And now we come to the third and middle installment of our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review! In yesterday’s episode, we three discussed our martial prowess: the strategic layer of Three Houses. But now it’s time to kick back and relax a bit. Today we’re here to share our thoughts on the daily life aspect of the game! It’s certainly much more fully featured and blown out than it was in Fire Emblem: Fates. Is that a good thing? Is that a bad thing? Read our thoughts in part three of our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review 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 just over 30 hours with the game) about the dating sim portion of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Take a look, and then stick with us for the rest of the week as we address things like the main plot!
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Steven Strom, Bad (but Proud and Supportive) Black Eagles Bitch:
Life at Garreg Mach Monastery is proceeding apace with the Black Eagles. If by “apace” you mean “at a crawl.” Much like with the combat, I can’t help but “grind” for every little thing. There’s so much busywork to do, but I love that in games! It’s part of what I love about Persona so much.
The students in Fire Emblem: Three Houses are total klutzes, too. I keep having to check every nook and cranny for lost items. Handing back lost items, or doing extracurricular activities increases how much they like me and motivates them to learn more during lectures. Learning more makes them kill better. It’s a nice little loop! It feels like such an obvious extension of past Fire Emblem games’ daily life aspect.
You can definitely tell this is Intelligent Systems’s first time doing this kind of thing, though. The UI in this game… The UI in this game? The UI in this game is a mess. So much of the daily life stuff does just amount to scavenger hunts, too. I’d rather see more of my precious babies and learn about them directly.
How have you two been enjoying your R&R in Three Houses?
merritt k, King of Blue Lions:
Well, I just hit the time skip, so things have gotten… intense. That said, all the little activities are still available around the monastery, which is tonally a little weird. You’ll see what I mean when you get there.
Anyway, a lot of the “go to a place, pick up a blue glow, take it elsewhere” feels like busywork to me, too. Once I realized that a lot of the quests just reward items rather than having anything to do with characters I mostly stopped caring. As far as the other stuff goes, I think I’ve done fishing, like, twice?
There’s a lot to do in this game, but once you figure out what it all does, you can basically decide what’s important to you and what isn’t. In a way that’s good, but it’s also kind of unfortunate how the daily stuff feels tacked onto the basically unchanged support mechanics from previous Fire Emblem titles. Those supports get kind of weird after the time skip — when students are referencing conversations you had five years ago as if they’d just occurred.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed pretty much every mechanical aspect of the game so far. It just feels like the series is at a juncture where it can’t decide whether it wants to be a tactics RPG or a social sim. Intelligent Systems is clearly pushing towards the latter to draw in a bigger crowd, but as much as I love my kids they’re still “units” in the game.
John Warren, Duke Buckworthy of Golden Deer:
Byleth is an early bird because she needs as many worms as she can get, baby. That’s right, my Byleth knows how to fish and fuck and the latter is discouraged at this prep school. I love the fishing mini-game because 1) I can cook what I eat and 2) I’m very good at it. I know investing in fishing will yield some nice perks, but I’m definitely investing too much time in it.
Byleth is digging the garden, too, but I have way too many seeds. I’ll never get rid of them. That greenhouse? Full of corpse plants, it looks like. Have you ever seen a corpse plant? They’re huge. They also smell like death.
I enjoy sharing meals with my kids because, shocking no one, I like sharing food with my real friends. It’s fun to guess what different people will like on the menu even though the game will tell you that. There’s so much attention paid to likes and dislikes that most details track. Did y’all know that I like to eat?
Steven: John I have never seen a corpse plant and will not look them up. Fun Fact, but I have a weird, irrational fear of oversized plants… That hasn’t stopped me and Byleth from gardening, though. I’m just too much of a “maximal” player with these kinds of games to skip any kind of free experience. Gardening raises your professor level (which is just a very funny phrase). That, in turn, lets you do more things per day.
Overall, I think I like the way the systems feed back into each other just a little bit more than you, merritt. But I agree that the Rank A, B, C, and sometimes S relationship system feels a little bit simplistic when the social part of the game is otherwise so much bigger now. It almost feels like having too much depth would be too expensive, since there are so many characters, but then this is also the first console Fire Emblem in years. It is kind of a game at war with itself — and not just in the fun “murder monsters and heretics” kind of way.
Still, I don’t get games that find this right blend of mundane and relatable every day. I like games like Fantasy Life just fine. But the addition of painfully hot Young Adults With Problems is… Well, it’s what I’m mostly here for honestly.
Talk to you tomorrow!
This concludes part three of our Fire Emblem: Three Houses review letters! Stay tuned this week for even more of our thoughts on the game. And check out our very many guides elsewhere on the site!