Fire Emblem: Fates is actually a combination of 3 different paths through the same world. Early on you must decide whether to side with the Hoshido or the Nohr, and your choice will provide a much different experience (although there are a few similarities). If you choose to side with neither you’re greeted with a third path, which provides a MUCH different experience than either of the first two.
Each play through (Birthrights, Conquest, Revelations) took me approximately 20-30 hours. As someone who likes to challenge myself when it comes to old school JRPGs, naturally I played on the “Classic Hard” difficulty. Classic simply means that if your unit dies in battle it’s gone for good, Hard is the 2nd highest difficulty setting for the missions themselves. This worked out fine in Birthrights (the easiest of the 3) but for the others I was wiped out within the first few missions. There is definitely a noticeable spike in difficulty with Conquest, and some of the Revelations missions can also be quite challenging (though you are somewhat better equipped to handle those situations).
Each story provides an interesting insight into the world, fraught with moral consequences either way. The soundtrack is incredible (as it is in most Fire Emblem games) and the presence of 3 different paths provides something for all kinds of players, whether you enjoy a challenge, an easier route, or a more strategically unique path.
Time played: 70-80 hours (total for all 3 paths)
Would I recommend it?: Absolutely!