What are the best Fire Emblem games?
Fire Emblem is often considered to be Nintendo’s version of Final Fantasy, but it is much more unique than that.
Filled with memorable characters, exceptional gameplay, and epic quests, Fire Emblem is one of the biggest series to come out of Japan.
However, some installments in Fire Emblem stand out more than others, and today we’re giving those games their due.
The Best Fire Emblem Games Ranked
In order to create this list, we took a look at the sales data and fan popularity of each Fire Emblem game.
We then compared each and ranked them to create this in-depth list of the top games in the series.
That said, let’s jump into our list of the best Fire Emblem games, ranked:
15. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade Of Light
Kicking off our list is the first game in the Fire Emblem series, Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light.
Initially released in Japan in 1990, the game follows the story of Prince Marth as he tries to reclaim his throne after being exiled.
This game tasks players with forming alliances with neighboring kingdoms and gathering an army to defeat the evil wizard Gharnetf.
Shadow Dragon & The Blade of Light combines elements of traditional RPGs with strategic and tactical combat.
While it wasn’t a breakout success, this game is credited with popularizing the genre in general, making it an important piece of video game history.
Despite not being released outside of Japan initially, it did come to the Nintendo Switch in 2020 to commemorate the series’ 30th anniversary.
This updated version includes many quality-of-life improvements, such as fast-forwarding, rewinding, and the ability to create suspend points during gameplay.
14. Fire Emblem Heroes
A mobile free-to-play tactical turn-based combat RPG, Fire Emblem Heroes, came to Android and iOS in 2017.
In this game, players control a team of four heroes to combat enemies on an 8×6 grid map, and each character has different movement restrictions.
Combat alternates between player and enemy turns, during which the designated side can attack or counterattack.
There is also a set of story missions that are divided into chapters for players to complete, as well as challenges and PvP combat options.
Upon its release, Fire Emblem Heroes was very well received and was even nominated for numerous awards as the Best Mobile Game of the year.
As of 2020, the game had brought in over $656 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing mobile game in Nintendo’s history.
Despite not being as well known as the best free MMORPG games, Fire Emblem Heroes is a solid game in the series and one of the best to play on the go.
13. Fire Emblem: Warriors
This hack-and-slash action RPG was published in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS.
A collaboration between the Warriors franchise and the Fire Emblem series, this game was praised highly by critics and fans alike.
In this game, players must defeat numerous enemies in order to accomplish specific goals and complete maps.
There is a wide variety of weapons to use, including swords, axes, lances, bows, and dragonstones, that all have specific benefits in combat.
Fire Emblem: Warriors was specifically praised for bringing a more nuanced experience to the genre, though some criticized its shallow mechanics.
Warriors ended up selling a million copies by 2018, and many players favorably compare it to Hyrule Warriors, which was developed by the same team.
12. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is a tactical gameplay RPG released for the Wii in 2008 as the 10th game in the series.
A direct sequel to GameCube’s Path of Radiance, this game kicks off in war-torn Daein, where players must rebel against the oppressive occupying army.
The story is divided into four separate parts, and the perspective between factions changes to give players a glimpse of all sides.
Combat is conducted on a grid-based map with turn-based combat, like in previous games in the series.
Critics praised the core gameplay of Radiant Dawn, though the high difficulty did draw some criticism from fans.
That said, this game has been hailed as a good example of what a strategy game should be, and it remains highly popular with fans.
11. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
Released in North America in 2009, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is a remake of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light.
Instead of being just a remaster, this game expands and retells the events of the first game, giving players greater insight into the story.
While it isn’t a huge overhaul, the tweaks help make the story more cohesive and easy to follow, even for those unfamiliar with the series.
Expanded difficulty options were also added, as was a more balanced weapons triangle that replaced the original system.
A mid-battle save point was also included so that players wouldn’t have to restart an entire battle if a key unit was destroyed.
This remake was well received by fans and critics, with many praising the dual-screen functionality that was added for the Nintendo DS.
10. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia
Published by Nintendo for the 3DS in 2017, Shadows of Valentia is the fifteenth installment in the Fire Emblem franchise.
A remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second game in the series, this game follows dual protagonists, Alm and Celica.
The goal is to end a war through opposite methods, with Alm seeking battle and Celica striving for peace.
Despite not being one of the most popular Nintendo games of all time for western audiences, Shadows of Valentia was positively received by fans and critics.
Environments in the game are split between the battle maps and towns that can be explored, which are filled with friendly NPCs and dungeons.
This game also introduced Mila’s Turnwheel, which allows players to rewind turns and redo moves, though it can only be used a limited number of times.
Several characters from this game were also added to Fire Emblem Heroes as a way to commemorate the game’s launch.
9. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones remains one of the best GBA games of all time, having been released in 2005 for the Game Boy Advance.
The eighth entry in the entire franchise, The Sacred Stones, is set in a different continuity than previous installments.
Taking place on the continent of Magvel, players have to stop the destruction of the sacred stones to prevent the release of an ancient demon.
All of Fire Emblem’s core gameplay elements make a return, including permanent death for characters lost in battle.
The world is navigated using an overworld map, with different routes unlocked as the story progresses.
Along with the story’s battle sections, there are also optional dungeons where players can go to fight enemies and earn additional experience points.
Although no sales data has been released regarding The Sacred Stones, Nintendo has stated it was one of their most successful Game Boy Advance titles.
8. Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance
The ninth installment in the Fire Emblem series, Path of Radiance, debuted in 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube.
Taking place on the continent of Tellius, the story follows Ike, a mercenary, as he tries to restore Princess Elincia to the throne.
Path of Radiance is the first game in the series to feature 3D graphics, voice acting, and full-motion cut scenes, something that critics highly praised.
This game proved to be a critical success upon release, though some did criticize its graphics as lackluster for the time.
Despite that, fans enjoyed the polished combat mechanics and the variety of characters that could be encountered and recruited.
Path of Radiance ended up receiving many award nominations, including one for Nintendo Game of the Year at the 2006 Golden Joystick Awards.
It can still be played today using one of the best GameCube emulators in all of its original glory.
7. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
Unlike previous games in the Fire Emblem franchise, Fates was released as three different versions, each of which follows a different storyline.
Birthright was seen as the best starting point for new players, and its gameplay is similar to Fire Emblem Awakening.
Combat still follows the grid-based, turn-style mechanics, and everything is played from a top-down perspective.
The story in this version follows the character of Corrin, who has chosen their biological family and is shunned by their adoptive family as a result.
While this version of the game was well-received by critics, it still ranked lower than the two other adaptations, which is why it lands at number 7 on our list.
6. Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation
Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation is another version of the game, and it is noted to be a middle ground between Birthright and Conquest.
This version of the game takes elements from both Birthright and Conquest, but it sees Corrin reject both his biological and adoptive families.
After being declared a traitor by both parties, a unique story plays out that is completely different than the other potential paths.
However, unlike Birthright and Conquest, Revelation was released exclusively as a DLC, while the other versions received physical releases.
Although fans and critics rated Revelation highly, the fact that it was released as downloadable content was criticized by some.
That said, its story is definitely one of the most interesting of the three, and it diverges in many interesting ways.
5. Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
Conquest is the final of the three versions released for Fates, and it is the one that provides the most challenge to players overall.
This version of the game rewards players for collecting limited experience and money per map and includes many tough additional objectives during battle.
In Conquest, Corrin sides with his adopted family, causing them to be forced into fighting their biological family in a divergent plot.
While Conquest received higher praise than Birthright, it fell just short of Revelation, despite the latter being a downloadable path.
That said, Conquest is often considered to be the best of the trio by fans due to its cast of characters and overall challenging gameplay elements.
Despite being tougher, this version is also filled with more difficult moral questions that really make players question what the right decision really is.
