Kronya killing Jeralt comes across as rather random in game, but one reddit user makes a compelling theory that Kronya's actions are less Stupid Evil, and are actually more intelligent. Namely, Kronya's actions help to make Byleth more distrustful of the Flame Emperor, aka Edelgard, and thus allows them to keep control of Edelgard better. The theory even elaborates more on why Those Who Slither do what they do, helping them seem more cunning then they appear.
Related to the above, Edelgard's relationship with Those Who Slither in the Dark. She makes it clear she will do whatever she must to bring about her ideals and would probably wage war without Those Who Slither in the Dark, but the above theory suggests they use abusive tactics to keep her isolated. So does she ally with them because she believes it's a Necessary Evil, or because she believes they're her only possible allies? Or both?
Rhea's actions in the backstory regarding Byleth's birth. As revealed on the Silver Snow route, she implanted Sothis's crest stone into Byleth, who was a stillborn and would have died had it not happened. Some view this a noble act, Rhea saved Byleth from dying, and granted Byleth's mother's dying wish. Others view it as a horrible act, viewing it as Rhea taking advantage of a dying baby for selfish reasons, considering Rhea did the action with the hope that Sothis may take over the baby, killing the child regardless. There is also the fact that she kept this a secret from Jeralt, who was worried over the fact that the baby had no heartbeat and did not cry, causing him to distrust Rhea, take the baby and flee the monastery.
Was Nemesis's murder of Sothis and her children an act of selfish villainy to claim power for himself or was it done for the greater good to save Fódlan from invaders? Arundel calls him a mere thief and what we see of Nemesis in the Golden Deer route heavily implies the former, especially with his slaughter of villages on his crusade of vengeance, but he could possibly be been twisted by Those Who Slither in the Dark when he was resurrected, considering as the final boss, he has supernatural features such as a glowing dark aura, echoing voice, and black eyes of crazy.
The final boss of the Golden Deer route, Nemesis, is just a beefy human with no break bars, no truly special attacks, and is somewhat slow. The hardest part about him is removing the barrier to even hit him, and the fact that he is on a tile that gives him some defense and avoid, but he can be baited off of the tile with a sturdy enough ranged unit. It's possible to kill him in one hit with Byleth if they have the Sublime Creator Sword and get a crit, something the other final bosses lack as a weakness because they are Monster type enemies.
The Blue Lions final boss, Hegemon Edelgard, looks intimidating, with a demonic design, enormous range, and ability to attack twice, but the remaining soldiers prove to be a greater threat than the monster. The projectile attacks can hit across the entire map, but they have both a low hit rate and low attack power for any unit with halfway decent resistance. After reaching a certain part of the map, the attacks will cease and the boss becomes a sitting duck. Because of the boss's single armor point, underwhelming defense, average health, low damage, and typical weaknesses associated with monster enemies, it's possible to beat them in a single turn.
At the end of the Black Eagles route, Rhea's death suddenly makes the Crest Stone inside Byleth disappear and them revert to a normal human being. Not only does it come out of nowhere, it makes no sense why No Onological Inertia would apply when she didn't even create the Crest Stones. Even worse, Rhea dies on the Church route unless S-supported, but Byleth doesn't revert then. While this may be due to how it is possible to romance Rhea and have her live, it still comes across as rather sloppy.
Nemesis' revival on the Golden Deer route comes out of nowhere after the fight with Thales, with little explanation how it was possible or why Nemesis was back after apparently being killed by Seiros. Several characters speculate that Those Who Slither in the Dark revived him, and Rhea later comments that she believes Nemesis having the Crest of Flames allowed him to not fully die, and he awoke when the "Javelins of Light" struck their base, but nothing else is explained about it in-game beyond both parties merely speculating. Nemesis also only appears in the Golden Deer route, which is jarring since all the other final bosses are explained or make sense with what is known setting-wise, while Nemesis' appearance relies on Unexplained Recovery logic thanks to nobody in-universe knowing how Sothis' powers work.
Fates's inclusion of the children mechanic was mocked by parts of the fanbase for serving no purpose in the story but pander to the feature's success in Awakening and had a lot of disturbingimplications. Three Houses was announced at E3 2019 to not have a children mechanic.
Furthermore, you can't begin a romantic relationship with a character (many of whom are your students) until after the five-year time-skip, thus avoiding any uncomfortable teacher-student power dynamics. Additionally, if the age gap between the characters is large enough (usually the students and the other teachers besides Byleth), they just end up becoming good friends instead of having an Age-Gap Romance. The closest you can do is set up the relationship so that when you do decide to romance someone, you can do so naturally.
The game has mostly done away with Avatar-sexuals, characters who have no supports or connections to anyone besides the avatar characternote Some characters have one or two other supports; for example, Flora from Fates could support with her sister Felicia as well as the Avatar. Every single character, even the adult characters you can recruit, have supports with multiple others and have multiple potential endings. On the other end of the scale, not everyone has endings with everyone within their house, much less with every single other unit, so the paired endings they do have tend to feel more personalized and less cookie cutter. The only Avatar-sexual characters in the game are Rhea, a non-playable character(who thus can't get support points with other units) who's only available during the Silver Snow route and Sothis, for very obvious reasons, but just has an S support rank.
The controversial face-rubbing skinship mechanic from Fates has been significantly toned down and replaced with a minigame where you bond with the other characters by drinking tea with them.
After some criticism was leveled at Female Byleth's outfit, many were pleased to see a much cleaner one available as the first wave of DLC.
One of the most controversial aspects of Fates was the One Game for the Price of Two model coupled with locking the Golden Path behind an additional paywall no matter what, meaning you had to pay for twice as many games to get the full story, not to mention how the very concept of a Golden Ending seemingly defeated the entire point of Fates' Grey and Gray Morality. note Which, to be fair about the three versions thing, is implied to be a result of Executive Meddling by Nintendo.Three Houses opts to go in the opposite direction, featuring multiple full-length selectable storylines in a single game. In addition, none of the paths result in a clear-cut Golden Ending the way Revelation and its DLC did.
Another major criticism of Fates was that its attempt at moral complexity is completely botched in favor of labeling Hoshido as good and Nohr as evil, with Nohr being ruled by an Obviously Evil king, and Hoshido always having the moral high ground, with anything morally ambiguous for the latter being either quickly glossed overnote Azura being kidnapped by Hoshidan Shinobi and facing extreme prejudice growing up in Hoshido or hand-waved awaynote Ryoma threatening to let a sick Elise die if the Avatar doesn't defect to Hoshido, the Avatar completely lets this slide, even in Revelation. Three Houses has no good or evil side, everyone ends up doing morally ambiguous things at one point or another, and any villainous members don't reflect the faction as a whole. The only exception is "those who slither in the dark", a group that everyone hates, including the more morally-grey characters, and even then, Three Housesdoesn't make any pretenses that they're meant to be sympathetic.
Quite a few critics and reviewers have noticed the high quantity of world-building in Three Houses, after the lack of setting lore was commonly cited as a weakness of the writing for Fates (one infamous example among fans is that Fates is the only game in the entire franchise to not have a full world map, and the only one in the main series to lack even a name for its world).
LGBT representation overall is better executed in Three Houses than in Fates. There is more variety in the same-sex female love interests featured and characters other than Byleth can have same-sex love interests.
The game is also much friendlier to asexual and aromantic players. Several options that come up during supports allow you to reject (consciously or not) characters' romantic advances to you. You can also finally play Byleth as asexual and/or aromantic and not feel punished for it, unlike Awakening and Fates where paralogues and recruitable characters were tied to S supports.
Echoes featured very lackluster level design, with most maps being huge empty spaces with one or two bridges, and an excess of ship levels, which stung after Fates featured some very good levels. While most stages here are rout or kill boss, the level design is much more in tune with what one would expect. In fact, several paralogues even feature bonus objectives or defend-the-point maps. A welcome change.
The Battle of the Eagle and Lion at Gronder Field. It's a Mêlée à Trois between the three houses, with your house coming in from the north and the other two on the southwest and southeast. One of the opposing houses has a hold of the ballista in the centre, and the player's given several options to tackle the map: head down the west and engage the house there, head down the east and do the same, or head down the middle, capture the centre, and engage both houses at once. It's a fun test of skill between the three houses. In some routes, this battle is revisited post-time-skip, but with the three factions now at war. The stakes are much higher, with some enemy units meeting their bitter end on this map (which can hurt if they weren't recruited). While the strategies are still the same, trying to take the ballista on the central hill this time results in it being set ablaze by Edelgard, no matter who's on it. But the objective is still just to defeat the bosses, so if you want some Videogame Caring Potential you can challenge yourself to do a Pacifist Run. The song is a Dark Reprise of its pre-time-skip version, and is all the more intense for it.
