Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

released on Jun 24, 2022

Prepare for a different story set in the same universe as FireEmblem: Three Houses with Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

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To start off, I am not a musou guy, I played maybe a few dynasty warriors over 10 years ago. That's about my only experience with the genre. I intended to play the first Fire Emblem Warriors before this game came out, but that didn't work out like that. So I went into this pretty fresh in a couple of fronts, my incredibly mixed opinion on Three Houses was also lingering as I played. But man, what I got was incredibly surprising and satisfying.

Now I've only played Scarlet Blaze, so my opinions may change with additional playthroughs of other routes, but what I saw I really loved story wise. In a shocking turn of events, this story felt like a dramatic improvement over Three Houses, I say this even as someone who loved Crimson Flower as much as I could. It felt like it was delivered so much better, having more maps and more chapters led to more cutscenes which led to more time with characters I liked. World building and politics felt improved, getting to actually see the Lords of Adrestia that were just lore in Three Houses and parents the students would occasionally mention, added a lot of depth that Fodlan needed. Claude and The Leicester Alliance are actually big parts of the whole story, instead of two speed bump chapters in Crimson Flower Edelgard blitzes through. I liked the whole alliance arc a lot in this game, Claude actually felt like an actual character and lived up to his "scheming" reputation he didn't earn in Three Houses. I like how this game speedruns through White Clouds events that Three Houses spent an entire part on. The absence of Byleth at the academy makes a huge difference plot wise, which is great to see. It utilizes those White Clouds elements in interesting ways too, namely in Lonato, in Three Houses, he was a lord that each of the Lord trio dealt with in the same way. But in Scarlet Blaze, he rebels against the kingdom after they take in Rhea, which gives Edelgard an opportunity to save Lonato to take him into her side. I won't list every improvement over Three Houses plot points, as much as I'd like to, that would take a while. New stuff, Shez was a great addition to the game, I had reservations at first and they're pretty similar to Byleth conceptually (mercenary with a mysterious power and spirit inside them), but Shez is just such a fun character, great dynamics with the cast. I enjoy watching their relationship with characters like Edelgard, Hubert and Byleth, seeing elements of their characters from Three Houses stay consistent when presented with a new story. I won't go on too much longer, as I'd enter into spoiler territory, but I loved Edelgard's story, it felt properly chaotic as a war against basically four factions should. Edelgard is seemingly desperately bouncing around trying to clean up various messes, and you think she isn't making progress. But she's very composed and always feels in control and prepared even when it seems she's been blindsided. It was really fun to watch this army manage this big conflict, helps with the scale and world building too. I do have some complaints, a few questions are annoyingly unanswered, nothing game ruining but stuff that should've been there. One line in the ending monologue, that references the future of the story after the ending, kinda ruins what could be a great ending place. And there's a "big game changing decision" moment that isn't delivered to the player in a way they would really understand what they need to do. Two little fixes and that problem wouldn't exist, but it does so that's unfortunate. But these are minor complaints and compared to Three Houses? A few minor complaints is something I'll happily take for an overall great improvement.

