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So what were your overall opinions about Engage?


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Engage has been out for over four months now, and most of us have probably played it enough to have formed our own opinions about it, what it did right, and what it did wrong. So, what did you make of it? Where does it rank for you in your personal pantheone of favourite (or least favourite) Fire Emblem games?

For me, I thought it was OK. But only OK. A solid 6 or 7 out of 10. I like Fire Emblem, and this was a Fire Emblem game, so I did enjoy it, but it never came close to exciting me the way that my favourites did. I played through once on Hard and had a decently fun time with it, started a second run on Maddening but lost interest part way through and haven't got back to it. I thought the story was pretty weak (the plot and the world-building especially; the characters were better but I still didn't love them) and while there were some decent ideas in terms of mechanics, I felt that the wonky difficulty curve really held the game back on that front. I also really disliked the Somniel, which somehow managed to combine the excellent fast pacing of Garreg Mach with the deep character work of My Castle. Oh well.

How about you? Are others feeling the same ambivalence that I do, or are you generally more positive about it?

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I didn't have a strong first impression of the game. I am not a fan of the Monastery/Somnie/etc mechanic, but I had no idea how much of it I could skip, so naturally I did everything and had a miserable time with that part of the game. The gotcha moments and the like are no better, and while I like the general map design there are a few that were (and still are) a bit of a slog to get through. I was also expecting Maddening mode to be similar to the difficulty in Three Houses, so I played on Hard mode to learn the game. That was a bit of a mistake because it's not really an appropriate difficulty (for me) once I learned the mechanics. Chapter 17 expects you to know what all of the emblems do and to use them to your advantage, but it doesn't really add to it past that point.

My opinion of the game drastically improved on my next few playthroughs. Gotcha moments are only bad once, and most of the content in the Somniel is skippable. I also don't feel like I'm missing out on something when I skip activities and such which is a huge improvement over Three Houses. I still don't like it, but it's tolerable. The skill system and engage mechanics really make the game a lot more replayable since it's a huge sandbox in terms of build creation and strategy selection. Maddening is also a fairly balanced difficulty when compared to some of the other games in the series, at least in my opinion.

I don't have much if anything to say about the story or characters and the like. This is probably a pretty basic take, but I haven't enjoyed the story in Fire Emblem games much since Radiant Dawn, so I didn't expect much and didn't get much out of it besides a few laughs during some of the campy moments.

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I enjoyed it. Had lots of fun with it.

The only things that you could say that really disappointed me was the events at the end of Chapter 10, and the Fell Xenologues. Other than that? Had a blast.

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Posted (edited)

The combat is largely an improvement over 3H, and most of the Emblems are more or an less an vital asset for your team. But it also adds an lot of unnecessary shit to an lot of things, like having two or three copies of an given class, giving some of them an singular extremely situational ability that really isn't worth it. The main villain is more or less an generic lunatic so that we won't feel bad when it's time to euthanize him. 

All things considered, it's more like an 4 or 5 out of 10

Edited by Armchair General
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Engage is fine. It's certainly not my favorite Fire Emblem, or even anywhere close to that, but it's fine overall. But I'm also of the opinion that Fire Emblem has yet to have a bad game, so, ya know.

I thought the gameplay itself in a vacuum was good fun, and I thought the graphics and animations were great. I have no complaints there. This is a game that plays well and is genuinely fun, and it looks good doing it. Where it really falters for me is in its story and characters. It's very similar to Fates, in that regard. The story is straight trash and the characters rank down with Fates and have some of the worst in the series. I wanted to slap Clanne and Framme several times, and I absolutely disliked Hortensia to a high degree. But, then you have characters like Yunaka, Diamant, and Ivy, who I thought were actually pretty good. The cast as a whole, though, has far more negatives than what I'm used to from Fire Emblem. Again, much like Fates.

The music and the character designs were very hit-or-miss, too. I just don't care for that generic "anime-pop" music, it feels so...bleh. It's certainly not up to the usual excellent standards of Fire Emblem music. As for character designs, like I said, those were also hit-or-miss. Characters like Hortensia and Timerra have absolutely TERRIBLE designs, but the design of characters like Zelkov and Citrinne are fine. No design ranks among my favorites in the series as a whole, though.