For the Golden Deer route, Stand Strong at Shambhala. Despite having so many things set up to make it That One Level (tough reinforcements, turrets you can't kill, forced split-up of the party, loads of locked doors and narrow hallways), it manages to shine out due to pure atmosphere. It looks nothing like any chapter you have ever seen before since Fates. The soundtrack sounds very out of place giving it a very Eldritch Location feel.
Chapter 9 is only a battle against a few Demonic Beasts. It's possible for several of your units to never even need to act, since by that point, you're most likely used to fighting Demonic Beasts and Monsters. Not to mention Jeralt is also around to help, and can help fighting any monsters that get too close. Unfortunately, it is also one of the game's wham episodes.
Felix's paralogue, especially on Normal mode. You have a lot of allies with you, including Rodrigue, who is incredibly overpowered for this point of the game. On top of that, Rodrigue's soldiers are actually rather competent, unlike most NPC allies. The only thing that keeps you from being able to win by sitting on the sidelines is the fact that you have to save all the villagers to get the Aegis Shield, which requires some level of effort on the player.
Ashe and Catherine's paralogue is also very easy - it's a defend-the-point map, only you don't have any luxuries of things like bottlenecks. Because of how your units are positioned, if they are powerful enough, you can win by sitting back and waiting it out.
Retribution, Ferdinand and Lysithea's paralogue available in non-Black Eagles routes is fairly easy. While you need to save villagers here, you only need to reach the node of the map to rescue them rather than worry about having NPC allies. Additionally, you can reduce the number of enemies by taking out two of the generals in the south and east area of the map first before dealing with the enemies at the north.
The true nature of Sothis and her identity as the Goddess was incredibly obvious, given how she is the only dragon to appear for most of the game, and she draws heavy inspiration from Tiki, to the point of being pretty clearly divine in nature.
Seteth and Flayn are Really 700 Years Old, which isn't much of a surprise because Flayn is such a Bad Liar about it. You can even lampshade it by telling Seteth that you always suspected that Flayn was his daughter, not his sister (although they don't reveal their identities as Cichol and Cethleann) after their Paralogue, and he, embarrassed, says he thought he did a better job of hiding it.
The Heroes' Relics are not in any way holy. This is fairly obvious by Chapter 5, which had a Relic weapon called the Lance of Ruin, which has multiple twitching, bony protrusions for seemingly no reason but to look creepier, and turned Miklan into a monster in a rather disturbing fashion. In other words, everything about it indicated that it was an Evil Weapon.
If you're playing on the Black Eagles route, the Flame Emperor's identity is hinted at so often that you might think it's a Red Herring. Edelgard disappears at several key points when you talk to them, and if that wasn't noticeable, Hubert's panic at her going missing will make it noticeable (granted, a similar scene plays out with the other lord/retainers).
The game is kind enough to let you exact revenge on Jeralt's killer very quickly. Watching Kronya squirm in her final moments is super satisfying. Double so if you land the final blow with a Gambit from Jeralt's Mercenaries.
After getting your hide handed to you three times over by the Death Knight, seeing him take the field as a green ally unit in the Black Eagles version of Chapter 12 is very, very satisfying. Alternatively, having Flayn or Manuela defeat him on other routes.
Cliché Storm: The Golden Deer route, with the occasional bout of Narm Charm, is this. You end up aiding the Alliance to fight against the evil Empire. You fight the Emperor in a Climax Boss, but once they're defeated, they reveal that there is a Man Behind the Man who has been trying to pull the strings and lead the land into war Those Who Slither in the Dark. Despite defeating their boss, a powerful monster from antiquity (Nemesis) appears, with implications that he's with them as his army is made up of The Remnant of Those Who Slither in the Dark. What's more, he's even defeated with a The Power of Friendship speech. If it is your first playthrough, it definitely feels like a rehash of all things Fire Emblem, though this is arguably to the route's strength. And fortunately, when viewed as a whole, plenty of the tropes are played with more than it appears.
Thales is the chief member of "Those Who Slither in the Dark", and a ruthless schemer dedicated to achieving the power of the gods. Approving ghastly experiments on multitudes of innocents to destroy their minds, Thales initiated a massacre of nobles to blame an innocent land, resulting in the near genocide of its people, while manipulating the war of the Flame Emperor in order to tear the country apart and destroy its people. Having his own forces kill those they can to revive the monstrous Nemesis and unleash him on the world, Thales even spitefully tries to nuke his own base and the last stronghold of his people to kill the heroes upon defeat.
Enemy Pegasus Knights in the early stages of the game, while mercifully rare, are usually fast enough to double most units, and can hit like a truck. Their only saving grace is their weakness to bows, but even then, their Defense is usually high enough to tank one hit, and their aforementioned Speed ensures that they will usually only take the one, forcing the player to use a second unit to eliminate them. And to top it off, as Pegasus Knights, due to their movement speed and flight, they will usually reach you before you reach them, allowing them the first attack. As an added kick in the teeth, the enemy Pegasus Knights are actually considered to be anadvanced class, giving them access to Lancefaire and an additional point of movement over player-controlled Pegasus Knights.
Enemy Swordmasters and Assassins in the later stages of the game are incredibly fast, giving them high Avoid, and their Spd also lets them both avoid doubles and easily double your units. The latter can also use Vantage, which enables them to attack first at less than half health, even when you're attacking.
Enemies with Miracle can be a mix of this and Goddamned Bats, since if the ability triggers (which can be as high as a third of the time), you'll have to attack them again to defeat them, and the unit that would have killed them will be open to their counterattack.
Disappointing Last Level: The final mission on the Church of Seiros route is considered quite frustrating, especially since there are a lot of enemies with troublesome abilities, some of whom heal the final boss to full health at the start of their turn. It also doesn't help that Rhea's dragon form going berserk practically comes out of nowhere, unlike in the Black Eagles route, in which she's been set up as the main antagonist since Chapter 12.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Barely a week after the game released, the Gatekeeper of the monastery became incredibly popular with fans for his enthusiastic personality and great voice acting courtesy of Kyle McCarley. His popularity is comparable to that of Tellius' Archer 3-13.
Fanworks involving twin Byleths joining opposite houses and facing each other in war are growing abundant; the most common combination is one going Black Eagles and the other going Blue Lions, with whichever twin on the losing side pulling a Together in Death out of love and loyalty for their chosen lord.
There are fanworks for every gender Byleth in every house, but judging from the Fan-Preferred Couple examples as well as several surveys, most of the Female Byleths go for the Blue Lions, while the Male Byleths end up in the Black Eagles or Golden Deer.
Some fans like to think of Byleth being put in charge of all three of the houses, rather than just the one, giving some interesting possibilities since barring Claude, who is the most level-headed and reasonable of the three, Dimitri and Edelgard's more violent tendencies are more pronounced without Byleth there to act as their Living Emotional Crutch/Morality Pet.
Fanfic Fuel: The academic setting is rife with it as original characters are created by fans to fill in the roster of other students in each class (Discounting the playable characters).
Like with other games, some like to think of both versions of Byleth as twins, which makes some interesting implications as to how they individually approach the war and their connections to Rhea/Seiros and Sothis.
A lot of post-game Dimitri fanart depicts him with his NG+ hairstyle (long hair but tied back). Some also like to imagine him wearing his hair like that after Chapter 17, to accompany his return to form.
Some fans also like to portray Byleth as a Papa Wolf or Mama Bear towards their students, defending and more than willing to go to war for their sake if it means they'll be safe.
Though Edelgard and Byleth can be both a heterosexual and lesbian pairing, the latter is much,muchmore popular than the former. The overwhelming majority of fanart and fanfiction features Edelgard with Female Byleth rather than the Male. Fan-artists on Twitter in particular seem to love this pairing, giving it vastly preferential treatment compared to Male Byleth and Edelgard.
On the het side of things, Dimitri/Female Byleth is hugely popular as well, beating out even Edelgard/Byleth on sites like AO3 and Pixiv. In fact, in a fan-made poll about the best S-support, Dimitri not only got first for female Byleth, he got twice as many votes as the runner-up (Edelgard). People just dig his character arc and find their S-support a natural conclusion to their relationship. This was a surprising shift away from Claude/Female Byleth, which was the predominant het Fan-Preferred Couple before the game's release. While still popular, Dimitri/Female Byleth now dwarfs it.
