Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a tactical RPG game that boasts a deeply intricate story, very memorable characters (whom you can befriend and one of whom you can choose to marry), and distinct Harry Potter vibes. You play as Byleth, who you can make either female or male.
Byleth becomes a young professor at Garreg Mach Monastery and gets to lead one of three houses. The house you choose greatly impacts the direction the game’s story will go. Each house’s leader is an heir to the throne for the three different regions of Fódlan. (Edelgard, leader of the Black Eagles house and princess and heir to the Adrestian Empire, is pictured here.) Things begin relatively peaceful between the three regions and house leaders. They don’t end that way.
Students go on missions with Byleth, who joins and leads them in battle, instructs them to build up skills for battle in the classroom, and befriends them outside of class (which, of course, also has perks on the battlefield as relationship levels grow). Battle is turn-based, with you moving each of your units (students) forward on a grid-based board to attack enemies and monsters. The game’s combat system takes some getting used to, but once you’re accustomed to it, battles are really fun…and even relaxing depending on the difficulty you set the game on.
I came for the story when I played, so I set the game on normal difficulty and casual mode (so if one of the units falls on the battlefield, they are not dead for good; in classic mode, they would be, and I just did not need that stress in my life). This is not a short game: I played the Blue Lions house story, and it took me about 60 hours to complete it. But there’s replay value in that once finishing the game, you can go back, choose a different house to lead, and play through its story on an enhanced new-game plus file.