Overall, it's fine, Fire Emblem continues to have no truly bad games. But it's on the lower end of my personal rankings for the series.

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Played the game twice, both on Maddening, had a good time.

I simultaneously think it's an objectively good game but bear some malice toward it anyway.

The gameplay is certainly very good. Solid map design, the engage system works remarkably well for a first try at the system, I like the class tags. I have some objections like how the whole promotion/reclass system makes your level incredibly confusing, and forging being a bit wonky, but overall I have almost entirely good things to say. Top three game for gameplay in the series, I'd say, which also means it's got among the best gameplay of any video game I've played because yeah I think Fire Emblem is really good at this.

But conversely I really did not like the main plot... at all? Not sure how popular this opinion is but I think even Awakening and Fates are notably better than Engage on this front. Now, to be honest, there aren't many Fire Emblems I think have particularly good stories, so if I'd played Engage a few years ago, I'd probably bear relatively little malice for it on this front. But instead it comes after Three Houses and is almost aggressively a game trying to avoid saying anything of value, by comparison. The Somniel obviously invokes the monastery and I kept talking to characters hoping to get the type of setting- and character-building dialog 3H had but nope, nothing. The actual cast isn't awful or anything, some of the supports are decent, but it's such a step in a bad direction that it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

In some way my opinion about the game was crystallized in learning about its sales figures. At 30% lower than 3H, it's still a financial success by any measure, and will ensure we keep getting more of these games. But I definitely hope it sends the message to Nintendo that this tone/storytelling style is not what I (and many others, apparently) want from this series.

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It's a good game. I like it more than Three Houses, which was a let down for me, but at the same time I think that comparison occasionally results in me giving it more praise than it actually deserves. Its gameplay is strong but not quite peak FE, and its story is passable at best.

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Played through twice on Maddening, I think it's pretty good. It's held back by empty character writing, lackluster character art, boring character/class abilities, rote dominant strategies, nonexistent worldbuilding, and a story that spends quite a lot of time saying nothing.

All that said, it's still got solid FE tactical play at its core, there's a dozen or so great maps, and the Emblems are fun to mess around with. It's a competent, safe iteration on the narrative and design ethos of the 3DS games, and that's fine. But I hope it doesn't mean the series has abandoned the messy ambition of Three Houses.

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Engage is a really really good game overall, the writing is a bit awful at points but as a video game it's one of the best in the series.   My biggest issue is the lack of replay value, it's not terrible but compared to awakening and fates it feels really lacking in that department.   If we're going to keep getting avatars why are we getting consistently less and less customization options?   

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I love the gameplay and character design, a huge step up from 3H. And even though I don't have any major issues, I do wish the story, characters and worldbuilding were better. They tend to be... forgettable, I suppose?

All and all, a solid 8-9 for me

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Gameplay is incredibly fun, while also being fairly challenging. Characters, both design and personality wise, are a mixed bag. The story is meh, it has some neat ideas (such as the tense relationship between Brodia and Elusia and the self-reliant isolationisim of Firene), but also have moments that don`t land for me. Mechanics are hit-or-miss, chain attacks and Emblems are pretty good, while break drops off in relevance around the midgame.

Overall, a game I enjoy despite my problems with it.

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At the end of my first run I straight up called it my new favorite FE and was left wanting for more. Mechanically, this game is excellent. The fanservice is annoying at best, but Emblems are an incredible mechanic and I kinda hope they make a return, just... without marketing gimmicks attached to them, thank you very much. The map design is also quite solid, with consistent quality maps and fewer duds than the average FE. The units are a lot of fun to use and build, and free reclassing adds so much room for creativity.

Engage's of course not without its flaws, but they aren't too big, and what game is flawless, anyway? I thought about it long and hard and I couldn't come up with an argument to place even my old time favorite, New Mystery, above it. I'm also fond of the cast, and visually it's the prettiest 3D FE has ever looked. I didn't care for the plot, sadly it's not as funny as Conquest's, but I'm one of those people who has never played this series for its plot at all, so it did not impact my opinion of the game much.