Speaking of Claude, while he is a very overall popular character, he turns out to be especially popular with the male playerbase and often pair him up with Male Byleth in fanworks and unlike his fellow house leaders, he isn't the Implied Love Interest for Byleth in his route Note While there is some Ship Tease between Claude and Byleth in the story along with some hints in several supports Claude has with the other Golden Deer students such as in his support with Hilda, with Hilda saying that Claude rarely gave out a genuine smile until Byleth came into the picture, the Ship Tease is not as blatant as the one the other two lords had) and, similar to Dimitri, cannot S support a male Byleth. The somewhat flirtatious comments he occasionally makes towards Byleth regardless of gender add some fuel to the fire.
Despite Sylvain's skirt-chasing antics, his most popular pairing is with Felix. While Yaoi Fangirls certainly have something to do with it, the fact that their paired ending has a heavy dosing of Ho Yay makes it popular to assume they both end up together.
Hilda and Marianne are more commonly shipped together more than any of their avalible romance options due to Hilda's desire to take care of Marianne when she's struggling being adorable. They easily have the second most fanart of any Yuri paring next to Edelgard and female Byleth, and many more fans than most of the non Byleth ships in the game.
Dorothea has the most potential romantic endings besides Byleth, but her most popular two are between being Petra's Closet Key and Ferdinand, with Petra getting almost all of the fanart.
A common ship for Ferdinand is with Hubert, due to their A+ support reading almost like an S support, romantic music and blushing included.
Byleth and the Gatekeeper. The fandom latched onto the Gatekeeper guard shortly after game's release. He's not a playable character by any stretch, and really, he's just a slightly-less generic faceless mook. However, he's considered one of the nicest people in the game, seems to genuinely enjoy talking with Byleth, and is utterly heartbroken after the death of Jeralt, to the point where it's common to pair the two of them together, even if it isn't possible in-game.
Fountain of Memes: Claude. From his personality, to being upside down on the boxart and to being a neutral party, the fans have run with it, calling Claude the 'Chad' of Three Houses. His voice actor, Joe Zieja has embraced all of the Claude memes on his Twitter and Discord.
With the Shin Megami Tensei series. While there was already a case of this between the two franchises (which ironically enough caused a Friendly Hatedom for said entry), Three Houses has intensified this due to its darker plot that is dictated by numerous choices and alignments decided by the player that is highly reminiscent of a classic SMT game.
Due to the prominent life sim elements as well as the greater variety of activities to build Relationship Values between your avatar and the other characters, fans of the Persona series have taken a shine to Three Houses, which has lead to cross-pollination from the Fire Emblem fandom looking to see where much of this game's inspiration came from. It's also noted that the three main paths share both Color Motifs and Central Themes with the three "modern" Persona games released at the time: the Blue Lions path shares Persona 3's blue motif and theme of moving past tragedy; the Golden Deer path shares Persona 4's yellow motif and theme of seeking hidden truths; and the Black Eagles path shares Persona 5's red motif and theme of challenging a comfortable, yet corrupt status quo.
With the Harry Potter fandom. Due to the game taking place at a castle-like school divided into rival houses, along with strong world building for the world-at-large beyond the school, comparisons with Harry Potter were inevitable and led many members of the latter's enormous fandom to take interest in the game. Many fans have christened it the best Harry Potter video game we'll never get.
Edelgard has no low growths, with her lowest being 30% Lck. She's the only armour focused unit to not have a low Res growth, and she has high Spd and Dex to boot, making her a bonafide Lightning Bruiser. Her axe, Aymr, allows her to use the unique combat art Raging Storm, which is essentially Galeforce on command. As long as it hits, Edelgard will be able to move again. With its low durability cost, Edelgard can perform such nonsensical feats such as soloing entire maps by herself, up to and including her route's final boss in one turn◊.
Dimitri's has exceptional growths, with 40% Def, 50% Spd and Dex, 55% HP, and a whopping 60% Str. His Mag and Res are low, but he doesn't need magic, and he can rely on his HP and Spd to just tank oncoming damage. His lance, Areadbhar, has the unique combat art Atrocity, which deals effective damage (3x damage) to all foes. With his Str capping at 87, Dimitri using Areadbhar will one-shot any non-monster with reckless abandon. To top it off, he also learns the unique combination of Battalion Vantage and Battalion Wrath, which lets him attack first and with greatly increased Crit on the enemy phase. Unlike regular Vantage and Wrath, these skills only require a low health Battalion, which can be prepared and maintained across multiple maps simply by not replenishing them. Give him the Retribution Gambit, a Killer Lance+, send him into the fray, and watch as Dimitri kills every last one of 'em.
Claude may not have the raw power of Edelgard and Dimitri, but he is still formidable in his own right. He's got high Spd and Dex, and being an archer, great attack range, which increase further with his unique, flying classes Wyvern Master and Barbarossa. With the flight capabilities, higher Mov, and Canto, he'll be able to easily kite any of his foes. To help with this, he's got two unique Combat Arts to use. The first is Wind God, learned from his Barbarossa class, which lets him snipe enemies at 5 range, while his second is Fallen Star, unique to his bow, Failnaught, which gives him the ability to avoid all attacks on the next round of combat.
Felix. His personal skill Lone Wolf deals 5 extra damage so long as he doesn't have a Battalion equipped, while his Crest boosts Might upon activation. Coupled with a naturally high base Speed stat, he'll be hitting like a truck AT LEAST 2 times per turn for guaranteed one-round kills, especially once you factor in the weapon proficiency skills you get early in the game. And since Three Houses removes class-based weapon restrictions, Felix can do this damage with any weapon. Give him a bow to insta-kill enemies that threaten squishier units, trade a bit of power for two additional attacks with gauntlets, or put him on a horse so he can deliver hit after deadly hit before retreating out of range. The only drawbacks are Felix's relative fragility, the lack of reliable way to counter units with high physical defense, and the in-game time investment required to level up his stats in the areas you want him to excel in. However, all of those weaknesses can be easily mitigated with a bit of resource management and creativity. As a bonus, you need high swordsmanship to recruit him on other routes, and since Byleth uses swords as their primary Weapon of Choice, he's fairly likely to fall into your lap even for inexperienced players who didn't join the Blue Lions.
Lysithea. While her Glass Cannon nature is there, it's easily forgiven since she has a ridiculous magic growth and set of spells. She will quickly be gaining reason magic that hits hard thanks to how powerful dark magic naturally is, with Death Spikes T essentially being an instant "kill cavalry" attack, making her one of the few units capable of taking on the Death Knight long before you're supposed to defeat him, which alone is great; however, her faith line just makes it even better by giving her the bane of Demonic Beasts, Seraphim, as well as the ever powerful series Game-Breaker Warp. That's not even getting into how good Gremory is as a class, which just adds more fuel to Lysithea's fire. Her personal skill Mastermind only furthers this by allowing Lysithea to master classes at a faster rate than others, allowing some experimentation in other classes to add to her firepower. And the cherry on top? Her Crest of Gloucester adds a fairly good chance of boosting her damage by a flat 5, adding even more damage potential, while also granting her usage of the Thyrsus staff that gives her an extra 2 range, letting her engage foes more safely. All of this combined makes Lysithea one of the most sought-after Mages in the game.
Catherine has some very good synergy behind her: She has good growth in Strength and one of the best Speed growths in the game, meaning she hits hard, doubles most enemies, and has good evasion. Her Relic weapon, Thunderbrand, doubles the number of attacks she gets when she initiates a battle, meaning she'll likely be hitting four times, and each of those hits will hurt. Up against an armored opponent? Thunderbrand gives her access to the combat skill Foudroyant Strike, which is effective against armored units and has a high boost to critical chance. And her major Crest of Charon has a good chance of boosting its power even further. Run out of uses for Thunderbrand? Her other proficiency is with gauntlets, which gives her the same attack-doubling benefit, though with less power. She's not even as fragile as her lower Defence and Resistance growths would indicate: she has a high HP growth and her personal skill, Fighting Spirit, lowers the damage she takes by 5 as long as she doesn't have a batallion with her.
Stride is a very powerful Gambit that boosts the Movement of all your allies in range by +5 for one turn, and with how the maps work, the mobility it provides is massive, allowing your units to cover large areas and secure objectives much faster. The best part is that it's available in an E-ranked Battalion, meaning that it's available as soon as you unlock Battalions for hire.