Just like with main story beats, this game improves on the cast essentially unanimously across the board. Every character I loved in Three Houses I somehow loved even more in this game, namely characters like Edelgard, Ferdinand and Dorothea. Especially Ferdinand, he gets some really great content even in the main story. Characters I felt more neutral towards I liked a lot more, maybe even love them now, characters like Caspar, Jeritza and the Ashen Wolves. Jeritza especially, I don't know what they did but man he was really cool in this game. I love all his supports, while not a high number of them just as in Three Houses, they were just really good and added a nice layer of depth to his character. Characters I kind of bordered on disliking in Three Houses I liked the content they got here, they felt fresh and new and overall non archetypal, which is an achievement for Fire Emblem. Characters like Bernadetta, Ignatz and Raphael, actually had some great content. Obviously I didn't play Ignatz and Raphael's main route, but they have a great Paralogue I did. Nernadetta actually had a good amount to contribute in the main story, as her dad was a big key piece of Edelgard's plan and basically always a factor in the story to think about. Even in her supports, of the ones I saw, she didn't get dragged out of her room or pass out once. Now I could have missed some where that happens, but the fact that she has such a nice variety compared to Three Houses, where they keep repeating those gimmicks I mentioned save for one support or so, to this game where she has great supports with characters like Hapi and Marianne that utilize her under explored traits from Three Houses, or letting the player actually see her gain confidence in herself (also seen in her Shez support). I won't talk about every character, but the fact that I don't dislike any of them and that I enjoyed every support is such a nice thing to see. I only had two supports where they used quirky support music, and even those were pretty funny. Paralogues, as they aren't main story and rather character stories, I'll talk about here, I enjoyed pretty much all of the ones I got. They use good groups of characters of similar styles or familiar ties, like Manuela and Dorothea both being singers, or Leonie and Shamir both being mercenaries, or just all the Ashen Wolves together. This makes a great break from the main story to enjoy some more character focused content. I think Shez is a great character for everyone to bounce off of in supports and paralogues, I greatly enjoyed their supports with Edelgard, Ferdinand, Jeritza and Lysithea, but I liked them all. Only real negative is Linhardt's main story cutscene commentary I disliked, as well as any content he gets outside of supports and paralogue. He just kept repeating "war is bad, we should stop fighting" like every cutscene. You could say that's his role and that's his archetypal dialogue, but even more archetypal characters like Bernadetta, Petra and Caspar had interesting stuff to add now and then with their archetypes. Even then, Dorothea is a better character to deliver the same message, her role as a commoner makes her sympathizing with the common folk suffering from the war feel a lot more earnest and genuine than just Linhardt kind of blankly complaining, but this isn't a big issue as I do like his supports and paralogue a lot. Villain wise, I guess it's an improvement from Three Houses, but like, congrats lol. Similar vein as the playable characters, the ones I like (Rhea, Dimitri) I liked more And ones I felt neutral on or disliked (Claude, Slithery boys) got better. But still nothing I'd put among the best of the franchise. A new spoilery villain also wasn't super great, as they connect with the unanswered questions I mentioned in the story section.

As mentioned earlier, I am not a musou fan, never played many of them, so this was a fresh experience to the genre with nothing really to compare too. But man it was great, I really enjoyed playing this game. General combat is overall pretty fun, targeting can be a bit quirky, certain classes are a bit awkward for a while and maybe certain reoccurring mechanics can get old after a while (I didn't really feel this but I can understand if someone doesn't). I liked all the classes, even awkward ones like mages, they all had fun stuff to use. From combat arts to warrior special animations to unique abilities and adjutant combat and warrior specials, man this game is just fun to play, great visual animations on all these things too. Especially warrior special animations, Shez's default ones are cool, the swordmaster one is raw, the Gremory is great, and it having different animation details for each "canon" Gremory is really cool. Shez's base class is a bit over powered, so it doesn't really give much insetive to experiment with them. But reclassing is implemented well in this game, you can train certain classes even if they aren't equipped, the only ones I really messed with were Edelgard was a wyvern rider for a bit and I made Manuela an armor knight when I was messing with the mechanic for the first time and never really changed that lol, so she was a Great Knight at the end of the game. A great accomplishment this game makes is implementing Three Houses gameplay elemts in a much better fashion, your base camp has a lot more going on and it doesn't feel empty after a while, you get a lot more content for and worth out of micromanaging training your units, building supports etc. This game does combat arts and abilities really well too, just a great implementation of Three Houses core content. Only thing to really complain about in the base camp, and this could easily be removed, is the resource loop. Managing smithing stones and building materials felt pretty awkward for a while, didn't hit a good stride till late game, but I say this can be removed as it could easily just be me being s dumbass. Maybe I missed a feature (extremely common) or didn't get the right pattern for upgrading or resource looping. So maybe in subsequent playthroughs I'll figure out a good pattern and I won't have an issue. But as it is now, it isn't a huge deal.

