Fire Emblem: Three Houses follows the journey of Byleth, a former mercenary who reluctantly takes the position of a professor at the prestigious Officers Academy. The peaceful world of Fodlan is home to three nations, the Golden Deer, Blue Lions, and Black Eagles – all overseen by the Church of Seiros, who control the academy at the Garegg Mach Monastery. Charged with tutoring the leaders of tomorrow in all things battle and mind, Byleth is tasked with choosing a house and nurturing its students to their full potential.
This sets a promising premise for the 15th game in the Fire Emblem franchise, as players explore a narrative-driven world full of character, emotion, rewarding mechanics, and intense turn-based, tactical combat.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses Review
I would not consider myself a fan of the Fire Emblem franchise. Not because of my lack of awareness of the series or its lack of appeal, but mostly because it has always been a handheld experience. Very few of the games have released on a console-based platform, which is one of the many reasons I was excited for Fire Emblem: Three Houses to launch, finally giving me the opportunity to explore a franchise I’ve long admired from a distance. With that said, let’s see if Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a worthy addition to your collection, whether you’re a franchise veteran or a first-time gambler.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a pioneer in the narrative-driven RPG space. It features a colorful cast of deep, meaningful, and memorable characters, many with enough depth and character to rival that of main protagonists in other games. Much of the games plot, mechanics, and features all center around socially-driven engagements with these characters, each presenting more personality and background with every moment of play.
Much likes its JRPG brethren, Three Houses can be dialogue-heavy in parts, but it does so in a way that never feels stale. I truly wanted to learn more about these characters, what motivated them, the losses they had suffered, it’s rare for a games cast to encapsulate me as much as Three Houses did, but it did so every step of the way. These relationships are not merely about forming bonds with characters, almost all of the characters you encounter can be recruited into your house, adding a physical reward to a social experience.
The driving force behind Fire Emblem: Three Houses are the social interactions and these are the focal point throughout much of the game. As the protagonist, you get to choose to align yourself with one of the three houses or eventually, the church. Doing so influences the dialogue, the story, the choices, and the ending you will experience. This all provides a huge level of reward in regards to replay value.
A room of players could compare experiences and discuss stories and events they shared with characters they met, and all could be entirely different. It could be mere happenstance that you connect with one of the characters, or it could be more direct as they share similar morals and character that appeal to you as a player or a person. You may not want to love or hate these characters, but you won’t …