Note: This post is currently a work in progress, and will be updated soon!
With Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition officially released, the Nintendo Switch now has two Nintendo Warriors games, the other being Fire Emblem Warriors. Both games are great, and have tremendous replay value, but do you know which game is the best choice for you?
Wonder no more! I’ve created this article with the aim of helping even a complete novice understand the Warriors game style, and provided a thorough enough comparison for both beginner and expert alike to find the best game for them. If you’re truly trying to determine which Warriors game is right for you, or just want to read up on the differences between the two, you owe it to yourself to read this article!
Both games feature amiibo Compatibility. Players can scan up to five amiibo a day to earn “presents” in the form of weapons, materials, or money. Any amiibo of any kind can leave presents, but amiibo matching certain characters in-game leave higher-quality weapons than the others.
Pre Battle Prep
In each battle, players take control of a character, a “warrior,” who is able to unleash showy and over-the-top attacks as they take control of enemy controlled forts/keeps, as well complete various missions across a huge battlefield. Gameplay consists of using these attacks to rack up KOs, level up, earn money, take control of the battlefield, and take down the commander(s) of the enemy forces.
These attacks can be performed using a series of regular attacks, (Y), and a press of the strong attack button, (X), to complete a combo. A special gauge can also be used with a press of the (A) button. Should this not be enough, players can fill up a separate gauge, powering up their character and affecting the drop rate and quality of weapons with progressive KOs.
Missions can range from stopping a messenger from calling reinforcements, to taking down two different enemy forces at once, to defeating as many enemies as possible in challenge modes, or even, take-down-the-biggest-bad-with-the-insect-princess. (In Hyrule Warriors, specifically.)
In most battles, players are able to switch control of their warriors with a press of the down or up buttons, and can gain the ability to heal themselves with potions/vulneraries, though certain conditions may prevent or limit these abilities.
In all Story battles, and some Challenge Map battles, completing certain objectives will cause Skulltulas/Anna’s Pop-Up Shop to appear. These yield a one-time illustration piece, and are available for a limited time. Failing to meet the objectives or getting to them in time requires another replay of the battle.
After beating the main campaign, harder objectives appear, with hints removed. Ex: FEW Chapter 12 – “Defeat ??? (Archers) and ??? (Cavalier) disturbing the balance between the forces.” Ex: HW Prologue – “Execute ???’s (Zelda’s) strategy while repelling the advance of enemy forces.”
After completing each battle, the battle time, number of KOs, and currency earned are all shown on a Battle Record, with Multipliers added for harder difficulty clears. Weapons aquired are shown on the next screen, then Materials earned, ending with illustration pieces earned (if any). New unlocks are shown after illustrations, if they apply.
Should players acquire too many weapons, they will be prompted to sell off any unwanted weapons to stay within the weapon limit.
Each warrior can acquire different weapons, each customizable with different skills/attributes that can suit the player’s needs and preferences. Weapons can be found from defeated enemy commanders, or given as a reward in challenge maps. Weapons drop with a fixed tier, number of slots (empty or otherwise), and stars (which boost weapon damage, ranging from 0-5), which cannot be improved by normal means.
What can be improved on weapons are the actual skills/attributes already slotted on the weapon. This is done from the Smithy.
This is where weapons can be improved, warrior-specific boosts are created, and game-modifiers are applied, with another option allowing players to boost their warriors’ levels with the game’s currency. The following “shops” are as follows:
From each game’s Smithy, players can:
Fuse/Reforge Weapons – Players can enhance weapons by selecting a Base Weapon, (or weapon to modify,) and the Source Weapon (Forging Material) they want to transfer a skill/attribute from. For a small amount of earned in-game money, that is. Skills are added to the exact slot selected from the Base Weapon.
This is useful primarily when a good weapon drop is found, but lacks a certain ability or boost that another weapon has. This is also how players can forge their own “perfect weapons” for their favorite warriors.
Note: the Base Weapon must have an empty slot to transfer a skill to, otherwise the weapon cannot be enhanced. Empty Weapon Slots are also fixed on their drop, so anything that can improve the weapon drops are heavily recommended. Locked KO skills cannot be transferred either.
Remove Skills/Attributes – Self explanatory, players can remove undesired or unwanted skills/attributes from their weapons, also for a fee. The fee for doing so is quite large, so remove responsibly. Locked KO Skills cannot be removed, so the weapon must accumulate the listed amount of KOs first.
Appraise Skills/Weapons – Here, players can check sealed skills, for 10x the amount of KOs remaining, for Rupees. This is the only use for this option.
Sell Weapons – Also self explanatory, players can come here to sell off unneeded weapons. Various factors affect how much a weapon sells for, including the tier of weapon, the number of stars it has, and the types of skills slotted into a weapon.
Crest Market/Badge Market
Here, players create permanent boosts for their warriors. These boosts range from expanding combo attacks, to increased defense against damage types, increased healing, and easier diminished enemy gauge smashes.
At the cost of materials and money, players can create a game-augmenting buff that lasts for a complete battle. These buffs include weapon drop improvements, damage boosts, an increase to money obtained, an increase to experience obtained, and more!
The downside to this is only one Blessing/Mixture can be created at a time, and if players choose to create another while the first is in effect, the money and materials of the first are not returned to the player’s inventory.
If you are wanting to create “perfect” weapons, there are options here that can influence the slots or quality of the weapons dropped.
