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Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes review: Don’t underestimate this Switch standout

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Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes review: Don’t underestimate this Switch standout

fire emblem warriors three hopes review switch art

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

MSRP $59.99

“As long as you’re OK with the usual Musou repetition, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is a worthy follow-up to Three Houses.”

Pros

  • Sequel-worthy presentation
  • More strong character work
  • Battles still feel tactical
  • Deep RPG systems
  • Flexible customization

Cons

  • Repetitive objectives
  • Lacking variety

Most Fire Emblem games revolve around some form of war, but Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes may be the series’ most convincing conflict yet. That’s partially due to the fact that it’s a loud and proud Musou game where players chop down thousands of troops. But it’s more so because it doesn’t throw away what makes Fire Emblem so engrossing while doing it.

While it would be accurate to call the game a spinoff of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, that’s selling it short; it’s a full-fledged sequel, just played in a different key. Three Hopes doesn’t have the series’ signature turn-based tactics, but just about everything else is there amid its flurry of Dynasty Warriors-sized action. With no expenses spared when it comes to the mainline series’ RPG hooks, developer Omega Force creates an action game that still makes players feel like a five-star general.

Though it’s still at the mercy of the inherent repetition that comes with the Musou territory, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is another victory in Nintendo’s hot spinoff streak.

A true sequel

If you played 2017’s Fire Emblem Warriors, your expectations might be low here. That was more of a Dynasty Warriors game wearing a costume than it was a Fire Emblem title. That’s not the case here. Just about every single aspect from Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been adapted in some form here, with the exception of fishing (a damning omission, I know). Players still train troops in classes, outfit them with abilities, forge weapons, cook meals, complete paralogue missions, and much more. It’s a high-effort project containing just as much depth as Three Houses.

Three Hopes goes well beyond the usual Musou call of duty.

As such, I feel confident calling it a full sequel that fans of the tactics game should play. It once again drops players into the land of Fódlan, which is embroiled in a complicated war between factions. Like Three Houses, players pick a path at the top and see the war unfold from that house’s perspective. For those who only played Three Houses once, it’s a great excuse to pick a new house and learn more about the game’s eclectic cast of characters without replaying a 50-plus hour tactics game. I went with Black Eagles this time and came out with a whole new batch of favorites (friendship with Ignatz over, now Bernadetta is my BFF).

What makes that work as well as it does is that Omega Force spares no expenses when it comes to building characters. Like Three Houses, there’s a full suite of fully voiced support conversations that deepen the relationships between heroes. Even after going through hours of chats with characters previously, I was fully engaged with the new sub-stories that emphasize how charming the cast is.

A knight smashes enemies in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Houses.

Notably, Three Hopes still retains its predecessor’s entertaining social aspect. In-between battles, players explore a small camp and spend activity points to cook, do chores, or go on expeditions (tea time 2.0) with troops. In addition to that, though, players also collect resources that are used to upgrade facilities around the camp. With all those extra progression hooks, Three Hopes goes well beyond the usual Musou call of duty. The big battles are only one piece of a full RPG with lots of rewarding systems to sink into.

It’s a strong evolution for Nintendo’s newfound love of the genre. The company has found a smart way to expand its most beloved universes without dedicating resources to another mainline installment that just repeats its predecessors’ greatest hits. It worked for Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, which digs deeper into the world of Breath of the Wild, and it might even work better here in some respects. For folks who played Three Houses, it’s like a new season of TV to watch. For those who didn’t, the extent to which it adapts the original game to a new form makes this a perfectly good standalone story.

Repetition comes with the territory

Of course, there’s one major difference between Three Houses and Three Hopes: The former is a turn-based tactics game and the latter is an action-packed hack-and-slash title. Whether or not you’ll click with it primarily depends on how much you already like Musou games, as the core gameplay of Three Hopes isn’t as complex as, say, Age of Calamity.

A war map with objectives. in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

The basic idea is that players pick a few troops at the start of each battle and complete a set of objectives. Those usually involve slicing up hundreds of soldiers at once with combos while moving around a map and capturing strongholds. Missions are laid out in a board game-like map that’s filled with sidequests and opportunities to acquire resources. Each chapter builds to one long mission with major narrative implications.

It’s undoubtedly repetitive, with a lack of variety when it comes to both environments and objectives, though that comes with the territory. It’s a genre that’s built around excess and with a single campaign lasting 40 hours, you’re going to do and see the same things a lot.

I feel like a tactician directing traffic in battle, which is almost more fun than actually swinging a sword.

