LifeisXbox’s Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes review | The Nintendo Switch just got another title where you can sink hours of your time into. By now, most people should be familiar with the Musou/Warriors type games: you fight enemies on the battlefield by the dozens and control one of many overpowered heroes that feel like a force of nature.
While Fire Emblem is known for its turn-based combat, these Warriors games exchange the usual formula for real-time tactics and over-the-top combat animations, while tying everything together with the usual faction-versus-faction drama and lovely interactions between characters that have secretly become the driving force behind the series ever since the Fire Emblem: Awakening.
Fire Emblem: Three Hopes is the direct sequel to Three Houses, and those who have played that title should recognize most of the characters here. The good news is that you can very easily play this without pre-existing knowledge, but you will likely care just a little less about everyone’s faiths.
Most Memorable Moment
The Team-up special attacks look particularly awesome so those are probably my favourite things about the combat. (The best moments in the game from the story are too spoiler-heavy to mention here.)
ℹ️ Reviewed on Nintendo Switch| Review code provided by Nintendo, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Three paths to choose from | After the prologue, you get to choose which of the Three Houses you join and the game branches off from that point. You’ll have a different story to follow and different party members that can join you on the field of battle. Each of those party members can also be interacted with between missions, making three playthroughs a requirement for those who want to see all that Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has to offer.
- Loads of content | A playthrough for one of the Three Hopes takes about 35-40 hours depending on how many sidequests you go for, multiply that by three and you can see how you’re guaranteed to be busy for many, many hours. Personally, I’ll keep my 2nd and 3rd playthrough for a little while into the future, as it is easy to get burned out on the combat, but more about that later.
- Difficulty options | While not the most challenging of games, you can increase the difficulty of the game and even activate the permadeath mode Fire Emblem has become so known for. Personally, I didn’t use it, but in hindsight, it might have been the better choice as that would have raised the stakes and my emotional investment. The harder difficulty is there if you like some extra pushback, but this will most likely just end up prolonging the total playtime by forcing you to grind some gears and levels.
- Amiibo Support | I rarely list this as an upside, even if a lot of first-party Nintendo Switch games deliver some sort of bonus for scanning your Amiibo, but here I found the daily money and supplies well worth the few seconds it takes to perform the action five times. The rewards are well worth reaping!
- Plenty to do around camp | In between battles, you can chat to your heroes, upgrade their levels or gear and engage in other activities to raise your bond with them. The camp itself can also be upgraded, giving you a constant need for materials and money. That’s probably why I like that Amiibo support so much!
- Plenty of different attacks | Each character has a whole arsenal of different attacks they can use, depending on their class or personal skills. You can even do team-up attacks or deliver devastating ultimate combos that bring the enemy to their knees by the hundreds. It looks pretty impressive… the first time.
- Enemies just stand around | Both your battalions and the enemies often seem to ignore each other when you aren’t nearby as the player. If you run into a new area and only see everyone engage in combat because you showed up, it all starts feeling like a big charade. Though it is nice to see so many fighters on the screen at once and seeing the numbers of foes defeated offers a huge power trip.
- The camp can make the urgency feel unimportant | While this is an issue many JRPGs have, it’s still a bit weird to have a cutscene where everyone is expressing how it’s vital that we rush to someone’s aid ASAP, because they’ll starve otherwise, and then going on a date with your love interest only moments later. I guess this is something you could role-play by avoiding such interactions, but then you’d miss out on the best content of the game, which is the dialogue between your heroes.
- Easy to stick with your main crew | I beat the first playthrough while almost always using the same four characters the entire time. I only ended up levelling the others, in camp and through a menu, simply because I needed them strong enough for the few side missions where you were forced to play with specific characters. Again, this is up to you as the player and you’re free to switch at any time, but when there is no requirement to, most people will stick to what they know.
- Giving orders | To come out victorious, you’ll often need to look at your map and tell the party members you are not controlling to go and defeat an enemy or protect an ally. The problem is that they tend to stick around too long and not go for the next objective on their own. On one end I actually liked having some tactical input, but on the other, it felt like it slowed down the action by going into the menus for micromanagement. This is the very definition of a “Mixed Feeling” as I haven’t quite decided if I did or did not like the inclusion.
What we Disliked
- Minor Bugs | While not game-breaking, I did encounter a recurring bug where a character would not be visible in the camp, even though I could interact with them. It’s a small annoyance, but something you wouldn’t expect to have made it through Nintendo’s QA.
- Automatic Checkpoints in battle | While these are here to prevent you from having to replay an entire battle if, for example, an ally that you needed to protect falls to the enemy forces, it has an uncanny habit of putting that checkpoint only seconds before it would happen again, and again, and again.
- Dull, repetitive combat | Somehow all those impressive attacks start to lose any impact if even your default attack seems to knock the enemies back by the dozen. This is a common issue I have with all Musou/Warriors games: the player characters feel too strong and while this is empowering at first, you’ll soon start to ignore any regular enemies and just dash towards the commanders, press your skills button and move on to the next. By the 10th hour of the game, it feels very much like you’re just going through the motions and counting down to the next character interaction in camp.
How long to beat the story | 35-40 hours
How long to complete 100% | ~100+ hours
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Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.