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  1. #21
    Completed the game with the Black Eagles and restarted the game with the Blue Lions as NG+.
    I'll go into details in a later post, but the last battle was properly epic and difficult. Overall enjoyed it, though less than Fates and Awakening.
    NG+ lets you keep your unspent reknown points, Saints statues progression, and hire battalions; everything else starts from scratch, but you can spend reknown points to increase your teacher level, support conversations, skills, and proficiencies, which should make levelling and recruiting other characters much easier. There are also special items based on the campaign you've cleared and decisions made.

    If you want to maximize one savefile to get

    S-rank endgame cutscenes, save at the last Sunday of chapter 17 (Black Eagles, at least). You'll have to replay the last two missions but at least it's not a whole 50 hours game again.


  2. #22
    Here are my thoughts on Three Houses after completing the Black Eagles campaign. I clocked around 42 hours, but I admit I rushed through the last 2 chapters, doing seminars and exploring to boost character proficiencies instead of battling. However I don't know if a couple of levels would have helped during the last battle, it was properly difficult and a great sum of everything the game used before, and with a different setup than most final Fire Emblem missions.
    I've started a NG+ with the Blue Lions, I will detail what happens when you restart the game at the end of the post.

    Overall I've enjoyed Three Houses, it's a competent strategy game, but less than Awakening or Fates. The main reason is that Intelligent System did so much with Fates' maps and gimmicks that Three Houses seems to harken back from the GBA/GC era, something also reflected by its looks.
    There are interesting maps in Three Houses, but they are towards the end and let's say they are standard Fire Emblem stuff, with complex terrain, twisting corridors, trap tiles, and various ways to force you to use your units in different ways, but it's nothing particularly new.
    Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed unravelling those maps, but I knew Intelligent System could do so much more.
    I think Demon Beasts should have been expanded and made even more dangerous than they are, they are almost absent for the first third of the game, then they become an uncommon enemy, and only in the last two chapters they become a force to be reckoned with. Demonic Beasts are the main reason Battalions have been introduced, and often I would even forget characters had Battalions attached to them for many missions, only to use them when Beasts would pop up…and at times not even then, rather than dutifully breaking all their armour tiles I would just pummel then to dust.

    This is one Fire Emblem where some units can become stupidly strong, your character being the best example. In pursue of recruiting as many students I could, my avatar became able to wield all standard weapons at least at level C, and able to cast both white and dark magic, making him virtually unstoppable. I was a bit unlucky with level-ups, but you get a ton of boost items to make up for that.
    Mages in general are incredibly useful and two of them become so powerful that I kept them in reserve until the last two chapters, otherwise they would have cleared maps on their own without breaking a sweat. There are also items that boost the power or range of magic spells, making pure mages vital for your war efforts.
    I like how Three Houses reworked archers, a proper long-range unit with some close-range defence at high levels. If you play your cards right you get one dancer (double turn for one unit) which will still be able to use magic and basic weapons, again making the class able to defend herself.

    Some of the master classes require long-term thinking, like the holy knight being not only proficient in white magic and riding, but also with lances. In fact, I couldn't promote my two cavaliers to great knights because I didn't train them in heavy armour; they still were very effective paladins, and probably I wouldn't have liked the reduced movement range, but still some requirements for advanced classes might not feel completely pertinent to their main use…why would dark knights use lances when they can wreak havoc with spells?
    Anyway, depending on the house chosen and recruited student you might not have access to some classes at all, for example my only flier was Ingrid (recruited from the Blue Lions) because I wanted Petra as the thief/assassin of the group to having hauling door and chest keys around.
    I liked how no character is strictly limited by his or her favourite class, although everyone has strong and weak subjects, funnelling you towards the most obvious choice.