Training Dojo/Training Grounds
Players can spend their earned money here to increase the levels of their warriors. The catch here is that the warrior can only raise their level to that of the highest leveled warrior.
While useful for some, I found the cost of leveling up characters was too steep for me in the original Hyrule Warriors, and is somewhat the same in Fire Emblem Warriors. This option is also takes away from the replay value of the games, but others prefer it to level up their weaker units, keeping them immediately ready for the next Story/Challenge battle.
Whether or not you use this option is up to you. I personally have found it the only way to check stats in Hyrule Warriors, so it does have a secondary use.
Taking Forts/Keeps: In both games, taking control of enemy settlements is a key component to winning a battle. However, each game has a different process for doing so.
In Hyrule Warriors, (all versions,) in order to take a Keep, warriors must KO enemies inside of a Keep, depleting the Keep Meter with each KO. When enough enemies have been defeated, the Keep Boss will spawn, and defeating it will add the keep to your forces. When the keep is taken, a shockwave will occur, pushing away any leftover enemies.
If your Keep is in danger, however, the enemy just needs to deplete your Keep Meter to (re)claim your Keep.
In Fire Emblem warriors, taking Forts is a more direct process. Each Fort has a Fort Captain inside of it, and taking control of the Fort is as simple as defeating the captain. There is no shockwave like in Hyrule Warriors, but enemies vanish from the fort upon capture.
Weapons: Both games have weapons to collect and enhance, with a large portion of the post game possibly being geared towards creating perfect weapons for each warrior.
In Fire Emblem warriors, there are 6 weapon types: Swords, Lances, Axes, Bows, Tomes, and Dragonstones, which every warrior shares. Warriors can only use the weapon type the game assigns them to use. Up to 100 weapons of each type can be stored, for a total of 600 weapons. Each warrior also has their own unique weapon, which cannot be sold. There are 6 Weapon Tiers: S, A, B, C, D, and E, though S is reserved for “Hero Weapons”
In Hyrule Warriors, up to 10 weapons can be stored, per unique weapon type. These weapons have their own elemental abilities, and have completely unique combos. Ex: Link can use a Hylian Sword and a Horse (just to name a few,) with each weapon providing a completely different moveset. There are 3 tiers of weapons: as well as a 8-Bit Version of different weapons.
Items: Both games have different “items” to use. The core functionality of each differs between games.
In Hyrule Warriors, Items consist of the trusty tools and weaponry Link uses throughout the Legend of Zelda series. These items are offense based, though can also be used to discover secrets hidden on the battlefield. Each warrior can use these items.
In Fire Emblem Warriors, Items are mostly restorative in nature, consisting of Staves, Rods, and Medicine. The series staple of Master Seals could arguably be considered an item, but are closer to crating materials in this game.
Characters must share from the same pool of items; each item needs to be equipped to the character. Ex: If there are 3 Vulneraries, and 5 total warriors, 2 warriors will have to go without Vulneraries until more can be found.
Unlike the main series, these items do not break, but still have a limited number of uses.
Map Battles: Each game has a challenge mode, where battles take place on “Maps.” These Maps are designed around the source game series’ own levels, and task players with various unique missions and restrictions. Reward battles are also added with completed illustrations.
In Hyrule Warriors, the Maps are based on the level designs of various entries in The Legend of Zelda series, including Wind Waker, Majora’s Mask, Twilight Princess, and more! Players start off on a single map tile, and depending on their battle’s rank, can progress further through the map, unlocking characters, weapons, costumes and more along the way.
Item Cards can be found on the map, and are used to remove added obstacles, often locking certain rewards from being obtained. Having prior memory of the previous Zelda game levels will help you spot oddities on the map, though the Compass item will show every secret that needs to be investigated.
In Fire Emblem Warriors, History Mode seeves the same purpose, although the enemies on the map contain their own battles. History Mode in itself is a retelling of some of Fire Emblem’s most (in)famous battles, like Awakening’s “Invisible Ties,” or Fates’ “The Path is Yours.”
Unlike the series, the battles play out with only a preselected warrior representing the player unit, and the enemies do not move. However, the initial enemy and reinforcement placements seem to be spot on, and the maps even use the same UI sounds from the original battle’s source game!
Both games are supposed to use a very similar map design from their own series, but I can’t fully verify that yet. On the maps from the Fates game, the introductions were very similar at times, while others seemed to vary dramatically. Even the characters involved didn’t match 100% with the actual battle. In Hyrule Warriors, however, the Adventure and Lorule Maps do seem very similar to the original levels.
Leveling Up: Both game feature a leveling concept, where defeating enemies increases the experience the warrior has gained. There are a few differences here between both games.
When commanding warriors in both games, only the currently controlled warrior gains experience in Hyrule Warriors. Meanwhile, any warrior, even uncontrollable ones, gain experience and level up in Fire Emblem Warriors.
When actually leveling up, health is fully restored in Hyrule Warriors, whereas health is only increased by the HP gained from level ups in Fire Emblem Warriors.
Fire Emblem Warriors
Save Slots and Classic Mode
Similar to its source game, Fire Emblem Warriors has both seperate save slots, (3 regular, 1 saved from in-battle,) as well as the addition of Classic mode.
