2022’s Most Overlooked Game: Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

2022 has had some truly amazing games, from masterpieces like Elden Ring and God of War: Ragnarok to Kirby and the Forgotten Land and Xenoblade Chronicles 3. But with so many great games, it can be easy to overlook some diamonds in the rough.

One game, in particular, felt wildly overlooked to me. No, it’s not a small indie that deserves more attention — it’s actually a huge crossover between two major franchises. That’s right, I’m talking about Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

It’s Not Just a Warriors Crossover

The Warriors games, from Dynasty Warriors fame, have become a type of whipping boy in the modern gaming scene. While they have a dedicated fanbase, many mainstream gamers simply scoff at the idea of a Warriors crossover, assuming it’s just a re-skin of Dynasty Warriors with popular characters from another franchise.

Personally, I think this perspective is needlessly dismissive, and especially egregious when it comes to this latest crossover. Yes, the core of Warriors combat is hack-and-slash button mashing and combo overload, and I get that not everyone enjoys it. However, the developers at Omega Force put a lot of time and care into these games. There’s an attention to detail that even the most hardcore fans can appreciate.

Dimitri welcoming Shez to the Blue Lion House in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

What Makes This Crossover Special?

I’ve played several entries in the main Dynasty Warriors series as well as the first Fire Emblem Warriors, Hyrule Warriors, and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and so far, this crossover is my favorite. Why? Because it perfectly blends Fire Emblem and Warriors together in a way that maintains the best parts of both franchises.

From my understanding, Omega Force actually pitched in on developing Fire Emblem: Three Houses, one of my favorite Fire Emblem games to date, so they had access to a lot of in-house resources and documentation. And you can easily see this fact in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes: The game feels like the original in so many ways, from the character models to the storytelling, combat, and beyond.

Everything you loved from Fire Emblem: Three Houses is here — and some of it has been expanded upon. For example, tea parties make a comeback, where you can have a nice cup of tea and a chat with your favorite characters. In this game, however, you have myriad options to do this in different settings. You can go on a jaunt on your horses to a field of flowers for a picnic, or you can visit a quiet lakeside shore.

Annette in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

You can also sit down and cook a dish for two characters, where you get some unique dialogue and grow their bonds, just like in the original game. There are even options to do “chores,” like sweeping out the storehouse or taking care of the horses in the stables, not to mention extra activities in the training yard.

All of these activities take place in a battle camp, a hub-like area similar to the school in the original game. Here, you can walk around between battles and chat with each character for unique dialogue and insight into the characters and how they’re feeling. There’s so much content here, it’s staggering. I truly did not expect this level of detail in the game.

The Combat: Merging Hack-and-Slash With Strategy

In the battle camp, you have a variety of activities at your disposal, from repairing and strengthing weapons at the blacksmith to upgrading each individual station (such as the stores) as you progress through the game. It feels great, but what about the combat? Does it feel like Fire Emblem?

If you’re at all familiar with Fire Emblem, you’ll know that it is strategy-based. Each turn requires careful thought about how to approach it. You might be thinking: How could that possibly merge with the hack-and-slash nature of Dynasty Warriors? Well, they found a way.

Compared to all the other crossovers, this one does combat the best. At the start of each mission, you can choose which characters to deploy into combat, and during combat, you can swap between them easily, jumping to their position on the map and taking control of their actions. You can also give each character explicit instructions on where to go and what to do.

For example, do you want Dimitri to go take over a fortress? Select him on the map and instruct him to battle the guard at the fortress, but make sure Dimitri’s weapon has an advantage over the guard’s weapon type. Yep, they even included the weapon triangle in the game.

Byleth from Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

Every character you can recruit in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is playable in this game — and they’ve even added new characters to the roster. The play styles of each are mostly based on weapon type, but like the original game, you can also focus on what skills each character trains and focuses on. You can have Dimitri focus on his default weapon, the spear, or switch to focusing on magic instead.

The class system also makes a return. It’s been expanded here, as well, so you have a wider variety to pick from in the class tree. This makes for some great experimentation as you build out your roster and strategize about what types of classes you want to round out your warrior force.

Shez Cooking in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

All in all, this game features exciting hack-and-slash combat with a healthy dose of strategic planning. Combos are as fun and varied as ever, based on the sheer number of play styles, classes, and weapons available to you — not to mention the special moves at your disposal. And you can assign adjutants and battalions to characters to give them backup in the field.

I personally love what they’ve done with the combat. It feels fresh and fun, highlighting the best elements of both series that come together here. And each mission is fairly short, so it never overstays its welcome. A big plus here is that you can restart from convenient checkpoints, so you’re never going to be in a situation where you have to replay a long level from the beginning.

Variety Is the Spice of Life

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is all about variety. It features side missions, in addition to several main missions per chapter, and quests as well as secret characters and unlockables. This ensures you’ll always be doing something new.

You can experiment with everything from new weapons and spells to character loadouts, classes, and more. And all the dialogue in this game is brand-new, so every conversation you have with a character is different than the ones you had with them in Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

Dedue and Mercedes Eating in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

This is particularly impressive, as they build on the established characters you know and love in a way that feels authentic and meaningful. Though the story is different (this game features an “alternative timeline” to the story told in the original, with the premise of your main character in Three Houses being the villain in Three Hopes), the characters are rounded out with deeper characterization, and it was such a treat to get to spend more time with them.

The best part is this game brings back some old favorites. Even the Gatekeeper makes a return!

Saying hello to the gatekeeper in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

A Crossover That Deserves Another Look

To me, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes was one of the best games of the year, and it’s a bummer that I saw almost no one talking about it all year. This game deserves more love for the way it lovingly marries these two franchises.

From the unique, engaging combat to the deeper characterization of each character we’ve come to know and love, this game knocked it out of the park on every front in my opinion.

If you love Fire Emblem, especially Fire Emblem: Three Houses, do yourself a favor and check out this game. Don’t listen to the people who discount Warriors crossovers, and give it a solid chance. I’m willing to bet you won’t regret it!

One Reply to “2022’s Most Overlooked Game: Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes”

  1. I’ll for sure be buying this after reading this incredible piece! Can’t believe I’ve been missing out on this Fire Emblem Warriors entry!

    Like

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