Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes review: Don’t underestimate this Switch standout

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

MSRP $59.99

“So long as you are OK with the standard Musou repetition, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a worthy follow-up to Three Houses.”


  • Sequel-worthy presentation
  • More strong character work
  • Battles still feel tactical
  • Deep RPG systems
  • Flexible customization


  • Repetitive objectives
  • Lacking variety

Most Fire Emblem games revolve around some type of war, but Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes could be the series’ most convincing conflict yet. That’s partially as a consequence of the incontrovertible fact that it’s a loud and proud Musou game where players chop down 1000’s of troops. However it’s more so since it doesn’t throw away what makes Fire Emblem so engrossing while doing it.

While it will be accurate to call the sport a by-product of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, that’s selling it short; it’s a full-fledged sequel, just played in a unique key. Three Hopes doesn’t have the series’ signature turn-based tactics, but nearly all the things else is there amid its flurry of Dynasty Warriors-sized motion. With no expenses spared in relation to the mainline series’ RPG hooks, developer Omega Force creates an motion game that also makes players feel like a five-star general.

Though it’s still on the mercy of the inherent repetition that comes with the Musou territory, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is one other victory in Nintendo’s hot spinoff streak.

A real sequel

Should you played 2017’s Fire Emblem Warriors, your expectations could be low here. That was more of a Dynasty Warriors game wearing a fancy dress than it was a Fire Emblem title. That’s not the case here. Nearly each aspect from Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been adapted in some form here, except for fishing (a damning omission, I do know). Players still train troops in classes, outfit them with abilities, forge weapons, cook meals, complete paralogue missions, and way more. It’s a high-effort project containing just as much depth as Three Houses.

Three Hopes goes well beyond the standard Musou call of duty.

As such, I feel confident calling it a full sequel that fans of the tactics game should play. It once more drops players into the land of Fódlan, which is embroiled in a sophisticated war between factions. Like Three Houses, players pick a path at the highest and see the war unfold from that house’s perspective. For individuals who only played Three Houses once, it’s a terrific excuse to select a latest house and learn more concerning the game’s eclectic solid of characters without replaying a 50-plus hour tactics game. I went with Black Eagles this time and got here out with an entire latest batch of favorites (friendship with Ignatz over, now Bernadetta is my BFF).

What makes that work in addition to it does is that Omega Force spares no expenses in relation to constructing characters. Like Three Houses, there’s a full suite of fully voiced support conversations that deepen the relationships between heroes. Even after going through hours of chats with characters previously, I used to be fully engaged with the brand new sub-stories that emphasize how charming the solid is.

A knight smashes enemies in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Houses.

Notably, Three Hopes still retains its predecessor’s entertaining social aspect. In-between battles, players explore a small camp and spend activity points to cook, do chores, or go on expeditions (tea time 2.0) with troops. Along with that, though, players also collect resources which are used to upgrade facilities across the camp. With all those extra progression hooks, Three Hopes goes well beyond the standard Musou call of duty. The massive battles are just one piece of a full RPG with numerous rewarding systems to sink into.

It’s a robust evolution for Nintendo’s newfound love of the genre. The corporate has found a sensible technique to expand its most beloved universes without dedicating resources to a different mainline installment that just repeats its predecessors’ biggest hits. It worked for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which digs deeper into the world of Breath of the Wild, and it’d even work higher here in some respects. For people who played Three Houses, it’s like a latest season of TV to observe. For individuals who didn’t, the extent to which it adapts the unique game to a latest form makes this a wonderfully good standalone story.

Repetition comes with the territory

In fact, there’s one major difference between Three Houses and Three Hopes: The previous is a turn-based tactics game and the latter is an action-packed hack-and-slash title. Whether or not you’ll click with it primarily relies on how much you already like Musou games, because the core gameplay of Three Hopes isn’t as complex as, say, Age of Calamity.

A war map with objectives. in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

The essential idea is that players pick a couple of troops at first of every battle and complete a set of objectives. Those normally involve slicing up a whole bunch of soldiers directly with combos while moving around a map and capturing strongholds. Missions are specified by a board game-like map that’s stuffed with sidequests and opportunities to amass resources. Each chapter builds to at least one long mission with major narrative implications.