When starting a new game, players will be asked to choose between two main characters, select a difficulty level, the Game Style, (Casual vs. Classic,) and whether they would like to see information such as level-ups and mission briefs, or only have important Guides appear.
While all of the other options can be changed later, and the other character can be unlocked, the Game Style options of Classic vs. Casual are permanent choices. Sparking much debate and ire even in the main Fire Emblem games, Casual Mode allows for fallen player characters to “revive” after each battle, while Classic mode makes defeat semi-permanent, requiring a revival at the Camp’s Temple.
If you still aren’t sure which one would be best for you, the Casual mode is the most similar to other Warriors games, while Classic follows Fire Emblem’s original concept of Permadeath.
In a more dramatic change from Hyrule Warriors, the entirety of Fire Emblem Warriors is fully voiced. (Except for mission descriptions.) In fact, the game even proudly boasts as much on the back cover!
From the moment players first see the title screen, a voice from the game’s cast greets the player. Every quip, compliment, and request for help is spoken in plain English, (or Japanese, if you downloaded the language pack,) which gives the game a nice, polished feel. Even things as simple and straightforward as choosing save data or skipping cutscenes produces a spoken voice clip. Because of this, players will hardly ever need to check the bottom of the screen, as every quote is voiced by each character.
This provides an immersive experience, one where every character feels integral to the story, and all eyes can be kept on the action instead of the dialogue. In fact, I’ve gotten so spoiled by the added voice acting, that I completely forget to check the screen to read battle updates in Hyrule Warriors. Heck, I even found myself just aimlessly taking out hordes of enemies, half-expecting Link or whoever else to vocally point out my next objective. It’s that jarring of a difference!
This isn’t to say that Hyrule Warriors isn’t voiced at all. The game does have some spoken language, but it is limited to the story narrator, Proxi’s “Hey! Listen!” and Lana’s occasional Japanese “Sei noh!” amonst other things. The rest of the game’s voicing consists of grunts, chuckles, growls and roars.
Back to Fire Emblem Warriors, the voicing happens at all times. Even when going to the menu screens, you’ll hear comments about the time of day, lengthy game play sessions, and even the obligatory, “keep a good distance from the screen and play in a well lit environment!” All of this is thanks to the game’s System Voice. Speaking of which…
As mentioned above, the game has a System Voice setting, which has spoiled me from reading the dialogue outright at times. Every character in the game has the potential to be used as a System Voice, on top of their already spoken dialogue throughout the rest of the game.
To do this, the character must achieve at least 5 supports levels total. The voice(s) can then be set from Extras -> Settings -> Game Settings. If you want Robin to be your vocal battle planner, you can do that! If you wanted the Lengendary Prince/Hero-King Marth to assess the battle situation, you can do that! If you wanted the uber dramatic Owain Dark to calm his sword hand with wacky observations, you can do that too! (With DLC.)
Weapon Triangle Effectiveness
A concept introduced in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the Weapon Triangle system has become somewhat of a series staple, and the same concept applies in Fire Emblem Warriors.
Rock-Paper-Scissors like in nature, the Weapon Triangle is a system that reduces or increases damage done to other enemies, based solely on the weapons both your warrior and your enemy use. Even though there are 6 weapon types, this concept only applies to the melee weapons of Swords, Axes, and Lances. Axes are effective against Lances, Lances are effective against Swords, and Swords are effective against Axes.
If you’re struggling a bit to remember the Weapon Triangle, this visual exercise of mine may help: Swords are effective against Axes, as Swords are (usually) lighter and more agile than Axes. Axes are effective against Lances, as Axes can destroy Lances through strength alone. Lastly, Lances are more effective against Swords, as Lances have further reach. (Imagine the sport of Fencing in this example, or each, really). Helpful, right? If not, the game will note the advantage in the form of up and down arrows, keeping you informed at a glance.
To put this into more practical terms, Marth would be able to do more damage to… say, Lissa, than he would to Cordelia. If fighting Cordelia, Marth would need the help of an Axe wielder, or else Cordelia would have the advantage.
There could be other factors that would affect this example, (i.e., Archers, the Topsy-Turvy Attribute, etc…,) but I left them out for the sake of simplicity.
Another mainstay of the series, individual units/warriors can increase their Bonds toward each other in what is known as the Support System. These Bonds are raised by Pairing Up units, completing certain side missions, healing with Staves/Rods, or taking down tougher enemies together, such as Captains, Officers, or Enemy Commanders.
The reason you would want to do so is twofold: by raising the Support Levels of two warriors, both warriors will produce their specific materials, necessary for Crest Crafting or Skills, and doing so will also yield a spoken conversation between the units (assuming they can reach the A+ rank.) You would also get to see a more personal side of each character, learning more about them, but this may not be interesting to everybody…
Players of the Fire Emblem series will be familiar with this system, as almost every unit could have up to three conversations with other units, and could be married and even have children. In Fire Emblem Warriors, however, only specific warriors can have a single support conversation, (yes, just one,) and marriage is not an option.
While I couldn’t possibly see Marriage or Child Units in a game like this, I am a little disappointed by the lack of support conversations, and would have really liked to see each character from each “world” interact with each other, or even talk about the new world they find themselves in. It feels a bit like a missed opportunity…
A relatively new feature to the series, the Pair Up system first appeared in Fire Emblem Awakening, and was revamped as Guard Stance with a defensive aspect in Fire Emblem Fates.
