I don’t know what time zone you’re in, what point in your day that you’re reading this, or even who you are you beautiful human/animal/object. But I am here with a very important opinion that, to be frank, needs to go into that silly brain of yours. Have you ever played a long-running series of games called Fire Emblem? No? Well for a long time I was also one of the many never having tried this turn-based tactical series. In fact, the first game in the series that I truly delve into was Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the Nintendo Switch. Many other gamers were in fact in this same boat, as the switch was pretty revolutionary.
What I need to discuss with you on this fine day or evening, is the sequel to the previously mentioned ‘3 Houses’. Fire emblem has always been a tactics game, with the one-off ‘Warriors’ entry that allowed you to hack and slash through armies in real-time, instead of carefully planning your moves and walking over squares. What the ‘Fire Emblem Warriors’ entry lacked was an identity from the gameplay perspective to set it apart from other Warriors games (Hyrule Warriors, Dynasty Warriors, ‘other thing’ Warriors, you get it). But boy did the devs (O.0mega Force) hear that cry for help. For you see, what we are about to delve into, is the incredible hybrid of the Fire Emblem and the Warriors series perfected. This my friends…is Fire Emblem: Warriors 3 Hopes.
Any newcomers to the series will be welcomed with no serious call-backs to 3 Houses, allowing a completely fresh start through the eyes of series newcomer Shez.
Sticking with the Male/Female choice the series is known for, we begin our adventure in Fodlan in a Mercenary faction battle. Shez is a character with a clouded past who was picked up by the leader of the mercenary group at a young age. Trained up now to be one of the band's best warriors, Shez comes face to face with the previous title's main character Byleth.
Dubbed the Ashen demon on the battlefield, Shez’s comrades are cut down by this warrior which results in them almost suffering the same gruesome end. But if it ended there, I wouldn’t be fangirling for the third week in a row. Thus, Shez is saved by an unknown force that grants him an additional sword and a power boost. Managing to hold their own, our hero escapes with their life and begins a new life goal of taking down the Ashen Demon and their band of mercenaries.
This leads to a few months of training in the woods and a chance encounter with some beloved series characters. The 3 heads of the 3 leading houses of the realms of Fodlan are saved by Shez as they are hunted by bandits, leading to the invitation into the service of one of these houses.
Each story is different in that your house will hold the advantage in the oncoming war, but each perspective has different goals and different enemies to conquer. By the end of the prologue, your chosen house leader will be a ruler and Shez will be a main aspect of their army. As there are 3 paths to go down, we can already see the promotion of replayability that will keep you playing for weeks.
Jumping into the gameplay, as we said before this entry moves from the tactical format the series is known for and chooses the hack and slash of Warriors titles. The combat formula is very similar to many others in this genre. Providing all playable characters with standard heavy and light attacks with the inclusion of combos and dodging. Special attacks through the triggers that can stun and send enemies flying, as well as the option to heal a specified number of times per battle. The movement is quick, allowing you to move around a large map with ease, leaving very few moments to rest. With these factors in mind, this could be like every other series that slapped a ‘Warriors’ sticker at the end of a title, but the following points blow that idea way out of the water.
Fire Emblem is known for its class and progression system, allowing you to customise a character’s playstyle to suit your needs in battle. That holds even in this entry, as the style of combat is changed based on your class, that you can freely switch up before every battle once you’ve acquired it for that character. This can lead to a heavily personalised experience on the battlefield, as all characters can branch into many different roles. Some units like Shez have specific classes only they can access, giving them an edge on the battlefield over standard units. With the inclusion of numerous special moves that can be applied to each unit and evolved through use, battles will become playgrounds for testing out styles of play for what suits you and your comrades best.
Outside of battles, we have the war camp for Shez and his friends to rest at between the fighting. In this area, which acts as a hub area much as Garreg Mach did in 3 Houses, we can spend activity points, training points and gold. These point systems serve as ways to grow specified characters' abilities through training, allowing them to grow and eventually move up to better classes.
The activity points allow Shez to partake in events such as cooking, chores and horse rides with his friends. This increases morale which reaps benefits each chapter depending on how high you can get it, as well as deepens bonds between everyone.
The camp is also home to numerous shops that allow you to upgrade both equipment and camp features. Although fairly static, this area is just a very beautiful and well-crafted upgrade menu for in between all the stabby kill time. As an anime lover, I appreciate getting to know some of the most well-written characters I’ve seen in a war game in a very long time and spending time with them in a safe space.
If you’ve read my work before, then you’ll know I’m a fan of Anime, and that style is used in the Fire Emblem games exclusively. This beautifully coloured 3D animated art style is incredible and creates an impressive window into this well-crafted world. Combined with amazing 2D versions of the characters during dialogue, it’s clear a lot of love and talent was put into this world and everyone in it.
With an incredible soundtrack that brings the same feelings as 3 Houses but with more aggressive and hardcore battle music for the faster-paced combat. It’s easy to see how you can go from pumped up and ready to fight to chilled out and ready to have some awkward conversations over a pie.
One of the major reasons why the characters are so fleshed out is also due to the voice cast, which features many returning and new cast members. Highlighted among them are the voices of Shez’s male (Damien Haas) and female (Dawn M. Bennett) counterparts, who deliver convincing, compelling and incredible performances as this new character. This doesn’t take away from the talent that is provided by all cast members as there was no point where a line of dialogue between any characters fell flat. In an already established world with beloved characters, it’s amazing to see great writing acted out so incredibly.
To summarise, because I should leave the fan-girling to the video review, Fire Emblem Warriors: 3 Hopes is a fantastic hybrid of 2 series that brings the best of both. The 2 styles of gameplay are combined to craft a deep and diverse class system that has a far more obvious showcase for players.
The camp life and relationship building is pulled straight from the previous entry and provides some fresh paint for any who were hoping for some changes. The style of the world is kept the same and translated well into this new plot to bring a solid amount of familiarity for returning players.
The music is astounding and oozes talent so raw that the music will make your ears melt in the heat of battle. The voice acting is superb, providing the same level of talent from the previous entry with the addition of more talent that delivers in every way.
I have been playing this game for weeks now, and it’s truly an incredible entry into the Fire Emblem series. The world of Fodlan is one of the most popular realms within the fire emblem stories, and another adventure into this world through a different style of game was a great call. If you have a switch and enjoy a compelling story with solid gameplay, great character relationships and management then this is an entry for you.
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