Man, another huge improvement over Three Houses (but another "not hard" moment) but even with the super low bar set, it is surprising how well it improved itself. Animated cutscenes don't look like 10 fps garbage, they actually looked pretty great. In engine stuff looked a lot better, I think the lighting just worked with the environments and models really well. I like most of the new character designs as well. So I don't know who in the studio made a big improvement, but I am happy they did.

I enjoyed Three Houses OST, no real complaints there, some great tracks in fact and this game just made me like it more. With some great remixes of songs I already liked, and some great new stuff. I just loved what this OST did, definitely felt the more action vibe needed for the genre change.

Voice Acting
I loved Three Houses voices overall, and this game was just more of a good thing, getting to hear more from great voices I love was a very nice treat. Especially characters like Edelgard, Hubert, Jeritza and Ferdinand, I greatly appreciate their new content.

Left some spoilery stuff off this review, certain characters I liked a lot, I'd have nice things to say about them in the main story, characters and voice acting sections of this review. If you know you know basically. So yeah, this was only one of three routes in the game (and maybe more?) So obviously this isn't my permanent opinion on the game as a whole, so while my rating may seem odd, it's just how I feel. I greatly enjoyed my time with this route, if subsequent routes suck ass, so be it. There are some issues here and there, but nothing that I think can combat the scales against such a drastic improvement over Three Houses. I love Scarlet Blaze, I love Three Hopes so far, I love Ferdinand Von Aegir.

Fire Emblem: Three Hopes is the warriors-type spinoff to the game Three Houses, detailing an alternate universe where the main character of the original game never engaged on their path and allowed the story of the game to go in a different direction.

The gameplay here is very satisfying, and blends action with Fire Emblem strategy quite well. Each character is enjoyable to develop and play, and there are plenty of characters at that. Downtime comes in the form of a camp instead of a monastery, which provides plenty of activities to embark on with the cast of the game to bolster support conversations and gain buffs for the battles to come.

The story of the game was very surprising to me. I only played one of the routes, but the Scarlet Blaze path was very fleshed out, answering many questions from the base game and providing an intelligent alternative to the events that once occurred. The politics of the land of Fodlan play out like a Game of Thrones episode and each betrayal feels interesting and impactful. The ending was a bit rushed and the main characters role sometimes feels a bit unexplored, but the war between the three houses is capitalized on far more than it ever was in Three Houses. I am looking forward to seeing how the other routes play out.

As a follow up to Fire Emblem Warriors, this improves upon nearly every aspect of that game. By using Fire Emblem: Three Houses as a foundation for its focus, we get a bucket load of characters and three routes following much more indepth stories than what the original FE Warriors had.
A lot of Three Houses DNA makes it over with base camp exploration, freedom of class choices, cooking, training, etc etc. There's a ton of supports to gain as well as characters to recruit that in a lot of ways, this is Three Houses but with Warriors battles instead of Tactical RPG fights.

I don't think the game's story stands on it's own though. A lot of what makes the story enjoyable is that it expands upon stuff that Three Houses didn't make enough time for and as a result it assumes you have a lot of knowledge from that games characters and story. For example that academy phase in this game barely lasts a chapter and then it diverges into one of three routes depending on what house you chose. If you had played Three Houses, then the event that abruptly ends the academy phase is a huge oh shit this is cool moment, if you haven't play it then I can only guess you would be like wtf is happening here. So in that regard, while this is an alternate take on the Three Houses story that is completely different, it is also one that you really need to have played to really get the full experience from.

As for the three routes, I started with the Blue Lions and Azure Gleam and while I enjoyed it diving into TWSITD and the Tragedy of Duscur a lot more, I think it also horribly handles Edelgard's character and a few key characters from the Empire. I still found it enjoyable overall but I come away from it thinking it may be the most mixed route of the bunch

But yeah, there's plenty of content here and Fire Emblem meshes so well with the Warriors gameplay. I still have two routes to play at the time of writing this but I feel confident in saying this is the best Nintendo Warriors spin off we have gotten so far

This review contains spoilers

Sort of quick note: I've only finished Golden Wildfire as of writing this, so I'll only be talking about my experience with that route. Obviously, as a Fire Emblem giganerd, I do plan on completing every route; I just started Scarlet Blaze, but probably won't finish it until after I finish Nirvana Initiative, which I'm trucking through right now. I will update this after I complete everything in the game.