With the Pair Up feature, players can order two units/warriors to support each other in battle, while also boosting the Vanguard’s (currently controlled warrior’s) stats. This can be used as a way to guard injured/weaker warriors, while also opening new opportunities for the main warrior to attack.
Specifically, when two units are paired up, they can perform a Dual Strike, where the supporting unit rushes in with a strike, stunning enemies and interrupting their attacks, a Dual Guard, where the supporting unit automatically protects the main unit from damage when the Shield Gauge is full, and the new Dual Special, in which both units work together to unleash a powerful attack, provided both units’ Warrior Gauge is full.
While the Dual Strike (from Awakening,) and Dual Guard (From Fates,) are not new concepts, the Dual Special has been added to take advantage of the Warriors series’ flashy and over-the-top combat style. Also worth noting is that certain Pair Up combinations have unique dialogue, but not all do.
Another element borrowed from the Fire Emblem Series, each character has their own unique skill, which can range from stat boosts, to faster attacks, (Astra) to reduced damage from Melee sources, (Pavise) and even one that nullifies enemy effectiveness. (Iote’s Shield — DLC.) These Skills, in addition to a “perfect” weapon, would create a very powerful warrior!
What wasn’t entirely clear to me, starting out, was that getting skills doesn’t require promoting units or reaching certain levels, as they would in the core Fire Emblem games. All it takes is having enough of the particular character’s silver-level materials to create the skill from the Crest Market.
At least, that’s how a specific character learns their own skills. For other characters, the skill would require the original character’s Essence material, as well as their regular gold-level material. Before that can happen, however, the original character must first learn their own skill, otherwise the skill does not show up for other characters in the Crest Market.
Example: you would like to add the Astra skill to Rowan. In order to do this, you would need Ryoma to learn the skill from the Crest Market, in exchange for three of Ryoma’s Headpieces. Then, Ryoma would need to reach an A(+) Support Level with any other character, yielding a Ryoma’s Essense material, along with Ryoma’s Battle Coat from the B rank Support Level. You would then return to the Crest Market with Rowan, and create the Astra skill. Rowan will now have Astra as a skill! If Ryoma never learned Astra, then Rowan would not be able to see the skill in the Crest Market.
More of a comparison point than a difference, Fire Emblem and Fire Emblem Warriors use more traditional stats, as opposed to Hyrule Warriors’ simplified stats.
By “traditional stats,” I’m referring to stats you would normally see in most RPGs, like the HP, Str, Mag, Skl, Sp, Lck, Def, and Res stats used in Fire Emblem Warriors.
- HP – character’s maximum HP,
- Str (Strength) – power of Physical (melee) Attacks
- Def (Defense) – Defense against Physical Attacks
- Mag (Magic) – Power of Magic Attacks
- Res (Resistance) – Defense against Magic Attacks
- Skl (Skill) – Power of Critical Hits and Warrior Special Attacks
- Sp – Length of Awakening state; Lowers the rate the Awakening Gauge Depletes while in Awakening
- Lck (Luck) – Drop rate of recovery items
- Mov – How quickly a character moves.
The Convoy – Yet another element from the Fire Emblem series, the Convoy is home to all of your acquired gear, but also has some other benefits.
From here, you can view all of your warriors’ stats, change and optimize equipment, change the equipped Skills, Change Costumes, and even check the support level. In a manner of speaking, this functions more like what you’d expect the Camp to be, but the actual Camp is where weapons are modified, blessings are bestowed, and Crests are crafted.
Classes, Promotions, and Surge Chests
In true Fire Emblem fashion, Fire Emblem Warriors also allows players to promote their warriors to different classes, with the help of a Master Seal. Once a warrior reaches level 15, a Surge Chest is craftable in the Crest Market, promoting a unit to another Class.
Promoting a unit drastically raises all stats, and comes with a costume change for the warrior. The warrior may also gain the ability to heal through promotions, but having a knowledge of the classes in the core Fire Emblem games helps to know which classes do so.
Unlike the main games, there is no level reset for promoting a class, so you will not have to worry about maxing levels before promoting, or starting at a lower level afterwards. Upon promotion, new Crests can be crafted, further enhancing the warrior’s abilities beyond the prior limits. Also worth noting is that some of the characters in-game have access to post-promote weapons they wouldn’t normally have.
For example, Shrine Maiden Sakura and Troubador Elise would normally be unable to attack in Fire Emblem Fates. In Fire Emblem Warriors, however, they can use the weapons of their promoted classes, i.e., a bow for Sakura and tome for Elise.
In a similar vein, there are classes in the core games that woud normally be able to change from one weapon type to another, but do not in this game. Following the Fates example, Corrin would be able to use both swords and dragonstones as a Nohr Prince(ss), but is pigeonholed into using only swords. The dragonstone is alluded to in some combo attacks, and even Corrin’s Warrior Special, but the option to play with Corrin as a dragon is completely omitted.
Custom Button Mapping
While not the biggest new feature of Fire Emblem Warriors, the game does allow you to configure a custom control scheme, should the default Warriors controls not be your cup of tea.
If you find that the Awakening button keeps being accidentally triggered, for example, you can change this to any other button, like the unused Left Stick button. The only caveat here is that the “Multifunction Button” cannot be changed for another button, so you will have to get used to using ZR if you aren’t already.