So yeah, overall, had a great time. If you'd told me I'd end up calling Toothpaste-chan's FE the best FE ever, I would've laughed you out of the room, and yet here we are. I even came around on Alear's design! Frankly, at this point I don't see how it's any more tacky than dual neon pink ponytails or black-and-white urchin blobs or whatever Heath carries on his head.

 

Now, three chapters away from the end of my maddening run (second run overall), my opinion of Engage has taken a moderate hit due to a key flaw that has become more apparent on the replay: The game loves wasting my time.

My save file says 75 hours, but the playtime must be over a hundred from resets. And yet a huge chunk of that time has been spent sitting through the horrendous loading times and running around the Somniel doing repetitive tasks. It's less bad than Houses's monastery, certainly, but the Somniel still sucks. There's too much I feel compelled to do after every chapter - worst of all, the arena stuff, since it requires sitting through even more loading screens. Add to that the massive length of the game, and I'm actually struggling to finish the run despite the gameplay being some of the best FE has to offer, because by now I'm tired of the game and want to play something else already.

I sincerely wish they'd just go back to nice, simple, convenient menus, but I know it's not going to happen. Clearly IntSys saw Houses's massive success and derived from it that the way to go is large, sprawling hubs where it takes you 45 minutes to do what you could do in 10 with a menu. But hey, you can read one-liners from your waifus and husbandos, so it's all worth it. Oh, well.

 

Still, even if I can see Engage potentially dropping a rank purely by virtue of New Mystery being so much more pleasant to play (and save points on the map beating limited rewinds any day, and my fondness for Archanea's dumb little cast of nobodies), Engage will remain in my top 3 FEs for sure. The combat is just way too good, and in time I'm certain someone will make a "Somniel is a menu" mod, considering how insane Engage's modding scene already is.

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Played through multiple times on maddening, challenge runs, ltc and more.

That being said combat wise, this is the best in the series for the most part. 

Story wise... it feels like the story was created to just show off the combat. 

Combine the 2 together and you have a fun game to play overall. I would give it an 8/10 now due to the quality of life updates they eventually released. But at launch, I gave it a 6. 

If you are a fan of the fire emblem games, then this is a love story to the fans overall. The story, generic and lacking, is forgettable at best but not as bad as some people are making it out to be. But the combat really makes it shine. I would 100% love them to take the combat in this game and use it as a base for a future game.

I still play the game now just to have fun runs and see how OP I can make my set ups. 

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Fire Emblem Engage is a very unique game in the fact that someone might look at it from the outside and think it's a step down from it's campy, silly exterior and over the top dialogue in it's main story. But deep within it is a compelling, well designed and beautiful game that is a celebration of Fire Emblem. I understand the more simplistic anime approach, given this game is supposed to be an "anniversary" game of sorts. So the game taking a step back from overly-complex war plots, complicated politcal intrigue (like Three Houses) and giving us a nice little package here, taking a little bit from EVERY Fire Emblem game and sprinkling it into one, showing what the dev team learned from all the games they worked on, is a treat. Graphically and animation-wise, this game is incredibly pretty to look at, runs pretty well and is satisfying to play. Gameplay is tight and solid. New mechanics make sense and work really well. Maddening is actually good and balanced. Alear is actually a good character.

*record scratch*

 

Wait.... what really? You may ask? Well, here's the general consensus. Gameplay good, story/cast bad. I fall in the minority that think the story is not the worst and decent enough for what it is trying to do to actually be one of the more memorable FE stories for me. (I still find it funny that it has less plot holes than Three Houses, one with a more serious, complex story lol)

Let's start by seperating the main story and the character supports. Cuz, oh man, it is a BIG difference in quality. Now I know I was just about to praise the story a little bit but I have to make it clear that the supports are where most of the REALLY GOOD stuff come from for the game at a consistent level. This is one of my favorite FE casts. There isn't a single character I outright dislike. You have your silly comic relief characters, your serious, compelling backstory ones. And you have ones that are somehow *both*. Yes *indeed*. 

