'Fire Emblem Engage' Vs. 'Three Houses': What's Different Between the Two Games

Jon Bitner - Author

Jan. 20 2023, Published 3:39 p.m. ET

Fire Emblem Engage Logo
Source: Nintendo

Nintendo shook up the Fire Emblem formula when it released Three Houses in 2019, and this year’s Fire Emblem Engage largely brought the game back to its roots. The two strategy games share a lot of the same DNA, but there are some massive differences between the two titles. Before picking up the latest game in the franchise, here’s a closer look at the differences and similarities between Fire Emblem Engage and Three Houses.

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'Fire Emblem Engage' Vs 'Three Houses'

Before looking at the big differences between Fire Emblem Engage and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, there’s one thing both games have in common: a nuanced battle system. While Engage and Three Houses add their own twists to the formula (and Engage restores the traditional Battle Triangle), tactical, turn-based combat is still the heart of the experience. If you enjoyed the battles in Three Houses, you should find much to love about Engage.

Fire Emblem Engage Ring
Source: Nintendo
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Leveling up and carefully kitting out your party is also just as important in Engage as it was in Three Houses. You’ll be using a new system based around Emblem Rings, but the core concept of collecting new gear and equipping the right items for the fight ahead will always be at the front of your mind.

Things really start to diverge between the two games when you step off the battlefield. Whereas Three Houses gave you the sprawling monastery of Garreg Mach to explore and dozens of characters to form relationships with, Engage largely removes these elements and offers a streamlined narrative.

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'Fire Emblem Engage' drops the social sim for tactical combat.

Instead of Garreg Mach, Engage gives you a small hub known as Somniel. It’s not nearly as impressive as the hub zone in Three Houses, but it does give you a chance to chat with companions or prepare for your next quest. You also won’t be forming unique alliances and rivalries, as the narrative isn’t player-driven.

Fire Emblem Engage Party
Source: Nintendo
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In other words, everyone who plays Fire Emblem Engage will encounter much of the same content, which is a massive departure from Three Houses. Nintendo’s iconic game from 2019 offered multiple endings, while Engage has reduced that number to just one. You’re still able to form unique bonds with NPCs and head out on side quests, but they don’t play a significant role in the outcome of the game.

'Fire Emblem Engage' offers improved graphics and performance.

It should come as no surprise, but Fire Emblem Engage looks remarkably better than its predecessor. Character models look sharper, combat is much more fluid, and everything about Engage has a bit more visual flair. Of course, seeing as Three Houses launched several years ago, it would be a bit shocking if this wasn’t the case. Engage still can’t hit a solid 60fps, but it runs at 30fps better than its predecessor.

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At the end of the day, Fire Emblem Engage is a game that returns the franchise to its roots. Tactical combat is at the heart of the adventure, and while it lacks some of the fun social elements of Three Houses, fans of the series should find much to love about Engage.

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