Fire Emblem: Three Houses (FETH) is the latest game from the Fire Emblem series and it is currently a Nintendo Switch exclusive.
For those unfamiliar with Fire Emblem, it is a Tactical RPG (Role-Playing Game) at its core whereby movements are cell-based and battles are taken in turns.
The game also focuses heavily on characters with deep backgrounds, story-driven gameplay and plenty of waifus (if you’re into that).
Dictionary Time: (fandom slang) Waifu means a female fictional character from non-live-action visual media (typically an anime, manga, or video game) that one is attracted to and considers a significant other.YourDictionary
Specific to Fire Emblem, if your units are slain in battle, they are gone for good. This is what makes the series interesting, as most games don’t kill off your favourite character.
Having permanent character deaths in the game makes every single fight in Fire Emblem nail-biting. I’ve save-scummed (reloading a save constantly) so many times to prevent any characters from dying.
For players afraid of that, you actually have the option of playing in Casual Mode (haha) which enables bringing back dead characters after a fight—meaning that death isn’t permanent.
This became a staple after Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem and negates the annoyance of having to constantly reload a save.
New and specific to this game is the addition of Time Rewind. You are allowed to rewind time a few times per battle and this makes it easier to reload without wasting time.
You Are The Chosen One
As mentioned before, Fire Emblem games are usually story-driven, and Three Houses is no different.
You play as a mercenary-turned-professor (definitely not something I’d ever have thought up) and it’s your job to guide your students and to command them during battle.
After the tutorials, I was thrown straight into the game and asked to choose a house that I wanted to lead.
In between battles and skirmishes, you’ll be posted at the Monastery where all your teaching, socialising, and additional activities take place.
Some activities you can do include cooking meals with the students or other lecturers, fishing, gardening, joining choir practice, socialising, doing side quests and carrying out professor duties such as planning out the month’s curriculum for students.
While this may be a lot to take in (and it is) you will have plenty of time to do the activities you want, as time doesn’t advance when you’re in the Monastery.
Some activities will consume activity points and you start the game with 2 points which you will get more of as you level up your professor level.
In terms of levelling up, there’s plenty to go about. But it’s not that complicated in my opinion.
There’s a Professor Level (it ranks up by doing activities in the Monastery), a Character Level (goes up by fighting or training), and a Skill Level (levels up by fighting, taking classes and more).
Students can level up a specific skill faster if their professor (the player) is proficient at it. For example, since I’m adept at Sword skills, when I tutor my students on Sword skills, they’ll level up much faster, too.
In battle, EXP (experience points) will be given to the character who dealt the killing blow.
If I selfishly take all the kills for myself, my students will be under-levelled and they’ll be easy pickings during the enemy’s turn.
What Kind Of Teacher Are You?
As the professor, you can set goals for your students or let them forge their own path with your guidance. Some players opt to be a little more anal when it comes to choosing a class for their students.
Classes are roles that students and professors can take up during battle and they offer better stats. Skill levels are vital here as they are a requirement to change classes.
Sometimes, a student will come to you to talk about changing goals. You will have two options then. Say yes, and they will gain motivation. Say no, and they’ll continue along the path that you set them.
However, you can still change their goals after saying yes. So if you wish to, you can use that to gain motivation and then change their goals to what you want. A little mean, but they’re none the wiser and won’t get unmotivated.
A student can gain motivation whenever you perform actions that they agree to. I can also cook meals or eat with my students to increase their motivation.
Motivation is also needed to tutor them. Tutoring an unmotivated student would be like talking to a wall.
2R’s: Relationships & Recruiting
Maintaining relationships is also a major aspect of the game. It takes time, but relationships offer additional stats during battle.
For example, my relationship with Edelgard, one of the major characters, is not fleshed out yet, so my bonus stats are quite lame compared to other players who have deepened their relationship with her.
The characters in the game are also wildly different from each other. They have their own quirks and likes, so I’m sure you’ll find someone who resonates with you.
Petra is currently my favourite character in the game as she hails from a different country and she struggles with adapting to the language. It’s something I personally went through during my time in the UK.
Being a professor, I also have the ability to recruit other students and professors from a different house to join mine instead. This could be beneficial as anyone who is not of your house could be a potential enemy.
The game is extensive in terms of content as there are so many things to do, yet so little time to do them all.
I still find myself juggling the options of levelling up my students and trying to do other activities.
Of course, if you’re someone that finds no joy in life-simulation, then you can set the tutoring to automatic and not participate in the social aspects of the game and simply just play out fights.
While that is entirely up to a player, I would say that the relationships and the characters are the few aspects that make Fire Emblem an interesting series.
When my bond with the characters deepens, losing them in fights are disastrous.
I’ve restarted the game a few times now because I entered a battle that I was not prepared for. The enemies were a few levels ahead of me and my students were constantly killed because they weren’t levelled up sufficiently.
All in all, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a game that is worth playing if you’re into tactical battles with a heavy dose of life-sim. Even if you’re not into tactical RPG, I’d recommend you try playing the game simply for the characters and the story.
You’ll be joining the tens and thousands, if not millions, of fans worldwide in this journey.
The only real complaint I have about the game is the way it teases us with the cats and dogs that you’re unable to pet. The cruelty of it all!
It would be great if the developers would look into adding that action to the game because I think it would greatly enhance player enjoyment.