My in-game clock says I’ve been playing this for 60 hours. I know I’m really stretching the definition and purpose of this blog here, but I still have to write something.
Fire Emblem is a trap I’ve fallen into before, starting with Blazing Sword back in 2006. Compared to 3H, that’s a far, far simpler experience, and I remember watching the Three Houses announcement with some trepidation that the series was becoming a little too complicated, with the addition of Gambits and Batallions and- of course- the whole Professor thing.
But alas, I couldn’t stay away forever; the siren song of grid-based tactics in combination with a cast of characters to fall in love with will always snare me eventually. So my home is in ruin, my sleeping pattern can’t even be called a ‘schedule’ any more, I eat cheeseits for dinner to save cooking time, and I’ve just adopted 8-10 kids whose lives are literally in my hands.
It’s the permadeath mechanic which draws me into Fire Emblem, controversial though I can understand it to be. Other tactics games fail to draw me in anywhere near as hard as FE does simply because I don’t really care if Infantry Unit A dies, but you can bet I’ll be resetting 5 hours of gameplay if Bernie takes a crit.
Three Houses goes in hard on the characters side of things, far moreso than the series ever has. Typically the three-or-so main characters get a story arc, with the supporting cast being relegated to… well, Support conversations. It makes sense, since there’s no way for the writers to know who is still alive at a given point in the game, but the fact they did it anyway for Three Houses really strengthens the emotional attachment. No longer are they 30-odd disparate mercenaries, but a cohesive band of friends and soldiers-in-arms who each have a stake in the world and a history to speak of (or be ashamed of).
Addictive though the battling is, it almost takes a backseat to the schooling aspect; teaching Petra how to cast magic, catching a fish for Flayn’s dinner, and inviting Ferdinand to tea are not just background minigames but an intrinsic part of the experience. I can definitely see why people would be turned off by this, especially series veterans who just want more of that sweet sweet TRPG goodness, but I for one love all of it.
Fin or Bin:
This was already answered in line one of the review, and I doubt anyone is still wondering what my verdict will be by now. With 60 hours of progress so far, I’m almost at the end of the first half of the game, with three other routes to follow once I’m done with this one. Probably not going to play them all back-to-back… but I’ll Finish it someday.