Review cover Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes (Nintendo Switch)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): June 24, 2022
  • Release Date (EU): June 24, 2022
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo
  • Genres: Action

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
Three years later we venture back into Fodlan for some hacking and slashing with a pinch of strategy in Koei Tecmo’s latest Warriors mashup!

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Oh boy here we go again. It’s Warriors, it’s Fire Emblem, it’s Fire Emblem Warriors! I want to get my usual Warriors disclaimer out of the way from the start to just avoid wasting time. It’s a Warriors game, you know what I’m going to say. You hack, you slash, and I’m fairly sure you already know whether you enjoy the base gameplay. With that said, let’s get into it.

This is Fodlan, but not quite as you know it. Completely separate from the events of Three Houses, Three Hopes starts the story before the upstart professor Byleth gets the chance to meet the house leaders and join them in their respective ambitions. Instead we get to catch a glimpse of Byleth’s mercenary days as the Ashen Demon, and pip them to the post in meeting the house leaders. What this ultimately does is splinter the timeline and take us on an entirely new journey. It’s a really interesting premise for a second game set in Fodlan and provides a lot of creative liberty in the writing to build on the lore of its predecessor and give screen time to characters that previously fell into the shadows. To this end, the game spends far less time on the common events of all three routes, instead opting to devote as much of the game as possible to the new and unique events. This avoids a lot of treading water for people already familiar with Three Houses, and while it does spoil a few events, keeps the majority of its strategic predecessor to one side so as not to ruin it for those who happen to pick up Three Hopes first. I would say knowledge of Three Houses enhances the overall experience, but the plot comes together in a way where it’s not as necessary as I thought it would be. You have three core routes to sink your teeth into here, and with my first playthrough clocking in at 30 hours, that’s a lot of content for those wanting it.

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While the core gameplay is characteristically Warriors as I said at the start, I do feel the game should be commended for just how well it blends in elements of the Fire Emblem franchise. The original Fire Emblem Warriors game did this by introducing a degree of strategy in being able to order inactive units to areas of the map to complete objectives by themselves, but Three Hopes takes this union of genres to another level. It really does just feel like Three Houses if you take out the classroom elements.

Your cast of characters, much like Three Houses, is entirely dependant on your choice of house. Every character has a preferred class and path of progression, but you’re entirely free to ignore this and customise your army to your liking. This is a stark change from the original Fire Emblem Warriors where each character had a locked in moveset, many of which being duplicates of an already-limited cast of characters. I personally like being able to use my favourite characters and pick and choose which weapons and classes I like the most to pair with them. It ultimately means your moveset choices are limited by the number of classes in oppose to the number of characters, and this works well in the context of a Fire Emblem mashup. If like me you become attached to certain characters, you can work towards mastering each class to keep the gameplay feeling fresh without having to pull out your undesirables just because they have that one unique weapon you might want to try out.

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Support ranks and conversations return, and for fans of the Fodlan cast you have an absolute encyclopaedia of additional interactions. I was religious in viewing these at the start of the game, and the writing is just as good as its predecessor. I won’t lie though, after 30 hours I did find myself just skipping them to get rid of the notification icon on my menu. The support conversations aren’t a large part of the game for me, but knowing I can just go back and watch them later anyway I didn’t feel too bad. On top of support ranks, you also have a new variant of the teatime minigame in the ability to go on expeditions with your allies. There’s not really much to say here if you’re familiar with teatime. You go on a little date and a picnic with a character of your choice to boost your support ranking and stare at their face up close for a bit. Again this isn’t really for me, but it’s also entirely optional, so it’s not something I’d really hold against the game.

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Moving past character interactions, Three Hopes has a lot to keep you busy between your Warriors hacking and slashing. Your camp serves as a constant base of operations as you progress through the story, and has characters littered around it to talk to. On top of this, you have a number of facilities to aid you, each providing a useful function that can be upgraded using resources. Between upgrading facilities, training characters, and forging weapons, you find money and other resources stretched unless you’re willing to grind out maps on completion. Being a fan of older and more linear Fire Emblem titles, I’m actually really fond of this thanks to the additional level of strategy it adds to the game. It naturally doesn’t play quite as heavy a part as it might have in a game like Shadow Dragon, where you can find yourself rationing out your best weapon due to limited uses, but it still pushes you to make decisions for yourself to progress in a way that’s most meaningful to you.

