Similarities  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Similarities  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network A comprehensive look at the differences between Fire Emblem: Fates versions Wed, 27 Jan 2016 05:14:45 -0500 David Fisher

The newest addition to the highly-anticipated Fire Emblem series is coming to North America on February 19th. As it is well known by now, Fates comes in three separate versions - Conquest, Birthright, and the DLC campaign Revelation - each with their own unique story, as well as various other differences. However, if you missed out on the Special Edition of Fire Emblem Fates, chances are you are deciding which game version you would like to buy.

Maybe it's because you're strapped for cash; maybe you want to know which will be the most viable for multiplayer; or maybe you only want to pick up a single physical copy before you purchase the other or buy the other two versions as DLC. No matter which camp you are in, your beloved RR-sama is here to give you all the information you need to make an informed purchase.

What are the similarities?

While some people have berated the game, claiming that it's just as bad as having two Pokemon versions, the simple truth of the matter is that the two versions are about as similar as Call of Duty is to Battlefield. As a result, there is quite a bit of common ground between the games in terms of core mechanics.

For example, the first few chapters of either game, Fire Emblem Fates plays out much the same way. Once players reach chapter six, they must choose which side they will join: their adopted family from Nohr or their blood relatives from Hoshido. Until this choice, however, the first six chapters are the basic tutorial and "easy" missions that one would expect from earlier games in the series. My best comparison would be The Sacred Stones, where players had to choose between Ephraim or Erika.

Other similarities are found mostly in the core gameplay. Support conversations are still the same as in Fire Emblem: Awakening, and the usual strategy-based gameplay elements are similarly present. Similar characters will also appear regardless of the game; however, they will be as allies or enemies depending on the version/route you choose.


Several cast members can join your army, regardless of which side you choose. These characters are typically paralogue recruitable characters, or characters that are fiercely loyal to the player character. These include: Asyura, Azura, Felica, Izana, Jakob, Kaze, Mozu, and Silas.


Other than these core features, very little about the two games remains the same. With that said...

Let's talk differences!

Once again alluding to the Call of Duty vs Battlefield analogy, it's time to start focusing on what everyone really wants to know: the differences!

Fire Emblem: Fates - Birthright

Nintendo might be showing a little bit of home-turf favoritism with its portrayal of the Japanese-inspired country, Hoshido. In Birthright, players will ally themselves with the default country of Hoshido (provided they have not purchased any of the other games as DLC). Dressed in lighter colors such as bright red, white, and blue, Hoshido is a peace-loving country that wants nothing more than to see the world at peace once killing every single Nohr until none remain.

Newcomers to the series and Fire Emblem: Awakening veterans alike will feel right at home with Birthright, as the game does not venture too far from its predecessor's formula. Just about everything in Birthright feels like Awakening from the ability to spawn enemies to fight, to the simplified chapter objectives, and even the ability to infinitely grind your units by playing challenge maps (similar to Risen skirmishes from Awakening) until everyone's levels are maxed out.

Due to Fire Emblem: Birthright roughly translating to Fire Emblem: Feudal Japan, expect a lot of Japanese themed classes in this game. In fact, Birthright effectively has more classes to chose from. These classes include, but are not limited to: ninjas, puppeteers, samurai, weapons masters, oni savages (think Princess Mononoke), priests, pegasus knights, and fox spirits. There are over 26 Birthright exclusive classes in all, and the majority of those classes are not recurring classes from previous Fire Emblem games.

Nishiki (Kaden in the American release) is quite foxy. Maybe it's because he's a kitsune or something, but I could really imagine that he'd love to make a new foxhole in your castle if you let him. Okay, I'm done.

(Screenshot from English-patched version of the original Japanese game)

Other than the inability to recruit the majority of Nohr characters, and the other differences mentioned above, Fire Emblem: Birthright varies rather little from Fire Emblem: Awakening or Conquest. The core gameplay is the same, and you will undoubtedly enjoy the game. There is still a difficulty setting option in this game to select harder game modes if you fancy, so don't worry about that if you thought choosing between Conquest and Birthright was a choice between hard mode and easy mode.

With that said and done, let's look at...

