So recently the final piece of the DLC for Fire Emblem: Engage was released and it was a new side story called the Fell Xenologue. Here Alear finds themself in an alternate world where the divine dragon is no more and the world is in ruin, torn apart by the conflicts of the nations with no leader to unite them. Alear is summoned to this world to help resolve the issues and rid their world of an unknown malefactor that is launching a multitude of attacks. To do so the group must collect the seven bracelets, their version of the 12 Emblem Rings, in order to prevent this malefactor from using their power.
So as you can see while the circumstances are very different in a lot of ways the story of the Fell Xenologue is much like the story of the main game of Fire Emblem: Engage. Collect all the bracelets/rings and use their power to save the world from the enemy so in this case while it was cool to see all the changes to the circumstances the fact that we essentially have to do the exact same thing is a little frustrating. I was hoping for a little more creativity but I enjoyed the story anyways. It was clear that it was more about the characters than the world anyways and looking at it I think that was a smart decision since the new characters are the reason why anyone would want to play the DLC since they join your main roster as soon as you beat it. Plus the story does have some twists and turns that were fun to watch but a lot of that was related to the various character motivations so it’s hard to go into detail about the story. when we really didn’t get much of one. without spoiling any of these various character twists that alter the course of events.
The characters and their various backgrounds and motivations really were the star of the DLC, but sadly also its greatest weakness. This world featured the Four Winds, the counterparts to what we know as the Four Hounds, but this time these characters are all heroes fighting to save the world and they have very different backgrounds and personalities from the Hounds we’ve become so accustomed to. We get a lot of time exploring who these Four Winds are and they really stole every scene they were in because while they were different they were still as captivating if not more so than the Hounds and I was so happy to have them on my side. The brand new characters Nel and Nil offer a more polarizing result. These new characters are both Fell Dragons, children of Sombrom who defected and worked to save the world. They are twin dragons and Nel is the older protective sibling and Nil is her younger brother who is weaker and suffers through insecurity when comparing himself to her because Nel is considerably stronger. Nil is actually interesting to watch as he goes through a lot of emotions and revelations in the course of the Xenologue and he has a lot of personality to him, but his weakness is he is a pain to use in battle to the point where it’s better to leave him behind and let your other units do the work. Nel on the other hand has the opposite problem. She is very useful in battle but very insufferable as a character. She starts off very cold and confrontational to the point of not having any real personality, and while this is explained and resolved later on she really doesn’t develop any kind of notable personality even after that. All of her lines feel like they have the same emotionless tone from start to finish and her character has some strong emotional moments that Nel sadly fails to express in a matter equivalent to the scene. This makes Nel the real flaw of the Xenologue as she is completely unlikable for the first half of the story and even after the reasons for that are resolved nothing really happens to make her likable. I say this knowing that it’s easier for me to like a character in Fire Emblem than in any other franchise due to my passion for the series.
Additionally, because this is set in an alternate world we get alternate versions of some of the characters from Engage and it was hilarious to see how much they differed from the versions we’ve come to know and love. Much like the transition from the Four Hounds to the Four Winds these characters are also widely different and should be treated as separate characters. I was surprised that these characters didn’t play a huge role in the game as I was initially under the impression that they were major characters but each returning character actually only shows up for a really limited time, but it was still cool that enough time was given for us to really see how much of a difference they were.
Then you have the gameplay. The developers made this weird choice of having all of your units have preestablished levels and items which means your original way of using your party may be completely useless and I found myself struggling to figure out who I wanted to use because some of my characters were weakened far more than others. For example some of the units I use in my main party the most wound up being harder to use than some other characters that I use but I keep more as a backup for other units. It was jarring but did make for a fun challenge to overcome. The maps were interesting and presented new challenges that we’ve never seen in Engage so it clearly distinguishes itself from the main game. The last map was really challenging and it was frustrating at times but also that’s part of the fun of Fire Emblem is when you’re presented with an unexpected twist how do you go about overcoming it.
Overall the gameplay was a lot of fun in the Fell Xenologue even if it was tough to adjust to, but the rest of the aspects of it have rather mixed results. The story was almost a carbon copy of what we saw in the main game with some differences in the sequence of events that led up to the point where we start to intervene with the story. Instead, the Fell Xenologue opts to focus almost entirely on the new characters which would work if all of them were interesting. Nil and the Four Winds were all really amazing and well-developed characters, especially the Four Winds. Their scenes were amazing and every moment was top-notch. Nel sadly brings the quality of the story down which is a shame because I like her character design the most. I really did enjoy my playthrough of it but I was expecting more.