Our first ever Fire Emblem experience starts with the story of the three houses, which currently find themselves at peace amongst the beautiful world of Fódlan.
Within the game we get to play as the character Byleth, who at first is a mercenary, and part of the Knights of Seiros, but then quickly becomes an instructor to one of these said houses.
Whilst as an instructor we get to learn all kinds of different abilities that we can also teach to our fellow students. This allows us create an ideal unit for us to then use in battle.
As well as being able to instruct and teach our students, we can also explore the wonders of the Garreg Mach Monastery, which is where a lot of the actual gameplay takes place. As we continue through the game more and more we will be able to unlock a ton of brand new features and areas, including the ability to cook, fish, and even complete new assignments.
If anyone has ever dabbled in the amazing and wonderful world of the Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series then this game might feel somewhat familiar, as they both include very similar features including; a school type setting and the main protagonist becoming an instructor.
We also get the ability to bond with all of the students and even the fellow instructors within the monastery. This then helps improve their morale and, if you so choose, we can even have them as romantic interests. Though, it has to be said, not everyone is open to romantic affairs. With that being said it is still good to try and bond with everyone as it also has the ability to unlock new assignments that we can then complete. This will then allow us to learn even more backstory of the chosen individual.
When you first begin Fire Emblem: Three Houses you will be given several difficulty options to choose from. These range from either the easy difficulty, for those who might not be that familiar with tactical role-playing titles such as this one. However, for those with quite a bit of experience, and for those who might be on the opposite end, there is the ‘Maddening Difficulty’, which is a much more challenging option to choose from.
After you have successfully picked the difficulty setting that best suits your overall playstyle, you will then get another option which also relates to difficulty. This time we get to choose and decide if our fallen companions should be able to come back after each battle. This option is more suited to those who enjoy working alongside their chosen team. Perhaps you have put a lot of effort into applying abilities and stats that simply loosing your chosen companion is too much to bear.
Though, for those that simply don’t care enough you have the option of letting any fallen companions just wither away into the abyss forever. This might be a good choice if you prefer to immerse yourself more into the game. In order to combat loosing a permanent companion, we can simply recruit a replacement back at the monastery. Just remember in order to recruit someone you will need to complete their requests first. Not everyone will be happy to join you straight away.
As the game opens up we will witness a battle between the many houses, which will then allow us to select our character. The great thing about this particular game is the ability to choose from either a male or female character. Regardless of who you choose however, the default name of each protagonist remains at Byleth. Each character also seem to resemble each other and there is no customization.
During the course of the game we will sometimes get dialogue options to choose from. These options mainly serve to help your overall bonding with certain specific characters. Some characters may or may not like your responses so it might be best to do some research if you want to fully maximise your bonding levels.
As a tactical role-playing title, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a rather unique combat gameplay feature that is played out on a set grid. During the course of each battle your chosen weapons will begin to loose its durability, which is a very realistic feature and one in which you will need to keep an eye on. Thankfully we can easily find more weapons and even purchase them in order to keep around in case we need to quickly switch and use them.
Alongside weapon durability, the surrounding elements and environment also plays a huge part in either winning or losing the battle. For example forest terrain can raise a unit’s evasion and defence, for as long as they remain in that terrain. So make sure you take full advantage of this so you can increase our overall chances of success.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a great little title that has seen a lot of effort put into it. From being able to bond with your companions, even to the point of romancing them. To being able to undergo optional assignments and change different abilities to what suits each player’s preferred combat setup. There is so much to do and so much replayability to have.
As said, this title has a lot in common with the Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series. From the whole school setting, bonding point setup, and even dialogue choices.
The story itself is rather slow to begin with, as is the case with most role-playing titles. However, after a bit of patience and getting used to the mechanics things turn out to be rather interesting. This, as previously mentioned, is my first time playing a Fire Emblem title and I had no real issue in understanding everything.
Overall it is a great title that really has a lot going for it.
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Release Date: July 26th, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Tactical Role-Playing
Main Story Length: 35-40 Hours.
Platform Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
Overall Rating: 4/5
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