Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch

Also known as: Fire Emblem: Three Houses: Limited Edition

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Media: Cartridge Arcade origin:No
Developer: Nintendo Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Square Enix (GB)
Released: 26 Jul 2019 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+
Features: Handheld Mode, TV Mode, Tabletop Mode
Accessories: Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, amiibo support
Connectivity: Save data cloud, Downloadable content
Subscriptions: Paid online membership service


Sometimes out of your depth is exactly where you want to be. That's exactly where Fire Emblem: Three Houses starts you out, and it's fairly appropriate that the game is set in a sprawling academy - at times it definitely has that first day of school feeling to it. In the latest iteration of the fan favourite Fire Emblem series you take on the role of a mercenary teaching at the Officer's Academy, an elite institution that trains its students in the ways of weapons, special skills and magic. You must pick the Black Eagles, the Blue Lions or the Golden Deer as your house to train and take to the field in white knuckle grid-based combat.

This time there's a strong focus on the academy, with the training your students go through and the relationships they form being crucial to their performance on the battlefield. You might point to games like Persona as an influence, but developer Intelligent Systems might very reasonably point right back to 1996's Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War in response.

Make no mistake, this is a big game with a lot of depth. There are reportedly upwards of a hundred hours of gameplay. Even more importantly than that, however, is the depth of the systems. As you progress ever further into Three Houses its systems just sprawl out in front of you, and while the sprawl of interlocking systems can feel a little intimidating at first you quickly find your groove and it feels more like a vast playground than anything else.

One of the biggest differences to game mechanics that longtime fans will notice is the absence of the weapons triangle. Certain tools still convey certain advantages, but the old 'sword beats axe' function is a goner. There's a bigger emphasis on character classes and stats, with a stronger emphasis on the role of healing and much less chance of getting ambushed and killed in a single move. It's a natural extension of changes made in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, so shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to longtime fans.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a meaty epic with lots of depth to keep fans happy.