Fire Emblem Engage’s Expansion Pass, Good but Not Essential

Nik Chrissanthos, Assistant Arts & Entertaintment Editor

This review will contain spoilers for Fire Emblem Engage’s main story and the Fell Xenologue.

Fire Emblem Engage’s Expansion Pass has been released in full, adding seven more Emblems and a story expansion in the Fell Xenologue. And just as I found the main game to be somewhat hit or miss in terms of gameplay and story (my full review can be found here), the Expansion Pass is much the same in terms of its own gameplay and story. So let’s break it down wave by wave before diving into Fell Xenologue.

Headlining the Expansion Pass in its first wave is Emblem Tiki from Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon, and Emblem Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude from Fire Emblem Three Houses. Both of these two I found exceptionally useful. Tiki has some very helpful skills that allow for boosting growth rates, healing in combat, and her Engage form lets any unit turn into an extremely bulky dragon which was shockingly absent from the main game despite dragon characters like Alear in the series usually being able to do so. Emblem Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude are also exceedingly helpful granting the unit access to Combat Arts and Gambits from Three Houses. They are extremely versatile in combat, which balances well with Tiki’s more support oriented skills.

Wave two features Emblem Soren from Fire Emblem Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, Emblem Hector from Fire Emblem Blazing Blade, and Emblem Camilla from Fire Emblem Fates. Emblem Soren, befitting his role as Ike’s tactician, has skills that help control the battlefield such as his Bolting tome to strike distant foes and Assign Decoy to make foes target specific units. He’s good, but I would be lying if I said my favorite part of Emblem Soren was seeing his new interactions with Ike, which were super cute. Emblem Hector is the only Emblem that is an armor class, which seems a bit strange to leave out of the main game but that’s neither here nor there. Emblem Hector is about tanking, which is made especially helpful when he gives you the Runesword which restores health when you attack with it. He also has the extremely useful Quick Riposte skill to guarantee follow up attacks. Another solid Emblem, but unfortunately one I didn’t use too much since by the time I got him I was finished with just about everything else in the game. Emblem Camilla is in a similar situation. Despite the fact that her inclusion is somewhat stigmatized by her blatantly oversexualized design, she’s still pretty useful. She has Corrin’s Dragon Vein ability which is handy for altering terrain in addition to Soar which allows any unit to cross flier only terrain. Handy, but not entirely necessary depending on how you look at it.

Wave three features Emblem Chrom and Robin from Fire Emblem Awakening and Emblem Veronica from Fire Emblem Heroes. Emblem Chrom and Robin are very straightforward, with some very standard skills like Rally Spectrum to boost ally’s stats and Charm to increase accuracy in Chain attacks. As much as I love Fire Emblem Awakening and these characters together especially, they are unfortunately the least remarkable of all the DLC Emblems. Emblem Veronica on the other hand is very unique. Just as you do in Fire Emblem Heroes, you can summon other characters to fight for you. She even gets access to the skill Contract which allows units to act twice in a turn akin to the Dancer class.

To conclude my thoughts on the DLC Emblems, they’re mostly fine with some helpful skills and some welcome returning characters who were left out of the game. That being said, I still think there were glaring omissions in terms of who could have been in this DLC. Alm from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Eliwood from Fire Emblem Blazing Blade, and Azura from Fire Emblem Fates to name three of the big ones. Alm feels like a natural choice to pair with Emblem Celica, seeing as the two’s stories are so closely connected. Eliwood is the only character missing from the Blazing Blade protagonist trifecta (despite being the actual main character of that game), and could have just as easily been paired up with Hector akin to Eirika and Ephraim or Chrom and Robin. Azura represents Fire Emblem Fates far better than Camilla does since she’s the reason Corrin has to make the crucial decision that is the entire preface of Fates, and she also has the Dancer ability Emblem Veronica has. As much as I would have liked some characters to be represented here over others, I don’t think the present selection is bad (except for Camilla but even that’s down to personal preference), but that does little to address the glaring omissions.

Wave four of the DLC is the Fell Xenologue, the story expansion. The story itself centers on Nel and Nil, two Fell Dragon children from an alternate reality where their version of Alear died and the whole world was basically ruined because of this. The Alear from the main game gets summoned to this alternate reality to help Nel and Nil collect the seven Emblems of their world to hopefully save the world. Along the way they also meet alternate versions of the Four Hounds, central antagonists from the main game who are good guys in this reality. All of which (excluding Mauvier) can be recruited in the main game once the Fell Xenologue is completed. I thought this story was leagues better than Engage’s main story. Nel and Nil are well developed with a really good sibling dynamic, and I genuinely did not see Nil’s betrayal coming. It could have been teased a bit more, but I still think it’s a decent twist. Nel also has more depth then most of the main game’s characters, who was in love with her universe’s Alear before their death, and this kind of broke her and led her to do some terrible things during the DLC story. Ultimately, Nil is redeemed and he travels with Nel to the main game’s reality to journey with Alear.

One big thing I want to address in regards to a part of the story that was left up in the air was the identity of the Zero Emblem, Sombron’s original Emblem he mentions towards the end of the main game. The Fell Xenologue does not address this in any way, which is a huge bummer.

The gameplay remains as good as ever in the DLC, with the six maps from the Fell Xenologue providing a great challenge. Nel is a great unit, and so are Zelestia, Gregory, and Madeline. Nil was a bit lacking, but that could be easily remedied in the main game if you want to use him. My only critique being that your characters are locked to a specific class and level, I just wish there was a bit more flexibility in this regard akin to Cindered Shadows from Three Houses. The DLC also comes with two brand new classes, the Enchanter and the Mage Cannoneer. The Enchanter is a support class that relies on tonics to grant allies buffs, and the Mage Cannoneer uses specialized magic ammo to fire long range magic projectiles. Both classes provide new utility separate from any base game class.

I found the DLC to be pretty solid. I enjoyed some of the returning characters as Emblems, their interactions with the already present Emblems, and the new additions to the gameplay. I even found the Fell Xenologue to have a superior story to the main game. That being said, I don’t think this Expansion Pass is a must buy if you own the game. The new Emblems and Classes are certainly enjoyable, but nowhere near essential to enjoy the game. And if you already dislike Engage, this DLC does little to make up for the common complaints of Engage. I’d only recommend it if you’re a fan of the new Emblems as characters, or if you really loved Engage and just want more.