Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes review for Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Omega Force / Intelligent Systems
Medium: Cartridge / Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No

The collaboration between Omega Force and Nintendo appears to show no signs of stopping, and that appears to be a good thing based on the results found in their latest release, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. This is both a sequel (kinda) to 2017?s Fire Emblem Warriors, and a reimagining of the plot from 2019?s Fire Emblem: Three Houses. That said, you absolutely don?t need to have played either of those games in order to enjoy Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

What might be beneficial, however, is at least some working knowledge of what a ?musou? style action game is, since this game is very much in the same vein as Omega Force?s popular Dynasty Warriors series. Essentially, it means that combat will have you facing off against waves of nameless enemies across multiple 3D battlefields, as you hack and slash your way through various objectives, side missions, and named enemy encounters featuring a host of familiar faces from Fire Emblem: Three Houses. If you?ve ever played Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, or their numerous spinoffs, then you?ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Three Hopes.  However, much like their previous Nintendo projects, Omega Force has married that core combat experience with features and mechanics that are pretty true to the franchise sandbox they?re playing around in. 

For instance, during battle you?ll have your objectives and side quests announced as the battle progresses, giving you the option to check out the map screen and command your various units to attack or defend locations, back-up allies, take down specific foes, or chase after treasure. While Fire Emblem Warriors did give the option to command A.I. to take down strongholds, Three Hopes expands upon that, allowing your various A.I controlled teammates to feel a little more autonomous and helpful, positioning them to take down foes that are weak to their weapon type by helpfully highlighting those encounters on the map, making the strategy aspect of Fire Emblem and little more evident here. I wasn?t sure how much I?d rely on this feature at first, as I typically over level and max out one super unit that can handle just about everything, but over time I found myself relying on these commands more and more to keep enemies busy while I focused on new side quests prior to the final map battle. 

In addition to the strategy aspect being well utilized, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes does a pretty solid job with the social interactions and story side of Fire Emblem too. At the onset of the game you?ll pick one of three distinct houses, which will initially dictate who your starting roster of characters are. From there you will gain the ability to recruit new characters as the story continues, and eventually you?ll find yourself with a pretty sizable party of characters to choose from. You?ll engage in different activities back at camp that will improve your relationships with those characters, slowly expanding upon their backstory and their bond with the protagonist, and even the bond shared between each other. This in turn can lead to new character revelations, and even the occasional special battle called Paralogues. While the side activities are pretty limited, and certainly repetitive after 15+ hours, the writing and voiceover work is really solid, making the process of unlocking new conversations feel less cumbersome. Also the handy ability to sort of warp around key points on the camp map will cut your downtime between battles quite a bit. 

As far as negatives, I feel like Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is maybe a little too system heavy at times, something that becomes more evident as you unlock all the camp functionality. There?s a lot of different things to juggle, and you?ll often need to warp back to camp in order to efficiently upgrade your various vendors and camp utilities, all of which require specific materials which are a bit difficult to track once you start advancing through all of the upgrades available. 

Likewise, upgrading weapons or unlocking new weapons is a little tedious, and frankly pretty expensive to do in your initial playthrough. Weapon upgrades also require a variety of specific materials, again something that?s a little difficult to keep track of. I think simplifying the types of materials needed for all of the upgrades would have been more ideal, allowing me to decide how to upgrade and what to upgrade when I had a certain set of base materials available. At least Three Hopes will notify you when you have enough resources available for camp upgrades, but I also often wish it would tell me which function I can upgrade before warping back to camp. The whole upgrade system just kind of bogs down the flow of the game for me, and it never felt like something I could outright ignore since those upgrades are pretty necessary in order to keep improving your characters throughout the game. 

But still, I found myself fairly engrossed with Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, and would argue it?s the best of the Omega Force/Nintendo collaborations so far. It runs really well in both handheld and TV mode (certainly far better than Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity) and the combat is propelled to another, more interesting level when you start utilizing the ability to command your various units as objectives appear. So even if you?ve not played through a single musou game before, I think Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes would make a pretty great impression for brand new players, while also breathing some fresh air into the formula for returning fans. 

Note: Nintendo provided us with a Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-