Fortunately, Three Hopes does have a few ways of counteracting that. Any character can be classed out in any way and outfitted with abilities, spells, and gear that tweak their utility. By the end of the game, I found myself frequently rotating characters in each battle as I anticipated what enemy weaknesses I should target. Pretty much every class plays the same from a mechanical perspective (spam X and Y for combos, A for a super move, etc.), but the satisfaction comes more so from how well you can prepare for any given battle.

In that way, Three Hopes actually retains the tactical DNA of the series despite being a real-time action game. While I can only ever rotate between four troops, some longer missions allow me to bring in more as NPCs. Using the map, I can issue commands to any character to have them defend positions or attack specific enemies. Playing side missions also lets players unlock strategic tactics that can be activated in main missions, like having troops construct a handy bridge or enacting a plan to recruit a key enemy. In those moments, I feel like a tactician directing traffic in battle, which is almost more fun than actually swinging a sword.

Hilda powers up an attack in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

Though, as always, the simple pleasure of a Musou game is the power fantasy of slicing up an entire army with big, exaggerated animations. Three Hopes delivers on that front, especially when it comes to its flashier special spells and side powers that turn characters into human wrecking balls. But I still wish there was a little more brain power involved, as even the game’s big boss fights against humans don’t feel much different than taking down a lowly stronghold captain. It’s a somewhat flat experience that doesn’t offer up too many unique ways to test your troops.

Fire Emblem, through and through

What’s perhaps most surprising about Three Hopes is that it’s still a full RPG. Characters have stats that rise through leveling up and there’s several layers of customization on top of that. For instance, each weapon has its own stats and skills that can be raised via a blacksmith. For those who love tinkering with builds, Three Hopes offers a wealth of systems to toy around with.

This is a Fire Emblem game through and through — and a strong one at that.

In general, there’s an impressive level of flexibility to the game. That’s apparent right from the jump when it gives players the options to either play with or without permadeath turned on, a key feature of the Fire Emblem series that’s a welcome addition here. Permadeath ratchets the stakes sky-high, totally changing the tension inherent in the usually carefree genre. There’s also an option to make the game more fluid by reducing the number of pop-ups, an especially useful feature that better welcomes replays.

The more I played, the more I began to realize that Fire Emblem’s fine-tuned tactics aren’t what draw me to it. There are so many systems that make the series shine, all of which work in tandem with one another. You can see that at play in Three Hopes, as it still captures the spirit and energy of a Fire Emblem game perfectly despite being as polar opposite as can be when it comes to pace. Same battalion, different formation.

Shez causes a purple explosion in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

At the moment, Nintendo is rumored to be working on its next mainline Fire Emblem game, which will move away from the world of Three Houses. Before playing Three Hopes, I might have been a little sad about that. Fódlan is such a rich setting and I was itching to spend more time in it with my old friends. With my first playthrough clocking in at 40 hours, Three Hopes allowed me to get that extra closure without it feeling like a rushed reskin of another game. This is a Fire Emblem game through and through — and a strong one at that.

Our take

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Houses proves that Nintendo is serious about its Musou spinoffs. This is a high-effort hack-and-slash that convincingly functions as a full-fledged sequel to Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While its core action gets repetitive due to a lack of overall variety, there’s plenty of familiar RPG hooks around it that keep the adventure engaging. For those who want a good reason to revisit the land of Fódlan, Three Hopes is much deeper than a reunion special.

Is there a better alternative?

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity ultimately has more variety and feels less repetitive. If you’ve never played Fire Emblem: Three Houses, I recommend starting there, though Three Hopes can be enjoyed independently.

How long will it last?

My Black Eagles run took 40 hours. Multiply that by three and you still won’t have seen everything there is to see between story beats, support conversations, and more.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes’ marketing is being oddly modest; this is a worthy sequel to Three Houses.

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes was tested on a Nintendo Switch OLED in handheld mode and on a TCL 6-Series R635 when docked.

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Microsoft Teams is finally fixing this ear-splitting annoyance

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Microsoft Teams is finally fixing this ear-splitting annoyance
Four people in a meeting room video conferencing with four remote participants.



(Image credit: Microsoft)

One of the most irritating (and slightly painful) parts of joining a Microsoft Teams call could soon be fixed by a new update.

The video conferencing service is a popular choice for many companies, meaning calls with large numbers of participants joining at the same time, and from the same location (such as a meeting room) are a common occurrence. 