Fire Emblem: Fates - Conquest

Nohr, if not already apparent by their color scheme alone, are the pseudo-bad guys of the game. Advertised as being more akin to classic Fire Emblem games, the stars of Conquest are a European-inspired country whose main goal is to conquer (big surprise there) Hoshido. Their reasons for this venture into spoiler territory, but when it comes down to it, the story of Conquest basically boils down to "nice people doing really bad things".

For players who are used to Fire Emblem: Awakening's gameplay style, Conquest isn't a complete return-to-roots game. You still have support conversations, marriage, children characters, and the pairing system. However, the similarities end there. 

Conquest is all about moving forward, and as such there are few times where you will find yourself able to stop and rest. While some people have compared the game to the first Gameboy Advance Fire Emblem (or Fire Emblem 7), the game shares more in common with The Sacred Stones.

You still have an overworld map (as seen above), and you will need to travel along it to get to each chapter, contrary to rumors that the game has no overworld map at all. From here, players can access the Otherworldly Gate for DLC missions, their next chapter,  as well as paralogues and other non-chapter missions. That said, the comparison with The Sacred Stones stands true insofar as any missions you repeat will yield no experience whatsoever. This means that every single choice you make during your playthrough of Conquest can be a life or death one.

Pick your units carefully, level your characters equally but selectively, and ensure that your tactics are flawless. 

What is more akin to FE7, however, is the game's difficulty. Since - as previously stated - there are no chances to grind levels, Conquest players will have to play with units whose levels are on par or lower than the enemy force. Throw into the mix a wild combination of different mission objectives, and players who are unaccustomed to the old style of gameplay will have more than a few heartbreaking sessions should they choose to play without resetting the game. You could always play Casual or Phoenix mode to ensure your units never truly die, but that tends to take the fun out of the game.

Worse yet, leveling a select few units - or sharing experience among too many - can put an early end to your campaign as you become trapped in an unwinnable battle and have to sacrifice one or more characters to ensure victory. Anyone who has played FE7 or earlier knows that this could lead to disastrous results in later chapters. You have been warned.

Thanks to its European inspiration, Fire Emblem: Conquest has access to the majority of classic Fire Emblem classes (with the exception of pegasus knights, mages, and myrmidons - known as samurai in the Japanese version of Fates), as well as several new classes. The new classes that are exclusive to Conquest include: revenant knights, maids, butlers, and the werewolf-like Garou.

Believe it or not, this furry guy is actually a friendly chap when he's not busy tearing your opponents' guts out with his bare hands!

Fire Emblem: Fates - Revelation

While Fire Emblem: Revelation is not available as a standalone game, I thought it might be a good idea to briefly mention the differences Revelation has some minor differences from the other two versions.

First and foremost, Revelation is the middle ground between Conquest and Birthright in more ways than one. While Conquest can be seen as the "hard" version of the game, and Birthright  the "easy" one, Revelation  is the "moderate" title that never gets particularly painful. The overall difficulty of the game is usually in line with Conquest; however, since Revelation has many of the Fire Emblem: Awakening features found in Birthright, the game is not nearly as difficult.

As for the technical differences, Revelation has access to every single class in the game, as well as a majority of the characters, with only one unavoidable death. That said, characters will still die or be unrecruitable if you do not fulfill certain recruitment conditions, so keep this in mind during your playthrough.

Which version should you choose?

When it comes down to it, the first thing you should consider when choosing which game you want is the game's difficulty and gameplay. If you enjoyed Awakening, then Birthright will be right down your alley. If Fire Emblem 7 or The Sacred Stones was your cup of tea, then maybe Conquest will satisfy your desires by riding alongside Nohr.

Players should also consider what types of units they want on their team. If you like the European-themed Nohr, then that should be taken into account for your initial purchase. Likewise, if you would like units themed around Japanese warriors, then you should put your money on Birthright, regardless of what type of gameplay you prefer.

Ultimately, Revelation and the other version of the game can be purchased as DLC at a reduced price, regardless of which game you choose. So don't worry too much about which physical copy you buy.

In my opinion, Birthright is the safer buy if you are an Awakening veteran or even if you haven't played any of the older Fire Emblem titles in a while. If pure difficulty and old school gameplay is what you want, buy Conquest, but keep in mind that the game does still have many gameplay features from Awakening.

