Review Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)

Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Genre: Adventure
System: Switch
Developer/ Publisher: Intelligent Systems, KOEI TECMO GAMES | Nintendo
Age Rating: 
EU: 12+| USA: T
: €59,99| £49.99| $59.99
Release Date: 26th July 2019

No review code was used, I bought the game myself

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the latest game in the SRPG series of Fire Emblem. It released on the 26th of July exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. There is also a DLC pass available but that content is not yet out.


The setting of this game’s story is in the continent of Fodlan which is separated into four territories. The Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, The Adrestian Empire, The Leicester Alliance and the neutral territory of the Church of Seiros. In it you are a mercenary turned teacher in the Garreg Mach Monastery in this neutral area. Which serves as a place for nobility and some commoners of Fodlan to learn. Including the future leaders such as Prince Dimitri, Princess Edelgard and Claude von Reigan.

Students are split up into three classes, based on where they hail from. Quite early in the game you will decide which group to teach and that will be your route. There are three main story routes, and an extra one for the Black Eagles. The routes determine which units you have, and will completely change the story in the second half of the game.


As a teacher you will instruct classes. Throughout each month you have at least a couple of weeks to do so. You can pick a few students and work on particular skills. Such as horse riding, sword wielding and such. Doing so will use up your points, as well as their motivation. So if they are unmotivated you cannot teach them. In these weeks you can also assign two students to work together for more skill points. After your instruction which you can set to auto-instruct, the days of the week will pass. During that they will earn some skill points in one or two skills which have been set as their goals. This is important so that they can learn new spells, equip better weapons, and learn new abilities.

Leveling up these skills is also needed for them to undertake class promotions. As with the right skill levels and a seal you can make units take an exam to gain a new class. Being closer to the right levels is preferable but it is possible to promote when a bit behind as well. Utilizing these systems you can customize your units to be whatever (not special or gender restricted) class you want but they have ones that they are clearly more geared towards.

Every spare Sunday you will have a few options. You can explore the monastery to do various activities, go out to battle, have a seminar or rest. The seminars are an extra class in a particular skill that can be taught by those who are skilled in it. A few students and sometimes even yourself will attend these. Resting will build up half of everyone’s motivation and will also restore some durability to a special weapon you gain part way through the game.


Three Houses has either the Casual or Classic difficulty. In Classic any units that die in battle stay dead, whereas in Casual they will return after the battle. There is also Normal and Hard difficulty. Lunatic is rumored for later but not confirmed.

At the end of every month you will have a battle mission to complete. On days off you may also go for a few battles to help prepare, earn renown and other rewards. This aspect of game play is that of a strategy rpg so you move selected units around the map and then they engage in combat based on their weapons and stats. The weapon triangle which has been in quite a few Fire Emblem games, is not present in this one. Something I’m thankful for and what got me to pick this up.

There are still some obvious class match ups such as archers against flying units, or brawlers against swords. Most units can use any weapon provided that they are adequately skilled, meaning that a Pegasus rider can also shoot arrows. The majority of the battles stick to the ‘route the enemy’ win condition, but there are occasionally a few defense ones or bonus objectives.

There are also quite a few new additions to the combat system in this game. First is gambits, which tie into battalions. Battalions are soldiers you assign to a unit (as long as they have the right authority level) and different ones give you different gambits. These gambits are limited use (refresh out of battle) moves with varying effects such as preventing damage, increasing movement or just a stronger attack. Gambits also generally cannot be counterattacked. You earn better battalions through paralogues, story missions or purchasing. The authority skill must be high enough to equip these battalions.


Another is Combat Arts, which are special moves that take up more durability of the item. They’re various things, some of which are to be more effective against particular unit types. The combat arts are especially good for archers. As unlike Echoes, they are back to their normal range, but the combat arts allow them to strike from much further. Broken weapons can now be used instead of being lost, however they are much weaker. This is a nice change as you can still repair them and won’t lose any special weapons.

Monsters, Adjutants and Crests, Oh My!

The game also has monster units. These are like mini bosses, that have multiple bars of health that have to be worn down. I really liked having the monster fights as it gave you something different to do and required different approaches.

Adjutants are units that you essentially pair up with another one. Since there is no pair up mechanic in this game. They will have certain benefits, such as Gilbert can guard, Manuela can heal. It also allows them to gain some experience, and support points with the other unit.

The crest system, are special abilities unique to certain characters. Such as having bonus attack when on their own, increasing stats when around female units and more. These crests are also tied into the Hero Relics. Which are special weapons, that can be used by anyone. If wielded by the person with the right crest however, it will give a bonus such as restoring health.

Lastly, the Divine Pulse, which is like Mila’s Turnwheel in Fire Emblem Echoes. As you can rewind to a certain extent up to a few times a battle. This is a nice addition for those who still feel like playing Classic but are worried about losing units. However you can also still retreat to start the battle again.


