Fire Emblem: Three Houses


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.

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Fire Emblem: Echoes


I’m kind of cheating with this one. I bought it as a reward for getting my backlog down to fewer than 50 games, and also as one last expensive treat before I go to see Mimorin perform in California (!). It never really went onto my backlog as I started playing it immediately, and I’ve certainly given it more than one hour, but I figured I’d write something about it anyway.

I’m a big fan of the series, my favourite being FE7 which was the first title released in the west. Echoes is a remake of the second Fire Emblem game, released way back in the NES days… and it feels like it, in a lot of ways.

The series was still in its infancy back then and there were a lot of decisions made that didn’t quite pan out right. This is understandable in a Famicom title, but the series has come a long way since then, and the faithfulness Echoes shows to its ancestor is pretty jarring. Unbreakable weapons, archers who have a range spanning 5+ tiles, magic is free, no unit ever has magic resistance, enemies who can summon more enemies (again, basically free) every turn so you can’t get close… there’s a lot of wonky stuff on display and I wonder if more should have been done to modernise it.

I’m still having a fun time- it’s still FE at the end of the day and I’m thoroughly hooked. The characters are largely a fun bunch (although for the love of crikey, Mae, please STOP TALKING) and I’ve completely fallen in love with Clair.

Fin or Bin:

I’ve already played more than an hour which automatically puts it in the Finish camp, but I do intend to complete this one. It’s ccurrently my least favourite FE and I don’t know if I’d play it again once I’m done with it though.

Recommended to:

If you’ve never played Fire Emblem, get Awakening first. If you’ve played all the others, you’ll like this one.