Fire Emblem: Three Houses
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This article may reveal major plot points, especially considering the game had either been released recently or not in specific countries yet.
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Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical role-playing game co-developed by Intelligent Systems and Koei Tecmo, and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch in 2019. It is the seventeenth installment in the Fire Emblem series overall, and the tenth to be released in the West. It is also the first home console entry in the series since 2007's Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
Why It Rocks
- Absolutely beautiful and lovely cel-shaded graphics, art-style, and environments for a Nintendo Switch game. Even after a few years later, the game still looks pleasing to eyes.
- The gameplay core is virtually the same as its predecessors, with a series of enhancements.
- Weapon durability, a staple of the series that was missing in the previous installments, makes a return here and is implemented much better. Instead of instantly losing a weapon that has no uses, you can keep using it, at the cost of lower damage and accuracy. Like in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, you can visit a blacksmith to repair your weapons, in exchange for materials that can be found.
- Most improvements to the combat that were done in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia return in this game:
- Archers aren't restricted to attacking enemies only one tile away from them, and instead have a broader range, at the cost of lower accuracy.
- Combat Arts return, and instead of using HP they consume weapon uses. Also, unlike Fire Emblem Echoes, you don't need to equip a weapon to use its abilities, instead you learn them by increasing your weapon skill level.
- Mila's Turnwheel, which allows you to rewind time to correct any mistakes, returns in the form of the Divine Pulse, which serves mostly the same function.
- Like older installments in the series, Magic has limited uses like weapons, and when you run out of uses, you can't cast it anymore. However, as soon as the battle ends, they will be replenished.
- The fatigue system used in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 returns in the form of motivation, which allows you to tutor your students more times. Resting on free days, inviting your students to eat, supporting them during classes or viewing support conversations with them will increase their motivation.
- The setting is completely new to the series, and it's very fitting for the story. It takes place after the events from all of the previous games.
- Unimaginably endearing, well written, and memorable characters. There are also many new activities to attend with them in order to bond with them and flesh them out, compared to the previous games.
- Speaking of characters, Some character designs are pretty lovely, like for example this Byleth (Female) and Edelgard von Hresvelg, to the point where they are like waifu-material.
- Speaking of waifu material, there are some characters that are easy-to-like, a perfect example is Byleth (Female), who not only has a beautiful design and such a lovely voice, but he is quite affectionate (especially with Edelgard) and the most interesting.
- The gameplay has been updated to include time management mechanics similar to the Persona and Devil Survivor series. The game is also much less linear than previous installments.
- Speaking of Persona and Devil Survivor, the gameplay itself is surprisingly good.
- The cinematics are surprisingly good, beautiful, and incredible, especially in the prologue where Rhea attacks her nemesis, they are so impressive that they look like a 8-hour anime movie.
- On weekdays, you can choose who between your students you want to tutor during classes or assign to a task, which will increase their weapon level, movement type and support level. Sometimes, students will ask you questions, and if you answer correctly, your support level with them will increase.
- Each of your students has a Skill Goal that determines his or her stat growth and which class is more suitable for him or her. You can modify their Skill Goal at any time, determining which stats have a higher growth.
- The promotion system is greatly improved from previous games: every ten levels, the character will be able to take the Certification exam to obtain access to a new class of different strength, depending from the character's level (for example, a character can take the Intermediate exam at level 10, and the Advanced exam at level 20). However, the promotion occurs only if they pass the exam, which depends from their skill level (for example, taking the certification for the Mortal Savant class requires the player to have a skill level of B+ or higher in Reason, and a skill level of A or higher in Sword to guarantee that the unit passes)
- There is tons of replay value due to how great the game is.
- On free days, you can choose whether you want to visit the academy and receive side-quests from other people, head to battle (which is required to complete some quests, including Paralogues), have one of your students hold a seminar (which increases skill level and motivation of those who attend), have some of your units take the certification exam to promote, or rest (which replenishes a certain number of uses for the Sword of the Creator and increases your students' motivation).
- A huge number of side-quests and side activities to do. Paralogues and side battles return, and have been improved from previous installments. Paralogues also have side stories of their own and focus on several characters, fleshing out their personality even more.
- Completing Paralogues will earn you new Relics, special weapons usable only by those with the corresponding Crest, akin to the Divine Weapons in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War.
