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Which 3DS Fire Emblem game should I play first? (New to the series)

Which Fire Emblem game should I play first?

  • Awakening

    Votes: 440 85.6%
  • Fates - Birthright

    Votes: 10 1.9%
  • Fates - Conquest

    Votes: 11 2.1%
  • Fates - Revelation

    Votes: 1 0.2%
  • Echoes

    Votes: 52 10.1%

  • Total voters
    514
Oct 25, 2017
1,668
I'm not a big Echoes fan, but it does have top-tier voice acting that enhances the entire experience. Overall best presentation of the 3DS Fire Emblems by far (though I don't particularly like Hidari's art compared to Kozaki).
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,732
New York
Echoes may not be that representative of the series as a whole and I would agree there are better first entries like Awakening, but I do think it probably is the best indication of where the series is heading and what Three Houses will be like.
 
Apr 26, 2018
1,202
I genuinely don't understand what people see in Echoes except for a position to take in opposition to Fates.
The artstyle and production values, and there will always be a couple of characters fans will like. Plus some leniency with the turnwheel mechanics. It might mess with expectations, but when somebody doesn't know how the series usually plays, seems like it's fine to enjoy separate from the rest.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,408
It's brill though, and it's really exciting that the upcoming Switch game, Three Houses, is being based on FE: Gaiden/Echoes' gameplay! Definitely try it after you get acustomed to the other entries in the series.
What? Three houses is based on echoes gameplay? This is new to me - when did they say this?
 
Oct 27, 2017
13,233
People can hate Fates all they want, but saying Echoes is a good entry point into Fire Emblem is like saying Simon's Quest is a good entry into Castlevania. They're the black sheep in their respective series and I can't in good conscience recommend them in context of the OP. Echoes is fine to try if you've played 2 or 3 other games in the series but playing it as an entry into the series is a surefire way to mess your expectations and learning patterns up. There's no other Fire Emblem game that follows a similar design pattern, except maybe Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon in some regards, but you won't find the (tedious) dungeon crawling anywhere else, the art style or voice acting. I genuinely don't understand what people see in Echoes except for a position to take in opposition to Fates.
Shadows of Valentia is in no way a black sheep. I'd say it's even inaccurate to label Gaiden a black sheep. Yes, it's mechanically odd compared to other games, but a lot of its mechanics did end up getting adopted or revisted in one way or another.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,184
Echoes may not be that representative of the series as a whole and I would agree there are better first entries like Awakening, but I do think it probably is the best indication of where the series is heading and what Three Houses will be like.
This. I think most people recommending Echoes have tempered their recommendations by saying it doesn’t have certain key Fire Emblem elements.

So it isn’t representative of the series’ fundamental mechanics, but its RPG-style divergences could well be indicative of its future, so it’s no less important.
 

ryseing

Bought courtside tickets just to read a book.
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,462
North Carolina
I genuinely don't understand what people see in Echoes except for a position to take in opposition to Fates.
For me it's the production values and gameplay changes. Archers having more than 2 range was nice as was the actively choosing skills mechanic. Led to some creative options.

Don't get me wrong, the map design is horrendous and they made some unfortunate choices with Celica. But it's a weird game that really clicked for me.
 
Last edited:
Oct 25, 2017
3,521
Netherlands
People can hate Fates all they want, but saying Echoes is a good entry point into Fire Emblem is like saying Simon's Quest is a good entry into Castlevania. They're the black sheep in their respective series and I can't in good conscience recommend them in context of the OP. Echoes is fine to try if you've played 2 or 3 other games in the series but playing it as an entry into the series is a surefire way to mess your expectations and learning patterns up. There's no other Fire Emblem game that follows a similar design pattern, except maybe Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon in some regards, but you won't find the (tedious) dungeon crawling anywhere else, the art style or voice acting. I genuinely don't understand what people see in Echoes except for a position to take in opposition to Fates.
It's because Echoes is more of a hybrid with explorable towns, dungeons and sidestories.

Also has the quality people want for future FE with the voice acting, presentation and mila's turnwheel. For me it was a game of comfort after fates being a convoluted mess.

