REVIEW: ‘Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes’ Is a Refreshingly Great Musou (Switch)

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Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes - But Why ThoFire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes combines the stories and characters of the Fire Emblem franchise with the gameplay of the Musou genre. Developed by Omega Force and published by Nintendo, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a sequel to the 2017 Fire Emblem Warriors and a spin-off of 2019’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes follows the story of several characters first introduced in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude all return with their three affiliated houses, as well as Byleth, the main character from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, who now plays the role of villain. While many characters may be familiar, the story takes place in an alternate timeline. Players start off in the role of Shez, a mercenary who discovers new powers when they are killed in battle and don’t actually die.

A few months after discovering their powers, Shez meets Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude and is given a chance to join the Officer’s Academy. This is where the “three hopes” part of the name comes into play, with the three houses Black Eagles, Blue Lions, and Golden Deer each available to join. The house selection determines whether players are going to play through the Scarlet Blaze, Azure Gleam, or Golden Wildfire paths, and each choice presents a different story branch. It’s important to note that only one of the three storylines can be played in a singular playthrough of the game, but having played all three, I can confidently say there is no “wrong” choice. Each branch is intriguing and interesting, which also adds to the replayability of the game.

Where Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes surprised me was how much I found myself caring for the different characters, both playable ones and just side characters. In hindsight, I shouldn’t be surprised, given the track record of Fire Emblem games presenting characters that players can care about. Still, Musou games are not known for giving much depth to stories and characters. The genre typically focuses on only the over-the-top combat, so it was refreshing to have characters and stories that were more attractive than the gameplay itself.

However, this doesn’t mean Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes isn’t an absolute blast to play. Each mission has countless enemies that seem to never stop coming. That is until you unleash one of the myriad moves made available to players. It is so incredibly satisfying to unleash a 1,000+ hit combo while wiping out waves and waves of enemies, something that surprisingly never gets old, no matter how many times you wipe out the incoming hordes. Most Musou games can feel a bit repetitive after a while, and Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes still suffers from that slightly, but the cast of characters involved helps keep it from ever feeling stale.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes isn’t just non-stop action either. Players can explore and upgrade their camp throughout the game while interacting with other characters to build their relationships further. These relationships, while not as deep as they could have been, still offer some excellent story beats and access to items or character upgrades that enhance the fun of the action sequences later on. The camp sequences are a refreshing change of pace that keeps the game from feeling like a massive avalanche, but after a while, it did start to feel like things were starting to slow down just a tad too much. By the time I completed my third playthrough, the time spent in the camp felt much more like a chore than an engaging game mechanic. Still, there are some really cool character interactions to experience, and even if it did feel like a chore by the end, I still appreciate how the camp mechanic is set up.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has a compelling story and fun game mechanics, but it is the soundtrack and visuals that help make the game a truly refreshing package. Each playable character has a distinct and vibrant look, with many enemies having their own as well. The massively spawned enemies all look the same, but that is to be expected when hundreds of them are thrown at you like a never-ending tsunami. Fans of JRPGs will also be glad to hear that the soundtrack for Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes feels as much like a top-tier JRPG soundtrack as anyone could hope. I didn’t enjoy it as much as some more recent video game soundtracks, but it was still enjoyable enough that I’ve had a 7-hour collection playing on YouTube since shortly after starting the game.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a combination of two beloved game styles, and it manages to approach both in a way that is entertaining and quite refreshing. The Musou elements don’t feel stale and repetitive, and the Fire Emblem story beats and characters are as beloved as they are in the mainline Fire Emblem games. All-in-all, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a fascinating game. It may not be perfect, but it is well worth every second spent playing.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is out now on Nintendo Switch.


Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a combination of two beloved game styles, and it manages to approach both in a way that is entertaining and quite refreshing…Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a fascinating game. It may not be perfect, but it is well worth every second spent playing.

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