- Every Paralogue also contains some scenes that expand the main story.
- In the cathedral, there are four statues. By earning Renown, you can restore these statues, which earns several bonuses such as extra Divine Pulse charges, improved stat growth, extra experience points earned, or improved skill growth.
- You can change the voice acting to either Japanese or English.
- Movement types are introduced, and are required for an optimal use of some classes. The three movement types (Heavy Armor, Flying and Riding) also have their own skill level, unlike previous installments.
- Support conversations return from previous installments, and do a great job at fleshing out the personality of the characters. Unlike previous games, during scenes, certain responses will be appreciated by a character, increasing his support points with the main character, however several characters may dislike some responses, lowering their support points.
- There are four (with an additional fifth as DLC) different routes, each of which with its own ending.
- Your army isn't restricted to your house's students, and you can recruit virtually every person in the academy during the first half of the game, excluding the house leaders and their retainers (Hubert for the Black Eagles, Dedue for the Blue Lions and Hilda (though you can recruit her if you chose the Blue Lions house) for the Golden Deer). If you don't recruit some units, they will show up to fight you in the second half of the game, however, you can convince them to return to your faction, like in previous installments of the series.
- Gambits are introduced, allowing the player to recruit Battalions and call them in battle to use powerful attacks that deal heavy damage and negative effects on the target. The higher a unit's Authority skill level, the stronger the Battalions they are able to recruit. Battalions also increase a unit's stats, however will retreat after the unit has taken too much damage (though the player has the chance to pay to revive them)
- The Crest mechanic allows for several special abilities to activate for people who have a Crest in battle.
- Units with a Crest can also use the Relic weapons with ease, powering them up if their Crest is compatible and unlocking their exclusive Combat Arts (for example, giving the Sword of the Creator to Byleth will allow him to use the Supreme Heaven Combat Art)
- The titular Fire Emblem returns in this game, and unlike older games, where it was an item, it's now one of the strongest Crests.
- Incredibly deep and beautiful story that isn't afraid to be dark when it needs to be.
- The new difficulty, Maddening, is challenging and tougher due to enemies receiving more health and dealing more damage compare to Hard and Normal difficulty.
- Fluid, responsive and easy-to-learn controls.
- Lots of extra content through either patches or DLC.
- Increased the number of save files from five to 25. Note: Increased number of save files will require approximately 12MB of additional system memory space. If you don’t have enough space, you can delete some application data or images saved in the album.
- Added a new option, In Battle, in Appearance Options, allowing the player to select the monastery outfits for battle as well.
- Note: You can set this from the Unit Appearance menu in Personal Quarters.
- Note: Depending on the outfit/character/class combination, some outfits may not be reflected for mounted units.
- Added feature that allows players to hide the UI when viewing a character in Unit Appearance.
- Professor Jeritza in his Death Knight persona will join the player in the Crimson Flower route, with his own class and set of supports.
- Changed the song that plays in the opening movie to the Korean version when the system language is set to Korean.
- Added additional quests and new outfits (Servants Attire, Summer Wear, and Evening Wear) from the Expansion Pass.
- Note: Additional quests include new activities, such as the sauna, feeding cats and dogs, and recruiting new battalions.
- Note: Additional quests are marked with a light-blue icon during Exploration.
- Note: New outfits (Servants Attire, Summer Wear, and Evening Wear) are provided for the protagonist and for the playable characters. They can be selected via Personal Quarters in the monastery.
- Added an additional element of the Expansion Pass, making Anna available for recruiting in the monastery after the third chapter, Mutiny in the Mist.
- Note: Anna can participate in battles and activities.
- Note: Anna does not have Support relationships.
- Note: Recruiting Anna unlocks a new paralogue after a certain chapter.
- Note: It’s possible to set Anna as a traveler, but the recipient cannot recruit her as an Adjutant unless they also own the Expansion Pass.
- Note: If a player has not purchased the Expansion Pass, only one of the new characters in the Expansion Pass can visit as a traveler.
- Added Gifts for Dogs and Cats to the viewable rankings during the loading screen and the calendar screen while playing online.
- Male Byleth was recast after the first voice actor did terrible things.