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When it comes to difficulty, the best I can do is describe it as fine. You start with three levels in Easy, Normal, and Hard, each being swappable on the fly if you find yourself feeling too strong or too weak. I found that early on, Hard difficulty just made the game take too long, with enemies sponging hits to a degree that I wasn’t having fun. This is made worse by the fact each chapter is ranked, requiring you to beat a set number of enemies and beat the map within a set time limit to get a one-time reward. Once you get going with the game this evens out a lot, but the starting few chapters can be quite off-putting if you happen to hit that wall. The game does actually feature a fourth difficulty option to mirror Three Houses in its Maddening mode, this unlocking exclusively after completing the game. Maddening is an appropriate title, with enemies in the first chapter being around Level 120. For context, the level cap in this game is 255, and my strongest character came out to around Level 70 when I finished my first play through. Surprisingly though, I had a blast going straight into Maddening. Between the stat boosts I had fed my main party along the way, as well as the weapons I’d refined, that gap of 50 or so levels was somewhat evened out for a challenging experience that was deceptively not maddening. For those not wanting to go through this however, the game does provide you with the option to level down your cast when moving into New Game Plus. This means you can go through a fresh route on a more standard difficulty setting without completely overwhelming every map. It’s great to have both options available.

Though I won’t talk about it in depth for obvious reasons, I do want to say how much I enjoyed the overall plot. It’s different to Three Houses, but it’s different in a way that doesn’t necessarily stray from any of the established lore or knowledge you might have brought with you. It feels like a supplementary experience that explores a “what if” timeline that’s sparked by something as small as a different mercenary meeting the lordly trio. The Warriors environment also proves to be a fantastic match for the war-torn story, with almost all of the game naturally being in this setting. It does feel as though there are fewer twists and turns when compared to Three Houses, but it’s certainly not without a few of its own to keep you invested.

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One last point I did just want to touch on in brief is how the game looks and performs on Nintendo’s hybrid wonderkid. I did previously praise the game when looking at the demo for how well it ran, and I am disappointed to say this doesn’t carry into the full game as well as I’d have liked. The camp area in particular seems to tank the game’s framerate more than any of the battles, which is really quite odd. For the most part the battles do seem fine, but on some of the larger maps with a lot of effects on-screen, you will see dips and stutters. It’s not perfect by any stretch, but it is definitely playable. Graphically the game looks characteristically ‘Switch’. You know the console you’re playing it on, and it doesn’t try to really push the boat out. It’s rough around the edges, but not offensively so as to detract from the larger experience.

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All things considered I do feel this is a new peak for Warriors mashups, and an absolute gem of a title for Fire Emblem fans wanting some great writing and a rest from the aggressive strategising of the main series. This is a trip back to Fodlan that ticks all the right boxes for me, and it’s a game I can happily recommend to any fan of Fire Emblem or anybody looking for their next Warriors fix. It’s brilliant.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Great Warriors action
  • Meaningful incorporation of Fire Emblem elements
  • Interesting new storyline
  • Plethora of new character interactions
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Great Warriors action
  • Performance isn't perfect
  • Difficulty can be frustrating at the start
-
Gameplay
I'm not going to score this game on its gameplay just for how divisive Warriors gameplay is. If you enjoy the style of game, you'll have a grand time. If you don't, you'll get bored quickly.
7
Presentation
Graphically speaking, Three Hopes is very middle of the road, and characteristically a Switch game. It looks rough around the edges, but not so much as to pull you out of the action.
9
Lasting Appeal
There's so much to do here as long as you have the stomach for hours upon hours of Warriors gameplay. This is a game that I would recommend tackling a route at a time, broken up with something else in between. There's plenty to be coming back for, and for fans of Fodlan it's more than worthwhile.
8.8
out of 10

Overall

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes stands among the best Warriors titles in my eyes, and it's a game I've thoroughly enjoyed playing. For fans of Fodlan wanting to see their favourite characters one more time, it's an absolute delight.
Too many achievements, and the ones involving leveling up combat arts and magic are among the worst. Just, ugh. Also several characters from Three Houses are weirdly and unfortunately unplayable, including Alois, Cyril, Gilbert, and Hanneman; I'd much prefer to play as them than goddamn Monica, Catherine, Shamir and Manuela.

Still, apart from that, the gameplay is fun (imo better than regular Fire Emblem gameplay), and it's leagues better than the original FEW. Plus it removes practically all of the repetition Three Houses is known for, at the cost of quickly skipping past the academy period. A solidly "fun" game, in the end, but in my experience easily droppable when something more engaging (Xenoblade Chronicles 3) is released.
 