I never had so much fun watching supports. This game made me laugh so many times and I personally think it is the funniest fire emblem game. Seriously, there were some supports that were outright ridiculous and pure comedy gold (and I probably shouldn't be laughing this much at a game that sends child units into war.) The cast felt like a wacky band of misfits but it was quite.... nice. I cared for these idiots. Not to mention a lot of them having unexpected tragic backgrounds that wouldn't feel like they match the exterior that some of these characters have. Especially a certain woman who seemed to crash into some party confetti and forgot to peel the stars off her cheeks.

This is a game where you get your classic Diamants, (spoiler character that does that thing in almost every FE game), and even a Jagen, yay!! You have your silly Awaken/Fates like Zelkov, Timerra, Yunaka....Bunet.....Amber....sigh. And you even have a throwback of lategame old people, pre-promoted units like Lindon and Saphir which were nostalgic to the old FE games. The cast is colorful and lovable, with some of my favorite supports in the series, and very consistent quality I might add.

Now the main story. While not AS fantastic as the supports, it is a fun little simple story with some neat twists here and there and a final arc that is both bonkers and suprisingly well done for the most part.

Some characters don't really shine as much as they do in their supports but imo that's okay, because the main highlight is unironically Alear themselves. This is the Alear show. Finally gone are the days of silent protags with unusual lore (Byleth) or complete mess of an attempt at a compelling protag (Corrin). Now we get this wierd dual-toned hair dragon silly, and he.... actually is pretty good. He is no Ike or Leif, but for a game that is this silly and goofy, I expected an absolute train wreck like Corrin. But no, Alear has really solid development, ups and downs and a satisfying conclusion to their character arc. I think the story is just presented really well. I compare this game to Echoes in the sense that Echoes had the best 2D presented story of a okay-ish story. While Engage has the best 3D presented story of a.... yet again, okay-ish story. Voice acting is incredibly solid (though they pushed VA's to their limits with some goofy dialogue), musical cues are excellent. Seriously, no one talks about it, and it surprises me, but I was impressed by the synchronation and perfect transitions of the game's musical score as the scenes would play out, slowly and dramatically building in tension as soon as it was needed to as you progress the dialogue, crescendo-ing and roaring into a emotional and epic melody. Always gave me goosebumps.

Villains were unironically memorable, they are so over the top and stupid but... in a good way? Like they somehow didn't just become Iago and Hans. It's like they were played up to such a high degree (the fact you bump into the Hounds so many times, it feels as if they wanted you to really remember these guys lol) but it surprisingly made me like them. They all have a small, simple motivation/backstory-ish side to them which made me want their own little spin-off side game tbh. Griss is so insane and unapologetically evil but it comes back around as being funny and charming. Marni is such a chaotic scrunklo and menace to society but again... somehow funny and charming. It just worked for this storyline. I won't spoil but this game made me shed tears more than Three Houses somehow (even though I think 3H is a better overall story and game). This was a story not about the characters surrounding the protag. This game's story is about Fire Emblem. And that's why it brought tears to my eyes. (If you beaten the game, you will realize how much that sentence actually makes sense and how literal I am about that statement lol). It is an anniversary game for the fans, back when the story was about legendary hero vs evil dragon. Hero getting the help of his nakama and wielding a silly legendary power. It was nostalgic. How the game is able to present its "final twist" and the *DEEPER MEANING* it has for those who actually are fans of Fire Emblem, THE SERIES, will understand why the story resonated with me to such a degree, enough to be impactful enough to be on the higher spectrum of FE stories. It didn't have to be complex like Three Houses/Tellius or completely traditional like the GBA games. It was a mix of the old and the new. The serious and the silly. It felt like its roots while also feeling new gen. A perfect combination of both. Kinda like Alear's hair!!

In conclusion, You get reimagined classic maps, you get Emblems that represent their literal gameplay style of their installment (to a hilairiously detailed degree), a memorable cast, a meaningful story in the non-traditonal sense, but one that tracends the game itself and speaks to the fan of the series playing it. And because of that, I will always have fond memories of this Fire Emblem. It didn't just engage me. It ENGAGED with the fan who was there all those years playing the series.