It’s undoubtedly repetitive, with an absence of variety in relation to each environments and objectives, though that comes with the territory. It’s a genre that’s built around excess and with a single campaign lasting 40 hours, you’re going to do and see the identical things loads.

I feel like a tactician directing traffic in battle, which is nearly more fun than actually swinging a sword.

Fortunately, Three Hopes does have a couple of ways of counteracting that. Any character might be classed out in any way and outfitted with abilities, spells, and equipment that tweak their utility. By the top of the sport, I discovered myself regularly rotating characters in each battle as I anticipated what enemy weaknesses I should goal. Just about every class plays the identical from a mechanical perspective (spam X and Y for combos, A for an excellent move, etc.), however the satisfaction comes more so from how well you possibly can prepare for any given battle.

In that way, Three Hopes actually retains the tactical DNA of the series despite being a real-time motion game. While I can only ever rotate between 4 troops, some longer missions allow me to herald more as NPCs. Using the map, I can issue commands to any character to have them defend positions or attack specific enemies. Playing side missions also lets players unlock strategic tactics that might be activated in major missions, like having troops construct a handy bridge or enacting a plan to recruit a key enemy. In those moments, I feel like a tactician directing traffic in battle, which is nearly more fun than actually swinging a sword.

Hilda powers up an attack in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

Though, as at all times, the straightforward pleasure of a Musou game is the facility fantasy of slicing up a complete army with big, exaggerated animations. Three Hopes delivers on that front, especially in relation to its flashier special spells and side powers that turn characters into human wrecking balls. But I still wish there was just a little more brain power involved, as even the sport’s big boss fights against humans don’t feel much different than taking down a lowly stronghold captain. It’s a somewhat flat experience that doesn’t offer up too many unique ways to check your troops.

Fire Emblem, through and thru

What’s perhaps most surprising about Three Hopes is that it’s still a full RPG. Characters have stats that rise through leveling up and there’s several layers of customization on top of that. For example, each weapon has its own stats and skills that might be raised via a blacksmith. For individuals who love tinkering with builds, Three Hopes offers a wealth of systems to toy around with.

It is a Fire Emblem game through and thru — and a robust one at that.

Typically, there’s a formidable level of flexibility to the sport. That’s apparent right from the jump when it gives players the choices to either play with or without permadeath turned on, a key feature of the Fire Emblem series that’s a welcome addition here. Permadeath ratchets the stakes sky-high, totally changing the strain inherent within the normally carefree genre. There’s also an choice to make the sport more fluid by reducing the variety of pop-ups, an especially useful feature that higher welcomes replays.

The more I played, the more I started to comprehend that Fire Emblem’s fine-tuned tactics aren’t what draw me to it. There are such a lot of systems that make the series shine, all of which work in tandem with each other. You’ll be able to see that at play in Three Hopes, because it still captures the spirit and energy of a Fire Emblem game perfectly despite being as polar opposite as might be in relation to pace. Same battalion, different formation.

Shez causes a purple explosion in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

In the mean time, Nintendo is rumored to be working on its next mainline Fire Emblem game, which is able to move away from the world of Three Houses. Before playing Three Hopes, I might need been just a little sad about that. Fódlan is such a wealthy setting and I used to be itching to spend more time in it with my old friends. With my first playthrough clocking in at 40 hours, Three Hopes allowed me to get that extra closure without it feeling like a rushed reskin of one other game. It is a Fire Emblem game through and thru — and a robust one at that.

Our take

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Houses proves that Nintendo is serious about its Musou spinoffs. It is a high-effort hack-and-slash that convincingly functions as a full-fledged sequel to Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While its core motion gets repetitive as a consequence of an absence of overall variety, there’s loads of familiar RPG hooks around it that keep the journey engaging. For individuals who want an excellent reason to revisit the land of Fódlan, Three Hopes is way deeper than a reunion special.

Is there a greater alternative?

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity ultimately has more variety and feels less repetitive. Should you’ve never played Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I like to recommend starting there, though Three Hopes might be enjoyed independently.

How long will it last?

My Black Eagles run took 40 hours. Multiply that by three and you continue to won’t have seen all the things there’s to see between story beats, support conversations, and more.

Do you have to buy it?

Yes. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes’ marketing is being oddly modest; it is a worthy sequel to Three Houses.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes was tested on a Nintendo Switch OLED in handheld mode and on a TCL 6-Series R635 when docked.

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