If you’re a Switch or any Nintendo console owner, then at some point, you’ve pondered about the top Fire Emblem Games. Please don’t deny it; we know you have because we’re in the same boat.
If you look at the major Nintendo first-party lineup of games, a criminally underrated series is the Fire Emblem franchise. Today we’ll answer a burning question within the Fire Emblem fandom about ranking the top 6 games.
What Are Fire Emblem Games All About?
For those who haven’t yet dipped their toes within the series, we’ll provide a crash course to catch you up to speed. We’ll be looking at 4 of the broad range of features that almost every Fire Emblem game has.
1. Anime Style Aesthetic
The main appeal of the Fire Emblem games is the colorfully vibrant anime-style aesthetic. Plus, the fantasy-themed Medieval setting, with tactical combat and complex narratives, mesh together masterfully.
2. Permanent Death Feature
A staple feature of the Fire Emblem series is that characters other than the protagonist can and will die if they fall in battle. Not only do the characters get removed gameplay-wise, but sometimes, their death is acknowledged within the game.
3. Tactical Battles & Character Classes
In Fire Emblem, the battles happen over a grid map, where positioning and selection of support characters are critical. Each character’s design is unique aesthetically, and some have innate talents exclusive to them.
The character classes also impact how certain fights might play out, as each has strengths and weaknesses. Magical attacks in the latter games have more variety, and there is a balance mechanism to ensure difficulty scaling.
4. Social Aspect & Compelling Narrative
Lastly, Fire Emblem games heavily emphasize relationships between the protagonist and many of the side characters. The time players take to invest and foster a budding friendship and romance pays dividends later on.
Unlocking new skills and talents that previously were dormant. Sometimes, the child of the protagonist and their significant other will have rare traits of both parental lineages. The story-heavy plot with character development will deliver engaging and emotional highs for players based on their relations with the game’s characters.
How Will We Rank The Best Fire Emblem Games?
Okay, now that we know the basics about the series, we’ll cover how we will rank the top 6 Fire Emblem games.
So, our criteria for today’s list is 3-fold.
- Firstly, the game must be unique even by Fire Emblem’s standards.
- Secondly, the game must have introduced innovative mechanics previously not found in prior titles.
- Lastly, the game’s story beats must be highly entertaining and not confusing or feel draggy.
For a nice change of pace and, frankly, making it easier for us, we’ll also consider spin-offs with the essence of Fire Emblem. So, all your favorites could potentially be on here or not, and you’ll probably rage about it.
Ranking The Top 6 Fire Emblem Games
Now that we’ve established our criteria, it’s time to start our list. Remember that this is a short list so that we won’t cater to games with by-the-numbers standard Fire Emblem formula. Only the ones that stand out will be considered. Let’s begin!
6. Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore
Kicking things off for our Top Fire Emblem Games list is a very charming and likable entry. We’re referring to Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, the upgraded version of Tokyo Mirage Session # FE, initially released for Wii U.
Mirage Sessions # FE Encore – Crossovers Galore
Usually, Fire Emblem games take place in a medieval fantasy backdrop with European influences, so Mirage Sessions #FE Encore immediately stands out. Plus, the idol life and career focus is also new; some might not like it, but we found it satisfactory.
Combining two of the most beloved RPG franchises in an epic crossover for the ages, Mirage Sessions ♯FE Encore is hands down one the best Fire Emblem games ever. The narrative structure of Shin Megami Tensei is followed, but Fire Emblem mechanics are incorporated brilliantly as well.
What Do We Think About Mirage Sessions # FE Encore?
Mirage Sessions #FE Encore brilliantly brings together two fantastic Nintendo franchises in a way that elevates them both. For players new to Fire Emblem, Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is the perfect way to start their journey with the franchise.
Let’s see the positives of Mirage Sessions # FE Encore. Regarding originality and visually distinct aesthetics, Mirage Sessions # FE Encore is a clear winner. Here’s what else it has that’s good.
The plot is a heap of fan service for Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem game fans. The story revolves around a group of young teens confronting a supernatural threat that humanity is oblivious to. The spirits of Fire Emblem fan favorites like Chrom and Tharja play a role in assisting humans.
Solid Tactical Gameplay With Musical Theme Incorporation
As for the gameplay itself, sure, the tilt is more on Shin Megami Tensei, but that’s not a bad thing. We found the combat and tactical positioning mechanics in Mirage Sessions #FE Encore very impressive and authentic to Fire Emblem.
