Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is The Perfect Musou Introduction
By this point, “Musou” could also refer to “Marmite”. Musou games are not for everyone, whether because of their repetitive nature of the sheer number of them that have been released since Lu Bu started to stomp his way across China. Even those who haven’t been musou-lovers might still find something to enjoy in Fire Emblem Warriors 3: Three Hopes. This is since it feels more than just a spin-off from one of Nintendo’s most popular IPs.
Three Hopes isn’t just a Warriors game with a Fire Emblem skin; and it’s a Fire Emblem-based Fire Emblem game that allows you to manage scores of men in the air. Three Hopes feels more like a sequel than a side distraction. It is remarkable how Three Hopes feels so much like Three Houses. The depth and attention to detail are a pleasant surprise. Three Hopes offers more control than Three Houses and is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be more involved.
Three Hopes is not content with rewriting the story of Three Houses into a new adventure. Instead, it explores a fascinating angle that more games should explore. Three Houses’ character Byleth is now the “bad guy” of Three Hopes. You play as a mercenary who seeks revenge on them. Three Hopes, more direct than Three Houses, throws you into war almost instantly when you choose one of the three houses. Each house has its storylines and characters.
These conversations are still just as captivating here as ever. Three Hopes has a surprising amount of dialogue to unlock, relationships that can be cultivated, and edgelords you can meet. Three Hopes has a lot of things to do. New features are constantly being added to your camp. This allows you to unlock new abilities and upgrade your characters so that you can defeat saps on the battlefields.
Like many musou games, the combat in Fire Emblem Warriors 3: Hopes is designed to make you feel powerful. Regular soldiers become flies to be swatted as the screen fills with shonen exuberance and numbers that keep increasing. Is it essential? It doesn’t matter, but how much fun it is to sweep through enemies and finally take down their commanders. You have a lot of weapons at your disposal, including special moves and combos that can devastate armies more effectively. There are also awakenings that can be used to wipe out forces. Although each class doesn’t feel more different than the previous, it’s still fun to create an earthquake using your giant axe or to become a super-ninja.
After satisfying your bloodlust, you can return to camp to level up, unlock new weapons, participate in chores that improve characters’ relationships, explore the lore, learn to unlock skills, or dive into other facets of the game. You can also travel outside battle to earn resources and participate in particular battles. There is so much to do here and so many to enjoy that it’s hard not to say that Three Hopes has the most profound musou game.
Three Hopes, as deep as it may be, is not dull beyond a certain point. This is a common criticism of musou games. Although it’s not dull as you grind through enemies until you become their god, the game’s repetitiveness can start to wear around the 20-hour mark. This is when you realize that you are doing the same thing repeatedly. The challenge of completing more levels to reach the primary mission, and the battle format itself, always “defend/defeat X”, defeat/defeat Y, each round starts to wear. As mentioned, the battles remain fun, though you may want to turn the difficulty up so each battle feels more intense or treat Three Hopes as a pick-up-and-play-when-you-have-an-hour game.
Although there are some issues, such as the Switch’s chugging performance and the unpredictability of the motion, I was surprised to find Three Hopes just as enjoyable as Three Houses. You could not ask for a better or more welcoming introduction if you enjoy Fire Emblem but aren’t convinced that musou-games are your thing. Let’s hope it’s a sign that there are more to come.