Where do your allegiances lie - Nohr or Hoshido? Did you get lucky enough to buy the Special Edition? Claim your fate in the comments section below!

Transparency: Games are not movies, but they are close Mon, 12 Oct 2015 04:27:21 -0400 Larry Everett

The emotional rollercoaster that everyone who has ever played Mass Effect (or nearly any BioWare game since) directly compares to the pacing of a great feature film. And when you think about, why wouldn’t a game like that be developed like a feature film? Look at the elements. You have a plot, a script, actors, a director, and special effects. It’s a visual medium and projected on a video screen. They are comparable, right?

Unfortunately, movies and video games cannot be compared on the same level. Not only is the audience different, but fundamentally, the way the audience consumes the entertainment is different. That's not to say that there aren't things that are similar or that some skills aren't transferable, but the differences outweigh the similarities. Let's break down a timeline of making a movie versus making a game.

Planning phase

When planning a movie, you start with a script, and many times that’s all you really need. No more real planning is necessary. Many films can get started with the production side of things as soon as the first draft of the script is done. Funny enough, many film shootings can start before the script dialogue is polished. On the gaming side, the bare minimum is a well functioning engine. Some games don’t need to have a script at all. It can just be an interesting mechanic that propels the player to keep going.

We shouldn’t take edge cases as the normal, but that should give an indication of where games start and where movies start. When you get into a more complicated movie or a more complicated game, the lines get a little blurred. However, the planning phase for games does require more thought as to how the player will interact with this world. Movies don’t have to consider that at all, because they're a purely visual experience.

There are some things that games and movies share in the planning phase that should be noted. Both have scripts, for example. In a storytelling game like The Walking Dead by Telltale, the script will be about the size of an entire season of The Walking Dead television show. There will also be storyboards. Both movies and games are visual experiences, and storyboards help illustrate the production’s overall aesthetic. There are many other jobs that overlap, like concept artists and directors. All of these contibutors start their jobs way before the first frame of content is ever created.

Production phase

When actually creating a game and a movie, there are many differences, clearly, but let’s focus on the things that are similar. Indie video games, like indie movies, are forced to forego some of the standard production practices, so for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on AAA games and large studio film productions. Both games and movies hire actors, set designers, directors, effects artists, and motion-capture production crews. But despite film and game studios hiring all of the same people, their jobs are so different between the two that they really can’t be compared.

To illustrate the point, let’s take a look at an actor’s job from the perspective of a movie set.

Actors are usually flown out to a location, where they shoot for a number of weeks - assuming that the movie takes place in a single location. Many times, the schedule will require that the film is shot out of order, but that’s usually divided scene by scene. In a video game, it’s not uncommon for one piece of dialogue to be recorded one day, then the other parts to be recorded weeks or months later. Scenes may not be completed all at once.

This leads into the primary difference between actors in a video game versus those in a movie: the performance is different. Although vocal inflection and performance is important in a film, it’s the only thing that really matters in a video game. We do have son mo-cap performances in video games, but they are not advanced enough to capture the nuances of facial expression and body language like film does. Maybe someday, we will get there, but as of right now, we can’t. That's why stellar vocal performances are so much more important.

There are many other aspects that are obviously different, but I think the last one I’d like to hit on is where the actors fit into the production schedule, in general. Many times in video games, the final vocal performances are not added in until last. I have been in a number of betas where the only voice-over is some intern at the game studio cold reading the script. For any film, this would be unacceptable. Even animated films bring in the voice actors in very early on.

Post production and release phase

The bottom line for video games is the player’s interactive experience. The purpose behind every video game should be the involvement of the audience. A video game is not a spectator experience. You are there; you are the main character. The story is about you. Even in a game like the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt where everyone is Geralt, the story is fundamentally yours, the player's.

When viewing or reviewing a video game, understand that there are comparisons that can be drawn between movies and video games, but even in those comparisons, it’s still apples and pears. They might look very similar, but you have to compare the flavors separately.

I know I didn’t hit on everything, and people certainly have a difference of opinions on this subject. I’d like to read your comments below.

