review | Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes – As a reviewer, I have a love and hate relationship with developer Omega Force. Their games are basically musou games, the kind they are the founders of as well. So it’s no surprise that they love to keep using this formula. Sometimes it works fine, other times less. Musso’s problem is that it can recur over time. But once the Omega Force joins in with the right partner, in this case, a first-class racehorse may come out of its stables. In any case, it seems Omega Force has learned something from its relationship with Nintendo, because Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is of a very different caliber than its predecessor.
What one person can do
In Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, you’ll wear the shoes of a young mercenary whose comrades were murdered by a rival group called Geralt’s Mercenaries. However, this goes against the usual appreciation among mercenaries, as he attracts the attention of a creature called Arval. Together with Arval you will accidentally meet the heirs of the “Three Houses” who own most of the land. In the center is the Garreg Mach Abbey, a sacred estate where anyone from any home could train as an army officer. By helping the three heirs, you also get this training and your talents on the battlefield ensure that all three houses are eager to recruit you.
After joining one of these three houses, the story unfolds further, with war playing a major role. The sacred estate of Garreg Mach Abbey, which pits the houses against each other, has been taken over. As the commander of the army, you play a big role in all this, but your goal remains the same: to track down Geralt’s mercenaries and find out why your comrades were massacred. As you quest, the story continues to unfold with land invasions, betrayals within the Three Houses, and personal evolutions among the characters you know along the way. But the bonds you build don’t have to last forever.
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes gives us two options in terms of difficulty and customization. First of all, of course, the standard melody from easy to difficult, but also the choice of the so-called “classic mode” or “normal mode”. With the classic mode, if they fall on the battlefield, your troops will already die. No return, they are gone. You have to be careful with your favorites in this mode. In addition, you should also manage the posting well, because if you constantly take the same guys with you, they will eventually become exhausted. This in turn affects their performance.
If you’ve never touched Omega Force, especially one of the musou genre, here’s a little summary. In the game Musou, you and a few other hero units compete for an army of thousands in the form of hack & slash, where it is also important to conquer different strategic points on the battlefield. Each mission has its main objective, for example eliminating the enemy hero unit or conquering all strategic points, but it also contains different side missions. This gives you additional loot and money at the end of the walk, but is not required to complete a level. This is exactly what you can expect from this game in terms of gameplay.
To the interesting part
The truth is, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has a lot more to offer than the standard Musou, so we’d prefer to discuss this aspect briefly and concisely. The musou part plays well and offers enough variety, partly because on the battlefield you can also switch between your character and the men of the house you belong to. The star of the show in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is your base. At the base you have all kinds of stores for raw materials and power-ups useful for the battlefield. You’ll also find options here to craft items or even improve facilities within your base. In order to be able to buy or upgrade something, you, of course, need money and resources, which you naturally get by winning battles.
Therefore, completing as many side quests as possible pays off if you want to see your base and forces thrive. Because your forces are just as important to you. Basically, you also have a number of side activities. An example would be cooking for your men, which strengthens the relationship between you and the troops, provided you give them the right meal. You can also do simple chores on the base with your men, such as washing the horses or cleaning up the archive. These types of jobs are more popular with some than others, which is important if you want to build a good relationship with everyone. This is important, because with the right relationships you can put down the strongest possible army. If everyone has a good relationship with each other, it enhances cooperation on the battlefield.
Each playable character has several classes to choose from. In general, these are mostly the same, with a few exceptions here and there. Each class has its strengths and weaknesses on the battlefield. In your base, you can also train your troops to raise each class to a higher level or even upgrade to a completely different class. By equipping your troops with different classes, you greatly expand your options, because you never know what awaits you on the battlefield. If you choose the right training partner for each character, you also improve their relationships, just as with the side activities mentioned above.
However, the technical aspect of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes leaves a lot to be desired. With the original Fire Emblem Warriors, Omega Force did the right thing by offering a mode of performance and quality. Three Hopes doesn’t, so we’re bound by a 30fps frame rate that regularly doesn’t manage to stay stable. However, this is not only the case on the battlefield, but also in the flashes in your base. Does this make the game unplayable? Certainly not, there is still work to be done. But the frame drops are definitely there and they really caught our eye. Performance Possible Mode may have resolved this issue.
We’d love to have that option, given that Three Hopes doesn’t exactly blow our minds when it comes to graphics. It’s not an ugly game, but compromising in terms of graphics for a more stable frame rate would have been a good deal in our opinion. We have to of course bear in mind that the Switch isn’t the most powerful console on the market, but then we look back at Part One, in which this went well. When docked, the accuracy is not entirely good. Three Hopes uses dynamic resolution to make up for the already somewhat poor performance and it shows. We can say with certainty that the game will not reach 1080p. In manual mode, the game seems to barely touch 720p, except for very quiet scenes within four walls.
The sound, in turn, is good. Nothing revolutionary, but a soundtrack that does justice to the Fire Emblem series. We also get a choice between Japanese and English voice acting, which is always a welcome choice. The English voice acting isn’t terrible, but it still suffers a bit from the voice actors who sometimes get too deep into their role and thus start to exaggerate the acting. So it’s best to leave the audio work in Japanese and read it along with the translation, and maybe you’ll also learn some Japanese with it.
The sequel builds on the success of its predecessor and makes a lot of things more comprehensive and better, but it misses the mark on one front. We definitely had fun with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. Besides the standard musou gameplay being pretty solid, we spent at least as much time on our base as on the battlefield. The story is clearly related to Fire Emblem: Three Houses and thus makes it a feast of appreciation if you play this game as well. In our opinion the game’s performance is below average, which in our opinion is hard to justify given that the game is not a graphic masterpiece either. If you can beat that, there is a lot of fun to have with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes and we dare say this one is at the top of our Musso list.
- Interesting plot
- The base is very wide
- Many options for each character
- The gameplay itself is solid…
- …but delayed performance
- Visually at most “OK”