OPINION: Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is the spin-off to Three Houses, combining hack and slash combat with wholesome character development, but as someone who has never played a Fire Emblem game before, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.
Despite being a spin-off to 2019’s Three Houses, Three Hopes takes on a new story, combining old and new faces in the world of Fódlan. You play as Shez the mercenary, who can be customised to be either a male or female, and you are tasked with taking on the empire with one of three teams.
In my playthrough, I joined up with Edelgard in the team Scarlet Blaze, meeting a roster of playable characters that you can utilise during battle.
Despite this game being a hack and slash title, with a lot of emphasis on developing your class and refining your special moves, there is a constant theme of friendship throughout as you can develop deep bonds with your teammates over time.
While you’re in base camp. you are encouraged to talk with your teammates with optional dialogue choices that can help boost your friendship levels. You can also give gifts, ranging from types of flowers to walking boots, with different teammates having preferences that you learn over time.
One of my favourite activities out of battle was cooking for my team. You can learn more recipes by expanding the Kitchen Facility, with various meals coming with boosts that can aid you during battle. Ace the meal and you gain more support points between players, as not only do you need to bond with your teammates, but it is beneficial for them to bond with each other.
This comes into play during Training, as you can train in groups of two to develop a better rapport during large battles, giving players an incentive to stick around in camp and explore, which helps break up the battles and keeps things fresh.
For any hardcore fans of the Fire Emblem series, this may already be old news, as the franchise is well-known for getting you to care about its characters. But seeing as there are multiple characters per team, with the choice of joining three teams overall, I was impressed with how easy I found it to settle into this new world.
The camp and quirky dialogue also made it easy to see these characters as individuals rather than belonging to an ensemble cast. Interacting with two different teammates can feel like two completely different experiences; some characters will voice concerns about an upcoming battle while other conversations can consist solely of mindless natter.
Anyone who has been hesitant about trying out Three Hopes due to a lack of prior knowledge about the Fire Emblem franchise has nothing to worry about, as it only took me a few hours to feel like I had known these characters for most of my life.
It’s refreshing to see such a combat-intensive game take the time to flesh out its characters and develop these bonds, and I can say with certainty that I will be revisiting this game, not only to take on more enemies, but also to check in with everyone in camp.