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'Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes' maintains strategy series' high standard

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Posted at 9:53 AM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 12:53:48-04

TUCSON, Ariz.  — "Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes" is the latest entry in Nintendo's long-running strategy RPG series, blended with a newer, action-oriented trend the publisher has embraced. The new game pays respect to the titles that came before while marching in some bold new directions.

One of Nintendo's most insular and dense franchises, the "Fire Emblem" series has a devoted core group of followers who devour and replay series releases repeatedly. The games lend themselves to multiple takes due to their branching story paths and customization. You could play about any of the "Fire Emblem" games five times and get a different experience in each outing.

"Three Hopes" itself encapsulates the spirit of such a replay session. Taking the same story and characters of "Fire Emblem: Three Houses" (2019), developer Koei Tecmo recasts the players in an action setting. As in the Zelda-themed "Hyrule Warriors" game, hack-and-slash mayhem takes center stage.

This is more than just a "Dynasty Warriors" clone, though. As "Fire Emblem" devotees would expect, there are branching paths and several characters to play, each shifting the perspective and outcomes significantly.

While the pace may alienate those who savor the methodical pace of turn-based strategy that the mainline "Fire Emblem" games embrace, those looking for something fresh and new should appreciate the frenetic speed of "Three Hopes." Outsiders may even use it as an entry point to "Three Houses," as well as its predecessors.

While some artistic choices don't quite registers — such as unnecessary character additions that pander to the lowest common denominator and the incongruity of button-mashing battles interspersed with slow-burn dramatic narratives — most of the series' integrity remains intact.

"Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes" is a free-wheeling, invigorating reimagining of a somewhat stuffy series. It thrives on its pacing and momentum, leaving some crucial elements behind but never looking back to regret them.

The publisher provided a review code.

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