Is Fire Emblem Engage a Mainline Game?

Is Engage a fully-fledged title or just an elaborate spin-off?

by Tom Cunliffe
Image via Nintendo, Intelligent Systems

While past Fire Emblem characters have been known to appear in modern mainline titles, they often serve minor roles with little influence on the overall story. Fire Emblem: Engage features heroes from across Fire Emblem’s long history in prominent roles, with the game’s primary mechanic focusing on battling alongside the likes of Marth, Roy, Lyn, Ike, and other iconic warriors.

With such similarities to the mobile spin-off Fire Emblem Heroes, many fans were left wondering if Fire Emblem: Engage was a mainline game following its announcement trailer and promotional material.

Is Fire Emblem: Engage a Mainline Fire Emblem Title?

Fire Emblem: Engage is a mainline Fire Emblem game and the fourteenth title overall. Like all other mainline titles, Engage is developed by Nintendo and Intelligent Systems. While characters from previous Fire Emblem games play essential roles in both the story and gameplay, Fire Emblem: Engage retains all of the classic features that have kept fans hooked for decades.

Engage features an entire cast of original characters with the ability to utilize Emblem Rings, which can summon the spirit of protagonists from previous games to aid them in battle. Instead of being controllable, these “Emblems” will instead empower units and allow them to use their iconic weapons in their attacks. Additionally, the game’s namesake, the Engage feature, allows units to temporarily fuse with Emblems for powerful attacks.

From its Support mechanics to its combat, optional permadeath, and notoriously cheesy dialogue: Fire Emblem’s classic style and gameplay are all here. Much to the delight of series veterans, the Weapon Triangle also returns, despite its absence from the previous mainline time, Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Rather than their class, combat revolves around the weapons that characters yield, which allows the player to form more meaningful relationships with a smaller cast of characters that are able to perform multiple roles.

Fire Emblem: Engage diverges slightly from more modern Fire Emblem titles in the form of its social dynamics, however, focusing more on combat, strategy, and activities found in its central hub, the Somniel. That’s not to say they don’t exist; romance and character conversations are still significant and embedded into the game’s identity — just not to the point where the game feels more like a visual novel than a tactical RPG.

Fire Emblem: Engage is available now, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

- This article was updated on January 21st, 2023

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