The game does feature DLC, which I will talk about briefly. So far, there are only three DLC packs: The Fates Pack, The Shadow Dragon Pack, and The Awakening Pack. There is also a seperate Japanese Voice Pack for free, but it isn’t what I wanted to talk about.
Each of the three packs adds three new characters, with three History Maps focusing on each character. I haven’t been able to go too far into the DLC maps to mention specifics, but the characters are an easy topic of discussion. Within each DLC pack is at least one unique character, one clone character, and another that was seen in the story mode, but not playable. Some of these even overlap into the same character.
I enjoyed playing with the completely unique characters of Oboro, Azura, Linde, and Olivia, but for the extra money being spent on DLC, I don’t want characters that function roughly 80% the same as others included within the game. It feels like a disservice to me as a gamer and consumer.
There are new History Maps, Skills, and Support Conversations to be enjoyed with the DLC, and more fun to be had in general, but having to pay extra for characters that either attack the exact same as others in the base game, or to “unlock” characters that were already present in the game’s campaign feels like a money grab to me. I could justify some characters being fan-favorites, or even how the completely new “clones” are not fully clones, (more on that below,) but charging money for characters that are already included in the game just doesn’t sit right with me. These characters in particular are Owain, Navarre, and Niles.
Even though the characters boast unique personalities, the only differences they have in battle are in their Awakenings, Warrior Specials, and Dual Specials. Other than that, you would feel they were re-skins of Ryoma, Lyn, and an archer, respectively. Considering their diversity and personality, it would be more fitting if each character had some shared moves from other characters, with some new attacks reflecting their own personal styles.
I could go on and on about the DLC, but there’s still more article left to write… So onto the Clones!
As I’ve mentioned earlier in the DLC section, Fire Emblem Warriors does have a clone problem. In fact, including DLC characters, The only truly unique characters in the game are Corrin, Xander, Lissa, Frederick, Tiki, Azura, Oboro, Linde, and Olivia. That’s 9 characters out of 32! Taking DLC out of the equation, that number changes to 6-9 out of 23, adding Ryoma, Lyn, Camilla and Robin to the list, with Ryoma, Lyn, and Robin bordering clone territory, due to story-locked Owain and Navarre, and unplayable enemies Validar/Iago.
But are They Really Clones?
As much as I want to blindly whine about the clone characters, I can’t really get too upset, as Fire Emblem Warriors stays surprisingly true to its roots here. Fire Emblem as a series itself is not without possible clones, and even Smash Bros. games highlight this in its character reps. The issue here isn’t in the characters, but in the characters’ classes.
In the Fire Emblem games, each unit belongs to a certain class, and the games do a great job at limiting and balancing which characters have access to certain classes. The result is a game in which nearly every character belongs to their own classes, with pre-determined attack animations for each class.
Every character felt unique due to their personality, dialogue and outfits, but through certain support promotions and even personality promotions, the waters are muddied and the lines are blurred. The fitting animations that worked so well for the ruthless mercenary are now the same ones used by the bumbling friend. The shy and reserved princess now uses the same animations as a more confident archer. The magic is killed.
It’s because of the classes and shared animations that these “clones” exist. The biggest reason that it worked so well in the core Fire Emblem games, was that each class has its own skills and weapons, which could be incredibly useful for that particular character, and the character could always be re-classed to whatever is naturally in the character’s class tree.
In Fire Emblem Warriors, however, there are no class trees, no extra weapon types, and no class changing for other skills. The characters are stuck with a binary class change to the most similar promotion from their current class.
On top of this, every class is generalized into attacking the exact same way, based solely on personality or nominal factors. Riding a Pegasus? You are stuck using the exact same attacks as every other Pegasus Knight. Got a bow? Regardless of your country of origin, you will attack the exact same way as every other archer. Nohrian Royal on Horseback? You are destined to use the same magical attacks as your sibling, regardless of whether or not you possess a “divine weapon.”
Even classes that aren’t as similar are grouped together. Tactician Robin uses the same attacks as Sorcerers Validar and Iago, who also fight the same as Dark Mage Tharja.
Luckily, Fire Emblem Warriors limits these clones to a total of three per moveset at most, (four if the villains become playable,) but that still leaves just 15 unique movesets across 23/27 characters (or 19 across 32/36, if you count the DLC.) Aside from the movesets, each Warrior’s Awakening, Dual Special, and Warrior Special are completely unique, but as the regular combo attacks are the exact same, they fall under the clone category.
Single Scenario Story
Without going into specifics, Fire Emblem Warriors has a single scenario in its story, unlike Hyrule Warriors’ 4 different story arcs.
What I mean by this, is that Fire Emblem Warriors has a single story to play, with every story chapter working towards the same goal. In Hyrule Warriors, the main story also does the same thing, but there are also different points of view and story arcs, each accomplishing different goals in the story.
This isn’t entirely a bad thing for Fire Emblem Warriors, as the streamlined story is engaging and works well, but there are certain questions and scenarios that separate story arcs could explain. Beyond tying up loose ends, it would be interesting to play with a ragtag assortment of Warriors, each having their own motivations and reasons to do… whatever.
A quick fix for this would be a story arc like Cia’s Tale from Hyrule Warriors, added to the game as a free update.
A new addition to the game in a recent update, players now have the option of resetting their warriors’ levels down to one, after the story mode has been cleared.