The turn-based combat and the inclusion of weapons and magical spirits of beloved Fire Emblem characters are a nice touch. The musical elements play a huge role both in terms of story and gameplay in a very original way.
As much as we love Mirage Sessions # FE Encore, we can’t say it’s flawless. Here’s what we find lacking in the game.
Many players who have played Mirage Sessions #FE Encore have criticized the game as somewhat unbalanced between its crossover elements. Essentially, the spirits of the Fire Emblem characters serve as the Shin Megami Tensei demons. The game isn’t so much a crossover as it’s a spin-off of Shin Megami Tensei with Fire Emblem.
Bland Character Development
Also, the idol life pursuit of the side characters and relationship bonding focus is more of an eye-roll-worthy feature in Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. It makes the characters feel cookie-cutter anime cardboard tropes.
We recommend this game because it’s more of a casual experience and not at the cost of enjoyment. We consider Mirage Sessions #FE Encore one of the top Fire Emblem games of all time.
5. Fire Emblem: Fates
Typically, we’re not fans of the practice of splitting the narrative of games into multiple versions, but Fire Emblem: Fates knocks it out of the park. A flawless execution by the creative team makes Fire Emblem: Fates a masterclass in storytelling.
Fire Emblem Fates, A Quick Overview
In Fire Emblem: Fates depending on the player’s choice of allegiance, the main character will side with their birth kingdom, the adoptive kingdom, or in the secret route through DLC, unite both underneath their banner.
Fire Emblem: Fates is evidence that a compelling plot from multiple viewpoints can still inject the same level of intrigue and hook players if the writing is solid. For similar RPG titles, check out our piece about 8 best open-world RPGs like Fallout.
What Makes Fire Emblem Fates One Of The Top Fire Emblem Games?
Whether it’s the main story, the side characters, or the addictive gameplay loop, we can’t deny our enjoyment of Fire Emblem: Fates. The heartache of killing beloved NPCs isn’t easy to deal with. Let’s see what we think about Fire Emblem Fates.
We consider Fire Emblem: Fates as one of the best games in the Fire Emblem series. On top of fantastic stories on the two main routes of the game, here’s what else is excellent about Fire Emblem: Fates.
The Secret Route
Personally, we found the third route to be mind-bogglingly brilliant. The true evil that’s causing the warring kingdoms to assault and wage war against one another mindlessly is revealed. The essence of working together to combat the evil plaguing the kingdom is inspiring and honestly refreshing.
Fire Emblem: Fates is also the first game to feature full-fledged Amiibo support, and characters from previous entries can appear in the game. Fire Emblem: Fates takes a very unique approach. There are bonuses that players can gain from eh Amiibos, easily making Fire Emblem: Fates one of the top Fire Emblem games.
As good as the game is, there are areas in Fire Emblem: Fates where we think it’s not as great as it would have you believe. Here’s what they are:
Confusing Story Route
There’s a lot of consulted storytelling in Fire Emblem: Fates. New players are sure to feel lost in the game’s narrative. Not a good sign if you’re trying to rake in casual audiences who love RPGs.
Fire Emblem: Fates is a game that requires dedication. Players who like to divide their time will not find the game enjoyable and will feel repetitive. The length of the campaign can feel dragging if you’re playing the game on all routes, as it’s essentially the same story with different perspectives.
We wholeheartedly love the way everything comes together in Fire Emblem: Fates. From the graphics to the combat, the whole package is spectacular. Sure, it’s not the best Fire Emblem game of all time, but it’s daring, fresh, and takes the series in an exciting new direction.
4. Fire Emblem Awakening
Moving on to the next entry on our list of top Fire Emblem games, we have one beloved by many within the fandom. Fire Emblem: Awakening is best known for opening the franchise up as a casual experience for gamers who don’t want to grind.
Fire Emblem: Awakening is a Casual Mainline Fire Emblem Game
In Fire Emblem: Awakening, the titular Fire Emblem and the ongoing search for it, until assembled in the final arc, make an epic comeback.
Players must carefully consider which of the characters to choose for specific combat scenarios. Players will learn to position their units and manipulate the environment to gain bonus advantages.
