Is the Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia DLC Worth It?

With a load of DLC that costs more than the actual game, is it worth it to buy a season pass or should you just get individual pieces?

While Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia has only been out for a few days internationally, the game was already out in Japan as of April 20th. As a result, the international release is already set for -- as Nintendo calls it -- a "barrage of DLC" over the span of just under a month. But with a price tag for the Season Pass sitting just above the price of the full game, is it really worth it?

In this article we'll be taking a look at the DLC available to see if the content on offer is worth purchasing individually, as a pass, or even at all!

Fledgling Warriors Pack

  • Individual Price: $2.99 - $3.99 USD per map
  • Pack Price: $7.99 USD

The Fledgling Warriors Pack consists of three DLC maps -- The Astral Temple, Band of Bandages, and Wretches and Riches. Each of these maps serves a separate purpose: to gain rare items, experience, and silver coins for forging.

While this might not seem like much, the Astral Temple map can drop Star Shards, which are useful for customizing the growth rates of your units. They do this by increasing the chances of growing a certain stat upon level up, and so it's a must-have for anyone looking to max out the stats of their favorite characters.

That said, none of these are particularly useful for a casual or hardcore run. If anything, it's just there to make the game easier for you.

The Verdict: I would skip on this DLC pack if you don't want it. You're not missing out on anything special, and it doesn't really add anything to the game.

Undaunted Heroes Pack

  • Individual Price: $3.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $9.99 USD

The Undaunted Heroes Pack consists of: The Inner Sanctum, Wealth Before Health, and Lords of the Grave maps. All of these maps offer similar -- but enhanced -- benefits as the previous DLC pack. While this may seem pointless at first, this pack serves as a higher level version of the previous DLC -- and as such your rates of finding rarer items and gaining greater amounts of experience are to be expected.

One of these items is the Starsphere. This item is created after combining all star shards and a black pearl, and grants a permanent boost to all stats by 2.

The Verdict: Considering that there's plenty of places to grind levels in the base game, this pack is only worth it if you want to get Star Shards or the Starsphere. Otherwise, you can once again skip out on this.

The Lost Altars Pack

  • Individual Price: $1.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $14.99 USD

The Lost Altars Pack provides players with a number of new DLC classes that did not exist in the original Fire Emblem: Gaiden title. Each acts as a fourth promotion -- otherwise known as Over Class -- that more or less breaks the game, as they serve no real purpose other than pushing your units to new limits. That said, they do help a lot with the game's post-game, and are by no means invasive aside from their somewhat out-of-place designs in some cases.

The VerdictThis pack is perhaps the first I can safely recommend, but only if you want it. Over Class promotions aren't particularly useful, and they are by no means essential to enjoy the game. This one is purely up to the individual player's' discretion.

Rise of the Deliverance Pack

  • Individual Price: $3.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $12.99 USD

Arguably one of the most controversial inclusions, the Rise of the Deliverance Pack provides players with four new campaign maps, and story content that takes place prior to the events of the game. While they are interesting, and the support conversations within it are unobtainable outside of it, it is by no means necessary to the understanding of the story as a whole.

You also will be rewarded with special unit-specific items upon completion, so it might be worth it for those if you are interested in picking it up.

The Verdict: While it could have been added as part of the base game, this DLC seems to be a second thought as opposed to a planned design. If you are interested in seeing more lore -- particularly behind the Knights of Zophia -- then this pack is certainly for you. The maps also provide a bit of a challenge since unit levels and items are set. So if you're looking for a bit of strategy-heavy gameplay, this might be up your alley as well.

Cipher Companions Pack

  • Individual Price: $3.99 USD per Map
  • Pack Price: $5.99 USD

The Cipher Companions Pack consists of two battle maps that grant you four new allies for use in the main game. These characters include: Lando (Vagabond Knight), Emma (Apprentice Sky Knight), Shade (Dark Saint), and Yuzu (Violet Myrmidon). None of these characters are part of the Shadows of Valentia storyline, as they are merely a cross-promotion with the Fire Emblem Cipher card game.

Each of these characters will come with support conversations, base conversations, as well as special weapons for each character.

The Verdict: At $5.99 USD, this DLC isn't so much content as it is a collector's item. If you're a fan of the Fire Emblem Cipher card game (which only really exists in Japan anyway), then by all means pick it up. Otherwise, it's not worth it unless you're looking for a bunch of characters with exclusive classes or to bump up your ranks by a couple of units.

The Season Pass

  • Price: $44.99 USD

The Fire Emblem: Echoes - Shadows of Valentia season pass is a collection of all the aforementioned DLC, as well as any possible DLC that comes later. At $45, this is only worth it if you were planning on getting absolutely every single DLC map -- as it only reduces the price at about 13%. Nintendo advertises the difference at over 30%, but that's only really the case if you decided to buy each map individually.

The Verdict: If you like the idea of Over Classes, Cipher Companions, and so on, then it's worth it. If you only want one or two of these packs, I would just get one of the bundles instead. There is no reason to buy this unless you intend to use absolutely everything included.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I don't really see the point of purchasing each individual piece of DLC. While the Rise of the Deliverance pack is interesting, the grinding levels, Cipher companions, and to an extent the Over Class pack don't really appeal to a person like me who only wants to play the games for the lore and story.

That said, I can totally see someone buying all of these packs together if they want to max out unit stats, build up their favorite characters, or even just get everything they can out of what is otherwise a wonderful game.

At the end of the day, it's clear for the most part that other than the story DLC, there's not much effort put into this -- and so I imagine that Intelligent Systems will pump out similar DLC for future games regardless of what is purchased or not. All that really matters in terms of deciding here is what you believe will make the game more or less fun for you.

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Regardless of what you choose, we'll see you out in the battlefield! And to make sure you secure a victory, check out our other Shadows of Valentia guides here on GameSkinny: 

Published May. 23rd 2017

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