Impregnable Wall is another low-level Gambit that can break the game in half with proper usage. It inflicts a status effect on three allies in front of you that reduces any damage (even from boss units and monsters) they give or receive to 1HP, basically turning them into undefeatable tanks for one turn. That, combined with the AI's inability to work around the buff (enemies still treat powered-up units as "easy targets"), opens countless possibilities for abusing the game from luring in more problematic enemy units to gank up on them on a safe territory, to sending the "walled" unit to distract all the strong enemies and clear the path for attacking their leader in one swoop. On top of all, you can use it five times per battalion, unlike the usual 1-2. The only drawback is that the caster can still be attacked and suffer full damage, but due to the aforementioned instance of Artificial Stupidity, it can be negated by giving the battalion to someone with stronger stats than those on the receiving end of the status effect.
Flying units have the same Mov as mounted units, but have the benefit of ignoring terrain. The lack of weapon restrictions means that, once certified, any unit can use any non-gauntlet weapon, allowing for insane hit-and-run abilities with bows. The ability to dismount is just icing on the cake, allowing enemy archers to be baited safely without the Aurora Shield. As an added bonus, upgrading a unit's flying ability gives them Alert Stance (and later Alert Stance+), which in exchange for simply waiting on player phase, turns all but the slowest units into dodge tanks. The Wyvern Lord class in particular has the second highest Str class mod, highest Str growth, second highest Spd class mod and growth (and huge base of 20), second highest Def (losing only to Great Knight), and huge Mov, just like the other flying classes. It's essentially theLightning Bruiser class, considered to be the best Master class in the game by a wide margin, and the second-best class in the game after Claude's exclusive Barbarossa.
In the Monastery, Owl Feathers and flowers. Flowers steadily increases your support points of the character you're trying to recruit. Owl Feathers double your support points with the chosen character (however, they are very rare). Within two weeks at most, you can gain their B support, and they're likely to join your class of choice within the week of your class. If you're lucky, two students at a time are likely to join your class on that week.
On a New Game+, the opening scenes with Sothis and her drowsiness take on a much sadder tone once you know how she died. Sleeping was the last thing she ever did of her own volition.
Ignatz and Ingrid's support has Ignatz paint a picture of Seiros with some suggestions from Ingrid. Ingrid notes the end result makes Seiros look like a maniacal demigod... which is exactly what she turns out to be.
Byleth has a similar color scheme and backstory to Kamille, the Avatar of a Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade romhack known as Fire Emblem: Order of the Crimson Arm. One that was finalized almost exactly one month short of three years prior to the release date revealed for Three Houses in February 2019.
People frequently call Edelgard Edgelord due to how similar it sounds. Come timeskip, and she's the most violent of three lords.
The constant jokes comparing Edelgard to Daenerys Targaryen, when she turns out to, again, be the most brutal of the three lords and starts a war and conquest like Daenerys herself does. The final battle of Edelgard's campaign even takes place in a burning city, although unlike Daenerys, Edelgard's enemies set the city on fire.
The comparisons to The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel in the pre-release period, considering that in both this game and Cold Steel 1 the Wham Episode that leads to the Time Skip involves the masked antagonist you've been fighting being revealed as one of your classmates and kickstarting a civil war. Both masked characters are also motivated by the desire to take down a major authority figure they see as corrupt.
After all the memes about Marianne being Berkut and Rinea's daughter, it was revealed that she has a proficiency in horses, making her a good fit for the paladin class, just like her "father".
Likewise, the memes about Linhardt being the child of Lyn and Reinhardt became that much funnier when it was shown that his best proficiencies are in magic, also much like his "father".
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE drew ire from fans of Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei for bearing minimal resemblance to either franchise. Between the time management systems, surprisingly dark story routes dealing with a conflict predicated on a decision to align with Law/Neutral/Chaos, and the abandonment of the weapons triangle, Three Houses feels more like an SMT crossover than the aforementioned game ever did.
When his post-timeskip design was revealed, a Fan Nickname for Dimitri was "Punished Dimitri". If you start a NG+, you can give him an alternate hairstyle that makes him even more strongly resemble Big Boss.
In Mannuela and Seteth's support, she observes at his devotion towards Saint Cethleann and teases him for being in love with a long-dead woman while a flustered Seteth informs her she's mistaken. Considering Cethleann/Flayn is actually his daughter...
In Bernadetta and Seteth's support, Bernadetta draws Saint Cichol to look like Seteth, and says that she thought that the story of Saint Indech was told from Cichol's point of view, and imagined that she asked Saint Cichol about it. As you learn in Seteth and Flayn's support, Seteth IS Saint Cichol. It's so funny that even Seteth starts laughing about it.
The antagonists of Seteth and Flayn's Paralogue are Western Church soldiers attempting to reclaim holy ground in the name of Saint Cichol. This becomes darkly hilarious when you find out Seteth, the "heretic" they're fighting, actually is Saint Cichol.
It's Easy, So It Sucks!: While the game is overall very well-liked, a large contingent of fans and reviewers have criticized the lack of difficulty compared to previous titles in the series. The hardest initial difficulty setting available on a first playthrough is less difficult than the hard modes present in Fire Emblem Fates or Fire Emblem Awakening. Features like the ability to micromanage your units and the Divine Pulse mechanic, while appealing in their own right, also hurt the challenge. More challenging difficulties can be unlocked upon beating the game once (and "Maddening" mode was added in a patch about two months after the game's release), but those who want a Nintendo Hard experience right away are out of luck.
It's Short, So It Sucks!: The Black Eagles Route has received some criticism for being a few chapters shorter than the others (it has 18 chapters, the other two houses have 22 and the Church of Seiros has 21). It doesn't help that the fact that the epilogue of said route states the Black Eagle Strike Force clashed with "those who slither in the dark" after the events of route and goes unseen despite having received buildup within the route itself, which could have easily have filled in that dearth of content.
Late Character Syndrome: While just about anyone recruited in part 2 may suffer this fate (Due to being behind in levels and supports), none have it as hard as:
Gilbert. He joins in only one route of the game - and that's Part Two of Azure Moon. As a result of this, he can only support a handful of characters compared to everyone else, and has a much shorter time. While he does have a smaller requirement to get these supports compared to others, he's very easy to toss aside due to how most of his skills start around E. (When most other characters are nearing the A level.) His very very low speed more or less ensures he'll be doubled by everyone he fights.
Dedue as well - since he can actually become a Guest-Star Party Member depending on the route. Due to plot circumstances, he's out of the group for quite awhile, resulting in some deficiency.
Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Ashe has a pretty even split between all the Blue Lions, and a few characters outside of them, most likely due to how much of a Nice Guy he is in his supports.
Les Yay: Catherine has so much, that it's suprising how she's not an S rank option for Female Byleth. She's devoted towards Rhea who is bisexual, she gets flustered after Shamir suggests marriage in their A+ support (after a couple lines saying that they'll always be partners). That said, she explicitly mentions to Leonie that she has an interest in men.
LGBT Fanbase: Unsurprising, since the game has multiple canonical same-sex romance options, but Edelgard, Dorothea, Shamir, and Catherine in particular are immensely popular among lesbians and bi women. For gay and bisexual men, Claude, post-timeskip Dimitri, Linhardt, and Dedue are incredibly popular as well.
Memetic Badass: Lysithea has gotten this treatment thanks how easy it is for her to kill the Death Knight (mostly due to her being equipped with anti-cavalry black magic). Some even jokingly stated that the Death Knight is scared of her.
Memetic Loser: Lorenz became a meme due to his goofy design and personality. Fans either view him as a loser or in a league above the other students. He's also sometimes characterized with a foot fetish.
Leonie's devotion to her role model Jeralt has not gone unnoticed by the fans. She's often meme'd into an obsessed DILF hunter who's only an S-support for Male Byleth because he's Jeralt's spawn, or because she wants to wear Jeralt's wife's ring.
Certain elements of the fanbase have turned Rhea into a source of jokes involving sexual harassment in the workplace and/or her being a cradle-robbing rapist. This is thanks to Jeralt's Adult Fear-laden journal, her invasion of Byleth's personal space in their A-support, which they can call her out on, and the moment after chapter 10 where she watches over the barely conscious Byleth. The latter sounds comforting, but the execution, tone, and the sinister undertones in Rhea's dialogue make the scene creepy.
Edelgard potentially crosses it on the Blue Lions route with ruthless tactics such as lighting a hill on fire to slow down the Faerghus advance even though her classmate Bernadetta is still on it. Dimitri personally thinks the moment she turns herself into Hegemon Edelgard is when she crosses the line.
