I should say first, no, I don't have the special edition, I have a physical copy of both Birthright, and Conquest. And right of the bat, that is my biggest problem with Fates, and it has been since the announcement. The point of the game is "the choice", after Chapter 7, you will be on one of three sides to the war, and I think locking the choice to the game versions weakens the choice. Now granted, you can buy all three versions on the one game, but that is pricy (though probably not as pricy as my method, I just like having a physical copy when possible).
Before getting into the other thing that would make that moment better, let's actually tackle the plot, or what I know of it so far (currently at chapter 11 (roughly) of Birthright), You take up the role of Corrin, a prince or princess depending on what gender you chose (which to me, I prefer female Corrin's design, so for the rest of this I'll be reffering to Corrin as a woman). her role in the bigger story, is of a grey, for you see, she is Honshido by blood, but was kidnapped and raised in teh kingdom of Nohr. While Honshido is more peaceful, colourful, and heavily based on Japanese culture, Nohr on the other hand, thanks to their King, is more of a war culture, more closely resembling previous Fire Emblem games like Awakening, in comparison. You spend three chapters with your brothers and sisters of Nohr, and then three chapters with your brothers and sisters of Honshido, with Chapter 7 being when you make the decision of which side you fight for.
With the exception to what I said above, about the multiple games, and that they portrey the king as the "big bad guy". That choice is heart wrenching. It's brutal, and after what happened in Chapter 6, its a real feels trip, something the Fire Emblem games are known for (see the death of Chrom in Awakening (no spoilers, its in the prologue of the game) and sacrificing one of your troops in Shadow Dragon (might review that one some other time). I'm almost dreading making having to do the choice another two times, with the worst one possibly being the Revelations "stand alone" option.
What helps with the choice is that Fire Emblem is well known for its strong characters, and Fates is no exception. The brothers and sisters are really interesting, Corrin, like Robbin, has a strong, defined personality, and isn't just a shell for the player. My personal favorite, in terms of personality, from Honshido has to go to Hana, who to me is basically this game's Nowi, not in role, just in charm. I love how she's portreyed in this, and I'm curious as to who I'll meet in Conquest and Revelations, who the stand outs will be there.
I've not had the time to try all the new features, however I have unlocked several of them. Including... that one... Now before I get probably everyone on the internet pissed off in some way, hear me out. I haven't had a reason to use it, I don't want to use it, for two reasons. First, as I said, I'm playing as female Corrin, and I don't want to pet grown men in this, its creepy enough as is for the women. Second, while I love the visuals for this, I love the art style, I don't like the close up 3D models for the characters. They feel amost like they're in an uncanny valley. It might just be me, but I much prefer how expressive their in battle models and 2D portraits are, expecially with the art direction they went with the portraits.
I'll save a full music review for when I review the game, but I will openly state that the full version of the main theme is one of the best songs I've heard from the franchise, and I would even put it up with one of the best video game songs I've heard, period. It's absolutely beautiful, and to me, its one that I would use when I get people asking me "Why do you listen to video game music?". The song itself is called "Lost in thoughts all alone", and seriously, go listen to it. Right now! In fact:
Yeah, encase it wasn't obvious, I'm loving Fates so far. What issues I have, most of them can be negated as they're still really solid. I wish I didn't have to refer to them as multiple games, just leave them as the one game, but I'm guessing that was a marketing "lets milk this for as much cash as we can" decision, and hopefully not a designer decision. See you on Sunday for the review of Blast Off, the other arm of Bruticus.