Beyond artificially inflating the game’s replay value endlessly, resetting levels yields warrior-specific materials, in proportion to the character’s current level. The material received seem to increase with every 10 levels gained, being a tenth of the current level for the character’s gold materials, a twentieth for their silver materials, and a twentieth plus one for silver materials when the level is is increased by five instead of ten.
With a copied save, I can personally attest that all of the characters’ skills, costumes, weapons, support levels, and items are completely unaffected. If you were looking to re-do all of these things, starting a new save data would be your best bet. After all, each Switch user has three save slots in Fire Emblem Warriors, so why not use them?
In the same update Reset Levels was added, Challenge Blessings are another distinction Fire Emblem Warriors has over Hyrule Warriors. These “Blessings,” alter the game even more dramatically than before!
In fact, I think each one gives the game a more traditional Fire Emblem experience. There’s an Infernal Blessing, which makes enemies tougher, but the weapons they drop are better in quality, and a Tactician Blessing, that prevents the currently controlled character from dealing damage. There are no listed benefits for the Tactician Blessing, so it is solely included to make battles harder through relial on commanding warriors.
Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition
As mentioned briefly in the Fire Emblem Warriors section, Hyrule Warriors has limited voice acting. Outside of story narration, the most of a spoken language players will hear are grunts, groans, laughs, and the occasional Japanese that Lana shouts.
Most of the game is instead communicative through the dialogue its characters make, requiring players to check the bottom-left corner of the screen for important dialogue and mission updates.
Fire Emblem Warriors takes the voice acting to the next level, having every character fully voiced, and even including a System Voice to fully voice the entire game. There isn’t a narrator to recap and guide the story along, but whole spoken English exchanges between all of the characters. If you haven’t played a warriors game entirely in English, this will definitely surprise you!
In this way, Fire Emblem Warriors has a clear distinction here, but Hyrule Warriors still has other differences to pore through.
A feature that I’ve missed throughout Hyrule Warriors Legends, the background music of some stages are dynamic, changing to reflect certain locations and battle intensity.
For example, in the game’s second story level, the music changes from being brass and guitars, to an added drumline, to a techno vibe, and so on, cycling through each change as players move throughout the battlefield. Speaking of which…
The BGM Setting option also returns from its absence in Hyrule Warriors Legends. Before any battle, including yet-unplayed story battles, players will have the option to both listen to and set the battle theme for the current battle, using any BGM previously unlocked. This setting sticks indefinitely, and will stay at the player’s choice until another BGM is chosen, or the selection is cancelled with a push of the (X) button.
This can even be set in the game’s Adventure Mode, giving players another layer of freedom in customizing their game. So if you wanted to make the game’s final battle music your default battle BGM, you can do that here! You can even set the BGM to the 8-bit Adventure Map themes, or even the other themes heard throughout the game’s menus!
If a track with Dynamic Music is selected, the music will change when appropriate as well.
Challenge Mode (Hyrule Warriors)
Introduced in the original Hyrule Warriors, (update 1.2.1, enhanced in 1.6.0,) a seperate Challenge Mode is included in the game, featuring harder and more “unusual” battles than most of those in the Adventure Mode Maps.
After each battle, players are shown a unique battle record, adding in Special Attack KOs, Focus Spirit KOs, and Giant Boss KOs, in addition to the standard Clear Time, Total KOs, and Damage Taken statistics. Bonus rupees are also added for each of these stats, with the total becoming the battle’s high score for that character. The weapon type, stars, and weapon power are also displayed.
This mode is also home to the original and unexpected Hyrule Warriors DLC, “Ganon’s Fury,” in which players assume control of Ganon, as they take down enemies and Giant Bosses alike. Ganon even has the ability to level up, with leveling progress saved after the battle. As far as how Ganon plays, I’ll leave that for interested players to find out, but the game does guide you through it!
There are no tangible rewards here, like what can be earned in Adventure Mode. This mode is strictly for the challenge and high scores, however, leveling up and getting materials/weapons still happen here.
My Fairy (Legends)
Originally Introduced in Hyrule Warriors Legends, players are now able to raise fairies as both companions and battle buddies!
Players can find Fairies in Adventure Maps, hidden in battles with Fairies listed as a treasure. From there, players will need to break open brown vases in each keep in order to discover the fairy, and keep it after the battle concludes.
When a companion fairy, listed as “myfairy,” is obtained, the same-titled menu is unlocked. From here, players can feed fairies with Food, outfit them at the Salon, or visit the School to check out and equip various Skills they fairy has learned.
If you’ve obtained a fairy in Hyrule Warriors Legends, this will seem all to familiar, but with a slight twist. The Fairies are now 3D Rendered, instead of being an animated 2D picture. Knowing nothing about this edition going in, this was a very unexpected and pleasant surprise! Companion Fairies even appear in battle as a rendered model, and are shown on the Battle Record screen!
Keep in mind though that they cannot be selected when playing as Ganon during Ganon’s Fury.
Heart Pieces and Containers
In true Zelda game fashion, players are able to find Heart Containers and Heart Pieces throughout Hyrule Warriors, adding extra health to their warriors.
Mostly found as a treasure or “A” Rank reward in the Adventure Maps, Heart Pieces and Containers can also be found in the game’s story mode, but usually require more discovery to find. They are always found inside of a red chest, and restore all of the health the warrior may have lost in battle.