On days you choose to explore you can partake in many activities around the monastery. Exploration is also occasionally required for story progression. Most of these take up time slots, which you will earn more of when you level up your professor rank. You professor rank is increased by doing a lot of these activities. There is a garden where you can plant seeds which will by next week, grow into various foods for cooking, or flowers for gifts. That is one of the activities which does not take up your time. Fishing also will not, but you need bait to do it. In the church there is a requests box in which people anonymously ask for help, if you answer correctly you will earn some support points with them.

All the students and faculty will be around and you can talk to them for new dialogue, give them gifts, return lost items or invite them for tea. When talking to faculty you can get them to instruct you in a particular skill so that your unit can earn more skill points. Another reason to explore is that you can recruit students from other classes into yours. This requires you to have certain skills they like at a high level (unless you are playing as a female and then you can automatically recruit Sylvain). The only ones you can’t recruit are the house leaders and their best friends. There are also quests on the bulletin board which might be to buy something, try a new feature or to take on a particular extra battle.

The tea parties involve choosing a tea for them to drink, selecting dialogue options and if you got it right you get some extra time and more support points and motivation. Using various ingredients you buy, find or earn you can participate in a cooking session and get a month long stat boost, my favourite being the one that gives +3HP. You can also eat meals with two students at a time which will increase their motivation to full if it is a liked meal.


At the church you can bring two students to participate in the choir which will raise their faith stat. There are also saint statues that can be repaired with the renown you earn from extra battles, these will give you stat buffs or even another divine pulse turn. In the training grounds there are monthly tournaments of a particular fighting skill, so you can get your best student in that stat to participate for prizes.

The marketplace is accessible, but you can also access it at most points including before battle. The only difference being you wont have access to extra merchants which you unlock through quests. Throughout the monastery there will be blue sparklies which you can pick up and get free items. If you have amiibo you can get green ones from the amiibo gazebo. Fire Emblem amiibos will also unlock extra music tracks for battle.

Three Houses also retains the support system from previous games, however no romance occurs until the end of the game. This is that by keeping certain units near each other in battle they will earn support points. With enough they will unlock different support conversations, which when watched will then open up another rank. These ranks give them buffs from being near each other in combat. The conversations are also a great way to get to know characters from outside of the main story cut scenes. In comparison to the 3DS games these are much better both in terms of having voice acting and the quality of conversations. Some characters might seem less deep such as most of Dedue’s conversations revolving around cooking and him being quiet, but they all have at least a couple of interactions with characters that bring out more in them.


This is the first Fire Emblem game to come to the Nintendo Switch. As such it’s quite a graphical leap from the 3DS games. As now outside of the pre-rendered cut scenes (which are beautiful), all other cut scenes also use the 3D models. It also has full voice acting which is a great thing to have, it especially adds to the support conversations. Of course this isn’t the prettiest Switch game there is, and at times things can look a bit jaggy, and a couple textures aren’t that great. That said it still looks fairly good, and most of the character designs suit the style.

The music is fine, but I personally didn’t find most of it interesting and I think Echoes had a much better soundtrack. Fire Emblem: Three Houses has an online feature that lets you see what others did on their spare days of, as well as other stats like who was the most deployed or recruited for that in game month.

Some have complained that you don’t get to find out everything in one play through. Which I don’t understand, after all you can always talk with others that played the game, watch it or wait until later to play another route. Plus with the New Game+ feature going for other routes is easier as certain bonuses carry over and you can spend renown to unlock things you previously had.

Normal mode is definitely quite easy, especially since you can do some battles without using up the extra battle amount. So unless you’re new or intimidated about strategy, I’d recommend playing on Hard. It took me about 49 hours to complete one route, obviously it may take a bit more especially if you do play on Hard, or just really really like grinding.


It is a great step up from the 3DS games in terms of character development, new battle mechanics and trying to retain the newer player base. Some players aren’t interested in the exploration mechanics, and as such miss out on the benefits of it. Perhaps for any future games that take after this there can be more automation options or ways to make it less of a pain to get around to everything (there is fast travel and running but the monastery is a fair size). Even I who enjoyed it did tire within the latter half of the game. One issue is inventory management, as you can’t use something straight out of the convoy, even out of battle, so there’s a lot of extra steps.

For any future games however the graphics could get a bit better, and it could definitely do with more map and mission variety. As anyone who played extra battles more than a couple times would have to deal with the same maps over and over again. Plus some story missions reuse the same maps. As someone who thought they only really liked Echoes, and that’s about it, I quite liked this game especially with the various changes. I look forward to seeing what more they can do with the franchise now they’ve had experience making a Nintendo Switch game.

I like it a lot!
I like it a lot!



      1. I think it gets tiring after a bit, especially towards the second half of the game, when it is impossible to recruit new units and everybody’s stats and classes are either maxed out or pretty close to that. A lot of the tasks around the monastery lost a bit of meaning to me when I got to that point. But I appreciate the immense effort they put into expanding the social aspect of Fire Emblem, which has always been a great part of its uniqueness and appeal.

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