Fire Emblem: Awakening has made great strides in opening the series up for a casual player base that otherwise might not have considered playing the series. Here’s what we think makes Fire Emblem: Awakening such an awesome game.
Excellent Narrative With Mind Bending Twists
The gripping storyline with twists that involve time travel shenanigans that feel epic in scale. Players will come to care for their relationships with the NPCs.
Emotional and In-Depth Character Development
Players get to see how the stoic and gallant Prince Chrom came into power and how his tale unfolds. The stronger the bonds players form between Chrom and the protagonist, the better chances of a good ending. The sacrifices only hurt more as they’re meaningful.
As excellent as Fire Emblem: Awakening is, we must remain impartial and mention what’s holding it back.
No Permanent Death
The removal of the permanent death feature was first championed by Fire Emblem: Awakening. Yes, the staunch critics decried the casual mode, but considering the series is alive, we think it’s a small price to pay. Even though we kind of still think it shouldn’t have been removed as it’s vital to the Fire Emblem experience.
Pandering to Casual Audiences Hurt the Hardcore Fanbase
Like with any change, people fear it. With Fire Emblem: Awakening, the long-time fans of Fire Emblem games weren’t happy with the casual nature of a mainline Fire Emblem game. We also share this sentiment, even though we’re happy new gamers are now fans of the series. It’s just not the same series we fell in love with.
We can’t deny the fact that Fire Emblem: Awakening is a top-tier RPG that delivers on its promise. Fire Emblem: Awakening is easily one of the best and top Fire Emblem games of all time. The main reason why it’s not higher up on our list is that the other three games ahead eclipse it in terms of personal enjoyment.
3. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
We’re at the halfway point and in the upper echelon of Fire Emblem games on our list. We can’t think of a better entry than Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. Players will enjoy battling hordes of enemies and blowing them away with eye-catching attacks. In Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, everything is much more polished and feels refined.
Swat Away Enemy Units in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
The muso-styled games are a wonderful chance for players to see how things play out if the traditional turn-based route ever got changed in mainline Fire Emblem games. With the emphasis on head-on attacks, the typical Fire Emblem problem of weapon durability isn’t a factor in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.
How Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Stacks Up Against the Other Best Fire Emblem Games
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has an innovative playstyle by incorporating the objective-based goals that players must accomplish. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes allows players to control and command the supplementary units to strategize against huge enemy numbers.
Here’s why we think Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes can hang with the best Fire Emblem games around.
The Story is Genuinely A Fire Emblem Narrative
The biggest draw for us with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is how the story unfolds and how the player’s choices provide unique insight into the overarching plot. The game’s conclusion of each side is satisfying and well thought-out. If you enjoy narrative-heavy titles with plot twists, we recommend checking out our list of 8 best story-driven games.
Unlockable Character and Attention to Detail
The choice of allegiance will show the game’s events from varying perspectives. There is also the ability to unlock new characters to join the protagonist. All the techniques of Fire Emblem characters are portrayed spectacularly, making players feel powerful. The game won’t let players stray too far from the main story missions to avoid getting side-tracked.
While there aren’t many things on the negative front for Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, we have one nitpick with the game. Here’s what it is:
The Villain Dilemma
The deal breaker for us is that the antagonist is the main character of another recent release, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. Sure, seeing Blythe as a hero and a villain, we admire the character’s multidimensional layers, but it’s not easy to fight a beloved character.
Plus, there is a chance for inconsistent story telling for casual players which is bound to cause confusion for players.
Despite the singular flaw, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a gem within the Fire Emblem games, and we highly recommend checking it out.
2. Fire Emblem: Engage
Now we’re at the runner-up position of top Fire Emblem games, and it’s a nearly perfect title. Providing several improvements in terms of gameplay, we found Fire Emblem: Engage to be a fun ride all the way. Combat is the major focus within Fire Emblem: Engage.
Fire Emblem – The Most Innovative
The enemies are much more varied and require a lot of mixing and matching of unit pairings. The combat and surprising cameos of the previous game’s Emblem Lords make Fire Emblem: Engage a highly enjoyable game.
Players will discover new and innovative features that provide layers to the gameplay. The dynamic for combat encounters is now more tactical than ever, and players must think before engaging with the enemy.
