REVIEW: Fire Emblem: Three Houses - as Good as It Gets

August 14, 2019
REVIEW: Fire Emblem: Three Houses - as Good as It Gets

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the game we wanted to play for a long time, and at the end of the day, the wait was worth it and we have one of the best Switch exclusives to date.

Fire Emblem is a series best known for two things, the careful, tactical, and strategic combat; and for the amazing stories of both the main and supporting characters. It’s one of the few franchises that doesn’t have a single disappointing entry in it. That is what made Fire Emblem what it is today, a cult game that continues to receive love and support from the devs, something we hope will continue in the years to come.

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You start the game as Byleth, a mercenary that saves three students from three different houses of the Officers Academy. After you defeat the bandits you go to the Garreg Mach Monastery where the Officers Academy is also located.

Once everyone is aware that you saved the best students of their respective houses you are quickly made a professor at Garreg Mach Monastery.

As the game’s name suggests, the plot revolves around the three houses of the Officers Academy and their students, one of which you will have to pick very quickly from the start of the game.

It’s interesting how drastically different the story is based on which house you pick, so to truly experience all there is to the game, and to see all of Fódlan, you will have to play it at least three times.

When we say different, we mean it. Not much changes during the Academy Phase, but after that there is a lot of differences in relations, characters, and more. You will notice the differences in combat and outside of it. There will even be a noticeable difference in the interactions with enemies and NPC you come across.

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The best thing about Fire Emblem: Three Houses is its complexity. It might be a bit off putting to new players, but when you get the hang of it, the game becomes truly amazing. As you play, you have to listen to your students, take care of them and their needs, all this to earn their trust and get closer to them so that you can understand their virtues and flaws.

The micromanagement can be a bit much, but it all makes sense when you realize that it affects the entire game and it will help you as you get further into the game.

This really makes you think about the game even when you’re not playing. You just want to get back in because you really want to know what’s happening with your students and what’s next.

Obviously, it’s not just chatting that affects the game, their skills, their progress in solving problems, fights, and more, all push the game forward. Your relationship with your students contributes to the fights you will find yourself in later, and most importantly their relationship with one another will be extremely noticeable in the academy and the battlefield.

No matter how pointless or unimportant something sounds, it is important to pay attention to it. As it is in the real world, even teachers have a day off, and in this game, that’s Sunday. You can use this day to do whatever you want, including absolutely nothing.

And then comes Monday and you’re back to planning what you and your students will be doing.

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Keep in mind you’re not limited to the students of your house in battle. You can recruit members of the other houses, if you really want to go through that. The relationship between the students of your house and those of another house might not be the best, so you will have to do your best to actually make it work.

On the other hand, this does open up some new options during gameplay, so it might be worth your time. Your groups diversity is a double-edged sword, but if you carefully pick your team and balance their skills, you’ll be surprised how effective they can be.

Back to your own students, their development is down to you, and only you. Every student has a set of skills that pushes them towards a certain class. It’s up to you to decide if they will continue towards that suggested path or if they will try something completely different.

If you really put in a lot of effort, you can get a student so good at a certain class, that they will outshine a student that actually has predispositions for.

Essentially, it’s all up to you. You make all of the choices, and if you feel like someone would be better as a different class, and don’t mind going from scratch, that is completely possible. Keep in mind, for them to be a certain class, they will have to pass an exam for it. If they fail, that’s on you.

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It feels like the dev team didn’t put in as much effort outside of the students. As amazing as the students are, the antagonists feel shallow and aren’t that memorable. It’s actually hard to hold this against the devs, since the enemies realistically only have one purpose, they’re there for you to fight them, they don’t leave a deeper mark on the story. Either way, defeating them is still absolutely satisfying.

Each boss you defeat also serves as the end of a chapter and the start of new, better, harder, and even more interesting things to come.

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of the prettiest and best made turn-based RPG to date. The combination of an amazing story, deep and meaningful characters, excellent voice acting, and gameplay innovation, are just some of the things that make this game perfect, with all of that in mind, it earn a very strong 9/10. Fire Emblem: Three Houses offers hundreds of hours of game time, it’s just up to you to actually find so much time.