Rhea crosses it at the end of the Black Eagles route when she orders Fhirdiad to be burned to the ground to kill the Black Eagle Strike Force, fully unwilling to let the innocent civilians evacuate and uncaring that they will be caught in the crossfire. And this is afterFhirdiad gave her shelter and their king just died to protect her.
"I am Ferdinand von Aegir!" If you have Ferdinand recruited, be prepared to hear that a lot, since it plays each time he's selected at mostly full health (i.e. at least once per battle). He stops saying this once the Time Skip hits.
Failing a class certification presents the player with a depressing sound and the prospect of a wasted seal. Hope you saved before you took the exam!
The Lord's attack animation for a sword involves them essentially lightly tapping them with the sword to do damage. While they have other animations, it's the most common one, and very jarring for how silly it looks given the context.
Due to the timeskip, some support conversations unintentionally become hilarious when characters continue addressing events that occurred pre-timeskip. It makes it seem like characters have been stewing over events or failing to solve trivial problems, for five years.
If Annette is wielding her Hero's Relic, and is in the right (or wrong) class, it might look like she's carrying around a giant mop instead of a powerful, legendary hammer.
Characters talk about Edelgard's strong feelings for Byleth on the Blue Lion and Golden Deer routes, and it is true that Byleth saved her life from the bandits in the prologue, which started her interest in them. The problem is that your opportunities to interact with house leaders that aren't your own are extremely limited after said prologue, so it seems like Edelgard is in love with Byleth because they saved her once and then said hello to her a few times in the intervening months.
In general, the Gender-Neutral Writing might sound a bit awkward in English, particularly everyone referring to Byleth as Jeralt's child rather than son or daughter. Even in Jeralt's final moments, he refers to Byleth as "kid" - if the Affectionate Nickname didn't strike any chords before, it's not going to there either.
Edelgard's incredibly anemic rebuttal to Dimitri calling her out on her actions on the Black Eagle route comes across as so tactless that it unintentionally becomes hilarious.
Claude's "friendship speech", as first seen in the E3 trailer, is undoubtedly cheesy. But because of the actual context of the scene it takes place in, with him using it to distract Nemesis and set Byleth up for the kill, you won't care.
Female Byleth's comically large bust is a sticking point for many, but it's turned into an honest to God charm point for the character. Multiple fans have poked fun at the idea of playing as a character with one of the largest busts in the game, with various fan comics and discussions centered around the unconventional absurdity of it.
Lysithea and Cyril's A+ support mostly consists of Lysithea reading a letter from Cyril full of spelling and grammar errors. It's still a big achievement for Cyril, who starts their supports illiterate, and Lysithea is delighted by it. The player may still find themselves feeling "bappy" after reading it.
Leonie and Cyril have a lot of traits that make them unique and have some well developed supports with other characters. Unfortantely, because of Cyril's aloof personality and Leonie's admittedly disliked support with Byleth, they've been exaggerated by the fans to be utterly obsessed with Jeralt and Rhea respectively, basically ignoring any other traits they have. Cyril has it worse, considering his relative popularity compared to Leonie as he lacks the same amount of focus Leonie gets until late enough to where people will have no reason to use him.
Some people can't get over Alois and Gilbert due to how their S ranks are misleading and blaming them for the game's mlm options. Even though they are well-rounded characters and their supports with Byleth still are sweet even if they aren't romantic, they still get harsh treatment from some fans.
People who choose Edelgard's route as their first (where Rhea is at her worst and most insane), tend to judge and treat Rhea more harshly and negatively than she deserves, when one considers how the other routes reveal more that is sympathetic or nuanced about her. This tends to get Rhea accused of quite a few things that she didn't actually do, or that weren't so clear cut (such as the claim that she massacred the Western Church with no care for who was guilty, when paralogues revealed that while she did purge a good deal of their members, she also replaced their corrupt archbishop with someone who wasn't radical, and those purged were ones who attacked her, the knights/raided the tomb, or were involved in it), that she engaged in cruel experiments on people (she created artificial bodies but no cruel experiments are mentioned), that she killed the failures (all evidence available shows she let them live out normal lives, and indeed cared for them), or that she hates humanity (her overall behavior paints a very different picture as she is rather trying to lead humanity like she believed her mother would).
Ingrid gets a lot of criticism for her Fantastic Racism towards the people of Duscur, despite the fact that it only comes up in-game during her supports with Dedue, plus one monastery conversation. Those same supports see her coming to regret her hostility towards him and apologizing to Dedue for her behavior. It's made clear that Ingrid never had all of the information regarding the Tragedy of Duscur, and it's only because her fiancé Glenn Fraldarius died in the Tragedy that she's facing constant pressure from her father to accept an arranged marriage that will support the Galatea family financially, but none of this matters to the fans who write her off derisively as a racist.
No Yay: For some fans, the notion of a romance between Byleth and Rhea becomes this after it's revealed that Rhea was responsible for creating Byleth's mother, as well as the fact that for the first half of the game Rhea believed Byleth could "become" Sothis through her implanted Crest Stone. They liken it to if a woman were to marry her own grandchild, who also happens to be her mother. The game does address a bit of this in their S support where Rhea clarifies her romantic feelings developed toward Byleth's own identity, rather than anything to do with Sothis. The ambiguity of specifically how Byleth's mother was made and what she was in relation to Rhea remains though.
Having Byleth have two potential paired platonic endings isn't that new in Fire Emblem. There have been several endings that are unambiguously nonromantic in previous Fire Emblem games, most notably Dozla and L'arachel where Dozla was happy at L'arachel being married. While it is a first for a paired ending of an S support to be nonromantic in the original text, there were a few paired endings from the localized versions of Awakening and Fates that show no outward implications of romance, (specifically, any potential Kissing Cousins couple having more of an ambiguous ending, and Soleil being changed to only have two possible romantic endings).
Remember how in Radiant Dawn where the two protagonists (Ike and Micaiah) fought alongside their friends? There were no consequences there for defeating the opponent. Instead, it goes the Fates route. During the Mêlée à Trois chapter, you can actually kill some of the former students. Not knock out, force to retreat or wound. Kill. To make it worse, Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude will have words to say when they mourn their fallen comrades.
In general, encountering characters you did not recruit after the Time Skip. More often than not you're forced to kill them, and most of them are genuinely decent people. It hurts even more if you actively tried to recruit them and failed to do so.
As an extension of the above, having to kill, or at least being unable to prevent the deaths of, the Lord characters whose House you did not choose, especially if you've done their route before. The only exception is Claude in certain routes.
Recruiting students from the other houses. To do so, your Byleth needs to have a high enough proficiency and stat that the student ask for, and their support rank will help too. Unfortunately, the game doesn't tell you the exact stat or proficiency level you need, and some proficiencies are difficult for Byleth to obtain. Additionally, recruited characters will be a little behind the player's house students since they're missing out on levels or instruction that those students got up to that point.
Supports in this game face a few issues.
The first is that you can't guarantee paired endings, since characters will pair up with whoever they have gained the most support points with among their A ranks. The game doesn't tell you any of this of course, so it either takes trial and error to get the paired endings you want, or you simply have to not achieve A ranks but miss out on conversations.
The second is the matter of the S ranks, which only Byleth can achieve. You can choose Byleth's S rank partner only before the final maps of each route, meaning that to max them out for completion's sake, you have to go through all of those final maps over and over and over. Making this worse is that Crimson Flower and Azure Moon both have two part maps.
Master classes. The classes themselves are fine, but actually achieving them is the problem. They usually require high ranks in at least two or even three proficiencies, making them difficult to obtain, having to pick up a lesser used proficiency to do so. All of this would require going out of your way to learn, which would take up precious time, to the point where it might even be better to stay as an Advanced class (like Swordmaster or Sniper). The only time this isn't a problem is if a character's skills gravitate towards these classes (such as Bernadetta and Leonie for the Bow Knight class).
Many conversations, including almost every support conversation, feature the character's 3D models standing in front of a 2D panoramic backdrop. Unlike some other games that use similar techniques, such as Persona 5, it's very obvious. This is mostly due to the camerawork in these scenes; as the camera moves around a lot and often leaves the ground in clear view, it's very easy to spot where the 2D image bends. Another dead giveaway is that any flames in these backgrounds remain completely static.
Every time you use a gambit that involves the batallion charging at your enemy, no matter what the gender makeup of your batallion is, the sound used is that of an obviously-masculine group shouting as they charge...even if you're using pegasus knights. Oops.
