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Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
The demo for this is out now, so let's talk about it.

I hadn't really thought about Three Houses much since it came out nearly three years ago--I certainly did not return to it after the ludicrously long single playthrough concluded. Having so closed the book on my investment in it, and in light of the rocky track record of licensed Musou projects in general, I thought I'd let Three Hopes pass me by without much notice. Playing the game for its opening hours, however, upends that presumed nonchalance, because every comparative track you can muster up, the game is able to meet and overcome. As a system-exclusive example of its wider subgenre, it performs technically better than any of its peers--notably compared to the latest predecessor in Age of Calamity, which ran roughshod against the Switch's capabilities and looked it. As an adaptation of a unrelated license and genre to a proven formula, it accedes better to the conventions inherent in its new guise and thoughtfully recontextualizes familiar tenets in ways that feel organic and like they belong. As a Three Houses spinoff, the feel of the presentation, writing and game structure feel authentic in ways that avoid the insubstantiality associated with such projects and cast it as a genuine followup, what-if narrative premise or not--it manages to feel novel too within that framework thanks to things like a vocal protagonist whose spoken participation reframes their scenes from monologue to conversation. The assumption that the RPG mechanics of the source material may be reduced in a more action-based context don't actually reflect the treatment, as the game preserves nearly every number-crunchy and social-sim feature from before and adds a host of new complications on top for an absolute deluge of play systems to internalize.

No dilution of the precedent has occurred despite the total shift in genre, which is impressive all on its own--it feels more like a genuine evolution instead of a diversion. I thought I wouldn't play this game, and now it's proven itself to the extent that I absolutely will, so that can be the endorsement here, I think.
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Two things that sold me on this game:

They're definitely aiming to address some of the issues they couldn't tackle due to time constraints in Three Houses storywise, as evidenced by Edelgard and Claude's stories having more focus on the issues that actually affect their characters rather than everything getting folded into "well Edelgard's conquering Fodlán now".

Shez has an actual personality and isn't just a faceless fisheye person and the conversations are SO MUCH BETTER for it. A little bit of Mass Effect "I can steer the character but not fully control it" in there, too.

I mean, I was gonna try the demo just to play as The Raphael, but yeah I'm getting this.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
I'm not far into the demo. Shez has fun lines, and what little I've seen of Byleth shows more personality than they ever did in their own game. What I'm hoping is that this reflects an acknowledgment of audience preference for a better-defined protagonists that persists into the next mainline Fire Emblem. The writers seem to be taking this opportunity to shine a light on the odd pockets of lore that they weren't able to fit into Three Houses. They went all-out when they were building Fódlan, so it's nice to see some stuff that was undeservedly left on the cutting room floor in the last outing. And a chance to view more scenes with these kids with the same (or nearly the same) authorial voice is most welcome. To the extent that I'm a fan, consider me serviced.

But what I'm really liking about it is the polish relative to other Musou games. In particular, there's an option, enabled by default, that pauses whenever you get a tutorial message or a mission. These games straddle the border between meditative and overwhelming, and I can't tell you the number of times in, say, DW8XL where I had to pause and review the battle log in order to understand what I was supposed to be doing, because it went by while I was focused on mowing the lawn when it came by the first time. Acknowledging that I might want to issue new orders as soon as I get a new objective is a fantastic improvement to the UI. Though I have accidentally dismissed the screens because I was trying to dodge at the exact moment a new one came up, so it's not perfect.
 

WildcatJF

Mysterious Ghost World
(he / his / him)
I am having a blast right now with this. It is genuinely surprising me with what it's doing story-wise, the gameplay is the best feeling of all the Nintendo Warriors games in my opinion, and it has SO much going on. I'm shocked with how many of the characters are here in the base game, and how each character manages to feel unique even if they have similar classes. And the demo is very generous with how much you can experience!

SO PUMPED
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Ooh I just got to the part of the demo where they noted that gates that can be opened by defeating enemies have different markings than ones that are just closed until story happens. THANK YOU.
 

