Another addition to the long-running franchise, Fire Emblem: Three houses has finally made its way on to Nintendo Switch. The 13th original title in the series was released on July 26th, 2019 by the development teams Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo Games, and Koei Tecmo. This title is packed with content, so I will be giving you an overview of the game from about 20 or so hours in to see if this title is right for you.

The game starts you out as a protagonist, a member of a mercenary group that is led by your father, Jeralt. At the beginning of the game, you are able to choose from a male or female character. The choice you make will not make a difference in any character ability or storyline.  One night while the mercenary group made camp, the protagonist makes an encounter with a young group who have just been attacked by a bandit group. (We will call this Protagonist “Vinny.”) Vinny joined the young group to defeat the bandits. During battle, however, Vinny jumped in front of one of the youths to protect them from the bandit’s dagger, and time came to a stop. During this stop, Vinny ends up being saved by a girl named Sothis, who has the power to rewind time.

Sothis then lends Vinny her power and disappears. Once time gets reversed, Vinny and the young group beat the bandits. Once the bandits are destroyed and the leader is driven away, Vinny realizes that the young group that was attacked were students of the Garegg Mach Monastery Officer’s Academy. These three students also happened to be the future leaders of the three major houses of Fodlan. Vinny showing his power during the battle with the bandits, and also saving the future leaders, is invited back to the monastery, along with Jeralt.

Garreg Mach Monastery

Once Vinny and Jeralt reach the monastery, the archbishop of the monastery “Rhea” is aware of the actions you took against the bandits to help the students. The students also told the archbishop of your strength. Knowing this, Rhea offers you a job as a professor at the academy. Once you accept the job as the new professor, you are then given the opportunity to pick from one of the three houses to lead. Each house is led by one of the future leaders of that country in Fodlan, the future leaders all have their own personalities, as well as battle strengths and weaknesses. Each house also has seven students who each have their own strengths and weaknesses, as well, that will make for a nice party when built to your strength and liking. 

Edelgard is the future leader of the Adrestian Empire, she is the leader of the Black Eagles. Edelgard and the other students from the Adrestian Empire are more proficient with the use of magic than weapons. Edelgard is sweet and strong, but also conflicts with Dimitri a lot in a playful manner.

Dimitri is the future king of Faerghus, and is the leader of the Blue Lions. Faerghus is known as the country of knights, many of the people from this country are known for their specialties in the use of spears. Dimitri is very friendly, but can also tend to be overly polite. I chose this house as my main, I am a big fan of the party I was given, partially due to the balance of the group and how I wanted my party to be set.

Claude is the future leader of the Lecester alliance. He is the leader of the Golden Deer. The individuals from the Lecester Alliance are known for their specialties with bow and arrows. Claude is a humble leader, he is very down to earth with a playful and fun attitude. The people from his alliance are also commoners compared to the other houses.

There is a ton of content in this title. I will be going over the basics of the game and sharing a few clips with you to see if this game is something you would be interested in purchasing. I have put in about 20+ hours on this title and feel like there is so much more to come. I wanted to wait to review this title until I put more time in to add on to this review, but after 20+ hours of play, there are plenty of topics to discuss and share with you to give you the idea of what the game is about.

After becoming the professor of the house you choose. You will then, of course after a few cut scenes, appear in your own personal dorm room. Your schedule is based on a calendar that is in your dorm room. Every Sunday you are tasked with picking an activity of your choice. In the days leading up to that Sunday, events will pop up that you can choose to be a part of, or not be a part of for motivation for your students. You may also even participate simply to gain XP for your professor level. These events can include student’s birthdays, where you can either choose to buy flowers for them, or even ask them to a tea party. 

Activity Calendar

Students motivation play an important role in this game. You need to keep your students happy in order to choose an individual within your party to increase their ability in a special skill tree. The more your students level up and get extremely proficient with specific abilities, the more likely that they will eventually be inclined to take a certification, which will grant them the option of choosing a new class. There are a ton of classes to choose from, and you are able to recertify your student to be any class you like to fit the mold of your party. Different classes can take single or even multiple skill lines that you will need to level up to a certain point in order to be able to pass your student in these certifications.

Increasing your student’s skill lines also unlock certain “combat arts.” These combat arts are powerful attacks that will deal high amounts of damage, but also come with a price. When using these combat arts, the weapon that is equipped or needs to be used to perform this attack will take damage. Each of your weapons has a total line of damage it can take before it will break. Some combat arts can range from -/+4 damage per use. This damage is a sacrifice you will have to make during these battles to turn the tide.

Combat Art

Your professor skill is also an important part of the game. Leveling up your professor can offer quite a few bonuses for the player. A few things to mention would be the addition of more activity points which can be used to share a meal with your students, enter your students in fighting competitions at the training grounds, fishing, gardening, and much more. All of these things I have mentioned lead to ways to motivate your students. Your students’ motivation levels decrease every time you teach them skill lines. If their motivation completely drops, you will not be able to choose them until you raise their motivation back up.

Leveling your professor also opens up more areas of the monastery, which increases your free roam, and helps to find more dropped items and meet with new members of the monastery. Also, you are able to choose from more battle options when your professor level is raised. There are quite a few features that will pay dividends within the game by doing this.

Student motivation bars
Professor level up

Here is another feature worth mentioning. When picking your house, you will start with that house leader, yourself, and 7 other students that serve that house. If you are unhappy with one of the members of your party from your house, you are able to recruit new students into your party from other houses that you feel are more suitable for you. You will have to level up and do certain activities to draw them away from their current house to join yours, but the option is available to you.

Fire Emblem is well known for its great turn-based battling system. This title did not disappoint when it came to the combat. Each battle I was thrown into was more exciting and intriguing than the last. The combat is very strategic and one wrong move can cost you the whole battle. There is the rewind power which can save you in certain instances, but each battle requires specific instructions on how to win. From the start, it is pretty straightforward – kill the bandits and you win. The further you progress, the harder the battles get. You will eventually get to a point where you have so many turns to win the battle or need to keep a member of your party alive through the whole battle.

There is an abundance of different enemies you will come up against. You will need to know their weaknesses, but also your strengths to know how to win the battle. Within these battles, as I mentioned earlier, your weapons and equipment will be damaged. There are certain chests and enemies on the battlefield that you can kill or collect to receive certain weapons or items, including gold. This gold can then be equipped or sold to the marketplace to buy new items, once the old ones break. Or you can also repair them at the blacksmith with the correct materials.


Fire Emblem Three Houses: Final Verdict

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is an excellent addition to the series. I am a big fan of tactical turn-based titles, and this game has been one of my favorites to come out in a long time. It can be a bit slow from the beginning, but this title has a great story and excellent combat that keeps you engaged. I was a bit optimistic when I purchased this title, because these turn-based titles can get stale pretty fast, but I am twenty hours or so in, and still excited to sink more time in and see what else is to come. This game is not perfect by any means, but still one of the better triple-A titles on the Switch to this point.

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