Spiritual Adaptation: Many comparisons have been made between the game's main plotline and Code Geass. Both involve a member of the world's ruling power (Lelouch and Edelgard) suffering a horrific tragedy due to said ruling power's innate corruption and despotism, leading them to become utterly obsessed with exterminating the world power by the roots and replacing it with a more peaceful power. They are willing to go to whatever lengths is necessary in order to achieve their goals, and one major arc in both stories even involves them assuming a masked alter ego who infiltrates a resistance movement against the corrupt power and quickly becomes its leader. Their main opponent (Suzaku and Dimitri) is an initial Wide-Eyed Idealist who gradually becomes more cynical as the plot progresses and who serves as a loyal enforcer of the world power. While this second individual recognizes the corruption within the world power and seeks to change it from within, he vehemently opposes the rebel leader's methods due to how ruthless and destructive they are. Eventually, they're forced to face their former friends in battle. Several times. Not to mention the giant mechs that you have to defeat at the end of some routes, as well as some cities essentially being nuked off the map in some routes as well. There's also the fact that a semi-neutral party consisting of a mystical green-haired girl (C.C and Sothis) that are capable of passing down their power.
Superlative Dubbing: In general, while there are many experienced actors in the cast, many cast members are relatively new and only had bit parts to their name, many of them being characters in Fire Emblem Heroes. Many get an opportunity to play more fully realized characters, such as Joe Brogie (Sylvain), Joe Zieja (Claude), Allegra Clark (Dorothea and Shamir), Ben Lepley (Dedue), and Ratana (Leonie).
Chris Hackney does a phenomenal performance as Dimitri, with his voice acting perfectly capturing the emotional anguish the character goes through. He's pretty much universally praised for it.
Cherami Leigh's performance at Rhea has been widely praised for the range of emotions the character goes through on each route. Especially when she goes from serene and saintly to an Ax-Crazy woman child.
That One Boss: Catherine in chapter 12 on the Black Eagles route is an incredibly difficult boss, and is harder than the actual main target of the level Rhea. They hit very hard, have high speed thus allowing them to double almost all your units, and Thunderbrand gives a Brave sword like effect, meaning just about anyone dumb enough to get in their range will die in one round of combat. They also have a high crit chance, meaning even if your unit can survive the two hits, they might get killed anyway. To put into perspective how tough they are, your only real hope of winning is to use long range spells and bows, weaken them with gambits or hope the Death Knight, who she can one round regardless, can whittle them down for you.
The second battle of the game is this on Maddening. All in all, you have a team of Byleth, your chosen lord (who are maybe level 3 if you gave them all the experience of the prologue, which is a nasty surprise in itself) and three level 1 characters of your choice. You fight 10 enemies who are somewhere between levels 7-9. Have fun!
Sothis' Paralogue can be incredibly difficult if you still didn't learn how to deal with Demonic Beasts, given that the game throws no less than 8 of them right from the start, with more spawning the more the level drags on. Even worse, the main character starts away from others in attack range of three beasts at once (though they do have a healing tile to help evasion). Even if you did learn how to deal with beasts this paralogue can be problematic due to sheer amount of beasts you have to fight.
Marianne's Paralogue is one of the few levels which requires adopting a completely different strategy. Marianne herself spawns away from the rest of the party next to the level boss and a bunch of monsters, each of which can kill her easily (and her death will cause the level to fail even on Casual). Between her and the rest of your party are additional monsters which make it difficult to get to her, which you can't see because it's also one of the few levels with fog. Once you reunite, you then have to beat the boss monster itself, which has 4 health bars.
Somewhat similarly, there's Manuela and Hanneman's Paralogue. Manuela starts off on the top of the mountain, fairly close to some enemies who can kill her, thereby causing you to fail. Flayn with Rescue is your best friend here, although it may take a couple turns to get Flayn in range.
Mercedes and Caspar's Paralogue. The good news is that you don't have to defeat the Death Knight. The bad news is that Mercedes and Caspar are on the other end of the map from your units, and it's entirely likely that the enemies near there will go over and kill them. Granted, you can just make them stay where they are and not move them anywhere, but you have to go through a horde of soldiers and Demonic Beast to get towards Mercedes and Caspar's location. Not only that, reinforcements will come much later in the battle, near towards Mercedes and Caspar's location. If you do fight against the Death Knight in order to get the Scythe Of Sariel, the Death Knight is still a very tough opponent to beat.
Linhardt and Leonie's Paralogue is no slouch either; on top of being a level with fog, the enemies on the level have enormous movement ranges, making it extremely easy for your units to be ambushed by two or three units out of nowhere. If you think your troubles are over once you've reached the boss, think again; on top of possessing a massive four health bars, the boss is nine units wide - meaning you need to break more than double the number of weak points to stun it till your next turn compared to a regular beast - and it's one of the only monsters in the game that does not get temporarily stunned by breaking its weak points. On top of that, it has a massive attack range, and once it's on its last health bar, it gets guaranteed double attacks whenever you units initiate combat, while also preventing them from double attacking in turn. Good luck!
Petra and Bernadetta's Paralogue, Foreign Land and Sky. For starters, the map is primarily forests, thereby limiting your movement significantly, while the majority of the enemy are armor units, who greatly benefit from the extra evade to Stone Wall your forces. But what really makes this chapter infamous is what happens halfway through. You see, the game tells you that you can win by either routing the enemy or making Petra arrive at the highlighted location. The game is lying to you. If you try to move Petra anywhere near that space, not only will you prompt a massive wave of reinforcements to just spontaneously appear all over the map in the middle of your turn (better hope you moved Petra first, because the game doesn't care how many available units you have left), but then it will change the win conditions to remove the condition you were just about to fulfill. The Black Eagles route version of this is even worse because Catherine appears in place of Hubert and she'll easily wipe out any units who stand in her way.
The first post-timeskip mission on the routes outside of the Empire. You start off with Byleth and Dimitri/Claude/Seteth facing down a large army of bandits. Your reinforcements come in very slowly, and at different corners of the map, making it significantly harder to launch a focused offensive. Additionally the map surprises you after you defeat the boss by turning the mission into an enemy escape map as the boss makes a break for it. This can be difficult to deal with if you didn't deal with the units stationed near his escape route.
Getting the three/four Dark Seals available in part one, since it's a process that involves dealing with the Death Knight. Even if you choose not to fight him, you still have to get a thief close enough to steal from him. On the third encounter, however, Jeralt is on the field with you - and he has a clear path to the boss. (Worth noting Jeralt falling is game over, whereas the boss's defeat ends the stage.) Even on Normal, you have to rush past obstacles and exploit Warp (which you might not have available to you) to get to the Death Knight before Jeralt can kill or be killed by the boss. Even if you're willing to overlook the Death Knight's difficulty, the fact that he is the only source of Dark Seals in the game means you have a very limited number of opportunities to get them if you want at least one Dark Bishop on your team, especially on the Black Eagles route (the Crimson Flower branch in particular). While the other routes provide more opportunities to fight the Death Knight and get Dark Seals (and your characters will probably be strong enough to reasonably challenge him), you only get the first three chances on the Black Eagles route since the Death Knight becomes one of your allies on what would normally be the fourth chance, and you're typically encouraged to avoid fighting him at that point in the game. And it's even worse on Maddening, since now the Death Knight cannot be oneshotted by Lysithea thanks to the Rafail Gem.
Speaking of the Death Knight, getting the Scythe of Sariel. To do that, you have to do Mercedes and Caspar's Paralogue, and have Caspar deal the finishing blow to the Death Knight. Not only does the aforementioned character suffers from being a Glass Cannon, they will generally have problems not being doubled, which is pretty much death sentence. Not only that, there is no indication that the Scythe of Sariel is even obtainable at any point, and neither is there any hint that Caspar has to defeat Death Knight, other than being required for the paralogue.
While Felix's Paralogue is fairly easy, keeping all the villagers alive is extraordinarily difficult. They're scattered around the map, and generally far away from your starting point. While they have soldiers protecting them, their final destination is guarded by several enemy units, who will likely kill them before you can reach them. If they decide not to charge towards their goal, they'll instead run away from it, towards enemies, who will likely kill them before you can reach them. Physic can help heal the villagers, but if you don't beeline towards them right away with cavalry/fliers, saving them can be difficult.