    Then there's the world outside the battle system, and this is where Three Houses kinda dropped the ball. The more you play, the more all the systems come together, but it's still overwhelming and a bit too complicated for its own good.
    The story is standard Fire Emblem stuff, but characters are more grounded in reality, without some of the more flamboyant personalities found in Awakening or Fates. All interaction dialogues have been interesting, well written, always on point, and never unbelievable, though this makes the cast a bit less colourful than previous games…in more than one way, because graphics are dull; but more on that later.
    I liked how characters evolve over the course of the story and even poke fun at your character's deadpan demeanour, but I did find a couple of plot points popping up from nowhere or not properly explained. Well, it may be because I've only witnessed a fourth of the game, but Fates' three campaigns were more self-contained and never felt inconclusive in all of their plot points.
    What Three Houses does wrong is in the beginning, where you are asked to decide between the three factions without knowing who those people really are; this is a sharp contrast with Fates, where you would get plenty of time to know your families both in battle and outside of it, which also made your decision more meaningful.
    Overall, I'd say the story is enjoyable, but maybe it could have used more focus on secondary story threads.

    Taking the role of a teacher was interesting, and thankfully the game gives you the chances of both micromanaging every student or to automate the process. Micromanaging your starting class is doable, but as you get more session points, maybe some recruits, and the need to manage multiple subjects just for a single character, it becomes a rather taxing experience. Plus you can't teach unhappy students, so you either need to have them perform well in battles or shower them with gifts. The latter requires to explore the monastery, and while I appreciate Intelligent System's effort in creating a sprawling complex with everything you'd think would be there (except bathrooms…but there's a hot spring, even if it's unused in the base game), there's nothing much to do around the monastery after taking with everyone once per month, so you end up fast-travelling between the usual locations doing the same activities over and over. I thought Fire Emblem could have been spared from a fishing minigame, but alas, it wasn't the case.

    Part of the reason going around the monastery isn't that interesting are the graphics: every month might be introduced with a description of leaves turning red or snow falling, but the monastery is always in full spring. And even that form isn't particularly good-looking, with only token shadows, only one time of day, and repeating textures. The lack of antialiasing doesn't bother me that much, but Three Houses is a boring and technically immature game to look at. I won't got into too much detail (one of my previous posts has a full rant about the graphics), but even considering the Switch's limited hardware, Three Houses looks worse than many entries before it.
    One highlight is that the game makes use of surround setups…or at least the centre channel for voices during cutscenes only, the rest is simple stereo.

    As said in the opening, Three Houses is an enjoyable strategy game, unfortunately bogged down by the portion of the game outside the battles, which feels could have used some more trimming and refinement.

  3. #23
    Now, onto the NG+ portion…

    NG+ starts from the very beginning, difficulty, avatar appearance and date of birth included. Even tutorials are back, and most things are reset to nothing.

    You keep battalions hired and their experience, saint statue progress, and all unspent renown. With that you can immediately increase teacher level, proficiencies for you or the students, unlock support levels previously reached, and buy new crests. I immediately boosted my professor level to B, which will make recruiting students much easier: I plan to leave just the house leaders and their retainers outside my classroom Or at least that's the long-term plan before Astral Chain arrives.
    The game also mentions merchants are kept between playthroughs, but for now the blacksmith, battalion merchant, and all of the extra shops you unlock are still unavailable.

    Losing almost everything is a bit disappointing, especially when you consider all the time spent in gathering people and bring them where you wanted, but it also makes some processed a tad faster as you have insight on the game's inner workings.
    Due to this units are already training on traits they need for master classes, although I don't know what Dimitri, the Blue Lions leader, would become as a class…Edelgarde had a rather straightforward progression.
    I was also surprised how inexpensive some things are in terms of renown points, although new crests are expensive.

    Three Houses cuts down considerably on the Waifu Emblem element, with marriages happening only after the game ends, and you can only decide your own. This happens on the last Sunday of the next-to-last chapter (and you are clearly told when you won't be able to return to the monastery), so technically you can create a savepoint there and see multiple marriages in a playthrough but you won't be able to start a NG+ with multiple endgame gifts (unless you play the game multiple times, of course). You'll also need to replay the two hardest missions of the game, and the final Black Eagles mission was a gruelling 20+ turn affair where even units above level 45 could be killed in one attack.

