Skip to main content

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a good excuse to see old pals

Fire Emblem: Three Houses was an important game for Nintendo. It was the title that turned the series from a Japanese staple to a full-blown global phenomenon, taking the slow-build success of hits like Fire Emblem Awakening to the finish line. A major piece of Three Houses’ success (aside from the Nintendo Switch’s high adoption rate) comes from its memorable cast of characters. Its cast of misfit students proved to be the series’ most lovable collection of heroes yet, perfectly positioning it for success in the age of fandom.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, a new spin-off title that hits Switch on June 24, looks to capitalize on that strength. The Dynasty Warriors-like Musou game once again takes players to Fódlan, a continent embroiled in war. While the combat may be as different as can be, the faces and atmosphere are all pleasantly familiar. Think of it as a reunion special

Related Videos

For my preview period, I played eight chapters of the Black Eagles route. So far, I’ve found that Three Hopes is a great excuse to catch up with my favorite characters. Though even better, it has allowed me to meet some students I never got to spend time with in Three Houses, all without making me start a new save file in a game I’d already played to death.

All-out war

From a pacing perspective, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes (a follow-up to 2017’s Fire Emblem Warriors) is about as far from a tactics game as you can get. Rather than slowly moving units in turn-based combat, it’s a full-on action title where you’ll slice up hundreds of soldiers at a time with exaggerated attacks. The format better emphasizes the war at the heart of the series. Rather than taking out a few soldiers on a grid, players quite literally face entire armies.

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

While the combat isn’t as flashy as Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, there’s a lot of RPG depth to its systems. Like Three Houses, characters can master a host of classes that give them access to different weapon proficiencies and bonuses. By chapter eight, I found that I was doing quite a bit of party management before each mission, as I carefully customized each of my heroes by mixing and matching buffs and skills acquired by mastering multiple classes.

Prep work is key. Like Three Houses, players spend downtime between battles in a hub where they can train troops, improve gear, cook buff-granting meals, and more. So far, I’ve found it to be the most effective hook in the experience. Every vendor and facility, from the general store to the kitchen, can be renovated via resources to add more functionality, reduce costs, and more. The town-building touch goes beyond what Three Houses did with its teaching system, adding a wider sense of progression that steadily deepens the combat and customization.

Shez runs around a hub in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

What’s perhaps most surprising to me so far is that the game still feels tactical, even with more frenetic action. Players directly control up to four characters at a time during missions, swapping between them via the D-pad. When players aren’t controlling a character, they can open up the map and issue commands to troops. In busy missions where I have to fight off enemies on multiple fronts, I find myself directing traffic. I’m sending Edelgard to one end of the map to defend a stronghold, while my archer Bernadetta heads to the other side to take down some flying units. With everyone in place, I can easily switch between them and juggle objectives.

Like any Musou, you can expect a fair amount of repetition in battle. While each character has a small gimmick that makes them unique, troops are largely interchangeable thus far. That’s a necessity though, as the game wants players to have ultimate flexibility in how they build troops. The deeper I get, the more I’m appreciating how just about every little nuance from the mainline series has made its way here. It still feels like a Fire Emblem game, rather than a Dynasty Warriors game wearing a costume.

The gang’s all here

Three Hopes is part of Nintendo’s newfound appreciation of the Musou genre, which has allowed the company to revisit its most compelling worlds without forcing it to rush out a sequel. That strategy worked for the excellent Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and it seems to be a winning formula here so far too. I smiled as the game loaded up and I was reintroduced to my favorite students like Hilda and Lysethia.

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

I had always wanted to delve deeper into the world of Three Houses when it first launched, but my Golden Deer path took me over 50 hours to complete. The idea of doing that again two more times, repeating some similar plot beats to get there, just wasn’t feasible. But with Three Hopes, I get to see more of the world in the context of an entirely new story — and I can do that without feeling like I’ve betrayed Claude.

Rather than continuing the Golden Deer story, I decided to align with Black Eagles for the preview period. That decision has already given me a newfound appreciation for Three Houses, as I’ve gotten to know heroes I initially never crossed paths with like Hubert and Caspar. With a new batch of fully-voiced support conversations to unlock, I’m able to retroactively expand my understanding of each house.

The dynamics are slightly different this time too, as I’m not playing the role of teacher. Instead, I’m following Shez, a mercenary who becomes something of an honorary student at Garreg Mach Monastery. Unlike Byleth, Shez is fully voiced and has more of a distinct personality. Dialogue interactions feel a little less one-sided as a result, as characters get to bounce off Shez’s quick wit rather than monologuing at a silent protagonist. You also might be excited to learn that “dates” return here too, though players go on a scenic horse ride instead of sitting down for tea.

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

So far, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes feels like a notable step up from Fire Emblem Warriors. It’s a more in-depth spin-off that retains a surprising amount of details from Three Houses. Like Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, this is a high-effort side game that feels built for those who just want to spend more with their digital pals (by leading them into more deadly battles).

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes launches on June 24 for Nintendo Switch. A free demo is available right now on the Switch eShop.

Editors' Recommendations

Everything announced at the June 2022 Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase
Mario, Rabbid Peach, and more characters pose in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope key art.

Lagging behind a strong State of Play from Sony and an excellent Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase from Microsoft, Nintendo has now held a presentation of its own. It's not a full-blown Nintendo Direct, though. Instead, this June 28 presentation is a Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase, the first of its kind since 2020. As the showcase's name suggests, this is shorter than a typical Nintendo Direct and mainly focused on what third-party developers and publishers are bringing to Nintendo Switch in the coming months. 
As Nintendo has said that this presentation would contain "roughly 25 minutes of info on upcoming third-party #NintendoSwitch games" on Twitter, don't expect the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 or Metroid Prime 4 to show up here. Still, there are plenty of cool games like Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope that make an appearance here, and we have a clearer idea of what the biggest third-party Nintendo Switch games of 2022 are. We kept track of everything announced during the Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase, so you can look below and see everything Nintendo and its partners revealed throughout the event.
Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase | 6.28.2022
Nier Automata is coming to Nintendo Switch

In one of the most notable announcements of this Partner Showcase, we learned that the critically acclaimed Nier Automata is finally coming to Nintendo Switch. It's one of PlatinumGames' best titles and has an amazing story, so be sure to check this out on Switch if you haven't already. It's also a native port, and not a cloud version either. Nier Automata: The End of YoRHa Edition launches on October 6.
First look at Return to Monkey Island gameplay
Return to Monkey Island | Gameplay Reveal Trailer
After it was confirmed earlier this year, we finally got a deeper look at Return to Monkey Island's story and gameplay. It's got a distinct and pretty new art style and looks faithful to how the old Monkey Island games play, so hopefully, it lives up to series fans' lofty expectations. It will be released in 2022.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope release date confirmed

Read more
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope releases in October and you can play as Bowser
Mario and the crew with a Spark.

During the June 2022 Nintendo Direct Mini, Ubisoft confirmed that Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope will launch on October 20.

A new trailer describes the game's story premise and gave a quick glimpse at the turn-based combat system. The battlefield can now be traversed in 360 degrees, a departure from the rigid linear movement that was in the first game. Mario's arch-nemesis, Bowser, has also been revealed to be a playable character.

Read more
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes features three campaigns
fire emblem warriors campaigns three hopes protagonist shez

Nintendo and Koei Tecmo are teaming up again to make another spinoff of the well-known Warriors series. This time the world of Fire Emblem: Three Houses joins the fray with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, which just got a new trailer that showed more details of the game, including its protagonist and three campaigns.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - Mysterious Mercenary Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Read more