In the next few days, we will reveal what we think are the 10 best games of 2019, organized by release date. Then, on December 17, we will reveal which of the nominees can take home the coveted title of the Best GameSpot game of 2019. So be sure to come back for the big announcement, and in the meantime, follow all our other end of the year coverage compiled in our Best Games of 2019 hub.
There is a reason why Fire Emblem is only growing in popularity, even if the developers themselves are not sure why. It is a series known for a strong combat focused on strategy, fought by fantastic characters, with recent entries that really raise the ante to form relationships with your units. This year, Fire Emblem: Three Houses took it even further, supplanting the romance of 3DS games with an emphasis on mentoring and camaraderie on and off the battlefield. It is an incredibly involved and rewarding experience that attracts you from all angles.
Now Playing: Fire Emblem: Three Houses | The best games of 2019
By choosing him as a teacher, Three Houses places him in a privileged position to get involved in his characters, and quickly. You are responsible for the personal growth of each of your students; As you instruct them in various forms of combat each week, you mold their talents to adapt them to the type of unit you need while taking into account their personal study objectives. Observing how several meters and skill levels increase week by week is an incredibly satisfying reward for your menu management efforts alone, it is one of the best feedback loops throughout the year, without a doubt, but is developing links with your students and seeing them enter into theirs that makes Three Houses so special.
School life is an important part of Three Houses, and you spend a good part of your time in the game talking with students and teachers, running back lost items to their owners and doing favors to people in the name of improving your relationships with them. Happier students work harder and learn more efficiently, which, from a minimum point of view, makes small favors worth time and effort. But it’s also easy for me to like almost all the characters. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes, strange peculiarities and difficult pasts. At first, many of them fit into the anime archetypes: the tsundere, the prince, the womanizer. But there is more for each of them, and as their teacher, becoming a good confidant is part of the job.
As the school year progresses, you can see an incredibly shy girl become safer and learn why a flirtatious mess of a man treats relationships so coldly. An enemy in a game can become a friend in the next one when he sees the side of another house in the story. Facilitating friendships between two students, whether having lunch with them or making them fight together on the battlefield, can open scenes that will give you a better view of them as people. The friendships that are developed are both a reward for investing in your students and the success of the dopamine you get by seeing how their statistics increase.
On the battlefield, you feel immensely the effects of that investment. Permadeath might not be as devastating in Three Houses as it was in previous Fire Emblem games, while the unit is lost forever, the character is still seen around the monastery, but a clear sense of responsibility towards the students is still felt in your load. It could be said that the best way to play Three Houses is in their most difficult difficulties, where every choice you make has a domino effect days (off the battlefield) and turns (on the battlefield) on the line. Making the most of your time and developing effective strategies is crucial; As the Divine Pulse’s rewind turn ability often shows you, seemingly small choices, such as moving a character two spaces forward or three, can mean the difference between a student who survives or falls into battle.
There are quite a few layers for any battle strategy given in Three Houses. You want to keep your students safe from harm, but you also want them to participate enough to level up,