Fire Emblem: Three Houses came out last Friday, July 26th. For a series that was at one point unknown in the West the game is selling surprisingly well in the UK. Its not just sales where the game seems to be doing well. Most reviews of Fire Emblem: Three Houses have been equally glowing. On Metacritic things are looking pretty rosy overall. If you were waiting to see what the reviews were like, there doesn’t seem to be anything to worry about. If you’ve never played a Fire Emblem title before, this is looking like the one to start with. At the time of writing, all 14 of the Amazon customer reviews are 5 out of 5. The enthusiasm for gameplay tweaks is almost as clear as the approval of those new to the series.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the second of Nintendo’s big Switch releases this summer. Super Mario Maker 2 seemed a much safer bet for a killer app. And, sure enough, all kinds of Mario courses have been showing up in my recommended videos. It’s a game with a much broader appeal than Fire Emblem: Three Houses. It’s Mario. For the most part, you’re either a fan of Fire Emblem or you aren’t. Anecdotally, I’ve seen people complaining that brick-and-mortar stores ran out. It doesn’t seem to be in short supply online. Sure, the ‘Collector’s Edition’ is sold out on Nintendo’s UK store, but that’s the nature of these editions – they’re for the fans and made in limited numbers. So can I believe a high street store would sell out? Absolutely. While the series has grown in both popularity and appeal its still a niche genre. Octopath Traveller was a tough game to find on store shelves after it’s launch for the same reason. Its the same reason you don’t find many JRPGs in bargain bins.
The expanding popularity of the Fire Emblem series is a testament to the effort and ingenuity put into the newer titles. The first strategy-rpg (srpg) I played was Final Fantasy Tactics and compared to that the Gameboy Advance era Fire Emblem titles did not really appeal. Fire Emblem: Awakening on the 3DS was a big leap forward, making the series explode with character and colour. Fire Emblem: Fates was a step forward in terms of narrative complexity. It seems like Fire Emblem: Three Houses is continuing the tradition, and may come to be regarded as the best Fire Emblem game yet.