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FIRE EMBLEM: THREE HOUSES Has an Incredible Story, But Gets a LIttle Bogged Down

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a big game. I’ve spent over 20 hours playing it and I just finished the first of what I am assuming is three parts. And that’s only one of the four storylines. This is my second time playing a Fire Emblem game, with the first being Fire Emblem: Awakening for the 3DS. Three Houses is bigger in every way and I’m blown away. Before we dive in, I will say that I chose the Black Eagle house led by Edelgard.

Let’s start with some of the things I love about Three Houses. I love that there are four different storylines. That means there’s plenty of room for 4 playthroughs. Replayability is always a big factor for me. Second, the character designs of many of the characters was really cool. Third, it’s a fantastic tactical strategy combat system. Also, I love that there are things you can do outside of battle like interact with NPCs, go fishing, cooking, etc. In addition, I really appreciate the fact that you can play the game in either Casual or Classic mode. In Classic, your units will suffer permadeath and actually die if they’re killed in battle, but in Casual, the characters are simply out for the rest of the combat. I played on Casual.

The best part of Three Houses is the story though. Granted, I’ve only played roughly 1/3 of 1 of the storylines, but the story has been incredibly handled. It’s very engaging and gets you sucked in. In fact, the great story leads me to my first con of Three Houses. There’s too much happening between story missions. You have roughly four weeks between story missions which means you have up to four instances of Exploring, Seminar, Battles, and Rest in addition to multiple instances of instructing your students, not to mention random conversations and events that pop up. This leads to a lot of time between story beats which can be rather annoying. You can skip most of these events or even set some of them to Auto, but then I feel like you’re missing a big chunk of the game. What’s more is that I honestly feel like the Seminar option is pretty useless. I used it once maybe twice and based on the numbers I was seeing via the online feature, almost no one used the feature. Maybe it’s because I was playing Casual instead of Classic, but through battles and weekly instruction, I found no real need to use the seminars to boost weapon specialties.

Problem number two was that I felt the graphics could’ve been better. Some of the outlines seemed to be a little choppy on animation and there were some textures that looked a little more pixelated than they should’ve been. I’m going to group my next grievance here since it’s sort of connected, but I wish there was a bit of character customization involved. As I mentioned earlier, I really like a lot of the character designs, but I wish that you could change the look of the main character even if it was just the haircut. Also, I really wish you could change your clothes during the non-battle portions of the game. I did not like the male protagonist’s outfit.

Overall, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a really good game. There are some slower moments that may be a little annoying, but the story is very good and worth it. If you don’t like tactical strategy games though, find the cutscenes online. It is now available on the Nintendo Switch.

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