Even though Heart Pieces and Containers are the most traditional way to increase health in the main Zelda series, leveling up can also add an extra heart to the warrior’s health gauge.
Keeping to its’ roots, Hyrule Warriors (all versions) feature giant bosses, which require certain items to ease the process of defeating them.
These bosses truly are huge, and can easily take over keeps and overwhelm allies when left unchecked.
Fortunately, the bosses telegraph and expose their weaknesses somewhat, allowing warriors to perform a Weak Point Smash to the bosses when the bosses are downed.
Without mentioning the specific names or total number of bosses, there are enough in the game to constantly keep you on your toes. And while we’re at it…
Smash Boost Power (Legends)
An added feature from Hyrule Warriors Legends, playable warriors will be able to gather around Giant Bosses, providing each warrior with certain added effects to aid them in defeating the nearby boss.
This only comes into affect when two or more warriors assemble in front of a Giant Boss, and each additional warrior united adds a new, fixed, effect, stacking up to four.
This can be used starting on the last level of the Prologue, and on every giant boss afterwards.
While Fire Emblem Warriors has a Weapon Triangle, Hyrule Warriors uses a Element system.
There are 5 elements: Fire, Water, Light, Lightning, and Darkness. Each one has different effects on enemies.
The fire element causes enemies to “blow up” when they hit the ground, hurting nearby enemies. The Water element causes enemies to take damage over time, due to a giant water bubble around their heads. Lightning elemental attacks will cause enemies knocked into the air to take extra damage. Lastly, the light element will cause your attacks to be stronger with consecutive strikes against multiple enemies, while the darkness element causes your attacks to be stronger when a single enemy is continuously hit.
Supposedly, when a weapon has multiple elements, certain characters are “weaker” and more prone to being affected by one element over another. I’ve never used multiple element weapons to truly confirm this, but it sounds plausible at the least.
Extra-Effective Item Attacks (Legends)
Another feature returing from Legends, some enemies have a brief moment of weakness when they attack, exploitable by a specific item. If the enemy is hit by the item, they will instead hit their surrounding allies, and be stunned afterward for a Weak Gauge Smash.
Whereas Fire Emblem Warriors has a focus on strategy, Hyrule Warriors leans more toward exploration and discovery. There are numerous examples of this.
In the game’s story mode, heart pieces can be found by taking over enemy keeps, while heart containers require scouring the battlefield, blowing up rocks, and looking in odd places on the map. Skulltulas don’t have an exact location shown on the map, and require both exploration and sound to find.
Even on the adventure maps, some enemies/treasures are hidden and must be found, requiring players to “search” the map tile for any suspicious background elements.
One of the biggest differences between Nintendo’s two warrior games, All iterations of Hyrule Warriors feature a unique moveset for each character in the game.
For example, Impa uses a completely different series of attacks and special moves for each of her weapon types, and Link, with his numerous weapon types, does the same.
Even the random enemy captains/officers have some unique attacks. Big Poes naturally use different attacks than Lizalfos and Dinolfos, and the other variant of the Lizalfos, the Aerolfos, use different combos as well.
Fire Emblem Warriors does not do this, and most of the playable warriors share entire movesets with other characters, diluting the experience. The only real differences between the characters in that game are the voices, Warrior Specials, and the latter halves of each Dual Special. Otherwise, there are few characters with completely unique attacks.
Even with Hyrule Warriors’ three releases, the game manages to feel incredibly fresh in comparison, and with Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, I’ve been able to experience the new, formerly DLC characters’ unique movesets to completely and personally back up this claim.
Zelda and Warriors Button Presets
A small difference, but one worth mentioning here. In Hyrule Warriors, there is a choice to choose between the Zelda and Warriors control schemes. This choice even happens at the start of the game!
The biggest differences between the two control schemes is that the Warriors scheme has A for special attacks, B to dash/dodge, Y for regular attacks, and X for combo attacks. The Zelda scheme changes this to A to dodge, B for regular attacks, Y for combo attacks, and X for special attacks. The rest of the controls are the exact same.
Oddly enough, I’ve tested the controls in Breath of the Wild, hoping that the controls would be largely similar to the Zelda preset. What I found was that the controls were more similar to the Warriors option.
Fire Emblem Warriors has built upon this option, allowing for a custom button mapping of the player’s choice. By default, it too uses the warriors controls, but giving players the choice to remap the buttons to their preference, possibly even bypassing broken buttons, is a considerate move.
All in all, if you’re a returning warrior genre player, stick with the warrior control scheme. If you’ve come from only playing the Zelda games, (other than Breath of the Wild,) then the Zelda controls may be best for you.
One of the game’s settings, players can toggle individual enemies’ health gauges, instead of only seeing the health bars of enemy warriors and captains.
A small difference, sure, but I find it useful to know how effective my attacks are against even just the regular enemies.
Fire Emblem Warriors does not have such an option, which can leave players guessing at how much damage they’re doing, or if the rest of the battle is even worth continuing if they can’t even damage the weakest of enemies.
Another minute difference, Hyrule Warriors uses a very simplified stat system. How simple? The only stats shown are health and attack power.
I bring this up because the stats found here differ from the majority of other Warriors games. Even Fire Emblem Warriors uses a more comprehensive list of stats, so only seeing the two mentioned above is a bit of a head scratcher.
