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Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Preview

Prior to about a month ago, I‚Äôd never really properly played a Fire Emblem game ‚ÄĒ sure, I‚Äôd played a little bit of Fire Emblem Awakening on 3DS, but I didn‚Äôt really have the time or the patience to give it a real chance and it never quite clicked. When I found out I‚Äôd be reviewing Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, however, I thought it best to check out Three Houses, to try and get a feel of what‚Äôs changed, what‚Äôs similar, and how it all ties together. I enjoyed the heck out of that, and now, with Three Houses fresh in my mind, I‚Äôve been largely enjoying Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes too. 

So what is Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes? Well, it‚Äôs a Warriors game, with gameplay like Dynasty Warriors, Persona 5 Strikers (one of my personal favourites of the genre), or Hyrule Warriors. These are also called musou games, and the genre as a whole is pretty straight forward: you hack and slash your way through gigantic groups of enemies and feel like an absolute god doing so. Like the name suggests, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes also incorporates a lot of Fire Emblem mechanics, characters, and plot points from Three Houses, but more on that in a little bit. The main thing you need to know is that, if you‚Äôre a big Fire Emblem fan and have never played a Warriors game, this is going to be very very different. And Warriors fans? You‚Äôll want to brush up on your strategy skills because walking yourself into a big battle and hacking through with one character just isn‚Äôt gonna cut it here. 

From a story perspective, Three Hopes is a little bit of a ‚ÄúWhat If?‚ÄĚ scenario, running in parallel to Three Houses rather than acting as any sort of sequel or prequel ‚ÄĒ though there are some kind of prequel/sequel-ish elements to it, too, that you‚Äôll see when you play the game. The ‚ÄúWhat If?‚ÄĚ in this scenario is presented as ‚ÄúWhat if Shez, a random mercenary who was previously defeated by Byleth and company in the past, happens to come upon the House leaders in need near Remire before Byleth herself does?‚ÄĚ. Also, Shez has a mysterious young magical boy living inside of them who can transform Shez into a straight up murder machine. Yeah, it‚Äôs still Fire Emblem, after all, and Shez is still a main character. 

After rescuing the trio, Shez spends a brief spell at the Officer‚Äôs Academy under the tutelage of Professor Jeritza, picking a house in the process, before the brown stuff hits the fan and suddenly the story is thrust forward a couple years. In my game I picked Blue Lions, which so far has seen me accompany Dimitri to the Kingdom‚Äôs capital city and execute his despotic uncle to claim the throne, and then dealing with the fallout. I‚Äôm also playing through a Golden Deers route, but you‚Äôll have to wait til the full review to hear more about that one. 

Three Hopes does place a pretty significant importance on the story, much like Three Houses before it, and there‚Äôs plenty of twists and turns to the story you may know quite well, and as such its characters needed to be well-developed. Thankfully, again much like Three Houses, this aspect is incredibly well-realised, with characters having interesting qualities and fascinating stories to unravel. You can even have cute picnics with them, replacing Three Houses‚Äô Tea Time mechanic with something a little less stressful. These characters are also incredibly fun to play as‚Ķ with some caveats. 

See, one of the mechanics that has made it over from Three Houses is its classes, which change the way a character can attack, what abilities they have access to, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Any character can be any class, with a few characters having their own unique classes on top of that. It‚Äôs a nice idea in theory‚Ķ but in practice, it leads to a lot of characters feeling rather samey. A mage is a mage, and a cavalry unit is a cavalry unit, and any given mage or cavalry unit is going to play pretty damn similarly to any other respective mage or cavalry unit. I‚Äôm still rather early in the game, so that might change as I progress further through the ranks and characters level up, but for the time being it feels like focusing on one member of each class and ignoring the rest might be the way to go. 

As for those strategy mechanics, I have to say that I was blown away by just how important they are. Previous Warriors games have done something similar: you can open up the map to send certain allied units to a particular big enemy or a stronghold to have them capture it, while you go about doing your own thing. That’s how it works here, too, but while in previous Warriors games you could just kind of ignore that aspect and barrel on through with a singular, overpowered character you enjoyed, you simply have to pay attention to the state of the battlefield. At any given time, the objective of your mission can change, requiring you to suddenly have to defeat a certain enemy, protect an ally as they make it to a certain place on the map, prevent a thief from escaping, or any number of things. And Three Hopes will lay these on thick, with multiple things happening at once and no way to do them all yourself. Take into account that things seem pretty strongly set up to prevent you from using any one character or type of character due to weaknesses and strengths, and you’ll find yourself spending just as much time commanding units from the map as you do mashing buttons to bring doom to lowly peons. It’s a delicate balance, pulled off incredibly well in a way that feels genuine to the Fire Emblem series while still putting a fair amount of focus on the hack and slash gameplay.

There‚Äôs still plenty for me to see in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, as I work my way through it twisting storylines, but so far I‚Äôm feeling pretty positive. Thankfully, if you‚Äôre unsure if you‚Äôd like this kind of thing, a demo is available on the eShop right now, which allows you to play a small chunk at the start of the game, and carry that progress over to the full game. That‚Äôs probably a better preview than I could ever give you with words alone, so make sure you check it out if you‚Äôre interested in picking it up but aren‚Äôt quite sure yet. Otherwise, you‚Äôll have to wait for my full review, which is sure to be‚Ķ interesting. 

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes launches on the 24th of June. You can click here to view our bargain roundup and score yourself a deal, or you can click here to view the eShop page and download the demo.

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About The Author
Oliver Brandt
Deputy Editor, sometimes-reviewer, and Oxford comma advocate. If something's published on Vooks, there's a good chance I looked over it first. I spend way too much on games and use way too many em dashes.

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