If you really don't think Echoes has merit on its own, then there's nothing really to discuss.

The majority of the voters picked Awakening and that's a good choice.
 

Tab

Member
Nov 23, 2017
488
Assuming you haven't chosen already OP, I'm going to go against the grain and say Conquest. Sure it's difficult, but play it on normal mode and you shouldn't have too much trouble. It's easily the best 3DS Fire Emblem in terms of gameplay (by a wide margin at that), and all of the Fates games are bad in terms story, so that doesn't really matter between them.

Birthright and Revelation are the only games in the series that I think should just be avoided, they aren't worth the time or money. Birthright is boring and easy, especially once you recruit a certain unit around the midgame, who can easily solo the game, even on the highest difficulty setting. Story is also awful, don't let people who say it's the best Fates story fool you. That's a low bar and isn't even really true.

Revelation is easily the worst game in the series.. Garbage story, garbage map design, and horrible unit balance that will make you question whether it was even play tested. If the Fates Special Edition wasn't such a collectors piece, I would probably have regretted buying it.

Echoes is a weird game for me. Enjoyed it when I first played it, and I have never had the desire to replay it again ever. The gameplay just isn't enjoyable, and the while the characters and aesthetics are great (Outside of the cutscenes which I thought looked bad, but I'm probably a minority opinion on that), I think the story sort of nosedives at the end. As other people have mentioned it's also very different mechanically from the rest of the series, make of that what you will.

Awakening is alright, it's a lot like Birthright in terms of gameplay, but unlike Birthright there's something fun about just raising your units to ridiculously powerful levels and pairing them all up, something that I never got out of Birthright for whatever reason. I think it's the writing, it isn't anything great, but the characters are fun and at least the plot is actually coherent for the most part. This would be an okay pick I guess, and clearly it's what everyone else thinks you should go with.


Personally, If I had to recommend any game to start with, It would be Blazing Blade on GBA (AKA the one that's just called "Fire Emblem"). It was specifically designed to be an entry point into the series, as it was the first game to be released outside of Japan.
 
Awakening is a perfect game to jump into the series in my opinion! The story is enjoyable enough, and the maps encourage you to learn the mechanics at a good pace!

I personally wouldnt recommend fates, but if you can, you should play fire emblem blazing sword (GBA) fire emblem sacred stone (GBA) before you touch fates

I love Fire emblem Echoes as well, and I would highly recommend playing it if you enjoy the main games just to gain some perspective of how the series has evolved! Another game that you did not mention I. The Poll is Fire emblem shadow dragon, and it is more like fire emblem echoes than fire emblem awakening, and worth a play though as well :)
 
May 9, 2018
661
Awakening is certainly getting its due in this thread - the other answers are right, it takes most of the best elements from the previous entries in the series and gathers them up into something content-packed and comprehensive, yet accessible for newcomers. Also keep in mind that you don't have to do the support/marriage and kids stuff, but it adds A LOT to the games, IMO.

I'll also add that I think Casual is a way less intimidating way for newcomers to play - I usually play my first playthrough on Hard Casual which gives a healthy but not punishing amount of challenge, and then a second run through on Hard Classic, which adds a bigger element of strategy to the maps, but can be really frustrating when it's your first time playing and you just want to progress without playing a 30-minute long map over again. So I would recommend Casual but it's up to you! Everyone has different preferences.

The other answer for a starting game would probably be Fates - Birthright. It's the most simplistic of the 3DS Fire Emblem games, where most of the maps have "rout the enemy" or "take out the leader" objectives and few gimmicks (at least until much later on in the game.) The My Castle stuff is nice and helps you feel really connected to the characters, and is a huge improvement over Awakening's Barracks. But I think Awakening is the better singular experience, and I'd recommend starting with Awakening and moving on to Birthright if you're into it and want more of the same.

Then Conquest Classic on Hard, when you're in too deep and need pain to feel alive again
 
Last edited:
Oct 29, 2017
3,375
What? Three houses is based on echoes gameplay? This is new to me - when did they say this?
It features explorable dungeons and areas like in Gaiden/SOV; and some elements of the combat gameplay that we’ve seen seem to take cues from it.

