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‘Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes’ Review: Nintendo’s Finest Collaboration Yet

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‘Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes’ Review: Nintendo’s Finest Collaboration Yet

In a quiet forest scene, I’m mid-chat with Edelgard von Hresvelg, Empress of the Adrestian Empire. To each question she posits, I answer to her satisfaction, and our perfect conversation concludes with my giving her a stuffed bear toy which is much to her liking. Within minutes of returning to camp, we’re off to another battlefield that is full to bursting point with enemy soldiers. The slice-of-life RPG elements stay ever-present in my mind, as the bonds I’ve forged with my teammates make us stronger together. This is what makes Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes so captivating. 

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See the latest trailer for Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes here

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In our preview, I mentioned how Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes feels more akin to its source material than most of Omega Force’s previous collaborations. For instance, while Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity is a Zelda game in terms of characters, locations and aesthetic, it lacks the variety of the Nintendo series it's based on. Three Hopes, on the other hand, has enough of the ingredients present in Fire Emblem: Three Houses to make hours of playtime feel like minutes. 

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Naturally, the combat is a radical departure from the tactical grid-based strategy mechanics from conventional Fire Emblem games, but the hack-and-slash battles are only part of the core experience within Three Hopes

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo

The life sim, role-playing elements comprise much of the game’s downtime between missions, and how much of that there is comes down to your personal preference. Should you be so inclined, you can jump straight into another epic fight; but for those who fancy it, there are plenty of characters to talk to, cook for, do chores with, train with, and even go on expeditions, which are essentially dates. 

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This social element is not only fun, but it can improve your roster of characters, in terms of stats and bond levels. That latter part affects how well your characters work together, giving you an edge during missions. 

It’s also worth noting that there are a lot of playable characters in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, with you being able to swap between up to four at a time in any given battle. This list is bigger than I first realised, and can grow by recruiting certain enemies instead of routing them. It’s your call if you choose to turn the other cheek, but there is more joy in Garreg Mach over one sinner that repenteth, to paraphrase a fella from a famous book. 

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo
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In my experience, you’re better off saving as many people as you can. The social aspect of Three Hopes is without a doubt the most enriching part of the game. The way cutscenes play out and the rich amount of dialogue all make for a compelling experience, especially when unlocking the support conversations that often give you a chance to express yourself with how you respond. 

These moments draw parallels with Sakura Wars, Stardew Valley and the Persona series, in giving you the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy hanging out in a virtual world that feels very real despite the obvious artifice. Watching allies express joy over a meal you made for them, or seeing them be vulnerable with you over an intimate conversation make for memories you’ll savour long after you roll credits for the first time. 

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo
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I say ‘for the first time’ because the range of choice in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes makes replaying the game essential. There are different sides to pick, multiple strategies to employ, various combat classes to utilise, and a wealth of characters to get to know. Further to that latter point, you can earn a signature item after maxing out your bond with someone and then giving them a key item. You only get one of these items per playthrough, so unlocking them all will take quite some time, especially as after 30 hours of playtime, I’d beaten the game once but skipped a load of missions. 

Despite leaving some stones unturned, I am well and truly gripped by this game. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes delivers an engaging narrative that hits hard at times, showing how war is a tragedy first and foremost. Seeing allies turn enemies for their ideals is never easy, and this human element marks key victories, producing an ennui that truly gets under your skin. 

Even when playing on the ‘Casual’ setting - a mode which prevents your allies from permadeath - there are still sobering moments of mortality, and the impact on other characters is there for all to see. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, as you’re regularly reminded of the work yet to be done, usually with inspiring words from your fearless leader who, in my case, was Edelgard. 

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo
Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes / Credit: Nintendo

Being as succinct as I can, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is the finest collaboration between Nintendo and Omega Force to date. The life sim elements are masterfully done, feeling identical to Three Houses. The hack and slash action is sumptuous, with plenty of characters and playstyles to choose from. Lastly, the levels of choice are remarkable, adding plenty of replay value. Fire Emblem fans won’t want to miss this gem, and newcomers who would otherwise be put off by the core series’ tactical gameplay are all set for a grand adventure. 

Pros: Epic hack-and-slash combat, immersive life sim and RPG elements, abundance of choice

Con: The occasional framerate drop 

For fans of: Fire Emblem franchise, Hyrule Warriors series, Persona 5 Strikers

9/10: Exceptional

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with code provided by the publisher. The game releases for Switch on June 24, 2022. Find a guide to GAMINGbible’s review scores here

Featured Image Credit: Nintendo

Topics: Nintendo Switch

James Daly
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