Fire Emblem: Three Houses Review

Ellen Heitmann, Copy Editor

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Overview:

Released July 26th of 2019, Fire Emblem: Three Houses presents a new approach to the typical style of Fire Emblem games. This time around, it takes place within a high school environment at a monastery by the name of Garreg Mach. Within the monastery exist three main houses of students, each deriving from the three main regions of the surrounding continent. The house names are the Black Eagles, the Blue Lions, and the Golden deer, each with their own respective leader and unique characters. Within the early chapters of the game, you take the role of a professor in the house of your choice. There exist three main routes and a hidden route, and the story varies greatly depending on the perspective you choose which gives the game a great amount of replayability. 

Story:

The overall story is one with a lot of emotion and moral gray. Each route addresses different issues and has its ups and downs, and there is no ‘correct’ choice. The characters all possess unique and interesting motivations, pasts, personalities, and designs. A general focus throughout each route is war and the importance of perspective, as you are able to experience every side of the story and none of them feel completely good or bad, but very realistic. Each side wants to end the war and bring the continent to peace, but have different methods and morals for what they are willing to do to accomplish this goal.

Blue Lions- The Blue Lions house presents a very character driven story. Many members of the cast contain personal connections to the enemies that are faced, which gives bosses that may seem like generic enemies in other routes a much deeper meaning. Dimitri, the leader of the Blue Lions, is the main focus of the story and faces a very emotional character arc. The core themes of the Blue Lions route consist of acceptance, moving on from the past, racism, and living for what you believe in.

Black Eagles- The Black Eagles house follows the story of Edelgard, the leader of the house and a key figure in every single route. It is also the only route containing a secondary hidden route within it. Depending on the decisions you make, the story will take a turn where you are forced to choose between two sides, and the story varies drastically depending on your choice. Core themes consist of morality versus emotion and rebellion.

Golden Deer- The Golden Deer house is a lore-driven route. Having a large focus on history and what goes on behind the scenes, it addresses key concepts such as how the victors of a war may rewrite history, and the importance of breaking down boundaries between different types of people. The house is led by Claude, a schemer with a strong tactical prowess. 

Gameplay:

Fire Emblem is a turn-based strategy series, and in general the combat works a lot like a game of chess. The map is divided like a grid and each type of unit can move a certain amount of spaces and attack in different ways. You take your turn and position your units or attack enemies, then the enemies take their turn and do the same. There are a plethora of different classes with unique abilities along with different weapons and types of magic. Units can be customized into whatever class you like, which affects their gameplay greatly. Movement types include infantry, armor, cavalry and flying. Weapon and magic types include lances, bows, swords, axes, dark magic, white magic, and gauntlets. Depending on which of these skills you prioritize, you can select your class. For example, a paladin class focuses on lances and riding horses, so you would focus on those skills to receive it.

Unlike other Fire Emblem games, Three Houses also has a major slice of life element. Due to the game starting off in a high school environment at a monastery, you are free to explore the monastery and hang out with the people there. Activities like fishing, tournaments, exploring, and more are all available anytime. As you get to know the characters better, you can experience unique support conversations with them which let you get to know and understand them better. 

Should you Play it?:

I would personally recommend this game, but only if you enjoy games with really heavy stories, or tactically focused gameplay. If you like RPGs (role-playing games that normally have an emphasis on story and characters), it would definitely be a great game to try out. As a whole, I would give the game an 8/10. In my experience, I really enjoyed the Blue Lions and Golden Deer routes, but found the other two routes not as impressive. Overall the game had a great story and cast, and I also loved how they let you see every perspective. However, I am giving it an 8 as two of the routes could have been expanded on more. For individual routes, I would give Blue Lions a 10, Golden Deer a 10, Black Eagles original route a 6, and Black Eagles hidden route an 8.