Happy Monday, everyone!
While I really didn’t need an excuse to get back into playing Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the Cindered Shadows DLC was a great reason to turn the game on again. And, honestly, I wouldn’t mind more DLC like this for the game!
The Cindered Shadows DLC came out for Fire Emblem: Three Houses about a week and a half ago. Being only 7 chapters long, it took me between 8 and 9 hours to complete, especially when one considers that Cindered Shadows is mostly battles with a touch of exploration here and there. In fact, Cindered Shadows reminded me much of the earlier Fire Emblem games, where it would mostly be battles with bits of story in between fights.
I enjoyed the battles in Cindered Shadows, each battle offering a new challenge and seeing me use the Divine Pulse to edit my moves more times than I have in the regular routes I’ve played. I did miss the more involved aspects of the exploration parts, though. No support conversations or skill increases were a bit odd, as the character growth is one of my favorite parts of Fire Emblem games.
I was also intrigued by some things in the Abyss that really didn’t play much of a part in Cindered Shadows. Who was that mysterious woman by the pagan altar? What was up with the empty wayseer’s room? Are they the same person? Once I spend enough renown in the Abyss during the main story, I presume these questions will be answered, and it gives me more incentive to continue the main story to try to figure out the answers.
The four Abyssian characters are lots of fun, although I was confused as to Constance’s split personality with the sun and Hapi’s random sighing ability. They were interesting, brought a little more flavor to the characters, but I did not find them necessary. I also did find Balthus to seem very similar to Raphael from the Golden Deer house, especially if one considers that Balthus was originally from the Alliance territory as well. Still, he was a great big brother figure to the other characters, and I loved his war monk class. A brawler and a healer? Yes, please!
I really liked all four of the character classes from Abyss, actually. Yuri, I think, was the character I utilized the least in battle despite his high avoidance rate, but his personality was delightful. His past was interesting, especially since I’ve heard he has a couple of connections with the characters from the main story and I’m looking forward to unlocking his support conversations with everyone.
Speaking of pasts, it was nice to also learn more about Byleth. Her mother finally has a name! She’s no longer just the catalyst for Byleth’s mysterious past! While the main bad guy of the Cindered Shadows DLC was fairly obvious from the beginning, as was the plot, it was still a fun a side story.
Originally, I was hoping Cindered Shadows would be more of a full-fledged route rather than just a side story when I first heard of it. I was selfishly hoping that Cindered Shadows would involve a Golden Ending, one where all of the characters no matter what house could stay alive, especially since the three house leaders were with Byleth as a team when exploring the Abyss. I liked the interactions between them all and wished there were supports between the house leaders for you to unlock during that time.
I just want all the characters to be happy at the end, dammit.
With that said, I did enjoy the DLC overall. The new mechanics and aspects it brought to the main game are fun to explore and discover, and it brought along just the right amount of new characters without it getting overwhelming.