- The actor who made Male Byleth was Chris Niosi, he was accused of abusive behavior towards his friends and his ex-girlfriend, after what happened, Fortunately, Nintendo took the trouble to replace him with Zach Aguilar, which made him remove a patch of the game.
- Part 1 has been deemed repetitive by some players, as it's the same for every route with minor changes and the development of the story doesn't change. The problem continues in the Verdant Wind and Silver Snow routes which are both very similar aside from different final bosses and main ideas.
- The game has rather linear map objectives, usually only being a rout or kill boss map.
- Edelgard's route is much shorter than the others and only has one animated cutscene. It's possible it was rushed.
- The developers chose quantity over quality and they cut corners like when they recycled maps. To be fair, this happens when the recycled maps are in the same location, but this doesn't mean that they have to be the exact same map layout.
- The game's story has a problem with too much telling and not enough showing.
- Plot hole: When Thales explains to Kronya when he had revealed the death and including his identity, but how would Kronya have her disguise faded if she had died?
- Choppy and inconsistent frame rate, for example if you were in combat the FPS would go like 23-25fps, which can be a problem.
- There are some battles that are very frustrating.
- You can't view a student's personality and tastes if he or she isn't a member of your house, which can be problematic while giving gifts, returning lost items or during teatime conversations.
- The requirements to recruit certain characters can be quite frustrating to access. For an example, Hilda is only recruitable after a route split in the Black Eagles house for only one chapter, and while the game does tell you that supports lower requirements, it doesn't tell you how much.
- Some enemy bosses have skill sets that the player cannot gain access to. During the second battle of Garreg Mach in the Crimson Flower route, Shamir has both Bowrange+1 and Bowrange+2, the latter of which is exclusive to the Bow Knight class, despite Shamir being of the Sniper class. Both skills also stack with each other, despite being clearly stated in their descriptions that their effects are mutually exclusive. This gives her a range of 6 tiles (7 if using a Long Bow), allowing her to damage your units from behind enemy lines with no fear of retaliation, which can be detrimental for any fliers in your army.
- There are some characters that are unlikeable, for example this Bernadetta von Varley, although she is not bad, she can be a coward and a crybaby, which seems such a sick idea to do it, and they also seem like a semi-clone of Lester the Unlikely.
- Maddening mode has reintroduced same turn reinforcements, which is often accused of being fake difficulty.
- While it has tons of replay value, it can be repetitive (or lackluster) at times.
- Like Persona 5, on the other hand, all it does you have to give lessons to students or study (except in battles) which can be a extremely boring and less fun, sometimes you even have to talk to students to increase from level as mentioned before.
- Exploring the monastery can be a real drag.
- To unlock the Black Eagles route, the player is required to complete chapter 11 and then speak to Edelgard after achieving her C-rank Support. Doing so will trigger an event that will alter the main story, making her and Hubert unavailable for the rest of the month. After defeating the thieves in he Holy Tomb, the player will obtain the choice to side with Edelgard, beginning the Crimson Flower route, or to stick with the Church, beginning the Silver Snow route instead.
- Most Paralogues require recruiting a specific character to unlock them:
- Saint Indech's Paralogue is unlocked when both Linhardt and Leonie are in the player's house;
- Saint Macuil's Paralogue is exclusive to the Golden Deer (Verdant Wind) route;
- The Death Knight's Paralogue is accessible only when both Caspar and Mercedes are in the player's House;
- Ferdinand's Paralogue is available only when both Ferdinand and Lysithea are in the same house;
- After finishing the game and saving clear game data, the player will earn a high amount of Renown points that can be used to unlock bonuses in a New Game Plus. It's wise to save any Renown earned in NG+ to unlock the bonuses, as the Four Saints' statues retain their completion in any playthrough after the first one, and their bonuses will likely pale in comparison to the ones granted by finishing the game and carrying stuff over.
- According to many developers, the game was heavily influenced by Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the fourth game in the series:
- The Crest mechanic is very similar to the Holy Blood mechanic in the latter game, and its use is very similar (allowing the bearers of Crests to use the Relics, akin to people with Holy Blood being able to use the weapons of the Twelve Crusaders)
- The Twelve Crusaders are akin to Nemesis and the 10 Elites, and their role in the story is very similar.
- The upcoming strategy RPG Project Triangle Strategy by Square Enix shares many similarities with this game.