Fire Emblem: Three Houses Wins Player’s Voice Against All Odds

The 2019 Game Awards was filled with a diverse range of video games to win different awards. If you don’t know, the Game Awards is basically the Oscars for video games, and there are different awards that games can win, such as best art direction, best fighting game, and so on. However, I am particularly interested in one award: the Player’s Voice award, which casts votes to see what video game the people thought was the best.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses pulled through and won the Player’s Voice award, which surprised me very much, considering its competitors— Death Stranding, which had renowned actors such as Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelson, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Fire Emblem, as a franchise, had almost been completely forgotten, until a breakthrough game in the series came out in 2011. After that, the fans of the series have had a love/hate relationship with the games. The games are known for being extremely hard. They have complex characters that you can get to know, but all of it can be lost if you let them die on the battlefield.

Yet through the conflicting opinions on the series, the game somehow beat out Death Stranding and Super Smash Bros. and the people’s favorite game. This is the part I am interested in, particularly because I believe that Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a sub-par game, at best. The game takes from its roots; the games would show storylines that were character driven, so most plot points happened between two characters’ dialogues. When video games were more primitive, these conversations between characters consisted of moving text with a drawing of a bust of the characters. However, with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, they used 3D models throughout the entire game, which moved slightly more than the static pictures of the older games. 

One would think with 3D models and better animation, these conversations would be more lively and more like small cutscenes in between gameplay. If you thought that, as I did, however, you would be extremely disappointed. The most the models do is move their hands and heads, and the animation looks as though the characters are more like robots than humans, moving very stiffly and awkwardly. 

As well as horrible animation, the main storyline, and how it harmonizes with the characters, is completely horrible. The story as a whole is an incongruous, dissonant mess, its only appeal being the diversity of characters. The main character’s personality is extremely bland, unoriginal, and hardly relatable. They try to make this fact a plot point, but I believe they only did it to have an excuse to be lazy. The other characters are mainly just carbon copies of other archetypes, so it feels like I’m talking to a robot. That wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t play it off as if it was a dating simulator.

So why did this game win the Player’s Choice for best game of the year? My theory would be that it is essentially a glorified dating simulator, but passed off as a strategy game. The game isn’t even hard, as long as you actually play the game. They say ‘don’t hate the player, hate the game,’ but in this situation, I dislike both equally. I don’t understand why people would choose this game as the best of the year, even if this year didn’t bring much to the table.