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Friday, June 24, 2022

I'd probably get Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes if it wasn't a "Warriors" game

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It... arguably does a lot of non-gameplay things better than Three Houses!

A few weeks ago, Nintendo released the Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes demo. Today, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has released on the Nintendo Switch for $60. Same price as the normal Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Three Hopes and Three Houses were both developed by Koei Tecmo, and with access to the Three Houses assets, Three Hopes is very familiar to Three Houses in everything but gameplay. A lot of reused models and animations, for examples. The soundtrack consists of more action-oriented remixes. Same cast of voice actors. It's very similar presentation. Except the story diverges quite a bit since it follows the new original character, Shez. (I tried renaming him Shitz, but the game said “Contains characters or letters that cannot be used.”)

In... a narratively impressive prologue, Shez is with a group of mercenaries tasked with killing off Jeralt's mercenaries. (Jeralt, you may remember, is the father of Byleth, so Byleth is part of that mercenary group.) Shez's mercenaries are a rather overconfident bunch whose portraits are generic Fire Emblem: Three Houses enemy portraits, so they're going down one by one. Byleth is gonna kill off Shez too, until Shez gets a Deus Ex Machina moment and is saved by a mysterious powerful being named Arval that lives within him. It's quite similar to Byleth's Deus Ex Machina moment in the prologue of Fire Emblem: Three Houses with Sothis. One big discrepancy already is that Jeralt has hundreds or more dudes in his mercenary band by virtue of the game requiring that everyone has an infinite number of minions.

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes many thugs working for Kostas gang Claude
It seems like Claude agrees with me that there are much MORE aggressive people around in this version of Fódlan than the original version.

You're... forced into joining Garreg Mach Monastery and must choose which house to be a part of. Fortunately, unlike Fire Emblem: Three Houses where its first part (White Clouds) goes on for a significant portion of gameplay and it's all pretty much the same regardless of which house you choose, in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes you very quickly get into a timeskip where the setting ISN'T the dreaded Monastery, and you get to have much more unique scenarios that are customised based on your affiliation. And yet... many things are still the same between them. (I played up to where the demo stopped for both the Black Eagles house and the Golden Deer house.)

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes walking wandering NPCs in base camp depressed zombie shadow eyes
Everyone's base camp has the same layout, featuring these zombie-looking NPCs that are supposed to make things seem lively and populated.
Do YOU see their faces and think this is the camp of a bustling army?
The mage guy also walks with a very odd posture. And it's not just him. That's just how NPCs walk.

The missions and maps were suspiciously similar in the post-timeskip part of the demo between houses. Three side missions into a locked main battle that you need to buy the game for; each of those side missions unlocked side parts of the map you can visit for resources. The resources being the same and the side parts being in the same quantity.

Of course... the core gameplay itself is the same between routes. The characters’ basic movesets are dependent on their class line, though regardless of the class, you'll be pressing some combination of the Y button and the X button a lot to easily dispose of waves of enemies. Sometimes, there are more durable enemies, and they are much more of a threat. Well, more of a timesink than a threat. There are often many objectives going on at once (and missions are also ranked, partially based on time). If you spend a lot of time fighting a specific durable enemy and they're not a required boss, that... might not be a good use of your time. Or maybe it might be, because they could be a base captain and you can get territory on the map that way and restore health.

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes Count Bergliez Ludwig
It is cool that Three Hopes takes the chance to explore characters and situations we never got to see in Three Houses, though.

It's a bit unfair to say that “Warriors” games (or “musou”) are totally brainless affairs where ALL you do is mash buttons. Well, at least this specific one. There's decision-making on where to allocate your resources and other units (you can send other members of your party to seize or guard different things... or directly control them). When you're not making those decisions, yeah, the combat is pretty braindead button-mashing.

I think the parts of the gameplay where there is resource allocation isn't enough to counter the button-mashy parts that I don't really respect. But I did have a better time with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes than the last “Warriors” game I tried the demo of, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity.

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes Raphael Mage training Lysithea
While I can't get Raphael Warnock to become a Warlock in the demo, I can at least get him to become Raphael Warnock the Mage.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes feels less bloated in its presentation and story-telling than Fire Emblem: Three Houses—at least based on the demo. I like that. Even if it feels like a spruced up fan-fiction. But I'm much more a fan of the traditional Fire Emblem turn-based gameplay. It kind of feels like Fire Emblem: Three Houses DLC... if it was priced as a full game and with worse gameplay. Looking at it that way, it's hard to justify wanting to buy that. Even if I admit I do feel a bit invested in how the two-year time skip is going to affect Fódlan.

If you're a fan of that, go ahead and buy the game.

As usual, feel free to let the comments section know how you felt about the game's demo... or the full game, if you actually bought it. If you think that Ludwig's opinion would change if he went through and played the Blue Lions house route of the demo, you can also chime in the comments section about that. Maybe he'll eventually buy a “Warriors”-style game if his opinion of them keeps increasing bit by bit.

Ludwig was a lot less negative in this article than he was with the launch article for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity. The frame rate and performance is quite a bit better in the new game.


  1. If I was into Fire Emblem, I'd probably have been buying this and even previous FE Warriors games. Personally I had a blast with the original Hyrule Warriors and Legends. But Fire Emblem's one of those game franchises that I WANT to get into but I just can't, for reasons. >_<

    1. My impression from reading online opinions is that this one is waaay better than the first Fire Emblem Warriors—and that it's even “more Fire Emblem than Warriors”.

      I've also read that the story falls apart after where the demo ends. :x

  2. Like Lheticus Videre, I wish I could get into it but I just can’t. I will get around to playing through some of the games one day because it is such a big franchise. But for now, I just don’t really enjoy it.

    I also feel this way with XenoBlade, Megaman, and F-Zero. Ah well.

    1. Mega Man, too? That should at least be adjacent to Kirby. >.>


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