Every Friday, A.V. Club employees open our weekly open thread for discussion of fixtures and recent gambling. The actual action, however, can be found in the comments in which we invite you to answer our eternal question: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
Fire Emblem: Three Houses The first Nintendo Switch entry in the publisher's long line of tactical strategy role-playing games, hijacks you as a professor at a medieval fantasy school that – actually you know what it's just Hogwarts. It's a medieval fantasy hogwarts, with swords and military tactics instead of wands and potions (though there are wands and some potions). In the beginning, you can choose which house you want to teach, although one is clearly superior, and here I met a student named Bernadette. She's a good archer, but when she and her classmates are introduced, she's so worried that she just turns around and asks everyone to pretend she's not there. From then on, my main goal in the game was to liberate her from her shell and teach her to be the master murderer I know she can be. Now it is going very well and I can not stand it.
See, I'm very similar to Bernie (as her fancier classmates call her). I do not have purple hair, I'm not a teenage girl who goes into the medieval fantasy of Hogwarts, and I could not possibly hit anything with an arrow, but I'd also rather ask everyone to pretend I'm not there when to take the risk You talk to me. Basically, all my schooling was a well-meaning teacher who encouraged me to speak more in class or raise my hand and ask more questions, hoping to ease myself out of my shell and help me get a better student be, but guess what? I hated it. I knew what they were doing and I knew why they did it, but that made me hate it even more. I did not want to leave my shell. It was safe there and scary everywhere.
Meanwhile, Bernie has a constant dialogue about how she would rather read in her room if I send her into battle. If she kills well, secures my position and effectively guarantees a great victory, she tends to ask if she can just go home. Fire Emblem has a great social element in gameplay that is as important as the actual battles. Characters' stats vary depending on who they are in battles and what kind of interaction you have with them between battles (you can spend your days exploring Not-Hogwarts while spending time with your students eating or lost items they return). If two characters interact enough with each other, you can also unlock small skits in which they talk to each other without you.
For most of these free sequences, Bernie only stays in her room. You can talk to her through the door, and sometimes she sticks out her head to calm you down, but that's all, until you start to push her. If you do that, you'll get some cute and funny scenes from Bernie trying to figure it out. In a sequence, she prepares to ask another girl if she should be her friend – nothing romantic or complicated. Only: "Can we basically say that we are officially friends?" The other girl is more than happy to be Bernie's girlfriend. But she's a little taken aback at how worried Bernie is, and the tiny reluctance that results is more than enough to completely upset Bernie. The voice playing in Three Houses is very good, and Bernie's apparent sense of apocalyptic destiny in this situation, in which she actually put herself on the market, seemed very familiar to me .
That all of this does not fall into an oppressively attributable misery, is because Bernie's social anxiety is often played with laughter. My previous favorite sequence involved a minor misunderstanding between her and one of my male students, with Bernie's reaction immediately starting from "Oh my God, he hates me" to "Oh my God, now we'll be lifelong rivals and our The feud will not end until one kills the other one of us. "As a professor, my answer was that Bernie and this guy fought side by side in my next fight and increased their stats in a free way. Now they are good friends, whether they like it or not, and that's all because of my strange interference. I am not a teacher. I'm a cruel puppet master who manipulated his life, as well as all the damn well-intentioned teachers who tried to harm me. To make matters worse, I did not just do it to help a shy child. I've done it so I can more easily win fantasy wars. Were my teachers so selfish? Did they just want me to be a good fighter in a future war? I grew up in the George W. Bush era, so yes, probably.
I know there is one big thing in Three Houses that I have not experienced yet, and it was addressed in all of the trailers so it should not be considered a spoiler (though someone will say that it does), but I do not know how or if this event influences Bernie's ongoing social anxiety adventure. Part of me hopes that this is not the case and that at the end of the game she does not turn into a cool and self-confident woman, because that's not how it really works. Besides, I do not want to be responsible for changing someone's personality. I feel disgusting in a way a video game usually can not, especially when anime teens go to medieval fantasy hogwarts. Of course, that did not change my playing style. I still have the responsibility to be a "good teacher".