I’m finally done. I’m free! And just in time for Pokemon!
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a good game. It isn’t always a pretty game, but the story is so good and the gameplay is so addictive that it makes it difficult to care! The game provides tons of content, making it well-worth the sixty dollar price tag! It is a ton of fun to play!
Grab a cushion, because here comes the but.
There is a lot of game here! In fact, I’d say there’s too much game here! If you want to experience the full story, with all four (yes, four, not three) story routes and as many of the side-quests and support conversations as possible, you will be here for a long fucking time! By the time I finished my second playthrough, I wanted nothing more than to put the game down and leave it alone forever! And I was only halfway through!
If you take your time and pace yourself, you’ll have a lot of fun with this game. But if you need to burn through it quickly for the sake of writing an online review? Well… You’re fun will be living on borrowed time.
Buckle the fuck up. Because this is going to be a long fucking review.
Story: To Soar Above the Standard
If you’ve read my other Fire Emblem reviews, one point came up time and time again. My most common critique was always, without fail, in regards to the story. They’re all fine, but they’re nothing more than generic fantasy fare. Fun, but not memorable. So, going into this game, my expectations for the plot were as low as my hopes for ever finding true love.
I’d say that this game subverting my expectations breathed new life into my search for love. Unfortunately, I soundly murdered that a long time ago. But hey! At least the game’s story is really good!
You play as Beyleth (or whatever the fuck you want to name them), son/daughter of famed mercenary Jeralt. While on a job with your father, you meet three children from the prestigious Officer’s Academy of Gareg Mach Monastery. After rescuing them from bandits, you’re brought to the Monastery, where your character is given a strange job by Rhea, the archbishop: to become a professor and teach one of the three houses of the academy!
From here, you pick one of three stories. You could work with Edelgard and the Empire with the Black Eagles, Dimitri and the Kingdom with the Blue Lions, or Claude and the Alliance with the Golden Deer. While your choice has no immediate effects, aside from a few varying scenes in the first half, it does dictate which story you’ll get in the second half. Will you be saving the world? Or will you be conquering it? That is up to you.
Except that it’s a bit more complicated than that. See, the game never clearly defines who is good and who is bad. Every side of the conflict has enough depth to them to make them completely sympathetic! Sure, a certain character is waging a war to conquer the world. But she’s doing so to liberate the world from a tyrant! And said tyrant has been protecting the world for years! Who in this conflict is good? Who is bad? The game never makes it black and white. People actually get into debates online about who is right and wrong!
Huh. It’s almost like war is a complicated thing that is morally gray no matter whose side you’re on!
It helps that the characters within this story are rock solid! Each and everyone one of them is memorable, all in design, personality, and depth! All of them are expertly written, with detailed backstories that affect every aspect of their personalities and goals! On the surface, they seem just like the casts of other Fire Emblem games; likable, goofy, with a few forgettable bores in the mix. But when you dive deeper into them? They become some of the most interesting and likable characters in any Nintendo game I’ve ever played!
Though in fairness: the bar there is set pretty low.
Better yet, the individual stories of these characters actually come into play throughout the game! Through the Paralogue missions, you can assist these characters in conquering their demons and advancing, or even sometimes completing, their character arcs! Better yet, these missions provide a decent gameplay challenge and beneficial rewards for the missions to come! And they may even shed some light on mysteries yet unsolved in the main story!
I love this story! Each path tells a compelling and engaging narrative that can suck you right in! They don’t compare to a story like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. But by Fire Emblem standards? This game is amazing!
Unfortunately, the story suffers from the same problem as the rest of the game. There’s just too much of it! Each one is about forty to sixty hours long, maybe longer if you play on a higher difficulty! By the time you play through all four (yes, four, not three, because this game hates people with limited time on their hands) you will have every single line of dialogue from part one memorized, every mission will be as familiar as the back of your hand, and every character as intimately known as if you’d slept with them!
Which, if you performed some simple save scumming to get all of the romantic endings, you probably have. I sure have. #noshame #collectallthewaifusandhusbandos #thisiswhyihavenohopeformyreallovelife
Now, I’d love to keep going and wrap this up right away. Unfortunately, if I tried doing that, we’d be here for way too long. So I’m going to divvy this one up into three separate posts, one for the usual segments of a review! Don’t worry, they’ll all be out today! Two hours from now, I’ll get into the game’s iffy presentation. Then, two hours after that, we’ll get into the meat and potatoes: the gameplay!
I spent a fucking eternity playing this game for this review! You’re damn right I’m gonna get some mileage out of it!