Fire Emblem: Three Houses (JP) is the first mainline entry in the Fire Emblem series on the Nintendo Switch. It was released worldwide in July 2019. It takes place on the continent of Fódlan between The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, The Adrestian Empire and The Leicester Alliance. Three Houses is the first Fire Emblem game to be released on a home console since Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn for the Wii.
The game is similar to previous entries in the series with the player controlling an army of units on a map with the typical goal of defeating all the enemy units or the boss. The units can gain expertise in weapons between swords, axes, lances, bows, gauntlets, black/dark/white magic in order to learn skills and change to other classes. Additionally, there are now Battalions, which can be equipped to each character and grant the ability to perform Gambits, attacks with powerful effects that cannot be counterattacked. This game however changes the requirements to using a weapon. Besides magic, any weapon can be equipped by any class with everyone starting in E rank outside of their preferred weapons, these skills are improved over the game via Tutoring, earning the unit the ability to use better weapons and special Combat Arts that take multiple weapon uses but tend to deal more damage along with a special effect like greater effectiveness on certain unit types or leaving the enemy less likely to attack.
The class system has also changed so that any unit can turn into any class assuming they have sufficient skills. Every unit starts as a commoner or noble but, with upgraded skills and at level 5, they can be promoted using a beginner seal if they have the correct weapon proficiency levels, with the same applying to Intermediate seals (level 10), Advanced seals (level 20), and Master seals (level 30) as the unit scales throughout the game. Each class has different skill and stat priorities giving better bonuses to those when gaining experience. Every class also gets a skill when mastered. they get special skills that can be used while in that class. If a unit isn't an infantry unit, then they will receive movement experience every time they enter combat.
A few of the major changes are the removal of the weapon triangle and the return of limited uses on weapons for the first time since Awakening in 2013. When a weapon runs out of uses, it becomes weigthier, and drops in accuracy and power, but can be fixed or forged at the blacksmith for the cost of smithing materials.
Outside of combat, the game is scheduled in terms of months, with the Sundays being special free days, and close to the end of each month is a mandatory story mission. As a professor at the academy, Byleth instructs their units on how to improve their skills. Personally instructing the students can allow the player to diversify their skills and earn extra support but, the player can also automatically instruct them to focus on their goals. However, the professor can only instruct a unit if they have motivation, with each session taking up 25% of their motivation gauge. There is also a group goal function where the player puts two units on a certain task. This improves on of their movement stats on top of earning support points. Students can ask the professor during the week questions which can affect their motivation or their goals. At the end of each week, all units will get skill experience in their goals (1.5 times experience for those with a single goal).
On Sunday, the player gets a few options. Before choosing any, they are able to go to the marketplace and buy weapons, items, battalions, or forge and repair weapons, or certify their units for their next class. However, there are 4 main activities available each time. The player can explore the monastery, go out to battle on missions, go to a seminar or rest for a day to recover motivation and relic uses. There is also a skip function that will automatically do one of these activities for the player to move the story along. The seminar lets the player either instruct some units on swords and authority or go to one of the other teachers and learn different skills. The students that have similar goals to what is being taught will go and earn skill experience. Additionally, everyone who goes gets some support points and restores motivation. The Explore option allows the player the most freedom, letting them go around the monastery with the only limitation being the activity points according to the professor level. The player can interact with all the units across the houses but, options expand as the game goes on. One of the options is the faculty training is key for training the player character in skills they do not have like flying or magic. Some activities like fishing or gardening do not cost any activity points. The final option is the battle option. This option does free battles the player gains over the course of the game as well as the quest missions and paralogues. On Normal difficulty, some of the free battles do not cost battle points and can be freely retried.
Church of Seiros
- Sothis *
- Jeralt *
- Rhea *
- Tomas *
Ashen Wolves (DLC)
The game starts with the player, Byleth, in a dream about a misterious girl called Sothis. Among other links, Byleth learns that they share a birthday. They wake up and tell Jeralt. Jeralt's Mercenaries were about to head out from Remire Village to a mission in the Kingdom when they encounter students from the Officers Academy getting chased by a group of bandits. After saving them, Jeralt is spotted by Alois of the Knights of Seiros and the entire group heads to Garreg Mach Monastery. Byleth and Jeralt have a meeting with the Church's Archbishop, Rhea, soon after arriving where she makes Jeralt become the Knights' captain again and places Byleth as a new professor. Byleth chooses one of the three houses; the Black Eagles, the Blue Lions or the Golden Deer, with each house representing the children of the leaders of their respective regions of Fodlan. From here until chapter 11, the story plays out mostly the same with minor details revealed particular to each of the houses slightly differing.
Soon after getting hired by Rhea, Byleth is tasked to lead their respective house to victory in the upcoming mock battle. With the show of such talent, Rhea and Seteth decide to give Byleth and their respective house special missions each month. It starts simple with clearing out bandits in the Red Canyon. This triggers some memories in Sothis who apparently was here before. Next, the house with join up with Catherine to help put down a rebellion by Lord Lonato. Unfortunately, they discover a plot to kill Lady Rhea on Lonato's body. Byleth then investigates the monastery to figure out what they are really after. They and the house leader eventually figure out they are targeting the Holy Tomb. Byleth and their class sneak into the Holy Tomb and discover that it is the Western Church targeting the Sword of the Creator. During the struggle, Byleth obtains the Sword of the Creator and is capable of using its full power to defeat the remaining invaders. Following this encounter, Rhea decides to annihilate the Western Church and give the Sword to Byleth, The Creator Sword shows quickly to be useful as House Gautier calls on the church for reinforcements when Miklan, the disowned son of House Gautier, steals the Lance of Ruin with his band of thieves. Lacking a crest, Miklan becomes overcome by the Relic, turning into a Black Beast before being defeated. When Byleth returns, Hanneman reveals that they have the Crest of Flames, a Crest that hasn't been seen since Nemesis over a millenium ago.