Peklo

Oh! Create!
(they/them, she/her)
Billy Kametz, who played Ferdinand von Aegir in Three Houses and will play him again in Three Hopes, has passed from colon cancer. He was 35. I was fond of his work in these games and with this character most of all, so this coming playthrough will matter all the more in light of the body of work he posthumously left behind.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
I think I've figured out the nature of the time bullshit going on in this game

In Three Hopes, we learn that there's a stronghold in Zanado that is used by Those Who Slither In The Dark. Edelgard, hoping to get out from under Thales' thumb before she starts her uprising, plausibly knows of the existence of this stronghold and hatches a complicated plot to strike against it, in some ways helped and in some ways hindered by the conspiracies she was involved in as the Flame Emperor.

Here's the approximate sequence of events:

  1. Edelgard enrolls in the Officers' Academy.
  2. Either to increase Agarthan infiltration of the Academy, or to give Edelgard an additional asset on the inside, or both, the unnamed incoming professor for the year is attacked, and Jeritza applies for the position to replace them.
  3. Edelgard, as the Flame Emperor, approaches Kostas, the leader of a group of bandits operating out of Zanado. It is possible that these bandits have previously done business with the Agarthans. She proposes that he attack an outing of students, which she expects will fail because the Knights of Seiros will be there as security.
  4. Presumably Edelgard gets Thales to OK an ostensible plan to use bandits to strike against the Officers' Academy.
  5. Knowing that punishing bandits is routinely assigned to Officers' Academy students as homework, the real plan is that Jeritza, as the only professor with combat experience, will lead the punitive expedition against Kostas. In the course of that battle, he can lead the Knights of Seiros to the Agarthan stronghold and implicate its occupants with the bandits. That way, the Church will attack Those Who Slither In The Dark, hopefully unearthing some secrets, and Edelgard will have made it look like it wasn't the Flame Emperor's fault.
  6. During Kostas' planned attack, Claude gets himself, Dimitri, and Edelgard separated from the group.
  7. At this point, the timeline diverges based on divine intervention. If neither Sothis nor Arval show up, then Kostas presumably just kidnaps or kills them and it's game over, man, game over.
  8. However, if Sothis is there....
    1. Byleth rescues the house leaders when they flee to Remire Village, and is brought back to Garreg Mach Monastery.
    2. Rhea recognizes Byleth as the possible product of a previous attempt to resurrect Sothis, and makes Byleth the replacement professor instead of Jeritza.
    3. Byleth leads the punitive expedition against Kostas, but does not discover the Agarthan stronghold.
    4. Those Who Slither In The Dark escape discovery until they are ready to advance their plans, when Solon reveals himself at the Remire Village incident.
    5. Edelgard either does or does not solicit Byleth's assistance in launching her uprising, leading to the events of Three Houses.
  9. And if Arval was there....
    1. Shez survived their prior encounter with the Ashen Demon, and therefore is in the area to rescue the house leaders before they reach Remire Village.
    2. Shez is enrolled as a student at the Officers' Academy, but is obviously not professor material; and Alois never encounters Jeralt at the site of Kostas' attack, so Jeritza remains the professor.
    3. Jeritza's house, which includes Shez, is assigned the mission of attacking Kostas' bandits in Zanado, as planned.
    4. Jeritza runs off ahead and "discovers" that the bandits had been "fleeing" to the mysterious stronghold, and with Shez' support, the students (rather than the Knights of Seiros) storm the place.
    5. Shez is able to prevent Kronya from assassinating Monica to silence her during her escape. (This would not have been possible without Shez, because Kronya has a +2 circumstance bonus to backstab against Knights of Seiros.)
    6. Monica exposes Solon months before the completion of the experiment in Remire Village, forcing Those Who Slither In The Dark to act before they are ready, leading to the events of Three Hopes.
 
Billy Kametz, who played Ferdinand von Aegir in Three Houses and will play him again in Three Hopes, has passed from colon cancer. He was 35. I was fond of his work in these games and with this character most of all, so this coming playthrough will matter all the more in light of the body of work he posthumously left behind.

I broke out in a sweat when I read this news on my RSS feed. Aside from this being incredibly tragic in its own right, I have two friends who got colon cancer in their early 40's. Both recovered, but I've been shaken up ever since. Time to get that colonoscopy.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
So I got the "you've reached the end of the demo" message, but there's still one area to search that's locked and claims I haven't done all the sidequests in the area. I'm not seeing any areas that don't have a checkmark so I'm puzzled.

