Gaming

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes – A Captivating Spinoff That Stands Out

Most Fire Emblem games revolve around war, but Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes may be the most compelling conflict in the series to date. It’s not just another loud and proud Musou game where players mow down hordes of troops. It manages to retain the essence of Fire Emblem, making it truly captivating.

A True Sequel

If you’ve played Fire Emblem Warriors from 2017, you might have low expectations for Three Hopes. That game felt more like a Dynasty Warriors title with a Fire Emblem skin. However, Three Hopes is a different story. It adapts almost every aspect of Fire Emblem: Three Houses while offering a fresh perspective. It may not have the series’ signature turn-based tactics, but it doesn’t hold back when it comes to the RPG elements. Developer Omega Force delivers an action-packed experience that still makes players feel like skilled commanders.

Three Hopes takes place in the land of Fódlan, just like Three Houses. Players choose a path at the start, witnessing the war unfold from that house’s perspective. It’s a great opportunity for players who have only played Three Houses once to explore a different house and get to know a new ensemble of characters. The game builds on the relationships between heroes with fully voiced support conversations, making it a truly engaging experience.

A knight smashes enemies in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Houses.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The social aspect of Three Hopes is also entertaining, as players can explore a small camp between battles. They can spend activity points on cooking, chores, or expeditions with troops. Additionally, players can collect resources to upgrade camp facilities. With these extra progression hooks, Three Hopes offers more than just epic battles—it’s a full-fledged RPG experience with rewarding systems to dive into.

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It’s impressive how Nintendo expands its beloved universes through spinoffs like Three Hopes. Instead of simply repeating the formula of its predecessors, the company finds innovative ways to delve deeper into these worlds. This approach worked wonders with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and it shines even brighter with Three Hopes. Whether you’re a fan of Three Houses or a newcomer, this game offers an exciting standalone story.

Repetition Comes with the Territory

There is one significant difference between Three Houses and Three Hopes: the former is a turn-based tactics game, while the latter is a hack-and-slash title. Whether you’ll enjoy Three Hopes largely depends on your affinity for Musou games, as its core gameplay isn’t as complex as that of Age of Calamity.

A war map with objectives in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In Three Hopes, players select a few troops at the beginning of each battle and complete a set of objectives. These objectives typically involve slaughtering hundreds of soldiers with flashy combos, all while navigating the map and capturing strongholds. The missions are laid out on a board game-like map, offering side quests and resource acquisition opportunities. Although the game can become repetitive due to limited variety in environments and objectives, this is expected within the Musou genre. With a single campaign lasting 40 hours, repetition is inevitable.

However, Three Hopes mitigates this repetition to some extent. Players have the freedom to customize any character’s class, abilities, spells, and gear. By anticipating enemy weaknesses, players can rotate characters during battles strategically. The satisfaction lies in the preparation for each encounter. Furthermore, longer missions allow players to bring in more characters as NPCs, enabling strategic commands and directing traffic in battle. The power fantasy of mowing down armies with spectacular animations is still present, but more brain power could have made the game even more engaging.

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Fire Emblem, Through and Through

What’s most surprising about Three Hopes is that it remains a true RPG. Characters have stat growth through leveling up, and there are multiple layers of customization. Each weapon has its own stats and skills, which can be enhanced through the blacksmith. For those who enjoy tinkering with builds, Three Hopes offers a wealth of systems to dive into.

Overall, the game showcases impressive flexibility right from the start. Players can choose to play with or without permadeath, a defining feature of the Fire Emblem series. Permadeath adds immense stakes and changes the overall tension, making Three Hopes stand out in its genre. Additionally, players can adjust the game’s settings to make it more fluid, reducing the number of pop-ups and enhancing the replay value.

As I played through Three Hopes, I realized that the captivating factor of Fire Emblem lies not only in its fine-tuned tactics but also in the multitude of systems that work in harmony. Three Hopes successfully captures the spirit of Fire Emblem, despite its fast-paced action gameplay. It’s a unique spinoff that stays true to the series, bringing a fresh experience to fans and newcomers alike.

Shez causes a purple explosion in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

At present, Nintendo is rumored to be working on the next mainline Fire Emblem game, which will explore new territories beyond Three Houses. Prior to playing Three Hopes, I might have felt a tinge of sadness, as Fódlan is a rich and captivating setting. However, Three Hopes provided the closure I needed without feeling like a rushed reskin of another game. It’s undeniably Fire Emblem through and through—and a strong addition to the series.

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Our Take

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes showcases Nintendo’s commitment to its Musou spinoffs. It’s a captivating hack-and-slash game that genuinely feels like a full-fledged sequel to Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While the core action can become repetitive due to a lack of variety, the game offers plenty of familiar RPG elements that keep the adventure engaging. So, if you’re looking for a reason to revisit the land of Fódlan, Three Hopes offers much more than a mere reunion special.

Is There a Better Alternative?

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity provides more variety and feels less repetitive. If you haven’t played Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I recommend starting there. However, if you’re new to the series, Three Hopes can still be enjoyed as a standalone game.

How Long Will It Last?

My Black Eagles playthrough took 40 hours. Multiply that by three and you still won’t have experienced everything, including story beats, support conversations, and more.

Should You Buy It?

Absolutely! Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes deserves more recognition than its modest marketing suggests. It’s a worthy sequel to Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes was tested on a Nintendo Switch OLED in handheld mode and on a TCL 6-Series R635 when docked.

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