Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the preview after Nintendo Direct
The latest Nintendo Direct shed new light on the highly anticipated Fire Emblem for Switch: here’s what we found out about the new strategic RPG
Initially expected for this spring, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been postponed to next summer and to be exact to July 26, when it will arrive on the shelves also in a limited edition, an elegant package that contains, in addition to the game, also a steelbook, an illustration book, a set of pins, a card game and soundtrack on USB stick. Nintendo admitted that the game needed a few more months of development, which became quite evident when we realized that not only Intelligent Systems is working on the title, but also Koei Tecmo. For those who don’t know, Koei Tecmo has developed the spin-off Fire Emblem Warriors, also for Switch: at this point the presence of large armies on the battlefield begins to take on a new meaning, as does the interface which, in fact, recalls the musou published a short time ago. What Fire Emblem: Three Houses serves to pave the way for a possible Fire Emblem Warriors 2?
As the title suggests, the story of Fire Emblem: Three Houses revolves around three houses, but not in the way we have thought so far. Set on the continent of Fódlan, the story has as its protagonist our alter ego, son – or daughter, you can choose the *** at the beginning of the game as in the last Fire Emblem for Nintendo 3DS – by Captain Jeralt. The continent is divided into three regions controlled by the Adrestian Empire, the sacred kingdom of Faerghus and the Leicester alliance respectively. When our hero discovers he possesses a mysterious power – which apparently links him to a girl named Sothis that only he can see – the officers’ academy located in the Garreg Mach monastery recruits him to train a new generation of heroes.
It turns out that the three houses mentioned in the title are not actually the three factions vying for power on the Fódlano continent, but the “classes” that attend the academy: the Black Eagles of the Adrestian Empire, led by the heir to the throne Edelgard. ; the Blue Lions of the kingdom of Faerghus who follow the orders of the young prince Dimitri; and the Golden Stags in the service of the future leader of Leicester, Claude. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, so to speak. Slytherin not because they are nasty. It seems that the houses that attend the Hogw academy … er, the Garreg Mach academy are competing with each other and we will have to choose which of them to support: the short animated sequences glimpsed during the Nintendo Direct they hint that a war will break out on the continent in which these characters will be forced to face each other.
Our task will therefore be to train the students of the house we choose, as well as the other cadets of the academy, to ensure that they become unstoppable in combat. Often the boys will go on missions together with the knights of the church of Seiros who lives in the monastery to defeat the brigands who attack the surrounding villages and so on. Despite this strange school setting – which at first glance is very reminiscent of Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, but above all Valkyria Chronicles II – in battle Fire Emblem: Three Houses becomes the usual Fire Emblem that we have come to love, albeit with some important news. In addition to the renewed interface, more streamlined and modern than in the past, the clashes feature a large number of common units that surround our young heroes: it is not clear if it is possible to involve them in skirmishes or if they only serve as a contour to make the battle skits more spectacular, but in a short sequence we have seen Edelgard order his knights to charge the enemy.
Between one mission and another we will therefore return to the academy and our task as mentors will be to prepare our pupils, choosing for them the lessons to follow in order to shape them for the fighting. Obviously we don’t know yet how this part of the game will work in detail, but it is clear that we will need to carefully spend the points and time of the characters in order to improve in their branches of competence. Ideally, it is possible to train each cadet in the various arts of war, and therefore in the use of certain weapons or schools of magic, but also to teach him to wear heavy armor or to ride land and flying steeds. In this way, we will be able to improve specific skills and direct the character towards a new one class through a system of promotions that literally relies on school exams.
In other words, we will have to manage the time and commitments of the boys during the interludes between missions, also making sure that they spend time socializing: in this way it will increase the affinity between the various cadets, unlocking special combined attacks – which should take the name Of Gambit Boost – and probably small skits that will deepen their personal stories, letting us know them better. The Fire Emblem series has always paid great attention to characterization of the characters; let’s just hope that in Three Houses we move away from the extremely Japanese clichés and stereotypes that made us turn up our noses especially in Fire Emblem Fates for Nintendo 3DS. At the moment, the various cadets seem interesting and sufficiently different both in appearance and in characterization, and probably the new narrative setting, much more scenic and detailed thanks to the power of Switch, will help to better define the various protagonists. Also there history it seemed intriguing to us: it is clear that there is something supernatural underneath and that the houses will face a terrible threat, but will they join forces or will we be the ones to divide them forever?