The return of gender-restricted classes (after Fates removed most of those restrictions) wasn't received warmly by fans, especially the series mainstay Hero now being male-only. The flames were fanned by the fact that this version of Hero has Swordfaire and Vantage, which led most people to believe female characters were locked out of two skills associated with the female-friendly Myrmidon/Swordmaster class. Thankfully it was confirmed in the July Famitsu issue that Swordfaire isn't Hero exclusive. However, that the very big pain in the ass to get Dark Mage (and Dark Bishop even more so) is a male exclusive class in a game where not only do most male units gravitate towards physical attacks, but one of the female mages pretty much exclusively learns dark magic, was not well appreciated. Not helping matters is that Hubert, the one male mage who exclusively learns dark magic (and gains the most benefits from being a Dark Mage/Bishop, and is classed as such as an NPC) is exclusive to the Black Eagles route (the Crimson Flower branch in particular), which has the fewest opportunities to get the two Dark Seals needed to access the full class-line. Another unfortunate aspect is the fact that the Gremory, the only pure caster Master class, is female-only.
Making Byleth a Heroic Mime after Robin and Corrin, who had a lot more customization, but did speak is a rather contested change. Especially since the stellar voice acting of the cast makes Byleth's Heroic Mime status stick out like a sore thumb.
The September 2019 patch changed some of dialogue in the story, most notibly changing a line in Bernadetta's B support with Byleth, where she explained why she's reclusive◊. This one dialogue change was very disliked after it was discovered due to it not only removing some details, but lessening the impact of the abuse she experienced. It also doesn't transition into the line after and the rest of the conversation very well, which are otherwise unchanged from the original localization ("I tried hard to do as he asked").note The original line in Japanese did not have any mention of the more abusive elements, making the original localized line appear to be a case of Woolseyism.
Kronya was marketed extensively in the leadup to the game, and made out to be a significant member of Those Who Slither in the Dark. Instead, she's an Advertised Extra, dying one chapter after killing Jeralt, robbing Byleth of a potential It's Personal nemesis.
Several characters have family members who are mentioned heavily in supports or Exploration conversations, but make no actual appearance in game. Some have such strong impact in the game that their lack of inclusion seems strange. Notable examples include:
Bernadetta's father, who most players wish they could fight after reading into how horrible his treatment of Bernadetta is.
Caspar's father, who is described as a Four-Star Badass that sounds like a great foe to face or get to know depending on the route. Instead, he's also Killed Offscreen after making a Heroic Sacrifice for his men, which is somewhat disappointing.
Sylvain's parents, who have strong Pro-Crest views that ended up affecting their children for the worse.
Hilda's brother Holst, who is The Ace for his valiance on the front lines and seems to be a cool dude all around. Despite his heavy off-screen presence in the Golden Deer route, we never actually meet him.
Edelgard and Hubert make it perfectly clear that cooperating with those who slither in the dark is merely a means to an end and will be dealt with once the Empire is victorious in their goals. However, they are simply dealt with offscreen, which given how the Black Eagles route is shorter than the others, seems like a wasted opportunity to witness and experience Edelgard and her friends wreak some well deserved havoc on them.
Some players lament on how Dimitri and Claude had the chance and possibility of being able to cooperate with each other and have an Enemy Mine moment against Edelgard. This is stemmed from the fact that Claude asks for Dimitri's aid in Chapter 19 of the Blue Lions route and how Dedue comes to the Golden Deer's aid against the Climax Boss of the Golden Deer route, Edelgard herself, hinting that the two lords at least got along with each other despite their vitriol. But the game doesn't go further with it as Claude leaves after chapter 19 of the Blue Lions route, while Dimitri gets Killed Offscreen in the Golden Deer route.
In the Crimson Flower route, Rhea is revealed to to be a dragon in front of witnesses unlike the other routes. A lot of things could have been done with this plot point, does it lead to a crisis of faith across Fodlan since their archbishop was lying to the entire continent? How do the other house leaders feel about this? There could have been debates over the ethics of divine beings actively distorting history, and controlling Fodlan from behind the scenes for centuries. Characters like Dimitri or Catherine could have argued to Edelgard, that Rhea was good for Fodlan despite her true species, as Rhea did establish relative harmony over Fodlan and that Edelgard would be no better than her as a ruler. This plot point turns the entire standard Fire Emblem plot of Emperor invades peaceful nations on it's head, but instead it doesn't receive much focus in the main story aside NPC chatter, and Claude doesn't make any comment on it despite distrusting gods, and Rhea enforcing isolationism in Fodlan.
The Armored Knight class line is typically cited as the worst class progression in the game due to the design choices for the maps in combination with the limited movement of the class. Much like Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, the maps are quite big, and because many maps have extra objectives, you need to be quick to complete them, so armored units cant keep up and often miss combat because of it. They also give negative growths to the characters Speed growth, making it difficult to justify using since the Speed stat is very important in every game. Ignoring that as well, their Mastered Skills also are not very useful, and units who have proficiency with Armor work better in classes like the Fighter or Brawler class line since those class options better use characters like Dedue, Hilda, and Raphaels strengths. The only viable reason one would want to pursue this class line would be to boost a characters Defense growth and get the Boring, but Practical weapon weight reduction skills, and the only character who truly works well as one is Edelgard as the Armored Lord or Emperor (which is basically the promoted version of the Armored Lord) due to the unique properties it gives her.
Master Class wise, the Great Knight class generally gets avoided because of the impracticality of obtaining, especially compared to the other mounted classes which are much easier to progress in to. As mentioned above, armored classes do not get used often, and so many players skip out leveling a character's Armor proficiency, but the requirement to unlock means having high ranks in Axes, Riding, and Armor, the latter two being inherently conflicting proficients that few characters can reasonably obtain ranks in, with someone like Ferdinand being one of the few characters to have proficiency in both, and even then Armor is a hidden talent for him.
Another Master Class, Mortal Savant, is not particularly liked either; a combination of being infantry, being slow, having two requirements that few characters have at the same time (Sword and Reason), and generally being inferior to Dark Knight when it comes to hybrid classes. Only a few characters pulls off Mortal Savant well, that being Felix, Ignatz and Lysithea.
Yet another Master Class example is the Holy Knight. The class is intended to be an offensive Faith caster with White Tomefaire, unfortunately Faith magic is almost always inferior to Reason magic offensively, and Holy Knight also sacrifices White Magic Uses x2 when compared to Bishop - which means that it's also inferior as a support class when compared to the class that precedes it. As such, every character that does good as Holy Knight would rather go Dark Knight for offense or go Gremory/stay as a Bishop for support.
The Lord class Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude gain does offer some solid growth buffs, but beyond that the class does little to make it worth using for most players. The class is more of a support class by providing buffs to nearby allies, and acts as an easier way for the three lords to level up their Authority quicker, but it offers no skills worth using, and the extra proficiency it buffs are Sword and Lances, which means the class is not synergistic with any of the lords but Dimitri, as Edelgard and Claudes main weapons are Axes and Bows respectively. Not helping is the Mastered Skills, Subdue and Resistance +2, which are very lackluster compared to the other Intermediate Class' skills like Vantage, Death Blow, or Desperation. Additionally, all three main characters get handed two unique classes for free post-timeskip, and these have all the benefits of Lord and more.
This game might as well be the lowest point for the Hero class. In this game they are not only locked to male characters, but are also almost completely outclassed by Swordmaster (only having +2 HP mod, +5% HP Growth, and +1 Luck mod, compared to Swordmaster having +1 Dex mod, +2 Spd mod and +10% Spd growth). Skill-wise, while both have Awesome, but Impractical Mastered Skills (Defiant Str on Hero vs. Astra on Swordmaster) and both have Swordfaire, Swordmaster has a better second class skill in Sword Critical +10 compared to Hero's Vantage (which is even possible to learn earlier by mastering Mercenary). Finally, one point Hero usually has over Swordmaster (better Axe usage in the form of Axefaire) is moot in this game since every class can use every physical weapon. End result: the only reason to ever go Hero is if the character just doesn't have the sword rank to go Swordmaster, since Hero only requires B-rank compared to Swordmaster's A, or if you're just a perfectionist/completionist who wants to master every class in the case for Byleth.
Gilbert in particular - despite being an absolute beast of a Tank, he has a speed growth of only 30... and a base speed in the single digits. Meaning that even with all the weight weapons, he's going to be doubled by just about everyone he faces. On top of this, he only joins after Chapter 12 - with very little development in any skill. On top of that, he only joins in Azure Moon... meaning he is one of the least available units in the entire game.
Dedue is rather hard to use. His low speed bases&Growth means he won't be able to double anyone unless you give him a pair of gauntlets and make him a brawler-Grappler-War master. His low resistance (Combined with the fact a lot of enemies have magic, powerful dakr magic at that) also means he is hardly able to perform his role of tanking efficiently and will be easy pickings for mages. To throw salt in the wounds, you can actually lose him forever depending on whether or not you completed his Paralogue. And to rub it in even further, he's forced out of your group on multiple occasions - further putting him behind in skill, support, and class development. Players have found him very useful, but even his fans admit he is a little difficult to put into the party, especially depending on your recruitment.
