Fire Emblem: Three Houses is both a very different experience from recent entries along with being very familiar. In many regards, it's two steps forward and several steps back. Even with these setbacks, the game is still a phenomenal experience and easily one of the best RPGs of 2019.
This article is meant as sort of a warning, or more like a prep list for the big changes and regressions in the game. This should hopefully ease players in a lot quicker for those expecting one thing and then getting another. We've rounded up 10 things that we wish we knew before starting Fire Emblem: Three Houses and we've got some helpful tips.
10 Downgraded Character Integration
Fire Emblem Awakening made the player character matter. Prior to that game, every player was a voiceless tactician. That all changed for the better with not only allowing players to choose their gender along with what they looked like, but these characters were also voiced, and integral to the story.
While genders can still be chosen, characters are now voiceless again and not even hair can be styled. It’s a step back even though this character actually does play a big role in the campaign.
9 The Choice Is Yours
About an hour into the game, players will be given a choice on which of the three great houses, hence the name, they will teach at the academy. At first the choice may not seem big as everyone still gets along.
SPOILER ALERT! Eventually there will be a time skip wherein these three houses will be at war. The choice is a big one, but thankfully there are five open save slots meaning it is possible to try one’s hand at all three campaigns at some point.
8 Try To Recruit Everyone
Now even though players choose to follow a single house that does not mean the other characters in those rival houses are off limits. Try to recruit everyone, or as many people as possible. Just one example: most of the earlier matches allow for ten participants. Each house only starts off with nine. So, yeah, do the math on that one.
Talking to rival members will mark out what skills they want players to learn before joining them. The more the merrier, as they say.
7 A Mode For Everyone
While a lot has been changed in this game from the most recent iterations, thankfully there is one major thing that hasn’t. Players can turn the permadeath on, or off via Casual, or Classic modes.
Alongside this choice is the option to choose a difficulty between Normal and Hard. Even on a Normal Casual run this game will test their merits. It is no easy task no matter what the player chooses. Don’t feel ashamed or lesser by going the casual route, either.
6 Weapon Durability And Resistance
Another drawback, or regression to earlier Fire Emblem games is weapon durability. For example, an Iron Sword can be used 40 times before breaking. The last game got rid of that, thankfully, but now it returns. Sigh.
On top of that, the classic Weapon Wheel system is no more. Swords are no longer stronger against axes for example. However, some things do carry over from that like Pegasus Knights are still weak to arrows.
5 Combat Arts And Magic
Progressing in a single weapon, like swords, will unlock new skills called Combat Arts in battle. Activating them uses up a lot of the weapon’s durability, but the increase in attack, or range is worth it depending on the situation.
Similarl, those trained in magic will learn new spells as they progress in either Magic, or Faith based traits. These spells have a set number of uses per battle, but recharge after each mission. Books and rods are no longer a thing.
4 Battle Saves And Turning Back Time
Another thankful boon of the 3DS trilogy was being able to save at any point during battle and being able to reload that save in order to turn back time for whatever reason. It made getting around death faster if one made a grave error in their tactical awareness.
While saves can still be made during battles the game will then cancel out to the title screen. Reloading that save, or bookmark, will cause it to delete itself. There is, however, a mechanic that can turn back time though, but the charges are very limited.
3 Constrained School Schedule
The game is sort of like Persona, but as if it were set in Hogwarts. See players will be constrained to time management for a majority of the experience. This means that they can’t explore the school, teach kids, and hang out with them to buff relationships, or take part in optional battles at any given moment.
Strangely it doesn’t exactly follow the Persona rule of going day by day either. Instead large gaps can sometimes fly by until a story moment, or a vacation day appears. It is a very bizarre decision.
2 Explore The School Thoroughly
When one does decide to explore the school, make sure to always search it thoroughly. Whether this means finding quests, lost items, or talking to rival houses, there is always something big that refreshes after pivotal story missions.
It may be a pain to retread everything on repeat every hour, or two, but it is definitely worth it in the long run. This may be obvious to point out, but avoid fast travel on the grounds. Don’t want to miss anything, right?
1 Cut Down Animations
This is a classic tip for most Fire Emblem games, but there is a way to speed up gameplay. Battle animations can be turned off, or quickened in the options menu.
Pressing the start button during animations, or even during the opponent’s full turns will also skip the process. Lastly, holding A during a duel will fast-forward time in case skipping it altogether isn’t one’s thing.