Similarities and differences: How to transition to HotS from LoL or Dota Sat, 25 Jul 2015 13:30:01 -0400 Danielle Marie

For a while now, there has been a distinct rivalry between the top two MOBA leaders: League of Legends and Dota 2. 

Blizzard, however, the game developer responsible for powerhouses such as World of Warcraft and StarCraft, isn't one to take such success sitting down. After all, what's a game genre without a promising Blizzard contender?

What followed was Heroes of the Storm, a MOBA that is distinctly different than its counterparts, but still shared the general premise. 

While every MOBA has slightly diverse characteristics, Heroes of the Storm deviates a bit further than the rest, but the transition shouldn't be too hard to make if you adopt the following tips:

Heroes of the Storm Similarities

Since we're talking about two games in the same genre, they're going to have fundamental similarities. Each team begins on opposite ends of the map and must take down levels of structures until they reach the opponent's life source.

Team Composition and Towers

Each team has 5 members and will be randomly matched against opponents of similar skill level; you'll also see that the same premise of killing outer towers to reach inner towers, then the "nexus", also applies.

Top, Mid, Jungle, and Bot Lanes

There are lanes and a jungle, just like LoL, where each team member should be at a certain time. However, the number of lanes varies.

Single Player Experience

The experience system is also similar. If you're close enough to lane minions that are dying, you'll gain experience. Without this experience, you'll most likely find yourself behind the other team. 

Heroes of the Storm Differences

Map Variety

Unlike League of Legends, players who queue as a team of five will notice that there are 7 different maps that will be chosen at random. Because of this, the teams won't be playing the same map over and over again like Summoner's Rift in League of Legends.

Team Composition and Towers

Rather than the typical ADC and Support bottom lane, AP mid lane, tank/assassin/warrior jungle, and tank/warrior top lane, HoTS will require a much different setup depending on which map you're on. 

The general premise of 1 tank, 1 healer, and 3 damage dealers is the same, but they're going to be in different places based on the meta and the map you're playing. For more information about this, check out our HoTS Map Guides here. 

The other major difference is that, unlike the towers in League and Dota, each structure level in HoTS has a wall, 2 towers, a healing fountain, and a fort, each gaining global XP for your team.

Map Objectives

In Heroes of the Storm, map objectives are critical, unlike League of Legends where it's only a peripheral path to victory. Each map has a different objective and it's always the key to winning, as opposed simply to killing your opponents and pushing lanes. 

Global Experience

This is one of the major contrasts between the two - HoTS has team experience, not single player experience. This means that if a player is getting lane experience from minions dying, they're contributing to the team's experience and not just their own.

Your hero doesn't have its own level, so it's not as easy to carry a team singlehandedly. Either your whole team is doing well or it's not, meaning it's a much more team-oriented game than LoL.

No Items and Player Talents

The other major difference between the games is that there are no items in Heroes of the Storm, and all your damage comes from your player talents instead. 

Both games have player talents when you level up. In HoTS it's only at levels 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 20. 

Rather than building items like in League, you'll be building using your talents in Heroes. So different games will require different talent builds. Heroesfire is a great place to check out builds for your favorite Hero.

Balancing the Game Out and No Surrenders

Another major difference is that Blizzard is trying its hardest to prevent losing teams from giving up. This is exemplified by there being no way to surrender. At least not yet anyway.

Another aspect that Blizzard has implemented is that there are many ways to come back from what many players would refer to as a lost cause. There are many ways to level out the experience - including jungle camps, soaking XP from every lane at the same time, and basically communication and teamwork in general. 

Notably, killing members of the other team is generally not as effective of a strategy in Heroes of the StormKilling the other team is always a good thing, but it's not a matter of direct importance. It's usually the secondary objective, while the map objective is always number one.

Most of the time, you'll be killing your opponents in order to take map objectives.

To Sum It All Up...

It all boils down to four main factors that will be essential to transitioning from League of Legends or DoTA to Heroes of the Storm:

  1. Map objectives versus killing opponents
  2. Global experience instead of single player experience
  3. Using talents as a build Instead of Items
  4. Teamwork over trying to carry

By focusing on educating yourself on these main points, you'll be seeing the victory screen in no time! For more Heroes of the Storm related content, visit the landing GameSkinny page here.