Shortly after returning to the monastery, Seteth is worried about Flayn suddenly disappearing. Seteth puts Byleth and their class on the job but, they also discover Manuela has also gone missing. Byleth investigate possible suspects and narrows it down to Jeritza. Byleth and co. investigate Jeritza's room to discover Manuela stabbed by the Death Knight who escaped into a secret passage. Chasing after the Death Knight, they find Flayn and Monica, who disappeared prior. Before ultimately defeating the Death Knight, the Flame Emperor shows up and teleports away. With Flayn and Monica rescued, Byleth now works with his class to prepare for the Battle of Lion and Eagle at the end of the next month. After the battle passes, Jeralt receives troubling news about the people of Remire Village going insane and attacking the other villagers. Jeralt enlist Byleth and his class to help save the sane villagers where it is revealed that Tomas was experimenting on these people.
With the end of the year approaching, there are rumors of students going missing and behaving, Jeralt and Byleth investigate the chapel when they hear about monsters. The monsters are likely transformed students. After all the monsters are defeated, Monica comes out of the chapel, only to stab Jeralt when he lets his guard down. Despite Byleth's efforts to stop her with the Divine Pulse, Kronya succeeds. This leaves Byleth in much distress before they discover that Kronya is hiding in the Sealed Forrest. They come close to killing her before she is used by Solon to trap Byleth in another dimension. Byleth is only able to escape by merging with Sothis (which turns their hair green). Byleth defeats Solon and then passes out to awaken on Rhea's lap. Rhea decides to tell Byleth to sit on the throne in the Holy Mauseleum where the Crest Stones are stored. The Flame Emperor and her troops attack and steal all the crest stones. Byleth, in defending the crest stones, ends up breaking the mask, revealing that it was Edelgard. On the Black Eagles route, the player has the option to defend Edelgard if they completed the proper choice earlier in the chapter. The part concludes with either defending Garreg Mach Monastery from Edelgard or joining Edelgard's forces to attack the Church. Byleth is then either knocked out by an explosion from Those Who Slither in the Dark or a betrayed Rhea.
The game was first confirmed to be in development in January 2017 in the Fire Emblem Nintendo Direct broadcasted that month with a 2018 release date. The game was first shown properly during E3 2018 where it got it's name and was pushed back to spring 2019. During the February 13, 2019 Nintendo Direct, it was announced that the game would release in July instead of the Spring release window they were originally targeting. Soon after the direct, it was announced that Koei Tecmo was actually helping developing the game alongside Intelligent Systems.
Towards the game's release, the game's directors, Toshiyuki Kusakihara and Genki Yokota, were doing press tour. They revealed that the game had been in full development shortly after Shadows of Valentia had been finished and the lion's share of development was done by Koei Tecmo, specifically their Kou Shibusawa team that develops games like Nobunaga's Ambition. They also confirmed a Lunatic difficulty option would be coming as a free update.
Expansion Pass Updates
The game also received an expansion pass similar to other Nintendo Switch titles like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Xenoblade Chronicles 2. The contents of the expansion pass are to be delivered over the course of the next year. Early purchasers get an alternate costume for Byleth.
On September 10, the first wave of content was released. The Maddening difficulty was added for free and the voices for Male Byleth were changed to Zach Aguilar. For purchases of the Expansion Pass, they can unlock alternate costumes for the various characters. Special stat boosting items and additional auxiliary battles are unlocked.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses earned a metascore of 89/100 on Metacritic based on 101 critic reviews. While on whatoplay.com, Fire Emblem: Three Houses ranks 2nd on its Top 10 Nintendo Switch Games of 2019, citing "What makes Three Houses critically-acclaimed isn’t just about the improvement of its battle system. It’s the fantastic presentation of characters and narrative that makes every action you do worthwhile." It holds an aggregate score (playscore) of 9.03 based on 62 critics and 2,300+ gamer ratings.
Three Houses had a very successful launching month and quickly became the fastest selling game of the franchise in the U.S. Details on the worldwide sales were not comunicated when this statement was made but it was mentioned that it was already closing in on the U.S. sales of Fire Emblem Awakening, the second best selling Fire Emblem game, indicating that the game is already one of the best selling games in the series in its first month. By the end of the year, the game sold over 2.58 million units worldwide.
|Fire Emblem series|
|Console games||Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light • Gaiden • Mystery of the Emblem • Genealogy of the Holy War • BS Fire Emblem • Thracia 776 • Path of Radiance • Radiant Dawn • Three Houses|
|Handheld games||The Binding Blade • Fire Emblem • The Sacred Stones • Shadow Dragon • New Mystery of the Emblem • Awakening • Fates • Echoes: Shadows of Valentia|
|Spin-offs||Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE (Encore) • Heroes • Warriors • Super Smash Bros.|