Reviews | Written by Chris Jackson 06/07/2022

FIRE EMBLEM WARRIORS: THREE HOPES

PLATFORM: SWITCH | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Hot on the heels of Touken Ranbu Warriors, which hit shelves less than two months ago, Koei Tecmo return with another Warriors spinoff / tie-in. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is both a sequel to 2017's Fire Emblem Warriors and a re-imagining of the storyline from 2019's Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Don't worry, it's not quite as confusing as this all sounds.

Revisiting the plot of a beloved game means that fans of the source material are absolutely going to get more out of Three Hopes' story, but it's accessible enough for newcomers as well. A brand new character, Shez, joins the military academy and buddies up with a selection of characters belonging to one of the academy's three “houses”. The house you join affects the story that follows as well as the playable characters that will become available to you along the way - you'll need to play the entire game three times if you want to see everything that's on offer, which might be a big ask for anyone less invested in Fire Emblem's world but certainly gives hardcore fans plenty to play with.

The usual Warriors formula is in full effect, with each mission focused on running around a battlefield, using simple button combos and a handful of special attacks to perform flashy combos and wipe out hundreds upon hundreds of baddies. Three Hopes also throws a few Fire Emblem-inspired twists into proceedings here and there which add a layer of strategy to the otherwise familiar combat - depending on your current character's class and the gear they're using, you'll find yourself equipped with a variety of useful weapons and effects that may (or may not) give you an advantage over your foes. Staying true to Fire Emblem's “weapon triangle”, certain classes are stronger against specific enemy types, so using the right character in the right situation is always encouraged, especially against larger bosses. A light strategic element comes into play too, with players ordering their party members to go off on their own to attack or defend specific enemies or locations while you carry out more important tasks.

There's plenty to do outside of these sprawling hack and slash battles, from levelling up your favourite characters (making them stronger and granting them the ability to perform longer combos), learning new “combat arts”, buying and selling items, building bonds between characters to increase their effectiveness in combat, and making sure your weapons are as powerful as possible. The “social” aspect of Three Hopes forms a large part of the overall playtime, so those who enjoy getting to know their team-mates are definitely well served in this instance.

While it may be true that Warriors games can often feel quite samey and there are definitely stronger and weaker entries in the series, Three Hopes is leaps and bounds ahead of the original Fire Emblem Warriors and its gameplay doesn't fall too short of 2014's Hyrule Warriors, which will be pleasing news for those who (quite rightfully) consider that particular game to be the highest point of the entire Warriors library. The tweaks and upgrades to Three Hopes' combat system are all very welcome, and Fire Emblem's signature strategy-based combat has been incorporated into the usual Warriors gameplay magnificently well. There's no way to escape the fact that there's very little deviation from running around and hacking your way through thousands of enemies, but if that's your sort of thing then Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes will hit the spot very nicely indeed.