First impressions of Fire Emblem: Three Houses

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Screengrab of Fire Emblem Three Houses Title Screen

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a massive game comprising of 40+ characters, intertwined fantastical storylines and a complex battle system. Overwhelming on the surface, Three Houses quickly absorbs players into the captivating and mysterious Fire Emblem universe. 

Screengrab of the combat in Fire Emblem Three Houses

Fire Emblem, a nearly three-decade-old franchise has struggled to gain traction outside of Japan to the levels of other Nintendo franchises like Mario, Pokemon and Smash Brothers. The massive scope of a Role-Playing, Turn-Based Strategy game can be a tough genre to dive into for casual gamers.

This fact has generally scared me off these type of games, yet after seeing the critical response and fanfare behind Three Houses I decided to give it a go completely blind. 

Soon after starting the game, your character Byleth, a gifted, amnesia-stricken hero, finds him/herself a Professor at a Monastery with a big decision to make. This Church-run Monastery is home to a magical school (think Hogwarts of Harry Potter) full of young Royals, Prodigies and aspiring Knights split into three houses. The decision of what house you choose dictates the 10 or so students you will be responsible for teaching, protecting and relying on for the games’ 60+ hour playtime.   

It is this school-like aspect of the game that got me hooked very early on. You spend an entire academic year with these students, teaching, dining, chatting and really getting to know them.

As their Professor, you take on the roles of Parent, Teacher and Commander. I found the most captivating parts of the game were these character-driven sections. After just a few hours, I grew to care about my students, I wanted to learn about them and most of all I wanted to protect them.

Screengrab of Claude in Fire Emblem Three Houses
Joseph Halloran

It’s a true highlight of the game, the sense of progression as you see your students grow from shy and unsure teenagers into confident and effective soldiers. 

I’m only 15 hours into this game and I feel like I have only touched the surface of this epic fantasy story and only just gotten to know my precious students. Fire Emblem: Three Houses has established itself in my everyday life and as a personal Game of the Year contender.

Final Verdict: 9/10

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