Fire Emblem: Three Houses is another big summer hit for Nintendo.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses releases tomorrow, and reviews have begun pouring in for one of the most hotly-anticipated summer games of 2019. Nintendo fans likely won’t be disappointed by this one, either—the game’s Metacritic score is quite impressive early on.

A lot of the game’s reviews don’t just make it out to be a great summer excursion, but a genuine game of the year contender, too. As of this writing, Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a metascore of 87, with 49 positive reviews and 2 mixed entries. One of the most interesting takeaways from all of this positivity is that it stems from a major risk the game took.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is an ambitious title that drastically altered the traditional franchise experience. Instead of tactical gameplay at the fore with character development close behind, Three Houses leans even harder into the latter. According to Fire Emblem: Three Houses developers, this is a result of the team’s partnership with Koei Tecmo. Without them, apparently, it wouldn’t have been possible to make a game this big.

One of the most interesting takeaways from all of this positivity is that it stems from a major risk the game took.

That has paid off in spades judging from the game’s reception. Many of the reviews highlight the school social sim system as a major selling point. It makes it hard to believe Fire Emblem games haven’t featured that kind of socializing depth before.

The release of Fire Emblem: Three Houses will mark the second gigantic hit for Nintendo this summer. Super Mario Maker 2 released to critical acclaim and has since been improved even further. While Sony and Microsoft will certainly have more to say before the year is out, 2019 feels like the Summer of the Switch.

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Cody's Take

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses is proof that risk-taking is the way to go. It would have been easy to churn out another instalment in the series and sell well. Three Houses adds a social sim element that has evolved into one of the most enjoyable parts of the game, though. That gives Fire Emblem: Three Houses more reach into new demographics. It genuinely feels like Three Houses could be the most accessible launch in the franchise.

If that’s the case, it’s another homerun for Nintendo, so soon after Mario Maker 2 became one of the summer’s best exclusives. The Nintendo Switch has proven to be a great first-party machine. Heading into 2020, Sony and Microsoft both seem to be doubling down on their own first-party titles. That makes me very excited to see some truly healthy competition.

Until then, though, I’ll be joining the Golden Deer and supporting Claude, the best boy, all the way.