The last game I played of 2022 (yes, I'm still blogging about games I played in 2022, ugh!), was Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes for Switch. I've been a Musou fan for a while now, and I've blogged about my time with this game's immediate predecessor, Fire Emblem Warriors twice now as well as the more-recent release, Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, both of which I'd enjoyed. Age of Calamity in particular I felt like had some distinct gameplay elements that made it feel like a proper sequel to the first Hyrule Warriors game, so I was looking forward to seeing how the Fire Emblem Warriors spin-off series would evolve.
Like Age of Calamity, the second Fire Emblem Warriors game focuses on a single game in the mainline series rather than combines elements from across the series. In this case, the Three Hopes moniker clues you in that this game is connected to the game Three Houses, also released on Switch. As with Age of Calamity, Three Hopes provides an alternate take on the events of the game it's connected to, and the structure of Three Hopes exactly matches that of Three Houses in terms of choosing a house, alternating battles with an area for preparations (in this case a base camp rather than the Garreg Mach Monastery of the previous game), and, of course, building up supports via sharing meals and doing chores, etc. Training your characters is a bit more streamlined than in Three Houses, although you're free to micromanage to your heart's content.
The story of Three Hopes riffs on that of Three Houses, but as the game serves as a sort of "midquel", it doesn't feel overly familiar. We get to meet and interact (and in some cases play as) characters who were mentioned in the previous game, which is fun and deepens the lore of the world of Fodlan. As for the gameplay itself, as with the original Three Houses you're given a ton of freedom to reclass your characters however you want, but every character has a personal skill and classes that they're generally more suited to. As I'd thought with Three Houses, this flexibility is both a plus and a minus in that you're given freedom to customize every character the way you want, but the downside is that the characters feel less unique as a result. The crest-specific passives and abilities, teachable skills, and unlockable personal abilities help alleviate that issue. The combat itself doesn't stray much from the usual formula, but it's still fun to play as your favorite characters from Three Houses and watch them grow to become powerhouses on the battlefield. Overall this was a solid release and even though there weren't really any huge surprises I'm still looking forward to subsequent playthroughs. My only main complaint is that there wasn't any DLC for the game, which is a bit baffling, but I guess there are still future sequels to hope for and to look forward to.