You have to be brave to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses the way it’s meant to be played. Yes, I’m talking about the Classic mode, where characters die permanently when they fall on the battlefield. I’m no stranger to these games, or to tactical RPGs in general, so I know the score: decisions have consequences, poor choices on the battlefield can deprive me of my favorite warriors, and I’ll just have to work around that when it inevitably happens. So when I started up the latest Fire Emblem on my Switch, I dove right into the old-school stream, and all the brutality that guaranteed.
And then, as always, I regularly quit and replayed entire battles whenever any of my best characters died.
Look, I’m not proud. Yeah, I’ve been playing games like this one for decades, and unfortunately this is always how I’ve done it. In my head I rank all my characters, and when any of them die in battle I run the mental calculus to decide if I can permanently let them go or not. (And yes, sometimes that math is more emotional than logical.) That leads to loading old saves constantly in order to replay battles, and extends the already lengthy playthroughs of these games into grossly distended epics. It sucks, I’m sorry, but I’m never going to change. This is simply who I am, and I’ve learned to accept that. And now, with the increased focus on socializing outside of battle that Fire Emblem has taken over the last few years, I have an entire social life to worry about alongside my characters’ actual lives, giving me even more opportunities to be a coward and refuse to accept my fate.
Fortunately Fire Emblem: Three Houses makes it easy to drop back to the main menu and load up an old save whenever I need to. A simple button combo instantly whisks me back to the warm, safe cocoon of the main menu, where I can take my pick of all the manual saves that I hopefully remembered to make every day and before every battle.
To trigger that soft reset back to the main menu, all I have to do is hold down these four buttons at the same time:
Cancelling the past and reliving the future is that easy. Whenever my preternaturally gifted mage Lysithea gets wrecked out on the field, I can now use that simple code to wipe everything out and try over again.