There is a staggering amount of depth to the gameplay of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopeswhich is to be expected from a spinoff of Fire Emblem: Three Houses† What appears to be just another Musou game on the surface is, in fact, a tense, strategic military sim that challenges the player to juggle controlling a character on the field of battle while also making decisive strikes on enemy fortifications.
One misplaced unit or reckless push on an enemy soldier can result in catastrophic failure, which is even more punishing when playing on Classic mode where losing a character in battle means losing them for good. Because of this strategic focus, players will spend just as much time directing their forces from the tactical menu as they will putting the hurt on the opposing army directly.
As for the action itself, each character has a remarkably different feel that is somewhat unique even within the same class. Lorenz and Lysithea might both wield magic, but how they do so and the way their magic takes effect are subtly different. This is mostly because of each character’s unique, passive traits that offer another level of variety to the action.
Many of the systems found in Three Houses return in Three Hopes, including battalions, adjutants, and Combat Arts. Omega Force has adapted all of these to their own game with incredible skill, bending them to fit into new roles without breaking them in any noticeable way.
Battalions now offer resistances against specific weapon types, giving units more versatility in combat. Adjutants will hop into battle to occasionally assist their leader while also offering offensive support during critical attacks. And Combat Arts make the leap to action gameplay very smoothly by transforming into powerful, limited-use attacks that can turn the tide of any battle.
Each disparate piece of combat comes together to make battles feel fun and interesting, even if some of the objectives and environments repeat. The moment-to-moment feel of the combat is sublime, and all the little systems that feed into it make it all the better.
The flip side of the gameplay is everything that happens at camp, which functions a lot like Garreg Mach Monastery in Three Houses† This is where players can interact with their recruits, earn support points, upgrade weapons, unlock classes, and just about every other support system that feeds back into both the story and battles.
There’s a beautiful synergy to it all, but Three Hopes does have some of the same late-game slump that Three Houses suffered from. Once all the desired character classes have been acquired and mastered, the RPG aspects of the game fall off a bit and everything starts to feel a bit too easy. There are also a few issues with the camera when locked on to an enemy unit that could make even the most solid stomach queasy.