However, often when multiple people join a meeting in the same room, a feedback loop is created, which causes echo, which in most cases quickly escalates to howling – with Microsoft likening the noise to when a musician holds the mic too close to a loudspeaker.

Teams’ howling

Fortunately, a new fix is coming for Microsoft Teams users. In its entry in the official Microsoft 365 roadmap (opens in new tab), the new “Ultrasound Howling Detection” describes how it aims to prevent this noise for users on Windows and Mac across the world.

Microsoft says that the update should mean if multiple users on laptops join from the same location, it will share with the user that another Teams Device is detected in their vicinity and is already joined with audio to the current meeting. 

If a user has already joined with their audio on, Microsoft Teams will automatically mute the mic and speakers of any new the person who then joins the call, hopefully putting an end to the howling and screeching feedback.

Thankfully, the update is already listed as being in development, with an expected general availability date of March 2023, so users shouldn’t have to wait too long to enjoy.

The news follows a number of recent updates largely aimed around improving the audio quality on Microsoft Teams calls using AI and machine learning.

The new updates are the result of using a machine learning model trained on 30,000 hours of speech samples, and include echo cancellation, better adjusting audio in poor acoustic environments, and allowing users to speak and hear at the same time without interruptions.

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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK’s leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he’s not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.

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Shazam! Fury of the Gods trailer breakdown: 6 thing you might have missed

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Shazam! Fury of the Gods trailer breakdown: 6 thing you might have missed
Shazam points at someone off camera in Shazam! Fury of the Gods



Shazam! Fury of the Gods lands in theaters on March 17.
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The final trailer for Shazam! Fury of the Gods has debuted online – and it looks even more charming, funnier, frenetic, and darker than its predecessor.

Shazam’s sequel flick arrives in theaters worldwide on March 17, so it’s about time we were given another look at the forthcoming DC Extended Universe movie (read our DC movies in order guide to find out where it’ll fit in that timeline). Luckily, Warner Bros. has duly obliged. Check it out below:

Okay, there’s some messy CGI and a slightly corny vibe about Shazam 2. But hey, the first problem can be ironed out before the superhero film takes flight, while the latter is part of what makes this movie series spellbinding (see what we did there?).

But we digress – you’re here because you want to find out what you missed from Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ new trailer. Below, we’ve pointed out six things you might have overlooked. So, what are you waiting for? Shout “Shazam!” and let’s dive in.

1. Who are the Daughters of Atlas?

Kalypso hands Hespera the wizard's staff in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

New movie, new villains. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

For a film centered around Shazam, we don’t actually see the titular superhero appear in the official trailer for the first 20 seconds.

Instead, we get another glimpse at Fury of the Gods‘ villains, aka the Daughters of Atlas. The powerful trio comprises the power-hungry Hespera (Helen Millen), dragon-riding Kalypso (Lucy Liu), and Athena (Rachel Zegler), the latter of whom seems particularly torn about how the sisters are going about their business.

So, why are they gunning for Shazam and his superpowered foster siblings? Essentially, when Billy Batson was gifted his abilities by Djimon Hounsou’s wizard in the film film (available now on HBO Max), one of those powers was the Stamina of Atlas. The Daughters of Atlas aren’t too happy about their father’s ability being passed down to a child, so they want to take back what is theirs – and they’ll do it so by any means necessary.

2. Mythological monsters

A dragon prepares to breathe fire at one of Shazam's fellow heroes in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Shazam isn’t the only person taking flight in Fury of the Gods. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Shazam’s first DCEU outing featured some horror-imbued creatures in the form of the Seven Deadly Sins. How, then, do you go about topping (or, at the very least) matching what came before? Throw in a bunch of myth-based monsters, of course.

Kalypso’s imposing dragon is the most notable inclusion. It feature prominently throughout the trailer, and we even get an amusing Game of Thrones reference from Shazam – “Hey, Khaleesi!” – in the movie. Hey, Warner Bros. loves to mention its suite of IPs in as many of its films as possible.

But Kalypso’s wyvern isn’t the only fairy-tale-based beast we see. Minotaurs, griffons, and demonic unicorns are just three of the other monsters who’ll turn up in Fury of the Gods. Basically, don’t expect this to be an easy fight for Shazam and company to save the world.

3. You can’t get the staff these days

Hespera uses the wizard's staff as Kalypso looks on in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

“So I just point it and then what?” (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Saving earth from a new titanic threat will be even harder when Shazam’s adoptive family are stripped of their powers, too. And it seems that the staff, which was wielded by Hounsou’s wizard in the first movie, is the key to giving and taking those abilities away.