  4. #24
    Just beat it myself, there's cleary massive amounts of story I'm missing though. You really need to play it via all paths to fully understand what's going on. I still have no idea who the Death Knight is for example or where he came from or even went to!

    Caspar was an absolute beast in my game, he just tore through enemies. Ferdinand was also formidable as a Paladin with that movement range. Archers were also good, Bernadetta easily held her own with Shamir joining half way through.

    Quote Originally Posted by briareos_kerensky View Post

    S-rank endgame cutscenes, save at the last Sunday of chapter 17 (Black Eagles, at least). You'll have to replay the last two missions but at least it's not a whole 50 hours game again.

    So I made a save but I'm not sure what for? Is it to choose to marry Sothis?

    Last edited by Cepp; 26-08-2019 at 03:15 PM.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Cepp View Post

    So I made a save but I'm not sure what for? Is it to choose to marry Sothis?

    If you want to see the marriage event with other characters you've S-ranked but don't want to replay the whole game.


  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by briareos_kerensky View Post

    If you want to see the marriage event with other characters you've S-ranked but don't want to replay the whole game.
    Ah OK, I see.

    Cheers

  7. #27
    Small update as I've just reched chapter six in NG+, with the Blue Lions as my primary class.
    I say primary because I only have to recruit four more students to have the full roster: Ignatz, Raphael, Leonie, and Ferdinand. In the previous playthrough the two other professors, Alois, and Shamir joined without me putting too much effort into them towards chapter ten, so I'll probably focus on Cyril and anyone else you can recruit.

    So, how's playing with the Blue Lions? They have two mages, one for black (Annette) and one for white (Mercedes), which I'm groming as black knight and gremory respectively. Sylvain and Dimitri (house leader) are pretty good cavaliers. There's one archer who isn't as good as Bernadetta as a pure archer or Petra as a thief/assassin. Dedue is a pure tank, and I've just promoted him to armoured knight and this slowed him down a bit, and one of his weaknesses is riding, so this is one unit I'll probably leave behind, especially when you have two cavaliers and one pegasus knight in your army. From my previous playthrough I know Ingrid grows to be an excellent flier. Felix is an excellent sword wielder who has a weakness in magic, but I'm already forcing him into the role of the master class with sowrds and magic (can't remember the name).

    My main reason to recruit students is to see how certains battles turn out to be: right now the Black Eagles are down to three "named" characters, the Golden Eagles to four. Plus I don't really want to

    kill them in the second part of the game.

    Recruiting in the second playthrough is incredibly easy, pump your professor's level to B, required proficiency and support level to C, and a lot of students will ask you to join your classes, not the other way around. It'll be pretty hard to keep everyone levelled, and most probably I'll leave most of the recruited characters on their own...I still have to play with the Golden Eagles anyway and I've already attained rank S with two of them.

    Right now the story seen from the Blue Lions' perspective isn't massively different. You get a bit more insight on certain events, and of course you get to know some tragic past of the characters belonging to the house. I am interested in seeing how later chapters evolve but I must admit the game is losing some lustre, battles are fine but if you want to farm support levels, proficiencies, or levels, there are only a handful of maps for random battles and they get boring pretty quickly. Once I complete chapter 7 maybe I'll leave the game be for a while and get back to it when there aren't many new releases around.

  8. #28
    I've never played a Fire Emblem game before but I took a chance on this as I've struggled to make a real connection with a game of late. The good news is this one has gotten under my skin. In the past I've probably been slightly intimidated by the FE games but this feels very beginner friendly. Playing on normal/no perma-death actually feels a bit too easy so far ... but I'm only 12 hours in, it might ramp up, and if it doesn't I'm happy to be learning the ropes before an additional playthrough with a different house. It's a deep game but the descent is gradual enough to grasp it all. I enjoy the Persona style college life and how it builds stats and relationships (the team you start with look pretty bland and forgettable initially but the more you spend time with them the more their personalities shine through and flesh the experience out) etc, but it's the battles that truly delight. So much fun. Really enjoying this.

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