9/10

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This is probably in my top 3. Im on my 2nd maddening run (4th overall playthrough) and its the only game ive been playing since release (outside of some fighting games). I really enjoy the art and I think the team building is fun. Story sucks, and many of the characters are only interesting in supports but the gameplay is super duper fun. The enemy spam as difficulty is a bit annoying, but the paralogues and divine paralogues present a lot of interesting challenge. I think the maps are overall pretty unique and well thought out. Overall one of the best FE experiences I've had. I've played all the FE games except ikes games, and this one matches my enjoyment of FE8 and FE4 (my other 2 favorites).

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Probably in my top 5 five, played it twice and was in the middle of a third run when Zelda TotK released..
what I like :
Break/Smash/Poison mechanic. Sadly the Smash weapon have too much weight.
Move. With lower move, you can do smaller maps with more stuff. thus taking less spaces..and more maps
Battle animation.
Staff is back again to near Thracia level.
Fixed Mode.
No weapon Rank.
No weapon durability
No Skill madness (you can inherit only two)
Avoid Tank or Tanking is viable.
Post-Battle visiting the map.
Class archetype (backup, flying, mystical, etc.)
didn't like :
Character before CH11 are pretty good, even more powerful than before CH10, so sometimes you need to drop some of them.
Balance. Some character growth/base are super low when some are super high.
Story is meh, but I know this game was supposed to be a sort-of adventure story

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Very positive although I do have some criticisms (I skipped most Somniel activities because they bore me, and I'm on my second playthrough and the lack of New Game+ is baffling). I had nonexistent expectations and ended up having an absolute blast playing, it's been the highlight of my year so far. The gameplay is its strong point and the story is "eh" but I'm genuinely charmed by a lot of the cast. The art grew on me a lot too, I thought the aesthetic was too cutesy for me at first but I got used to it pretty quickly.

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Posted (edited)

Honestly it might just be my favourite Fire Emblem. It probably would be if the story was a bit better. I don't think any other Fire Emblem has gameplay as close to perfect* as this. It really does a fantastic job of giving you really busted, really fun tools to work with, while still somehow actually being challenging. It's the Thracia bullshit arms race without the malicious hatred of the human soul and Binding Blade's overtuned balance without being basic (or the obnoxiously difficult Chapter 7). And to be honest, even the story I like. I mean, it's not great, it's definitely not a great story, but it has its moments and was certainly a much appreciated palette cleanser after Three Houses' suicidal over ambition. Though it does still have weaknesses in some areas, particularly the auto levelling of the paralogues which felt like they were untested at certain difficulties. Those infinite reinforcements in Chapter 22 can also go fuck themselves.

 

*I use the definition of perfect in its mathematical sense. That is not to say of maximum conceivable quality, as most people generally tend to use it when making statements like "Nothing is perfect", I mean something more along the lines of most realized in what it is meant to be.

Edited by Jotari
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After Three Houses, I was very skeptical to where Fire Emblem was going. Even though I've put many hours in Three Houses (single completed playthrough), I never really felt at ease with all the side stuff. I am a perfectionist, so if I can have Warp ASAP on a unit, I will have it. I've spend way too many hours on the school activities, which made me burned out soon enough. Only completed the shortest route, BE, tried the other two, but the first (11?) chapters are already to much of a shore to me.

So I didn't want to jump into Engage until I was sure it was for me. Seeing some random playthroughs (without spoilers) it gave me Awakening vibes. Which a good thing to me. Units are colorful and lovable (almost all of them). Battles on Maddening can be brutal from time to time, but that gives extra satisfaction when finally completed. What I didn't like is your cast falling off hard.

Since I just looked at LTC gameplay, I figured early units were almost untrainable with that pace. But playing myself, I found that even when "grinding" I also couldn't make them keep up. Not only in level, but also in stats. I liked Seighurt/Louis really well, but he was only level 8 when Jade showed up, in a higher level and better base stats. Same for all the rest. Only Chloe kept her nice as a flier. Give I could've promoted another unit, but I was saving that item for Louis especially...