The area that's still locked is described as "an old castle near the battlefield" if that helps. I hope I don't have to S rank all side missions to unlock it but maybe that's the case? If other people's aren't locked I won't worry about it since it might mean needing to do more than is in the demo.
 

WildcatJF

Mysterious Ghost World
(he / his / him)
Did that happen on the Black Eagles route VV? The same thing happened to me, so I wonder if there's something I missed that the full game will allow me to find. Golden Deer allowed me to get the side mission similar to the one you describe, so I'm curious.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Did that happen on the Black Eagles route VV? The same thing happened to me, so I wonder if there's something I missed that the full game will allow me to find. Golden Deer allowed me to get the side mission similar to the one you describe, so I'm curious.
Oh right, oops. It's Blue Lions. If you had a similar result in a different route seems like there's something that will come later. Intriguing!
 

Juno

The DRKest Roe
(He, Him)
Did that happen on the Black Eagles route VV? The same thing happened to me, so I wonder if there's something I missed that the full game will allow me to find. Golden Deer allowed me to get the side mission similar to the one you describe, so I'm curious.
I was able to complete that side mission in the Black Eagles route, so check to see if you missed something.
 

WildcatJF

Mysterious Ghost World
(he / his / him)
Yeah, I missed a side mission in one of the maps, so I was able to get it after one replay of a map. :)
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Tomorrow! (or possibly today depending on timezone and when it unlocks)

I finally played the demo last night and this has got to be the number-crunchiest Musou game yet, right? Borrowing the class system wholesale from Three Houses is ambitious. Also I really like FemShez.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
The demo was just the beginning of the ways this game is taking the opportunity to improve upon underdeveloped aspects of Three Houses. Notably, although I've only done it once, I can already tell the expedition system is like a good version of the tea party system.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I mean, if they're using this game as a testing ground to refine on ideas to bring forth into a later new game building on the Three Houses model, I'm here for it.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
Kinda wish the game opened up Advanced classes earlier, or else made it take longer to master Intermediates.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
So I got the "you've reached the end of the demo" message, but there's still one area to search that's locked and claims I haven't done all the sidequests in the area. I'm not seeing any areas that don't have a checkmark so I'm puzzled.

The area that's still locked is described as "an old castle near the battlefield" if that helps. I hope I don't have to S rank all side missions to unlock it but maybe that's the case? If other people's aren't locked I won't worry about it since it might mean needing to do more than is in the demo.

In case anyone else struggles with this: the quest has two side missions, defeating the two monks and a "defeat the bandits" one. The bandit sidequest seems to involve defeating them a couple times and seizing one of the strongholds. Since I beat them once and defeated the monks I thought I'd completed the sidequests and was confused, but replaying and paying more attention clarified it.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
It also seems possible to get an Advanced Seal earlier by getting 80 cheevos.
 

Juno

The DRKest Roe
(He, Him)
Finished Chapter 7 of Scarlet Blaze.

Very fascinated at the idea of Sothis being in an antagonsitc role, even if I don't expect that to last very long.
 
I've made it through the first five chapters on the Black Eagle route, and I think it's difficult to overstate just how much the game is improved by being a weird alternate take on Three Houses rather than another crossover. I enjoyed the first Fire Emblem Warriors, but that was more of a Musou game with Fire Emblem characters and weapons, whereas Three Hopes this one comes across as a Three Houses style Fire Emblem game with Musou combat. After seeing Fire Emblem spinoffs that mostly have plots that serve as excuses to have characters from different games hit each other with swords, it's kind of wild to see one that goes to so much effort to revisit the characters and setting from Three Houses and look at them with a new perspective.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I reached a pretty significant story point tonight, at Chapter 10 of Black Eagles. There is a warning in the game similar to what it said in Three Houses.

You can choose to fight Byleth and drive them off the battlefield, which results in you killing Jeralt, and then Byleth killing Randolph and giving themself over completely to Sothis' control/power.

Or! You beat the mission without defeating Byleth, so then Byleth and Jeralt join your army and Arval seems to chill the heck out about killing Byleth.


I don't even know how to classify this story in relation to Three Houses. It's pretty wild that this is a Musou "spinoff."
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Maybe they're saving War Cleric for DLC again.

Apparently, each character has one unique ability gained from mastering a master-tier class. Which class it is is unlabeled, and it's usually not their favored master class.
 
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