Only ever played the two Hyrule Warriors games. Loved the first Hyrule Warriors but the second Age Of Calamity was bloody awful and all the things I liked about the first are either removed or hardly used. Does anyone know if the Fire Emblem ones play like the first Hyrule Warriors or are they more like Age of Calamity?
 
i like this game but not having all charcter's that are playable in three house's in three hopes is a let down to me. i'm not sure how to compare this to HW.... i know FE:W and HW:E kinda have the same game play but not really... also i don't count AOC a true HW game cause your control able charcter only takes damage.... also in HW:E sometimes you can control 4 charcter's but if one of them die even the one you don't control you lose. the FE:W games does not do the same thing. if you have a playable charcter dies you can keep battling has a different one.
 
Only ever played the two Hyrule Warriors games. Loved the first Hyrule Warriors but the second Age Of Calamity was bloody awful and all the things I liked about the first are either removed or hardly used. Does anyone know if the Fire Emblem ones play like the first Hyrule Warriors or are they more like Age of Calamity?
The first FE Warriors is somewhat similar to the first Hyrule Warriors. There was an original story that had original characters and brought together characters from different titles in the series. The problem is that the story was pretty meh and they mostly pulled from characters from Shadow Dragon/Awakening/Fates, so unless you’re a fan of those three you’re not going to get much out of it. The DLC didn’t do much to help the situation either. The movesets were pretty limited too so many characters ended up playing like slight variations of each other. Not a terrible game, but only really worth it for the fan service or if you’re really itching for some Warriors gameplay. At least it plays at 60fps (mostly) when docked.

Haven’t played much of Three Hopes but from what I can tell it’s like what they did w/ Age of Calamity where they focused on Three Houses and made a game out of it. They kept a bunch of similar systems from Three Houses but also trimmed a lot of fat so the game doesn’t feel like such a slog at times. The movesets feel way more varied this time around since they kept the classes from the previous game. If you liked the characters from Three Houses then you’ll get to see more of them and Fódlan. It doesn’t run at 60fps docked like FEW but it also doesn’t run as badly as Age of Calamity. It’s actually quite stable which is probably thanks to the fact that Koei Tecmo was the main developer on Three Houses as well.
 
The first FE Warriors is somewhat similar to the first Hyrule Warriors. There was an original story that had original characters and brought together characters from different titles in the series. The problem is that the story was pretty meh and they mostly pulled from characters from Shadow Dragon/Awakening/Fates, so unless you’re a fan of those three you’re not going to get much out of it. The DLC didn’t do much to help the situation either. The movesets were pretty limited too so many characters ended up playing like slight variations of each other. Not a terrible game, but only really worth it for the fan service or if you’re really itching for some Warriors gameplay. At least it plays at 60fps (mostly) when docked.

Haven’t played much of Three Hopes but from what I can tell it’s like what they did w/ Age of Calamity where they focused on Three Houses and made a game out of it. They kept a bunch of similar systems from Three Houses but also trimmed a lot of fat so the game doesn’t feel like such a slog at times. The movesets feel way more varied this time around since they kept the classes from the previous game. If you liked the characters from Three Houses then you’ll get to see more of them and Fódlan. It doesn’t run at 60fps docked like FEW but it also doesn’t run as badly as Age of Calamity. It’s actually quite stable which is probably thanks to the fact that Koei Tecmo was the main developer on Three Houses as well.
Yeah, the first FEW was notably quite bad when it came to characters; since it didn't have the traditional FE-reclassing system, each character was locked to a single weapon type, which meant there wasn't as much diversity as Three Hopes offers. Heck, all the lance-wielders were female for some reason, with Frederick (who starts Awakening with a Silver Lance) forced into being an axe user.
Pretty frustrating, that.
 
"Gameplay
I'm not going to score this game on its gameplay just for how divisive Warriors gameplay is. If you enjoy the style of game, you'll have a grand time. If you don't, you'll get bored quickly."

This is the first time I've ever seen this and I have to say that I agree with you.
This is a genre that normally you love or hate.

Great review.
 
i forget to say something. this is Three Houses meets Warriors. but it has that gimmick instead of going through school you go through the camp instead to talk raise ranks and etc etc. i don't care for that i just want a cut screen next stage... i'm at chapter 13 of golden deer and i think the story kinda of took a dump there... i would love to see online for these games... but the nintendo brand warriors games are going be couch play co-op only. plus playing these games on a switch lite eat's up so much battery i have to get a longer usb cable again...
 
Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): June 24, 2022
  • Release Date (EU): June 24, 2022
  • Publisher: Nintendo
  • Developer: Koei Tecmo
  • Genres: Action
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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