Story is fine for me, also reminded me of Awakening. Emblems were fun, which reminded me of pair-up from Awakening too. The explorer part was fine I guess. Somewhat strange you couldn't revisit places whenever you wanted too, unless you had a battle done just before it.

Maybe soon I will set my pride aside and play the game on Normal difficulty, but not sure if that would help Louis get his promotion, pretty sure he still gets overshadowed by Jade xD Also the change in whatever class you want, if you have the right stuff, never really clicked for me. Options are fine, but I prefer limited like in Sacred Stones. It gives more value to units and might make players use other units, depending on their playstyle.

Overall an 8/10 too me. DLC didn't add anything in my experience (only experience XD) Those bracelets are just meh. I liked Camilla's ability to turn anyone in a flier, but the rest meh. Luckily I got it for "free" as a gift, would've regret spending money on it. 

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I loved Engage. The story obviously isn't as deep as Three Houses but it was good enough and I really liked a lot of moments. I didn't expect to like Alear so much, but they wound up really compelling to me as well. Granted I'm a sucker for emotional stuff and Engage dials that up to 11, especially in the second half, so that could be part of it too. On the other hand, the lack of worldbuilding is a huge bummer after how intricate Fodlan was. I think it'd be nice to have different tones in future FEs, but I hope all games have as fleshed out lore as 3H.

The gameplay is fantastic though, and that's the part I think most people agree on. I had to wrack my brain in the later maps far more than I did in Three Houses (with two or three exceptions), and despite the clunky implementation I liked Fell Xenologue's added challenge and somber tone too.

So... yeah, a positive rating from me. I'm upset that Engage may not have as much staying power as Three Houses, because even if the story is divisive, it does a lot right!

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9 hours ago, DefyingFates said:

So... yeah, a positive rating from me. I'm upset that Engage may not have as much staying power as Three Houses, because even if the story is divisive, it does a lot right!

I think Three Houses story is a lot more divisive than Engage. Even the people who like Engage's story (of which I count myself among) have weak defenses for it. Everyone is more or less on the same page of "It's quite meh", only with some people finding a meh story something worth getting more upset over. Meanwhile Three House's Story, the morals of the factions involved, its use of themes, much of it's lore being from in game books and a split route that is 80% the same makes for a scenario where emotions are going to be a lot more inflamed and opinions a lot more varied. Which will probably give it a lot more staying power than Engage when it comes to discussions.

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38 minutes ago, Jotari said:

I think Three Houses story is a lot more divisive than Engage. Even the people who like Engage's story (of which I count myself among) have weak defenses for it. Everyone is more or less on the same page of "It's quite meh", only with some people finding a meh story something worth getting more upset over. Meanwhile Three House's Story, the morals of the factions involved, its use of themes, much of it's lore being from in game books and a split route that is 80% the same makes for a scenario where emotions are going to be a lot more inflamed and opinions a lot more varied. Which will probably give it a lot more staying power than Engage when it comes to discussions.

 

I think these are good points, though don't fully explain the different reception. At its core, though, I do think it's quite simple: people have, in a variety of ways, connected more with 3H's writing than Engage's. Whether that's digging into the characters (3H did a lot to make players engage* more with its cast than Engage did, IMO: monastery dialog, longer supports, paired endings, tea time), discussing the morality of the main players, or digging into the setting, there's a lot. By comparison, even though a lot of people (probably even including me) would say Engage has the better gameplay, it's not really by any sort of dramatic margin, and in particular, 3H can even claim some advantages on this front. In particular, I would say its class/skill system is better, and due to the house choice and the route differences 3H was more replayable. I imagine some people might disagree with me on one or both of those, but it should be obvious that a significant number of people feel this way, leaving Engage without "clear" advantages to counter 3H's writing advantage, at least as far as player engagement* goes.

*It wasn't until Fire Emblem Engage came out that I realized how often I used the word 'engage' in my day-to-day language. Any wordplay is not intentional.

 

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