Three Houses also looks very similar to the cancelled Fire Emblem game for Wii; a game that was, in many ways, intended to be a follow up of sorts to Fire Emblem Gaiden.

IS have actually wanted to revisit and further explore Gaiden’s concepts for a long time. Three Houses seems to finally be the realisation of that dream! :D
 
Oct 27, 2017
332
The Netherlands
The artstyle and production values, and there will always be a couple of characters fans will like. Plus some leniency with the turnwheel mechanics. It might mess with expectations, but when somebody doesn't know how the series usually plays, seems like it's fine to enjoy separate from the rest.
Oh I forgot about the turnwheel, I didn't use it much personally but I rather like this solution and could see something similar used in future entries (instead of Phoenix Mode).

Shadows of Valentia is in no way a black sheep. I'd say it's even inaccurate to label Gaiden a black sheep. Yes, it's mechanically odd compared to other games, but a lot of its mechanics did end up getting adopted or revisted in one way or another.
I didn't play FE3, FE4 and FE5 so I don't know how the series evolved after FE2 until FE6, but at least I've read that fatigue returns in Tracia 776. However I don't know if dungeons, archers being able to shoot enemies on adjacent tiles and enemies far away, and HP penalties for casting magic returned. To me FE6 has much more in common with FE1 than FE2 at least.

For me it's the production values and gameplay changes. Archers having more than 2 range was nice as was the actively choosing skills mechanic. Led to some creative options.

Don't get me wrong, the map design is horrendous and they made some unfortunate choices with Celica. But it's a weird game that really clicked for me.
I think I liked the archer class best in Echoes, because as you say it afforded tactical options, however most of the other classes seemed interchangeable to me, the stats mattered most.
 
Oct 28, 2017
12,849
Echoes has been a consistently better experience for me. But all depends about your tolerance when it comes to bad writing, Echoes was the only one of the bunch that didn't make me want to bash my head to a wall. It also has nice quality of life features and exploration on top of it. The art is also immensely better.

At the end of the day, I would never play the FE series if I was seeking a quality strategy RPG experience, so it just depends on what you want out of the games on every other aspect. Echoes is the better one out of them on that front.
 
Oct 27, 2017
806
That fact is potentially troubling, but everything else about the game so far feels like it's going in the opposite direction thankfully. The character designs so far have all been very practical and not fan service-y, the story and setting seem much more serious and well developed. We have actual location names, a deciferable world map and solid details about the setting. And overall it seems to be taking more design cues from Echoes than anything else.

But yeah there is always the possibility of some high school themed pandering and fan service. Hopefully we'll see more very soon and get a better idea at the direction this are going.
That's actually really good news to me, because as awful as the writing in Fates was, if the designs hadn't also had so many awful fan service-y offenders I probably wouldn't have minded nearly as much since the gameplay, (in Conquest at least), was so fantastic. Should definitely look into more, thanks for the info.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,388
If you’re willing to throw money away and get the Fates special edition - which are awful - you’re better off getting a Saturn and buying the Shining Force 3 trilogy since it’s so brazenly trying to emulate its structure.

Or just spend a few bucks on the Game Gear Shining Force game for the 3DS. As archaic as it is, it’s still better than Fates.

I’d give a real answer, but I haven’t bit the bullet on Echoes yet.
 
Oct 27, 2017
14,296
This is probably the worst place to ask since any topic about the 3DS games is going to be flooded by old school FE fans who make it sound like Awakening and Fates murdered their dog.

Personally I recommend Awakening. It’s how I got started and makes for a good introduction. If you want something to continue on that beginner friendly level then go to Birthright. If you want more challenge go to Conquest.

And ignore anything before that because it’ll just make the fanboys saltier./s
 

Chaosblade

Resettlement Advisor
Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,717
I haven't played Echoes so no opinion on that.

Awakening to start, then Conquest for a more traditional style entry that's a bit harder and might make you learn new strategies since some crutches from Awakening won't be possible. Ignore Birthright and Revelation unless you just really want more of Awakening.

Fates writing is garbage across the board, so don't expect much from that.
 
