence of every action, it is also the quintessential Fire Emblem experience. However, Casual is by far the best way to start in Fire Emblem as you can make as many mistakes as you want, and provided you don’t lose the battle, you are free to learn from those mistakes at your own pace.
Draconic Time Crystal
The final piece of the puzzle is the Draconic Time Crystal. This is a completely optional mechanic, however, it can make the game much easier if you make use of it. This thing lets you rewind time to correct mistakes. This is very useful if someone died and you wanted to try again.
Does this invalidate Classic? Absolutely, but it’s still a nice inclusion. When on Normal, you can use this as much as you want without any problem. On Hard and Maddening, however, you are in for a rough ride as you can only use this ability 10 times per mission. This might seem generous, but when Hard and Maddening are both maddeningly difficult, 10 can quickly feel very tight.
With all of this in mind, Fire Emblem Engage is very accessible allowing players to customise their difficulty and experience to their heart’s content. This is the kind of thing we love to see in games.
That’s all we have for Fire Emblem Engage for now. In the meantime, check out our other articles for more tips, tricks, guides, and lists.