Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes might be the finest musou you can play today, but is that enough?
Nintendo has handed Omega Force the keys to the Fire Emblem franchise again, and in doing so may have unlocked the developer’s potential more than any other Warriors title.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes won’t appeal to those that aren’t interested in carving through hundreds of enemies without breaking a sweat, but if that’s a particular itch you need to be scratched, this game will do it like no other.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes key details
- Price: $59.99/£49.99
- Developer: Omega Force
- Release date: June 24, 2022
- Platform: Nintendo Switch
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes trailer
Three Hopes, and a Mercenary
If you finished Fire Emblem: Three Houses with all three of its houses and have been looking for a chance to be reunited with its impressive cast of well-realized characters, then Three Hopes is exactly that.
This adventure’s timeline fits snugly within that of the original strategy RPG while also adding additional context to existing characters, but feels just as capable as a tale that can stand on its own. Right from the initial prologue, there’s magic, betrayal, and a chance to reintroduce yourself to Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude — the heads of the three houses.
The game is still set in Fódlan, and while Byleth shows up plenty, this is very much Shez’s story. A character that can be played as either male or female, Shez is a mercenary who sees their forces routed by Byleth before earning similar powers to drive off the “Ashen Demon”.
It’s a great way to build up the mystique of Byleth, making them into a legendary warrior, but it also helps that Shez is actually pretty fun to spend time with. As with Three Houses, much of the game plays out in dialogue scenes within Garreg Mach and a series of camps, where you’re given some dialogue options.
While some of these houses are inconsequential, one in the early game will have you –as you may expect — pick which to enroll in within the Gareg Mach Monastery. That means you can expect to face that familiarly tricky choice and you’ll likely need to play through it three times to see absolutely everything.
The Art of War
Whichever side you pick, Three Hopes is built on the combat foundations of prior Omega Force games. That means, at its most basic level, you’ll enter a large battlefield (usually made up of arenas and connecting pathways) and “KO” enemies by the hundreds with your protagonist swirling and whirling with weapons and combos.
Three Hopes adds additional wrinkles befitting of a Fire Emblem game, though; you can direct other heroes in your party to head to certain areas of the map to tackle enemies, and you can equip Combat Arts to unleash special moves.
Both of these will help you take on Three Hopes’ more varied enemy setups — flying enemies will require a ranged character, like Claude, for example, and his ability to use arrows like mortars. Being able to send your team to various areas of the map also lets them level up independently without Shez stealing all the kills, sorry, we mean KOs.
As seen in the developer’s prior works, you can take direct control of any of the squad you enter battle with, switching instantly, and you’ll want to be sure they’re spread out nicely. Not only are there hidden objectives to find that can include new weapons to equip, but bonus objectives like chasing an enemy before they escape will mean you may want to lock down each map as best you can.
After dozens of hours in Elden Ring, it’s surprisingly relaxing to be able to hack and slash through a small army with the face buttons. Combat is responsive, with dodge rolls included and the ability to use a rush attack when enemies are weakened.
The Fire Emblem: Three Houses universe that Three Hopes inhabits also allows for a fun blend of medieval-inspired weapon-based combat alongside more fantastical magic abilities, and unleashing a team-up attack where your spell caster sends enemies into the air while your melee characters deal huge damage is just as fun the fiftieth time as it is the first time.
Building a better soldier
You’ll need all of your abilities, too, because aside from rank and file soldiers, you’ll also do battle with tougher officers, named characters, and demonic beasts.
While the latter won’t give next week’s Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak a run for its money, these monsters have set weaknesses to certain weapon types. In early missions, you can wail on them with a sword and push through their guard, but it’s not long before you’re hot-swapping between characters to bring them down.
It’s understanding these mechanics that will help you turn our double-digit combos into triple and quadruple digits, and building those combos and burning through missions more quickly will earn additional XP.
As in Three Houses, this levels your warriors and unlocks additional abilities and stat buffs to help them survive encounters. It’s worth noting that, no, Permadeath isn’t on by default, but Three Houses veterans may enjoy the additional spice it offers to tougher encounters.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is Omega Force’s finest musou yet, with a fun tactical layer added to the sword-swinging gameplay that keeps fans coming back.
Three Houses fans will love the chance to spend more time with that game’s characters, too.
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch
Where to buy Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
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