Oct 27, 2017
13,233
I didn't play FE3, FE4 and FE5 so I don't know how the series evolved after FE2 until FE6, but at least I've read that fatigue returns in Tracia 776. However I don't know if dungeons, archers being able to shoot enemies on adjacent tiles and enemies far away, and HP penalties for casting magic returned. To me FE6 has much more in common with FE1 than FE2 at least.
The series underwent a lot of evolution and experimentation between FE1 and FE6. Far more so than you apparently realize.

Fatigue wasn't in Gaiden. It was a mechanic that was introduced in Thracia 776 and that SoV brought back specifically for the dungeons. It was completely absent from games in between.

FE3 was a Super Famicom remake/sequel of the first game, and so it played like the first game, but with some mechanical tweaks like mounted characters being able to dismount their steeds, and thus it ignored Gaiden's mechanics. FE4 was even more bonkers than Gaiden, given that it introduced enormous maps with enough going on to cover multiple chapters-worth of story in any other FE title, two distinct generations of characters, each individual character has their own money supply (as opposed to a common pool that anyone can draw from while shopping), and oh yeah, it was also the first game to use the weapon triangle and a character skill system.

FE5 went back to a game/map structure that was more like FE1/3, and even had the ability dismount units like FE3, but also introduced fatigue, which forced players to constantly cycle characters in and out of the fighting line-up.

By the time FE6 came around, its mechanics were a total amalgam of elements that were introduced across the games that came before it.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,184
This is probably the worst place to ask since any topic about the 3DS games is going to be flooded by old school FE fans who make it sound like Awakening and Fates murdered their dog.

Personally I recommend Awakening. It’s how I got started and makes for a good introduction. If you want something to continue on that beginner friendly level then go to Birthright. If you want more challenge go to Conquest.

And ignore anything before that because it’ll just make the fanboys saltier./s
You’re the only person bringing that toxic attitude into this thread. No one’s been vitriolic toward Awakening in here — only one person expressed so much as dislike for it, from a quick skim.

For being being the “worst place to ask,” people sure have been even-handed and helpful. Even most “old school fans” in here have been saying that Awakening is a good starting point.
 
Dec 18, 2017
1,746
Awakening first, then Fates if you enjoyed that

Birthright is also pretty beginner friendly though, its just the writing in Awakening is better
Now that you mention it; the writing/translation between US and EU versions is different.
 
Oct 27, 2017
14,296
You’re the only person bringing that toxic attitude into this thread. No one’s been vitriolic toward Awakening in here — only one person expressed so much as dislike for it, from a quick skim.

For being being the “worst place to ask,” people sure have been even-handed and helpful. Even most “old school fans” in here have been saying that Awakening is a good starting point.
Probably reacted to rashly but there are absolutely people making Fates sound like fucking Big Rigs

The post was mostly because I see posts like that in pretty much any thread involving FE.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,019
Awakening is a good place to start. I'd suspect most people started either there or with FE7 (Just Fire Emblem in the west. Its for the GBA) which are both good starting points really, though Awakening is much more modern, obviously.


One thing to note about Awakening that due to the dire circumstance the series was in, it was made as a "last" Fire Emblem and added in features and concepts from a good deal of the older games, which mind you, didn't always carry forward. So if you do go back from there you'll basically see "parts" of what made Awakening.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,732
New York
That's actually really good news to me, because as awful as the writing in Fates was, if the designs hadn't also had so many awful fan service-y offenders I probably wouldn't have minded nearly as much since the gameplay, (in Conquest at least), was so fantastic. Should definitely look into more, thanks for the info.
We've only seen the three main lord's full artwork and then a number of other character's cutscene/in-game models, but yeah they've all been good and non-fanservicey so far. I'm sure there will be a few in there by the end, but as long as there's no 1000 year old dragons or giant boob monsters in lingerie armor I'll be happy.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,875
Whichever Fates game has actual map design. Awakening is OK, great presentation, interesting mechanics, dumbed down a bit for newcomers, decent characters, but it has bottom tier dogshit map/scenario design. Echoes is also bad on this front, but everything else is better, and I can forgive it for being a remake of an NES game.