PREVIEW: ‘Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes’ Promises Fun In Fodlun (Switch)

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Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes  - But Why Tho

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a musou action role-playing game developed by Intelligent Sytems and Omega Force, and published by Nintendo and Koei Tecmo. When the mercenary Shez’s run-in with the notorious fighter known as the Ashen Demon places them in the path of the students of the Garreg Mach Officer’s Academy, Shez is soon swept up into events that will change the continent of Fodlun forever.

When Fire Emblem: Three Houses dropped in 2019, it instantly became one of my favorite games of all time. Strategic combat, a fun adventure, three-story paths to follow, and one of the most entertaining and fleshed-out casts of its size I had ever experienced in a video game all came together to create an amazing play experience. So when Nintendo initially announced Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes I was elated at the thought of spending more time with Edelgard and the rest of my favorite characters, while also being concerned about the radical shift in genre from turn-based tactics game to musou hack and slash adventure game. Despite my lack of love for the sort of gameplay musou games excel at, it feels great to be back in Fodlun.

The first thing to note is that while Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes begins at roughly the same point in time as its predecessor, it follows a radically different trajectory. While Shez does run into the three house leaders at the same point in the story as Byleth did in the original, the story quickly veers wildly off of the well-trodden path laid out before. This was a relief to me. Since I had played all three storylines in the original, playing through all those story-beats again would be fairly repetitive. There are a couple of the early moments that play out similar to the original game, however. These felt like nice nostalgia moments that remind me of the past, while not overstaying their welcome.

By the end of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes’ prologue, Shez, and their chosen house have left Garreg Mach and the larger story has begun. While the motivations of Edelgard and her Scarlet Blaze were familiar to me, the open-ended nature of the new story’s potential has me excited to see what will change.

So the world feels great and instantly familiar to series fans, but how is the gameplay? Much like the story, it is an excellent blend of old and new. One of the newest and most exciting elements is the availability of couch coop play with a friend. This cooperative play promises to only strengthen the game’s feeling of camaraderie once it unlocks in the game’s first chapter.

While the battles are delivered in the runaround and hack through hundreds of enemies style musou games are known for, there are lots of elements implemented within this framework that calls back to the games source material.

Once players choose which of their units to deploy to a battle and the fight begins players are presented with varying objectives they must achieve to win any given mission. Players can send allies off on their own to defeat area captains or pursue other objectives, the player can also have an ally support them. This makes the ally available to aid the player in case they run into an enemy their style of combat is weak against as well as building the two characters’ bond.

That’s right! Bond building is back in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. If you are like me, one of your favorite aspects of Three Houses was building up bonds with your favorite characters to unlock the entertaining and insightful support conversations as well as getting combat bonuses when the two characters fight side by side in a battle. Both of these elements rewards for spending time with your allies are back and there are just as many ways as before to earn these entertaining moments as before.

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes  - But Why Tho

While the player’s bonds with their allies can be strengthened during battle, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes features a home base hub that fills in for Garreg Mach Monastery from the previous game. This hub allows players to train, do odd jobs around the base, and cook delicious meals to share with their teammates.

Different teammates like different things, so choosing who you ask to do what is always important. You must be mindful of what you choose to do though. The player only has so many activities they can perform during each chapter of the story. Will you perform tasks with the characters you think are the most useful to boost your combat potential? Or will you just hang out with the ones you want to get to know the best?

With all these decisions at the player’s fingertips and more, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes looks to deliver a highly customizable adventure for players looking to escape back to Fodlun. With just the prologue and most of the first chapter playable, I got over six hours of gameplay out of the demo. This promises players a lot of potential game time when the full game releases. With the promise of the demo save being transferable to the full game, there is no reason not to check this out if you are even the least bit curious about what it has to offer.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes launches on Nintendo switch on June 24th.