Two and a half years since its reveal, Fire Emblem: Three Houses finally launched for Nintendo Switch today. The game launched to widespread acclaim as the second best game for Switch this year on Metacritic behind Super Mario Maker 2, hailed by our own Brett Medlock as “easily the best RPG of 2019—so far.” It’s remarkable to see how far the franchise has come in the West since its humble beginnings on Fire Emblem for Game Boy Advance, following fan reception to Marth and Roy’s inclusions in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Smash was many gamers’ first introduction to the strategy RPG series; that was the case for me two console generations later with Fire Emblem: Awakening for the 3DS.
Awakening was an emotional rollercoaster
By the time the 3DS and Wii U rolled around, I was in university, worked a depressingly dead-end retail job, and (most importantly) started buying my own games. Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U was due out later that year. The morning of July 14, 2014, a new trailer dropped on the Smash Dojo; I was at the gym and snuck onto the public computer just to see the reveals. Intrigued by newcomers Robin and Lucina, and figuring now was a good time to get into Fire Emblem at last, I did some shopping on the way home and picked up Fire Emblem: Awakening. To say I was blown away by the game would be an understatement.
Not just blown away, no. Enthralled. I was pulled in right from the start with Awakening outright refusing to let me go until the very end. I instantly fell in love with the world of Ylisse and its colorful cast! As stakes continued to rise to new heights, I felt more and more invested in Lucina’s plight, my relationships with Chrom and the Shepherds, and in protecting the Halidom from the threat of Plegia and the oncoming revival of the Fell Dragon, Grima. Hell, I remember how Chapter 9 (out of 25) turned me into an inconsolable sobbing wreck after clearing it. I’m talking “Had to put my 3DS down because I couldn’t stop crying for several minutes” wreck. Personally, I appreciate it when a game gives me a good cry, so kudos!
“Pick a god and pray!”
Anyway, the world of Awakening aside, SRPGs were never my cup of tea. However, this game managed to change my stance on it. I didn’t know until later that the game simplified a few things for series newcomers (thank Naga for Casual mode), but learning the ins and outs of combat through weapon triangles and the like really made me feel like a real master tactician towards the end! And my god, this game has such a fantastic soundtrack.
Since then, I’m a diehard fan riding on Fates, Echoes, Heroes, Warriors, and now Three Houses, with classic pre-Awakening titles now on my radar (courtesy of the Wii U’s Virtual Console). What about you guys? We would love to hear about your first Fire Emblem game, so sound off in the comments with your own experiences!