The Reason Fire Emblem: Engage Is The Runner Up On Our List Of Top Fire Emblem Games
Fire Emblem: Engage is a unique game within the hierarchy of Fire Emblem games. There’s plenty of upsides and little to no negatives. Let’s see what they are:
Fire Emblem: Engage has a lot of ways that make itself more approachable. This doesn’t mean that the game is only for casuals, in fact there’s quite a bit of depth to the game.
Combat is the Sole Focus
Combat and relationship-building are critical components of any Fire Emblem game. Both mechanics are present in Fire Emblem: Engage, but it’s clear as day that players are being nudged toward combat and the grind of felling foes. Let’s face it, Fire Emblem: Engage, while very much divisive, but is near and dear to our hearts because of this.
Navigation is Mercifully Easier
Usually in Fire Emblem games, the movement is a pain because it requires manually traveling from point to point on the map. However, in Fire Emblem: Engage, there is the Warp mechanic. With it, players don’t need to travel long distances to reach a specific map location.
Fire Emblem: Engage does a lot of things right, except for in one department which is why it isn’t at the top spot for us. Here’s where it fumbles:
Social Element Takes A Backseat
A lot of people have a problem with the relationship-building aspect f playing second fiddle in Fire Emblem: Engage. The cause for outrage is justified, but we have a counterpoint that it is precisely because of the divisive feature players are getting innovation. You can soothe your aching hearts with our dating sim games list.
Fire Emblem: Engage is one of the most wonderful and stylistic Fire Emblem games. You can’t go wrong with this game.
1. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Okay, time to clear the deck and make way for the undisputed and unopposed number 1 entry on our list. Fire Emblem: Three Houses handily eclipses other games.
Enjoy Story Deviation Unlike Any Other in Fire Emblem: Three Houses
The story follows three distinct houses the player character can join, and each vastly differs from the other. The game is extraordinarily brilliant. Diverging plotlines that take on distinct identities is something of a Fire Emblem staple at this point. No other game in the franchise manages to outdo Fire Emblem: Three Houses in this department.
Is it any surprise that out of all the Fire Emblem games that got rave reviews, we picked the one everyone was gushing over as the best yet? We like to pick choices that appeal to a broad audience, you can check our recommendations for 9 best singleplayer adventure games to see we mostly pick games that aren’t obvious choices.
Why is Fire Emblem Three Houses the Best Fire Emblem Game?
We knew that Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of those unforgettable games that leave a lasting impression on players. The game has mass appeal for both hardcore and casual audiences.
We consider Fire Emblem: Three Houses as the best game in the franchise (So Far). Here’s Why:
Fan Favorite New Protagonist and Their Journey is Compelling
Fire Emblem: Three Houses introduces a protagonist that’s quickly become a fan favorite; you’ve guessed it, Blythe. Players can see their journey play out in multiple variants, each one more entrancing than the last.
The game has a set number of days for players to foster their bond with students and fellow teachers at the academy. Not only do players need to level up to face powerful and frightening enemies, but have to weigh their options. Nurturing a relationship is equally as important as training a student to be useful in battle.
The Combat is Highly Satisfying Without Annoyances
The character units in this game can adopt different classes to fight in battles and improve their stats. The weapon arts unlock after gaining a set amount of experience points. The weapon arts deal heavy damage to opponents but also cause heavy decay of the weapons.
There’s nothing technically bad about Fire Emblem: Three Houses at all, it’s a 10/10 game. Yet, there is one thing that, through the power of hindsight is bit of a personal tick we have with the game.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the title of the game is misleading, as the game doesn’t have three houses because there are actually 4 houses! That’s right! The DLC that was released a while after the main game introduced a secret house that provides a mind-bending twist and adds excellent replay value to the game.
In a sense this isn’t really a negative, as much a personal gripe. It would have been far better to advertise the 4th house.
The glowing reviews the game got were wholly justified, and we are still in awe of the game. It’s subverted all our expectations. In our opinion, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the best Fire Emblem game; none of the other games comes close to matching it..
Express your outrage in the comments below, and we look forward to facing the wrath of the Fire Emblem fandom. Alternatively, if you agree with our choices of Fire Emblem games, please let us know as well. We always enjoy conversing with like-minded folks. We always look forward to hearing what our readers think about our content.
If you like to see a list of another ranking of Nintendo’s first-party games, we recommend checking out Every Pokemon Game For The Switch Ranked From Worst To Best.