Fire Emblem: Three Houses last summer was a hit for Nintendo Switch. Everyone who played it were enthusiastic about its plot and gameplay and I had to see for myself.
I did not like it.
In 2013 I played Fire Emblem: Awakening. It was my first game of the series and I loved it even though the plot didn’t fully convince me. I liked the gameplay and I actually had lots of difficulty because I sucked at strategic games.
Three houses was not like that. The tedious plot and the easiest difficulty ever (I played on both Normal and Hard difficulty) made me dislike it deeply since the first two hours of playing it. However, I thought that I should have at least finished the game once before writing about it. And that’s what I did.
This article is not meant to be a review of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Having only finished it once (with the Golden Deers route) I do not possess enough infos to review the game properly. This will be only a list of motives that made me dislike Three Houses.
Before starting, I’d also like to disclaim that this is only my opinion. If you enjoyed Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I am happy for you. I think that opinions about games are very personal, that’s why I am writing a blog.
Plot and Characters
The plot left me with a bitter taste throughout all the main events, which were all predictable. Plus, things we first hear about during the first chapters are left without answer until the very end (or maybe you have to play another route to know that thing). Even the character grow tired of waiting for infos that are important for plot development and that have no reason at all to be delayed until the last two chapters.
As I said before, everything in the plot is really predictable. I will be spoiler-free, but I will just say that especially one of the main villains’ identity and the one of Byleth’s mother are really easy to guess from the beginning. It was really disappointing go from Chapter Two or Three to the main reveals and be like “Oh, whatever”.
Speaking of the characters, I liked some of them, but the vast cast of students was repetitive, especially gameplay-wise. For example, Sylvain and Leonie are a copy of each other (not their personalities, but in battle), and you are not pushed to recruit more students into your own class (it’s also really hard to recruit during your first playthrough, except for Sylvain if you play fem-Byleth). I would have preferred less characters, but more diversity between each other.
Every chapter represents a month in-game, and the main battle is at the end. During the month you can train your students as you prefer during the week and, on every Sunday, you can explore the Monastery to talk to its inhabitants and accept quests, go to seminars with your students, do additional battles to grind a bit or rest. You cannot do as many battles as you like because every one consumes an action, and the same is valid for when you adventure into the Monastery. You can do limited stuff each time and sometimes I would just skip until the main battle to go on with the story.
To get things worse, the Monastery is empty and doesn’t add anything fun to the game.
This is the point in this list that matters the most to me. While playing a game on Hard difficulty, I want to be challenged. And Fire Emblem: Three Houses did not give me that.
Apparently the only difficulty that gives the player a real challenge is Lunatic, which I didn’t try because I started the game without updating it first (my bad, I know). However, a game should give different levels of challenge on any of its difficulties, not only on its highest one.
Plus, I suck at strategic games, I should have had problems on Hard, which I did not have at all. I tried both Normal and Hard difficulties and the only change I found is that on Normal you have a higher critical rate. That’s it.
To spice thing up I tried to not go back in time and to not grind for most of my experience, but I still ended up with the easiest experience I’ve ever had with a strategic game.
Intelligent Systems wanted to make a game for everyone, but they forgot to make it also for more experienced players. They tried saving themselves with a “Oh, here’s an update with a new difficulty setting”, but I don’t think that’s enough.
What have I learned from this experience? That I won’t buy a Fire Emblem game at launch next time.
I feel very disappointed with Three Houses because I had high expectations that were not met. Everyone was talking about it like it was the definitive videogame, but what I had was far from perfect.
From the plot to the difficulty level, the only good things for me were the battles and the graphics. And that is just not enough for me to spend money on something.
I’ve been playing videogames since 1998. From 2012 to 2019 I wrote for many italian websites dedicated to videogames, but, after a long hiatus, I decided to open my own blog.
Besides videogames, I play Dungeon & Dragons 5e and I enjoy writing/reading mystery novels. I also love to cross stitch while watching movies and TV shows.