It may not have any of the toughest video game bosses of all time, but Conquest certainly takes a lot of skill to complete.
4. Fire Emblem Fates: Special Edition
While we covered the three separate games above, each of them was also included in the Fates Special Edition that was released in 2016.
Although it was solidly expensive, the Fates Special Edition was created to be a collector’s item, coming with all three games and a number of collectible merchandise.
A special edition containing all three games and the official art book was also released in North America and Europe.
Pre-orders of these Special Edition sets sold out within a single day, prompting Nintendo to release a second batch.
In North America, it was so popular that it became the fastest-selling game in the series’ history, selling 300k units during its release weekend.
Needless to say, these Special Edition sets are incredibly valuable today, and if you have one, consider yourself very lucky.
3. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Published for the Nintendo Switch in 2019, Three Houses is the sixteenth game in the Fire Emblem series.
Set on the continent of Fodlan, players take control of Byleth, a former mercenary and current professor, who must lead their students through various battles.
Three Houses maintains the same turn-based combat as previous games but incorporates social simulation and time management gameplay elements.
While some criticized the game’s easier difficulty compared to prior games, it overall was met with favorable reviews from fans and critics.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses even won Best Strategy Game at The Game Awards in 2019 and spawned a Warriors-style spin-off that was released in 2022.
What makes this game really stand out is the various routes that players can take, each of which results in different endings.
These branching paths added a lot of replayability to this already great game, which is why it remains one of the best Fire Emblem games in the franchise.
2. Fire Emblem: Awakening
The Fire Emblem game is the thirteenth in the series, and it was published for the Nintendo 3DS internationally in 2013.
While it was the first game in the series created for the 3DS, it retained the same turn-based combat that fans of the series have come to enjoy.
This game also includes the ability to build relationships with characters, and camera perspectives can be changed during battle at any time.
There is also the option to disable the permanent deaths of characters in battle, though some fans disliked this change since the mechanic has long been a staple in the series.
The story is set 2000 years after the events of the original Fire Emblem, and it focuses on Prince Chrom and his army battling undead invaders.
Despite some detractors, Awakening was largely met with critical acclaim, and it was praised for being accessible to the series’ newcomers.
It was thanks to the commercial success of this entry that the entire series took off in Western territories.
1. Fire Emblem Engage
Fire Emblem Engage is one of the most popular video games right now, and it was released for the Nintendo Switch in January 2023.
Although this game is similar to other games in the series, it adds Emblem Rings, which allow units to fight using the Lords of previous titles.
Set in Elyos, many previous protagonists can be summoned to help in combat, which is quite nostalgic for die-hard fans of the series.
However, that’s not to say it’s inaccessible to newcomers, and in fact, the story has been quite simplified to make it easier to jump in.
There is only one major goal in the game, which makes it easier for players to focus on tactics instead of worrying about missing plot points.
It also features exceptional voice acting and graphics that really make it stand out as a modern title.
Highly rated by fans and critics, Engage has been praised for having one of the most flexible progression systems in the series.
While some fans of the classic story models have criticized the lack of branching storylines, the story ultimately holds up well on its own.
Needless to say, Engage has quickly become one of the best Fire Emblem games and our pick as the best overall in the franchise.
Fire Emblem games have been around for a long time and have an incredibly strong fan following.
However, some games in the series have been more memorable than others, with these fifteen being the best overall.
With many games moving away from turn-based combat systems, it’s nice to see Fire Emblem sticking to its roots with increasingly impressive installments.
Here’s a quick recap of the best Fire Emblem games:
- Fire Emblem Engage
- Fire Emblem: Awakening
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses
- Fire Emblem Fates: Special Edition
- Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest
- Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation
- Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright
- Fire Emblem: Path Of Radiance
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
- Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
- Fire Emblem: Warriors
- Fire Emblem Heroes
- Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & The Blade Of Light
What’s your favorite Fire Emblem game? Leave a comment below.
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