If you’ve been an adventurer for any length of time then you have probably heard about my love of the Fire Emblem series. The series blends tactical combat, fantasy storytelling, and rich character development in a style of game that encourages replayability in a number of different ways. A new release in this series never fails to excite me, and I have purchased the last two Fire Emblem games day one in anticipation of their greatness.
Fire Emblem Echoes is a remake of the second Fire Emblem game ever: Gaiden. Intelligent Systems has made it incredibly clear that they plan to stay true to the mechanics of the original game, but that one modern element will still be included: downloadable content. While I personally feel like the series nailed DLC with Awakening, I hated how the DLC of Fates was pretty much necessary to understand the game’s basic story. Important information was hidden away behind paid DLC, and that to me is a pretty garbage thing to do in a game that’s already $80 for roughly 120 hours of story.
Nintendo recently revealed details about the DLC coming up for Fire Emblem Echoes, so today I wanted to take the time to talk about the upcoming content. I’ll talk about what we know so far about the game’s DLC and also reveal my thoughts on whether or not it’s going to be worthwhile.
Like many games with DLC, Fire Emblem Echoes is going to have a season pass for all of its content. There are five packs of DLC each with multiple maps, for a total of 20 confirmed maps so far (the fifth pack is still unrevealed as of the writing of this article). You can purchase individual maps, entire packs, or the full season pass. Naturally, any bulk set of maps is cheaper than buying each one individually, and the whole season pass is cheaper than buying individual packs – Nintendo’s website claims you’ll save 30% buying the season pass compared to buying each map on its own. As far as the pricing goes, the season pass is currently planned to sell for $44.99 here in the states.
“Whoa whoa whoa, hold it. Isn’t that more money than a typical 3DS game?” Why yes, astute adventurer, you’re absolutely right! The season pass for the game is actually more expensive than the whole base game on its own, which to me is just wild. That is effectively claiming that all the DLC together is more content than the actual game. This could go a lot of different ways. If the base game is good and the DLC really does add up to that much content again, then this could be really awesome. My guess, though, is that the DLC won’t add up to a second game’s worth of stuff.
Right now there are four confirmed DLC packs: Fledgling Warriors, Undaunted Heroes, Lost Altars, and Rise of the Deliverance. Each pack has a specific theme and all the maps within it go together (in the sense that they work within the theme). I personally like that aspect of the DLC, because it means that if a certain type of DLC appeals to me, I can just grab that pack rather than having to yank individual maps out of different packs or shell out for the season pass. I’m pretty sure I got the season pass for Fates, and I only really ended up playing Hidden Truths 1 and 2.
The Fledgling Warriors pack is focused on training maps that are helpful in early parts of the game. There are three maps in the pack, and each one allows you to farm a different resource – items, experience, or gold. These effectively allow you to grind without progressing the story, which can be helpful if you find yourself falling behind in levels or if you’re new to the series and need some extra muscle to reinforce your lack of tactical experience. This is nothing new for Fire Emblem DLC as Awakening did something similar with the Golden Pack back in the day. What is different is that these maps are specifically catered to early-game characters and will lose their effectiveness as you progress in the game. That’s what the next pack is for.
The Undaunted Heroes pack offers a similar setup as the Fledgling Warriors: you have three maps that each focus on a specific resource as a reward. The gold, items, and experience is these maps can be assumed to be more plentiful and of better quality than those in the first pack. The big difference, though, is how hard you have to work for it. Nintendo’s website shows different difficulty levels for maps: easy, medium, and hard. While the Fledgling Warriors pack contains all easy maps, the Undaunted Heroes pack contains all hard maps. These maps can help you grind, but they are tough and will only be appropriate for heroes who are far into the game.
The Lost Altars pack is a little different from the other sets. This is your method of unlocking special classes otherwise unavailable in the base game. Adding these to your game unlocks dungeons with special altars. In the base game, dungeons with statues of the goddess will allow your character to promote classes. It seems like these special statues in the Lost Altars pack will allow you to promote a second time, based on the description on Nintendo’s site. Specifically, they allow you to pass the character’s maximum level. My question is, does this work like the third tier classes in Radiant Dawn, where each one is an extension of an existing class line? Or is it more like the special classes in Awakening and Fates, where they have unique skills and overall better stats than the game’s normal classes?
Rise of the Deliverance is the fourth pack and the final one with any content revealed about it. This pack is different from the others in that is actually adds story to the game. Specifically, there are four maps in this pack that together make up a prologue to the game. These maps focus on specific characters and presumably add to their backstories. The difficulty rating on these maps is medium, although whether or not that means that your in-game party needs to be leveled up before you take them on remains to be seen. My guess is that these maps are medium difficulty because you need to have some experience with the game before you’ll really understand how to play them, but will have their own characters so party levels won’t matter.
So far I’m not seeing anything that makes me think all of this stuff will be worth a whole ‘nother game’s worth of money. Yes, that’s a lot of maps and content, but the content’s playability hinges on the main game. What’s the point of grinding if there’s not a main quest to grind for? Extra classes to play as are literally useless by themselves – gotta have the base game for that. The only maps that theoretically could be played on their own are the four prologue maps. Now we still have a fifth set that hasn’t been revealed yet which may add more story, or possibly specialized challenge maps that will justify the presence of the ability to level up further and grind at high levels.
My opinion of this DLC so far is that it does seem solid, just maybe not worth the price. Specifically, in a game that will already allow you to repeat dungeons in order to grind levels, I don’t necessarily see the point in paying for extra maps that do the same thing. If the base game doesn’t already include challenge maps that push your characters beyond their maximum level, then the Lost Altars are useless without being paired with other DLC. The one set of DLC that does appeal to me is Rise of the Deliverance – I’m a sucker for more story and I can see myself wanting to experience the prologue to the game.
What about you, adventurers? Do you see yourself being interested in any of this DLC? All of it? Would you pay more for DLC than you paid for the game it goes to? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to include your favorite Fire Emblem critical quote!