In 2019’s Shazam!, the titular hero gave powers to his foster siblings to help him combat the Seven Deadly Sins and Doctor Sivana. They’ve still got those power in Fury of the Gods, too, but they won’t have them for long, based by what the trailer suggests.

The footage shows Freddy Freeman and Mary Bromfield being drained of their abilities by the Daughters of Atlas at various points. The trio are using the wizard’s staff to rob the teens of their powers, so it’s clearly of major importance to the movie’s main players. 

Later, we see Shazam wielding it – not before he asks the wizard to take his powers back, mind you, when he becomes convinced he can’t defeat the Daughters of Atlas. Anyway, Shazam’s brandishing of the staff suggests he needs it to boost his own abilities if he’s going to defeat the movie’s antagonists and give his siblings their powers back. Expect the staff to play a vital role in Fury of the Gods‘ plot, then.

4. Prison break

Djimon Hounsou's wizard blows som magic dust out of a prison window in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Time to break out, Mr. Wizard. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

In order to get the wizard’s staff, it seems the Daughters of Atlas go after Hounsou’s magic wielder to obtain it.

We see Hounsou’s character imprisoned at various points, including a shot of Hespera chastising him for giving the power of the gods to Billy, Freddy, and company. “You ripped it from our father’s core,” she tells him, which implies Hounsou’s wizard might not be as mighty and heroic as we were led to believe.

Anyway, Hounsou’s wizard interacts with Shazam later in the trailer, so he clearly escapes captivity. Whether he does so alone, or he enlists Shazam’s help – does that magic-infused dust, which he sends through his prison cell window, have something to do with it? – is unclear. Regardless, we’ll see Hounsou’s character break out at some stage.

5. Is that you, Doctor Strange?

Shazam flies past some rotating buildings in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Where have we seen this kind of aesthetic before? (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Remember when we said Zegler’s Athena doesn’t seem as keen to destroy earth as her sisters? That’s because, at the 1: 14 mark, we see her use her powers with a uncertain look on her face. You wouldn’t look like that if you were convinced you were doing the right thing, would you? 

Based on the fact she’s pushed away by Kalypso (using the staff no less), seconds later, it seems she’ll be swapping sides at some stage.

Interestingly, it seems the wizard’s staff can do more than give or take a person’s powers away. One perceived ability certainly has an air of the Doctor Strange/Marvel-based mystic arts about them. Just look at the Escher-style nature of how the scenery bends and folds in on itself when Athena is pushed back, and when Shazam evades numerous buildings at the 1: 44 mark. We’d be very surprised if DC and Warner Bros. didn’t take a leaf out of the MCU’s book with such an aesthetic.

6. Light the way

Shazam prepares to fight Kalypso and her dragon in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

A yellow bolt out of the blue. (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Shazam and his fellow superheroes get a costume upgrade in Fury of the Gods. The group’s threads are more streamlined and less plastic-looking this time around, which is pleasing to see.

Fans had been worried, though, that these suits wouldn’t feature one of the first movie’s most underrated (if somewhat tacky) aspects: the glowing lightning bolt on Shazam’s chest. Shazam’s costume in the 2019 movie was manufactured in a way that allowed the bolt to physically light up, avoiding the problem of having to add awkward lighting effects during the post-production phase.

Thankfully, Shazam! Fury of the Gods‘ official trailer confirms that Shazam’s lightning bolt will glow. However, given the sleeker look of the costumes this time around, it appears that the illumination effect has been added in post. Regardless of how it’s been implemented, we’re just glad it’s a feature that’s been retained.

For more DCEU-based coverage, find out where we placed 2019’s Shazam! in our DC movies ranked article. Additionally, read up on the best superhero films of all-time or check out how to watch the Batman movies in order.

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As TechRadar’s entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You’ll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot (opens in new tab).

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.

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You can lock Chrome incognito tabs on Android now. Bring it to the PC!

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You can lock Chrome incognito tabs on Android now. Bring it to the PC!

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Image: Deepanker Verma / Pexels


Author: Alaina Yee
, Senior Editor

Alaina Yee is PCWorld’s resident bargain hunter—when she’s not covering PC building, computer components, mini-PCs, and more, she’s scouring for the best tech deals. Previously her work has appeared in PC Gamer, IGN, Maximum PC, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can find her on Twitter at @morphingball.

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