REVIEW

REVIEW

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

August 3, 2022

GOOD

  • Spending time with old friends
  • Seeing your old character as a potent rival

BAD

  • Missions lack in variety
  • Time limits make some missions feel rushed

GOOD

GOOD

FEWTH happily let’s you spend more time with your friends in Fodlan, although some might miss the stately strategy being replaced with brutish hack and slash. Still, there is enough here to keep you collecting friends and going on picnics with them.

I don’t think I have ever given a Musou game a good try before. The idea of cutting down hundreds of enemies that pose absolutely no threat just doesn’t sound satisfying to me. In the past, there were occasions when if I worked to turn normal enemies into chaff in a game I would enjoy it, but only for a moment before going on with something more meaningful. But when I was offered another chance with my favourite children at the Officers Academy of Fódlan, I took the bait…

Tre: A familiar start…

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes starts off just like the previous FE game, Fire Emblem Three Houses. You wake up in a forest, hopelessly lost, with a voice in your head. You bump into three young officers running from bandits, who just happen to be nobles and the heads of the three respective houses at Garret Mach. You join them while trying to find a specific village in this neck of the woods, but end up embroiled in the affairs of the school, taking the place of a certain teacher that didn’t pitch up.

I loved the idea of seeing the character do different things, and now seeing your old character as an enemy due to a few select choices.

Shortly after this point, more differences occur between this game and the other. Early on a time skip occurs, ageing everyone two years and changing their appearances and outfits a bit. Unlike the previous game, the children are still by-and-by children, but with nicer armour and a little campaign experience under their belts.

Your character, Shez, takes the place of Byleth from the previous FE game, but Byleth is still around. They stay with Jeralt’s mercenary group, striking fear into anyone unlucky enough to stand in their way. Now known as the Ashen Demon, Byleth is a significant thorn in your side, often derailing the plans and progress of you and your chosen house. After building Byleth into an absolute powerhouse in FE, it was interesting to be on the receiving end of that power. Strongholds fall in lightning succession if present on the battlefield, forcing your strategies to change. I loved the idea of seeing the character do different things, and now seeing your old character as an enemy due to a few select choices.

I was very chuffed with how much Fire Emblem DNA is present here.

Tres: Same, but different…

I was very chuffed with how much Fire Emblem DNA is present here. I was worried that the game would put most of the focus on the battles, but the real meat of the game is in your war camp. Every chapter of the war campaign gives you training and activity points, giving you time to do chores with your friends, take them on expeditions, or cook meals for your favourites, improving your bonds with them. I went with the Black Eagles again, keen to spend more time with Edelgard, Hubert and the rest of the crew. At times I felt like I was retreading the same path, getting characters to open up about their desires and issues, but it was rewarding, all the same, to see their relationships grow with Shez as well as each other.

At times, though, the game felt too much like two different titles vying for your attention. The social game is fun and sweet and you can take your time to choose where to use your resources. But then in the missions, it is a rush against time; A whirlwind of blades and sprinting around to try and get an S rank for the mission. At times I didn’t explore at all, pushing to hit objectives without really caring if I was using the right unit for the job. During a mission, you have four units that you can control directly, playing as any one of them and switching as you see fit. For bigger missions, like the capstone battle to close a chapter, you can have eight units on the field, with four of them under control, and four of them only available to give orders to.

At times, though, the game felt too much like two different titles vying for your attention.

It makes a bit more sense that not every officer is involved in a small sortie to deal with bandits in the countryside, but in big fights, like protracted sieges, it feels strange not fielding everyone you have under your command, or at least mentioning what they are doing during the battle. Sure, it forces you to choose who is there, for special strategies or strengths in the field, but sometimes I wish everyone was involved in a big battle. The time limit on missions did make me feel like I was always rushing, instead of methodically capturing points and issuing orders to my team, it was often easier to just move as a group, killing other commanders in four-vs-one battles rather than splitting up for pincer attacks, or holding strongholds.

Drie: Hits and Misses

One aspect that does give me pause is the reaction that all characters show when an officer dies (named characters from Garret Mach, for example), yet they happily mow through the rank and file troops with nary a qualm… I’m still unsure if it is an attempt at scathing commentary, highlighting the hypocrisy of the ruling elite, who see those under them as expendable, yet mourn any colleague’s passing, or if it is just a clash of the musuo genre’s proclivity to fill the screen with people to kill and Fire Emblem’s focus on companionship, bonds, and the reality of death. It doesn’t help that the game only gives you the best rewards if you kill a requisite number of troops, sometimes measuring in the thousands, meaning that the best way to play is as a rampaging slaughterer. 

I’m still unsure if varied reactions are an attempt at scathing commentary… or just a clash of the musuo genre’s proclivity to fill the screen with people to destroy.

If this was meant as commentary, it misses the mark by not dealing with the true horrors of war, or indeed how terrifying it must be to live in a world where a single officer can mow down an entire army on their own, an avatar of death roaming the battlefield leaving a swath of corpses as they pass. Maybe I am thinking about it too much, but it felt jarring watching the entire crew of my house pause at the death of a named character, while they cheer each other on as your kill-count hits certain milestones during the mission.

Three: Hopes

Like Fire Emblem, this game is long. I was expecting a short jaunt through a campaign, but instead, I got Fire Emblem with faster-paced battles. It was much better than I expected, but it still missed on some of the real meat that I loved about Fire Emblem with tight tactical battles and pressure to perform well in the various milestones that were set for the team. I loved seeing my favourite murderhobo pupils that were somehow still naive and innocent, but it felt like the “lite” version of Fire Emblem. If you want a bit more Fire Emblem or time with your favourite friends, this is where to get it.

 

Written by Garth Holden

August 3, 2022

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