I’ll admit, that statement isn’t totally accurate. The segments in Fire Emblem Fates where you visit your castle, head to your treehouse home and touch your allies does have some merit. Patting their heads, stroking their cheeks and rubbing their chests makes them happy. It improves the bond between the avatar and the character on the receiving end of the physical affection slightly.
My point is, Fire Emblem Fates‘s skinship doesn’t feel as important to the game as the element does in Konami’s Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side and Love Plus titles. In the strategy game, it’s a novelty. An excuse to hear the characters say sweet things as you get all touchy feely. Maybe, if you do it enough in conjunction with fighting alongside one another in battle, you’ll build up the bond faster. Maybe. I’ve found it’s quicker to take my avatar and the person I want her to befriend to a side map and send them alone to wipe out all of the enemies there.
And this is coming from someone who is 100% for touching pretend people. My game library includes all three Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side games, as well as that Duel Love DS game where you massage and wipe sweat off of topless high school boys who participate in a fight club in their spare time. That I’m not excited about “feeling” folks in Fire Emblem Fates says something.
In Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side and Love Plus, there seem to be quicker and more tangible rewards. Do well during the skinship section, and you may get a kiss at the end of the date. It feels more at home in both games, because it’s a recreation of a natural interaction that would occur on a date. You aren’t calling someone up to your room so you can poke and stroke them. You’re on a date and naturally, well, poking and stroking them.
Listen, it’s weird either way, okay? I’m not going to sit here and act like a game that lets you jab or swipe at a virtual man or woman is a totally normal thing. It’s absolutely not. But in actual dating games, like Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side and Love Plus, it’s easier to understand why it’s there. It makes sense when these segments come up. You see worthwhile “rewards,” in the form of more intimate interactions with the characters. (Not that kind of intimate!)
It isn’t the same with Fire Emblem Fates. The “boost” in affection you get from calling someone to your love nest isn’t significant enough to make a difference. I have a little over 30 hours clocked in that game. In all that time, only once did the skinship session boost my avatar and the chosen person up to the next level. I suspect the only reason it happened was because I had her chasing Jakob, they were next to each other in every map and were probably nearly at A-rank as a result anyway.
So if Fire Emblem Fates‘ skinship is one of the things you’re most excited about, I’d go ahead and temper that. It isn’t like previous games with that element, where it’s something of a mini-game that results in a rather immediate reward. Here, it quickly turns tedious. Which means you end up ignoring it, because fighting together is faster. And then your perfect My Castle area is forever marred by a constant exclamation point because these pretend people want you to waste your time petting them. Ugh.
If you feel differently, you can find Fire Emblem Fates right now. I’d recommend going with the Birthright route, since the objectives to complete maps and ample opportunity to level grind make it easier to enjoy.