Naturally, since this game has Fire Emblem in the title you were bound to see a review of this game come up on my website. Going into this game I really didn’t know what to expect with it. I knew it was some sort of variation of the story told in Fire Emblem: Three Houses but that was about it. The game features a new protagonist Shez who is partnered with the mysterious being Arval, much like Byleth and Sothis in Three Houses who appear as antagonists to Shez in Three Hopes. What is amazing is how different the sequence of events is when Shez is the mercenary taken in at Garreg Mach instead of Byleth.
First I want to talk about the gameplay. When it comes to combat Three Hopes plays exactly as you would expect out of the well-known hack and slash mechanics of a warriors game and that was what I expected going into this. The game does adapt a few Fire Emblem elements in the mix such as weapon skills and durability but for the most part, the Fire Emblem elements are not readily seen here. This is the exact opposite scenario for all parts of the gameplay outside of combat. Just like Three Houses you have a hub area where you interact with allies, manage their skills, and develop bonds with your units. Pretty much everything we’ve seen in Three Houses just added to Three Hopes with a few tweaks to fit the warriors style such as using money to auto-level up units weaker than your strongest character. I was really shocked by this because I was expecting a warriors game based off of Fire Emblem elements like we got with Fire Emblem Warriors, but instead what we actually got felt like Three Houses but with Warriors game combat mechanics. It was really well done and a beautiful mix of both Fire Emblem and Warriors games.
Next, I want to talk about the story. The story is divided up into routes just like Three Houses and you get to choose early on which route you want to be on. Each route has two ending variations depending on if you recruit a specific character and at the time of writing this I’ve seen the endings of all three routes where you do recruit this character just so I can give a pretty broad review of the story as a whole. All of the characters really feel just like their Three Houses counterparts and I love how the story in Three Hopes really does more to flesh them out which is impressive with how much we’ve already seen from these characters. Because the story is drastically different the way the story influences the characters is different and it’s amazing to see how they respond to a new set of scenarios. You still have core parts of the story such as Edelgard’s desire to dismantle the current power structure and Dimitri enduring the weight of those he lost in combat, but how they go about it is completely different. It’s like we are seeing these characters for the first time all over again because it’s a fresh new experience and I really loved that about Three Hopes. Plus the banter and story elements of this game were just incredible. I found myself actively listening to support conversations and cut scenes because of the sheer quality of how they were carried out.
Now I do love Three Houses, I love that game so much, but in terms of how the story was executed Three Hopes did it better. Not only was the script better, but the story brought a lot of stuff that was in the background of Three Houses into the limelight in Three Hopes. First of all, you get to see characters like Holst, Monica, and many parents of Three Houses characters for the first time when they were only previously references made within Three Houses. We also get to see more of the evil organization Those Who Slither in the Dark. In Three Houses they felt more like a minor antagonist that happened to have a great influence on the sequence of events, but in Three Hopes they felt like a constant and more credible threat to the world. Overall the lore and everything in it had more involvement and that made for a more enjoyable story in comparison to the amazing one we received in Three Houses, which is really saying something. The only issue I have is that when it ends, it just ends. It doesn’t really feel like a conclusion but more of an ending that signifies the fighting is done for now.
As for the Arval and Shez stuff I found Shez to be a very interesting character. They have an actual personality and voiced lines so I liked them far more than I did Byleth. However, the whole Arval mystery I can’t say the same. The whole deal with Sothis was such a vital part of the story of Three Houses and I was expecting Arval’s story to have the same affect in Three Hopes, but I was wrong. Arval’s story has really little to no impact on the game at all and the explanation behind Arval felt rushed to the point where I thought more was coming later in the game only to find what I got was the entire story. As a character I still really enjoyed Arval but if you’re going to make a character have mysterious origins then the reveal has to satisfy the time spent wondering and not knowing what is going on.
Overal going into this I got something way better than I expected. I thought I was getting a Warriors game with Fire Emblem characters and instead I got Fire Emblem: Three Houses but with Warriors gameplay. The story does a fantastic job of bringing new life to the lore of Three Houses, telling a whole new story and doing more with characters that did little to nothing but still left some sort of impact in Three Houses. I was going into this thinking that when I wrote this review I would recommend it to those who love Fire Emblem and enjoy the Warriors style of gameplay sometimes, like myself, but really I think this is a great experience for anyone that loved Fire Emblem: Three Houses. This is a great way to see these characters all over again, learn more about then, and see them in an all new adventure.