This was the biggest surprise of the year for me so far. When this game was revealed in February, I was fully expecting it to be just a fun time waster I could grind for several dozen hours like every other Warriors spin-off not named Persona 5 Strikers. To some extent, it is that, and I'm more than glad with that, I love dumping way too much time into these games. What I didn't expect was it to actually be a genuine contender for my game of the year and my new favorite Warriors spin-off game.

I'm gonna start with the elephant in the room: Shez. I LOVE SHEZ. I haven't seen everything he has to offer yet, since I have only finished one route, but this dude could very easily land a spot in my favorite video game characters list. Continuing the trend of this game surprising me, Shez is one of the most lovable dumbasses I've ever seen, and fills the shoes that Byleth left behind as the Fódlan protagonist role, I think at least, significantly better than Byleth ever did. I kind of wish Shez was always the protagonist of Three Houses, but then again, we wouldn't have those amazing duels against Byleth, so I guess it's fine. He has genuine relationships with the other characters instead of just being the most idolized brick wall of all time like Byleth was, and his mercenary background and Arval powers gave him some great dynamics with other characters, like Leonie and Hapi. Also, that bit near the beginning of the game that's probably been memed to death already about Shez jumping off of a fucking cliff to get stronger, TWICE, and Arval saving his dumbass both times, broke me. That was a surefire sign that Shez was going to be my biggest highlight of the game. Apart from Shez; I picked Golden Deer in my first run, and seeing new sides to these characters felt like meeting them for the first time all over again. I already liked most of the women of the house plenty enough (hell, Marianne and Lysithea are among my top favorite video game characters period), but the additional characterization that Hilda, Ignatz and Lorenz got (especially Lorenz, this game does him a lot more justice than Three Houses did) made me appreciate them a lot more. Holst actually existing now (and actually being a major character in the story, which sure as hell surprised me), along with some of the nobility mentioned in Three Houses, is also a pretty nice addition. Unfortunately I can't say the same about the odd one out among the Deer in terms of everything I just spoke about, Raphael; I can probably count on my hands the amount of lines he spoke that didn't mention food or muscles throughout the entire game's 40 hour runtime.

With the actual story itself, it had some pretty bad pacing issues, with everyone going from one place in Fòdlan to the next place halfway across the continent, and a bit too many times where they're right on the brink of victory, but then something bad magically happens and they have to retreat, but that's about it. I liked this game's version of Claude much more than Three Houses' version, where he kind of just existed for the sole purpose of having a third route with all the giant lore dumps. This game's version of Claude shows his tactical brilliance time and time again, and also puts him on the same level as Edelgard in terms of wanting to make his ambitions reality, willing to do some horrible shit to make it happen, which he rightfully gets called out on by the entire house. His arc is genuinely really good in this game, they knocked it out of the park with him here.

I love Warriors gameplay, and (in terms of the crossover spin-offs, at least) I think this is the strongest it's ever been. Persona 5 Strikers was more of a Persona Action RPG than a Warriors game, and I wasn't too fond of what I've played of Age of Calamity. This game combined what worked about the original Fire Emblem Warriors and the sandbox-style unit building aspect of Three Houses and it works better than I could have possibly imagined. The skill system is gonna keep me playing this for at least a hundred more hours, maybe even longer. There are so many funny builds I've made and many more I want to try out, and this game actually giving me the ability to access my save file after saving clear data, something Three Houses lacked and was easily my biggest issue with that game, makes that possible. I do wish there was actual postgame content, like every other Warriors spin-off I've completed before this, but I'm guessing there's gonna be DLC down the line anyway, so I don't mind for now. The other routes will keep me occupied until then.

I haven't finished the game so this is an early review.

Gameplay: Not for everyone but I love it personally
The game fixes a LOT of narrative issues that people (including me). The biggest fix for my has to do with Edelgard and her motivations and the consequences of her action.