Three Friends Review Fire Emblem: Three Houses Part Five – Houses Divided

It's the long-awaited conclusion to our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review!

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a game… of contradictions. Well, there are some minor differences in the story depending on which faction you pick, anyway! That’s the subject of our final Fire Emblem: Three Houses review letters. We’re closing out the week by discussing the very thing that inspired this series of features in the first place. What exactly feels different depending on which of the three houses you choose? Read on to find out!

Just a reminder: Each of us (merritt, Steven, and John) picked one of the three different houses in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Now we’re seeing the game through those very different eyes. And since we’ve had time to see those routes through, we’re going to talk about our different experiences every day this week. Below are our latest round of thoughts (based on about 50 hours apiece with the game) about how Fire Emblem: Three Houses changes depending on how you play.

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Steven Strom, Bad (but Proud and Supportive) Black Eagles Bitch:

Hello youse two,

We finally did it! We made it to the last part of our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review letters. I’m currently sitting at 50 hours played, according to my save files, and still haven’t hit that time skip. I have recruited nearly all of the characters I can, though. So I’m done grinding for a while; it’s time to push through the paralogues and plot!

Speaking of which characters I can and cannot recruit, however, there seems to be some discrepancy there. I am of course talking about the differences between these three houses we’ve all chosen. My beautiful Black Eagles are apparently locked out of wooing certain individuals. Whereas you two get full access to all the “normal” units. What’s up with that?

More generally, the story of Edelgard (my house leader) and her goth gang has been very interesting so far. She went through some pretty nasty shit, as it turns out, and wants to abolish the nobility as a result. There’s some definite scheming going on… I can tell she wants to share her big plans with me, but her vizier, Hubert, has cautioned her that it’s too soon.

The rank and file Black Eagles are also a bit more mature than I expected. Most of them fall into one anime trope or another (shy shut-in, overeager meathead, etc.). But once you peel back their motives, their stories are actually extremely engaging.

I suspect that’s at least partially thanks to a very stellar localization. So much of the nuance comes from how the characters talk about themselves, rather than what is actually happening. Sylvain, for instance, is a cliche womanizer. But the game doesn’t play it for laughs. All of your dialogue responses to him are bluntly disapproving — not “Oh, you rascal!”

How have your experiences with the story been thus far?

Fire Emblem Three Houses Review

merritt k, King of Blue Lions:

The Blue Lions are the typical “hero” house, at least at first. All of your students are basically upstanding normies trying their best. Except eventually you hit a point where Dimitri, the house leader, kind of cracks. It’s hinted at throughout the game that he’s got something going on beneath this prim and proper facade, and when it comes out, boy howdy. He gets a patch on one eye and a dark circle around the other and starts talking like a kid who shows up to school on Monday after mainlining Linkin Park anime AMVs the whole weekend.

I guess I can’t really talk about why that happens, but it was a kind of interesting twist. Most of my students are still good citizens, though, and I think the rest of the game is going to be about them trying to pull him back from the edge through The Power of Friendship.

What’s a little weird about this so far is that the Blue Lions, like I said, are clearly the Heroes. And yet, they’re pretty much all nobles who are basically concerned with preserving a theocratic aristocracy. I guess that’s pretty much any fiction set in a medieval Europe-type world, but damn, I think we might actually be the baddies. Maybe the game will address that later on — I’m in the War phase now, and I have no idea how much of the game I’ve got left. Thus far though, it’s been a great ride.

Fire Emblem Three Houses Review

John Warren, Duke Buckworthy of Golden Deer:

The Golden Deer are led by Claude, who is the most level-headed (at least where I am in the game) of the three house leaders. He’s easygoing almost to a fault. The really funny thing about the Golden Deer is they all seem extremely stressed out in various ways. Marianne just has the general piety and Catholic guilt to wrestle with, which my Byleth lies about a lot in order to get closer to her. Not even in a weird way! I just want Marianne to feel okay and safe and telling her that I also listen to God is what I have to do to get there. Hilda seems super competent but also begs to be left out of things. For what? What’s she so worried about?

Then there’s Leonie, who is so obsessed with Jeralt I don’t think she can really process the idea that Byleth might actually be his kid. I mean I know they’ve hinted from the jump that Byleth isn’t actually Jeralt’s kid, but Leonie isn’t even skeptical for the same reasons.

I doubt Claude is gonna be too cool for school for long, but for now he’s the collected leader of a nervous bunch. Everyone is so insecure!

I just want to build their confidence so they can fulfill their dreams… of being weird perverts in public instead of private.

Fire Emblem Three Houses Review

Steven: Well I’m glad to see that, no matter what else happens, it sounds like we’re all finishing where we started: by supporting our anime childes. Seriously, though, I’m glad to see we all seem satisfied with the story of our houses. it doesn’t feel like there’s a bad one to choose from the bunch, so far, and that really could have been a bummer if it went the other way.

I am interested to see what conclusions Fire Emblem: Three Houses draws about stuff like the nobility and biological determinism. There’s all this Brad Bird-style stuff about how you’re either born special or a pleb. The Blue Lions seem like they just kind of don’t engage with that, but have a major mind break do deal with, so that’s understandable. Whereas breaking that mold is the heart of the Black Eagles story. And the Golden Deer just sound like they want to get through the day — whatever else is going on in the greater world of politics.

Even after more than 50 hours (and apparently not even halfway through the story) I’m hooked. I’m in this for the long haul, baby! It helps that there’s not a ton out in August, either, but that just means Nintendo was smart enough to see Three Houses as a slow, summer burn. It feels perfect in that role. Depending on how things go, maybe I’ll even play through again on hard or “Lunatic” (ugh again) to see one of the other houses.

Until then, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me, gang! Have fun saving Fódlan from our kids’ bad mistakes, and see you when the first slate of DLC comes out.

This concludes part five of our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review letters — as well as the series itself! Thanks so much for staying tuned to read our final thoughts on the game. If the game sounds up your alley, check out our very many guides elsewhere on the site. Take care!