Intelligent Systems has a talent for making games with characters people fall in love with. In Advance Wars, it’s the various commanding officers. Those who have played the Pushmo games likely have a fondness for Mallo. But with Fire Emblem, it really gets an opportunity to developer characters people can connect to by having units they might find particularly essential in battles or adore after seeing support conversations. Fire Emblem: Three Houses is no different, as it excels in offering an array of people to adore. However, it is especially notable for having 15 playable heroines who all come across as being very cool and strong individuals that you might not only want to get to know better, but have join your house and fight in your army. It’s almost overwhelming.
If someone has the online interactions option turned on, they’ll see the heroines dominate the charts. While some of this can be attributed to people starting with the Black Eagles, as Edelgard and other characters from her house tend to top the charts, or certain professors or knights like Catherine being recruited relatively early, since they join after certain level requirements are met or as a part of the story, there are other elements that can be considered.
Dorothea values the authority and charisma stats. Since Byleth will likely be making use of a lot of battalions, due to being present in every battle, and have opportunities for many tea parties on birthdays, she could easily be recruited by any player. If you decide to tap into Byleth’s Faith Budding Talent, it won’t be too difficult to lure the Blue Lions’ Annette or Golden Deer’s Lysithea over. (As far as male students go, the two easiest recruitments are Ignatz for either gender, due to him valuing authority and dexterity, and Sylvain who will just… join any female Byleth without caring about stats.)
It also helps that so many of the heroines have some great Budding Talents to tap into. Bernadette’s is riding. If you invest in it, she eventually gets the Pass ability that lets her pass through enemies. You can combine her natural skills with a bow with it to create an incredible Bow Knight who can freely move about the map and hit nearly anything, thanks to the eventual class skills like Bow Range +2 and Canto. While some Blue Lions might decide to let Ashe, who starts out with a proclivity to archery, stay as the designated bow unit, Mercedes should at least spend a little time with one. She can be absolutely lethal with a bow, thanks to her Budding Talent, eventually picking up the Waning Shot Combat Art that deals more damage than a normal Curved Shot and has the benefit of inflicting –5 strength on the enemy hit. It can be a good complement to her eventual role as perhaps a Bishop, Gremory, or maybe even Holy Knight. Though, the real “natural” Holy Knight is Marianne, thanks to her having a Budding Talent in lances that leads to the Frozen Lance Combat Art. She naturally excels at white magic, has a knack for riding, and will recover her own health if she’s around other cavalry or flying units.
There are also so many good Hero Relics and Sacred Weapons different heroines can get and use well. Byleth gets the Sword of the Creator as part of the storyline and Catherine comes with Thunderband, giving you two that can help you early on and give access to Ruptured Heaven and Thunderbrand. (The latter can even be used by characters with the same Crest.) Other heroines eventually get their own special weapons, which you may want to use sparingly or be sure to repair. With Ingrid, for example, I tended to have her only use Javelins and rely on Luin, her lance Hero Relic, for dire circumstances. Annette can get the even better Combat Ability Dust, once you get her Crusher. If you ended up getting Flayn on your side and are making her a mage, giving her the Caduceus Staff from her Paralogue will help you keep her safe while increasing her range. Further proving that Bernadette could be the best Bow Knight ever, her The Inexhaustible bow is essentially a better kind of Brave Bow that gives her two consecutive hits and restores her health.
But, it also helps that the heroines also tend to have some pretty great and layered personalities. Take Ingrid. She seems like the most level-headed and well-balanced of Dimitri’s childhood friends. However, she’s dealt with a lot of grief in her time and there are some concerns regarding the stability of her family. Marianne is a sheltered young woman who no one seems to know much about, and you can see how clearly troubled she is by something. But, she won’t open up unless you get to know her. Dorothea and Petra are both incredibly charming, with the former offering some fun flirty Support conversations and the latter turning into probably my best Assassin with very little effort. Annette is this ray of sunshine (who has a wonderful relationship with Mercedes and some funny conversations with Felix). Also, I’m incredibly amused whenever Leonie comes up and acts like she knows Byleth’s father so well, even though the avatar has spent years, well, being his child and essentially second-in-command?
There are a lot of great characters in general in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. It would be easy to have a tough time picking a starting house based on the rosters in general. But, for some reason, it seems like the playable heroines this time around are really great people. A lot of them have some great talents, promising futures, and good weapons. Plus, they have compelling backstories that make you feel for them and want to know what their futures could hold. (And maybe, people might even hope that by siding with them, they could make their situations better.) That so many are so cool seems like a sign of what a good game this is.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is available for the Nintendo Switch.