Three Hopes’ refines the musou genre but fails to reach perfection

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

The Fire Emblem franchise has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, and while the franchise’s new entries have been largely hit or miss, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes offers up its most refined offering yet.

Starting with 2017’s Fire Emblem Warriors, the series made a jump to the Nintendo Switch while offering a very different musou-style adventure for fans. While there was a move back to the core gameplay style for the next entry, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes combines its predecessors into of the best entries yet — but it won’t be for everybody.

There is plenty to like about Three Hopes, but also plenty of content that feels tiresome as a result of the game’s repetitive playstyle.

Gameplay will immediately feel familiar to anybody who has played Dynasty Warriors or a similar musou game before. For those who haven’t, the genre’s core loop has you mowing through hordes of enemies as a soldier on the battlefield while claiming locations and taking out named enemies along the way.

Image via Nintendo

Dynasty Warriors‘ gameplay style compliments Fire Emblem’s tactical warfare style perfectly, providing a ton of customization, ways to command your army, and of course, different abilities to decimate the hundreds of foes along the way.

Depending on the House you choose to join, you’ll get access to different troops — however, through side quests, you can add most of the characters in the game into your army. You’re not going to encounter any shortage of classes to try out as you collect new soldiers, but outside of this, the depth of combat for each character isn’t huge.

More often than not, you’re simply going to be spamming the Y button as you work through the enemies with the occasional B tap to quickly decimate foes. It would be no understatement to say that you’re going to be doing this a lot, and it quickly becomes tedious as you repeat things over and over. While this combat can be dull after some time, the story makes the doldrums bearable and helps build motivation to continue.

Three Hopes‘ story is leaps and bounds more enjoyable than what was on offer in Fire Emblem Warriors, and we have Three Houses to thank for that. This new game is set in the same world as Three Houses and you’re going to see familiar characters along the way — as well as a ton of new ones.

Image via Nintendo

Throughout your playthrough, you’ll be asked to make decisions that impact and shape the story, however, these don’t seem to have any significant gameplay changes. If you find yourself bored of the Warriors-style action, there’s a ton of side content to explore.

This runs the gamut from base management to side missions, and these distractions provide players with the chance to familiarize themselves with the names and faces of other characters inhabiting the world. While simple, for the most part, these are enjoyable and can net your some big bonuses to be used in combat.

Three Hopes’ story is driven by beautifully-voiced cutscenes that help immerse yourself further into the world. For those whose primary focus is to experience the story, fortunately, there’s a difficulty setting just for you.

In fact, the options and tweakable settings at your disposal are one of the biggest wins in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. There are a ton of options for players of all skill levels, and even on the lowest possible combination, it still doesn’t feel like a complete cakewalk. You can’t just stick to one character in combat — battlefield management is key with musou games, and that rings true in Three Hopes.

Image via Nintendo

Even when you’re switching from character to character, minding locations and the health of your troops, the Nintendo Switch has no problem keeping up. The console is a great match for this style of game, and during my time I didn’t encounter any severe performance issues. While you can play in handheld mode with no problems, it’s the perfect title to experience in docked mode with a Pro Controller or something similar.

While I’ve spent much of this review praising Three Hopes for what it has been able to deliver, it’s worth mentioning that this game is not for everybody. Combat has been refined and offers plenty of variety, however, as you venture through the story, you might grow tired of fighting the same enemies over and over again with the same moveset and little variation.

Side missions do offer a much-needed break from the repetition, and certainly provide a better way to experience the unique story of Three Hopes, but again, towards the end of the game, even these distractions might seem tedious for some.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a great addition to the franchise that implements much-needed improvements from the titles that came before it while still maintaining classic Fire Emblem elements at its core. But unless you’re a fan of the Warriors-style of game, or planning to slowly work through this 25+ hour adventure, you’ll likely grow tired before reaching its epic conclusion.

Leave a Comment