Depending on who you ask, Flayn may be this. How much she pays off is up for debate - she does have access to the Caudecus staff and Fortify, which make her a very good healer. Unfortunately, she also lacks Physic, meaning her only form of remote healing to waste a Fortify charge, meaning that to heal, she has to go into the fray. Her low defence means she can not take any hits, and even Nosferatu tanking is quite risky since she'll usually take more damage than she recovers. She's great Gremory material at the very least, since her budding talent is in Reason. One of her Faith magic abilities is also Rescue, which is situational at best. Oh and her only weakness is riding... which means it's difficult to get her into Dark or Holy Knight.
While the artstyle is mostly praised by the fandom, the eye designs (particularly the dotted pupils, double-tiered irises that look like they have entire eyeballs surrounded by the sclera, and the flat and low saturated colors) are generally criticized for giving the characters rather soulless expressions.
Monica's portrait is noted to be rather... off. This may have been intentional however, given that she's actually Kronya.
The CG artwork for Byleth's S-supports have rather variable levels of quality for both genders options. Certain ones, like Petra, Dimitri, Claude, and Marianne are heartwarming and well-drawn; on the other side, Edelgard's gives the player a deer-in-the-headlights close-up of her face with an expression that makes her look like she is sucking in her cheeks; some like Leonie, Flayn, and Gilbert look nearly completely different from their in-game art and designs; and a surprising number of them seem to pretend noses don't exist.
As far as spending Free Time goes, when it comes to class optimization Seminars (where Byleth and their class learn from professors and knights to increase skills & motivation) drop in viability as time goes on, as Byleth cannot go to more than 1 Seminar no matter the Professor Levels. Seminars are generally overshadowed by Exploration (which not only motivate students with meals and increase Byleth skills from Faculty Training, but also provide quests, resource gathering from fishing & gardening and improving supports) and Battle (the only way to improve character and batallion levels aside from missions).
Adjutants theoretically have a role in battle, either attacking, blocking, or healing the lead unit, making picking them part of your strategy. The problem is that the activation rates for any of these benefits is abysmal, and the player will have to go through many battles to see any of them activate once. Adjutants are only really good for grinding Experience and Support points.
Unfortunate Implications: While this Fire Emblem title has the most LGBT content to date, controversy arose over the lopsided amount of five female same-sex options to a single male same-sex option for Byleth (with two of the only examples in the series of S-supports not being romantic for a male Byleth). Compounded by some same-sex paired endings between characters besides Byleth having romance heavily implied but not absolutely explicit, has made more thanone media outlet accuse the game of expanding on LGBT content but only in a way that wouldn't offend a heteronormative audience.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: This game does much more on the Gray and Grey Morality - which does have some unintended side effects, especially if you know events and revelations from other routes. Sadly some examples still happen in their own routes, such as:
In general, Edelgard's actions might not come as sympathetically as intended to some players. Her goal of ending Crest-based discrimination and the rule of the corrupt nobility is reasonable, but she quickly makes it clear in other routes that she is willing to kill anyone in her way. She might openly voice disgust with and disapprove of the actions of Those Who Slither In The Dark, and in some cases actively sabotage them, but in other cases she helps them, such as loaning them the Death Knight and stealing Crest stones to create Demonic Beasts. She was also the one to hire Kostas to indirectly try to kill Claude and Dimitri in the beginning of the game. And one of her stated reasons for opposing the church is because she believes that Nabateans like Rhea and Seteth shouldn't hold political power, which makes it come out as part of the reason she starts a five-year war is because of Fantastic Racism, which isn't a terribly heroic motive.
Rhea can be this as well. While we are likely meant to sympathize with her character and motives behind her actions, especially in Church route and somewhat at the end of GD, its difficult to ignore her censorship and distortion of human history, as well as her tampering with Fódlan's progress towards societal modernity for reasons that at the best of times lean towards the selfish. Her tendency to tell Byleth half truths and the fact that she orders them to cover up Miklan's transformation into a demonic beast instead of explaining what happened. Add in her tendency to meet violence-related opposition with lethal force, her willingness to order executions without proper trial (though its unclear if this is considered unusual in Fodlan, the students do note it is quite brutal), and the fact that shes downright ''eager for Byleth to assume their role as Sothis which likely results in their Death of Personality; and suddenly, supporting Edelgard against her becomes much easier. It doesn't help that unlike the other Lords, she doesn't get very much Character Focus in her route (which generally results in a Sympathetic P.O.V. and positive Character Development), since she's absent until just before the end.
Although Leonie is well liked as a character, her support chain with Byleth has earned a decent amount of criticism due to Leonie's frustrations at Byleth's lack of knowledge about Jeralt's life. She acts very hostile, accusing them of taking their father Jeralt for granted, and when she attempts to apologize in the B-support, she loses her temper again in the end. The fact that this support can only happen after Jeralt dies comes across as extremely poor taste as she makes the issue about herself and doesn't even remotely try to console Byleth. While Jeralt is an important mentor for Leonie, she comes across as very entitled about him, especially since she still has a living father.
The Western Church may have a point about the Central Church's centralizing of power... but it doesn't help their case that most of them have Obviously Evil voices and mannerisms when encountered (or are simply obviously radically zealous) and that their archbishop at least is stated to only be instigating the radicals to increase their own power and influence, and resorting to violence as a first resort at every turn. Even after their archbishop is replaced, the radical remnants split off from the main Western Church and continue on to the point of taking over religious sites and attacking anyone not allied with them who draw near.
Viewer Gender Confusion: There was some confusion among fans as to Linhardt's gender, since he has long hair and somewhat feminine features, especially before the timeskip, until he was stated to be a guy.
Claude during the Battle of Grondor Field in the Azure Moon route. He knows that there are two other armies in the area; the imperial army that wants to take over the Alliance, and the kingdom army that has no quarrel with the Alliance and a common enemy with the imperial army. However, due to fog in the area, he doesn't know which army is in which position. Instead of holding back and waiting to act until he knows what's going on, he decides to charge in and attack anyone who isn't with the Alliance. The resulting debacle leaves the Alliance army severely weakened.
While there were a few detractors who weren't as fond of the designs as others, even they were won over with the reveal of the main trio's outfits post timeskip. Especially Dimitri. This also extended to the timeskip designs of other characters, where they drop the generic school uniforms in favor of more personalized looks. Lorenz is especially well-liked.
The reveal of the timeskip and the story being much darker than it initially seemed also won people over who found the school segments bland, fearing the game would take a Persona-meets-Fire Emblem approach.
On the second day of Nintendo Threehouse E3 2019, it was confirmed that Three Houses will have romance options, however, it will only be possible after the timeskip. This calmed down a lot of fans because of the controversial possibility of Teacher/Student Romance.
After it was revealed that Fates would be split into 3 different games for each of its routes, the reaction to that was mixed-to-negative. Three Houses by comparison, is a single game with multiple routes (albeit with the routes branching in the middle of the game, rather than after the first few chapters), which was greatly appreciated by the fanbase.
Woolseyism: Petra's foreigner speech habit was originally handled in Japanese by having her take long pauses between words as she tried to find the correct term to use. This is difficult to convey in English because of word count limitations, plus it would cause possible union issues with the actor due to essentially being paid to say nothing. To get around this without losing an aspect of her character, the localization makes her a Strange-Syntax Speaker whose grammar is intelligible but slightly off (e.g. "I am having (x)"), especially in areas such as verb conjugation or idioms, sort of akin to how Starfire speaks in Teen Titans. This allowed Petra's dialogue to convey her struggle as a non-native speaker without issue of text limitations, and made her more endearing of a character.
While the male Byleth is commonly agreed to have a decent character design, reception to the female version was more mixed. She wears a bizarre outfit with short sleeves, short shorts, garish patterned tights, an exposed belly button and a big gap across the chest. The only thing it has in common with the male design is the cape and colour scheme. The revelation that the first wave of DLC for the game includes a redesign of her costume caused a sigh of relief among the fanbase.
The design for Byleth's unique class, Enlightened One, is an utterly bizarre mismatch of white and black robes, gold ornaments, a tiara, and purple cape. For added weirdness, Female Byleth still keeps her breast window, open navel, and patterned tights. The result is something a Final Fantasy villain would wear.
Wyvern Lords of either gender have a metallic half-skirt held up in the back like the tail feathers of a turkey.