As someone who had never played a “Fire Emblem” game before (other than the mobile game), I wasn’t sure I was going to like “Three Houses.” However, I do like anime and I liked the concept of a game in which you play a professor at a fantasy/military version of Hogwarts and you lead your students in grid/turn-based battles. The thing that really made me wary of Fire Emblem was the general reaction from fans, myself included, whenever another generic-looking, anime, sword wielder gets added to the latest Smash Bros game.
So I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that I have really enjoyed the characters and the story of “Fire Emblem Three Houses.” It’s not just that the characters are well written, well thought out and distinctive, but the game does a good job of encouraging you to have as many interactions with as many of the characters as possible. And of course, the more interactions you have, the better you get to know them, and by extension the more invested you become in the story. It’s a smart loop that endears the characters to the player while making each twist in the story feel all the more compelling.
But “Fire Emblem Three Houses” isn’t perfect by any means. The visuals are quite lackluster for a game in 2019, even considering the fact that it’s on a portable gaming system. But considering how big the game is, I think a downgrade in visuals is a fair trade-off. Nintendo has been living large on strong gameplay without the most eye-popping visuals for years now. So if ever there was proof that visuals aren’t the most important part of a game, look no further than Nintendo’s lineup.
Another one of the game’s weaknesses is the side quests and activities at the monastery. Most of them are fetch quests and lack variety to the point of feeling like busywork meant to pad out the amount of time it takes to complete the game.
Nevertheless, the characters, the story and the combat are so strong I’m willing to overlook these minor gripes.
For more thoughts, check out my video (posted above), and let me know what you think in the comments below!