That is, if one doesn’t take into account the mainstream Legend of Zelda series. The first few Zelda games were as simple as hit enemies a few times, and watch them disappear into a puff of smoke. The combat within the series has gotten a little more advanced, adding in things like parrying and countering attacks, yet the only visible stat was the number of hearts Link had amassed.
To make an involved synopsis shorter, Hyrule Warriors does in fact use a simplified stat system, but does so in a way that is very true to its’ source game series. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as players who are overwhelmed with traditional stats in RPGs and the like can take solace here. If you happen to be one of these players, you won’t need to worry about which stats affect what. All you have to do is keep an eye on those health gauges!
One of the biggest selling points to Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, is that it does not have any DLC. Or, to put another spin on this, it comes with all of the previous iterations’ DLC included. It says it all in the word “Definitive” used in the name.
To break this down further, the Hero of Hyrule, Master Quest, Twilight Princess, Majora’s Mask, and Boss Packs from the First Hyrule Warriors game is included, as well as Hyrule Warriors Legends’ Link’s Awakening, Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks, and A Link Between Worlds Packs, with all characters, weapons, and adventure maps pre-installed in the game.
Fire Emblem Warriors, in comparison, does have separate paid DLC, in a similar vein to what Hyrule Warriors had. While it isn’t a fair or direct comparison, it is worth noting that there are no extra costs in this version of Hyrule Warriors. (Yet?)
Hands down, if you’re looking for a complete, no extra cost warriors game, you’ve found it in this!
Another small detail, the Keeps in Hyrule Warriors aren’t just empty rooms with enemy spawners. The keeps have some hazards that you would need to keep an eye on, two to be exact: Bomb Patches and Beamos.
While a better name escapes me, the bombs in keeps grow, much like a crop, and there are a bunch of them against a keep’s wall. These can be used both for and against you, as airborne enemies knocked into them are bounced back into the air, allowing for some juggling and chained combo attacks. This can also happen to you, should your warrior be knocked into the bombs by enemies.
The other hazard is a Beamos, a statue-like enemy that shoots laser beams out of its eye. It rotates to find your warrior, but is easily dispatched with a certain item. Zelda fans will be familiar with Beamos, though the method of defeating them is slightly different.
Lacking in Fire Emblem Warriors, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition has multiple scenarios in its story, each using different sets of characters, clearing up most of its unexplained story elements.
For example, how Cia set up certain events in the story is explained through the story arc of Cia’s Tale. Legendary hero wannabe, Linkle also gets her own story arc, etc…
I would say there are 5 different story arcs in the game, each one creating a fuller picture of the larger story, both fleshing out and cementing the story as its own engaging experience.
Extremely High Level Cap
Going by the Wii U’s version of Hyrule Warriors, the level cap is 255, (as of 1.6.0), and doesn’t seem to have changed since. Therefore, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition would have the same level cap, or even higher. I wish I knew definitively, (no pun intended,) but I’ll just talk about some perceived issues here.
Even though I like the extra levels, many people have bemoaned the level cap on prior releases of the game, and complained about the balancing, inflated value, and other things, arising from the change, ranging from valid complaints to petty ones.
I personally never got too far into the game, back on the Wii U version, so I can’t verify how these complaints stand. What I do know, is that anything that extends a game’s value is a good thing in my eyes, and people can choose how far into the game they want to go. It’s really a pretty gray area where I stand.
I love that the games, both games, seem to be getting updates, which literally give you more value for the money you spent on the game. While getting a little more common, free content updates are not a standard practice. These level cap increases are just some of the many free content patches added in post-release updates, so it isn’t entirely a black and white subject. I’d say to just play to your heart’s content, whether that be level 100 or 255!
Enemy Army Variety
While not the most noteworthy difference between the two games, each of the Hyrule Warriors games feature a diverse pool of enemies.
In battle, you and your enemies’ forces can consist of Hylian Soldiers, Stalchildren, Bokoblin, Bulblin, Miniblin, and even those dreaded, infamous, Cuccos!
I bring this up, largely because Fire Emblem Warriors lacks such diversity. Sure you can command the armies of Aytolis, Gristonne, and the other kingdoms in the game, but they look and feel like mere generic color palette swaps. In this way, FEW does stay true to its source game series, but with the copious clones it already has, the game feels somewhat copy-and-pasted.
Hyrule Warriors, because of their diverse assortment of enemies, feels like a more fleshed out game in comparison. By taking out hordes of unique monsters, you truly feel like you are fighting to save Hyrule, instead of just waging war against alternately colored soldiers.
I suppose it depends largely on which setting you’d prefer, but the fact remains that the enemies in Hyrule Warriors are vastly different in comparison to Fire Emblem Warriors.
8-Bit Weapons Return!
Originally a gag joke of sorts, Hyrule Warriors (Wii U, update 1.2.1) introduced 8-bit weapons, an oversized voxel replacement of the highest tier weapons. The first one to be released was the wooden sword, with the obligatory, “It’s dangerous to go alone” reference from the original Legend of Zelda game.
The weapons themselves are purely cosmetic and comical, based on items seen in the original Legend of Zelda game(s).
These fan-favorite tributes return in the Definitive Edition of Hyrule Warriors, but are hidden behind a setting under “Game Settings.” According to the description, 8-Bit Weapons can be dropped instead of weapons with multiple elements.