Yesterday, Nintendo Treehouse Live showcased a fair amount of Three Houses. Around that time, some media outlets had the chance to play the game, including Gamespot, who uploaded a preview for the game.
In particular, they were invited to try out a map where you can fight a new type of enemy, a Demonic Beast called the “King of Beasts”. This enemy is much larger and stronger than usual, occupying multiple squares. Later, we find out it has multiple HP bars too!
This article covers their gameplay footage of this map. At this point, there isn’t a lot of important new information–that can be found in our earlier articles (especially our Treehouse Live analysis found here and here). But if you love to study all the intricate details like me, you’re more than welcome to join me!
I’ll start with Gamespot’s footage first, since I believe that was posted first. Some of this footage was included in their preview article, but this time it’s (mostly) seamless.
At the start, they play around with the map camera for a bit. It appears you can rotate the angle slightly, making the game almost isometric. There’s also the low angle camera, which makes all Battalions (the troops that follow units) visible–this was originally seen in the debut trailer.
We see a glimpse of the mini-map and the victory/loss conditions around this time. Forces are divided into blue (your allies) and red (enemies), as usual. But there’s a third army, literally called the “Third Army” that’s yellow. This is similar to the yellow army in Genealogy of the Holy War, which we’ll witness later.
As for the mini-map itself, in the north-west corner there seems to be a recovery tile or something similar. Below it are two fence tiles that can apparently be broken. Slightly below that is a humongous yellow unit with a gemstone-like icon. That’s the King of Beasts.
The player begins to move Dedue. If you’re observant, you can see a slightly faded “C” next to female Byleth. I believe this indicates activated support levels, similar to in previous games. Later on, you can see female Byleth also has C supports with Annette and Felix and a B with Mercedes.
For the non-savvy, some characters can form “bonds” or support relationships by fighting near each other and interacting in the monastery. Once the bond is strong enough, you can unlock support conversations, which raises the bond level. The better the bonds, the more combat boosts you get when fighting nearby.
Actually, let’s go back a bit. If you watch Dedue move, he can move a whopping 9 spaces! But that’s not his default Movement. Notice he has a Movement buff icon next to him. Earlier, he was the target of a Stride Gambit, which upped his Movement by 5. Normally he has 4. Also, forest tiles seem to halve his Movement.
Dedue leads the charge. He’s currently an Armored Knight with Axe and Gauntlet weapons available. Gauntlets are new weapons that always trigger consecutive attacks. If you’re excited that Armored Knights can use Gauntlets, keep in mind that most weapons can be equipped regardless of class. Gauntlets are only available on foot though.
Ingrid takes flight next. She’s equipped with a bunch of Lance weapons, typical for a Pegasus Knight. It’d be interesting to try and give her something different like an Axe or Bow. At the end of the battle, we learn that her Battalion is the Seiros Pegasus Co. In case you’re wondering, I’ve actually been trying to catalogue all the new Battalions.
Female Byleth enters the spotlight. She has her golden sword, the Sword of Creation. You may have noticed it has 20 uses, which seems fairly low. Also, its weapon icon has a shiny background. Additionally, she has a spare Lance and Sword, in case you’re worried about breaking it.
I forgot to mention it last time, but Jeralt’s Mercenaries are her Battalion. Yes, those are probably mercenaries that work for her Dad.
Next, Sylvain marches forward. He’s a Cavalier with a Lance, Axe and Bow. At first, I was confused why he had a Bow that he couldn’t use. But then I remembered he’s adjacent to an enemy and thus can’t use it at melee range. We already saw his attack range can reach up to 2 squares. His Battalion is the Kingdom Brawlers.
Dimitri, the leader of the Blue Lions, finally makes his move. He’s also a Cavalier, but is currently restricted to Lance weapons. That said, he does have a Javelin that he can throw to deal ranged damage. Anyway, the player initiates a Gambit. Because Dedue is nearby and able to attack the same enemy, a Gambit Boost occurs.
I’m sure a lot of you already know, but Gambits are limited use attacks available when you have a Battalion equipped. They can provide various effects, like debuffing enemies or buffing allies. Also, they ignore enemy counter-attacks, so you can attack safely. Dimitri’s Battalion is the cool-sounding Holy Knights of Seiros. He also Levels Up.
Ashe is next. He’s an Archer right now. Currently, he’s pretty far away from action, but fortunately he can attack from far away by using the Deadeye Combat Art. This was originally a Mastery skill in the Tellius games. Here, it boosts your Attack slightly and extends your attack range to a huge 6 squares.
We can’t forget Mercedes, who’s the main healer of this party. She has three healing or assist-type magic spells that she can use right now. Physic makes a return. Like usual, it can be used to heal at range. Here, it currently has a Range of 1~9. But it can only be used 5 times. Her Battalion is the Seiros Brawlers.
The rest of the player units are moved and the Enemy Phase begins. Dedue does some nice work and gains a Level Up. Good man.
Remember that I said the Third Army worked like in Genealogy? Well one of the enemy Bandits stupidly runs over to attack the King of Beasts. We know that you can attack the King of Beasts, so that means the Third Army is considered an enemy for both you and the (red) enemy. Unlike green NPC units that are neutral for you.
The next Player Phase begins. By the way, I noticed a red “target” icon that appears above Ashe’s portrait. This icon was also visible during the latter half of the Treehouse Live segment. I’m not quite sure what it’s for; anyone got any ideas? From the colour, I have a feeling it might be related to aggro though.
For a brief moment, the player considers switching female Byleth’s weapon. Since these enemies are pretty weak, it might be worth conserving the Sword of Creation. Anyway, I don’t think we’ve seen a Lance-wielding Mercenary before! Soon after, female Byleth gains a Level Up and actually says something.
The player tries to attack with Ingrid, but opts to pull her back since she has low HP. They then move Mercedes over to heal Ingrid. While this is happening, they flick through the other spells: Heal and Restore. Heal has a Range of 1 as expected. Meanwhile Restore has a Range of 1~4 and probably removes status effects.
Felix finally gets a chance to fight! He must have been waiting for this moment as his Crest of Fraldarius activates. We still don’t know what it does, but we do see Felix dealing 5 extra damage. OK, you deserve a Level Up as well. Just stop being mean to Dimitri…
Sylvain rides straight into danger, attacking the King of Beasts head on. He takes a considerable amount of damage from the counter-attack. Afterwards, one of the tiles below the King of Beasts looks cracked. Is this a good or bad thing? Maybe once it cracks, it takes more damage? Alternatively, maybe you can’t target that square anymore.
Dimitri makes a wise choice and uses a Gambit, preventing a counter-attack. But this seems to backfire slightly. After the fight, the King of Beasts’s attention is focused on Dimitri. Underneath Dimitri is a symbol that looks very much like the red target above Ashe. Could these be related? Also, faded red AoE tiles appear to the right of the King.
Next turn, the King of Beasts turns south and uses its AoE attack, Poison Breath. Poor Sylvain is caught in the attack. He’s taken down to 0 HP and forced to flee the battlefield. Is he retreating because it’s Casual Mode? Or because it’s the school phase? I’m tempted to say the latter.
After the King of Beasts moves, the cracked tile underneath it seems to automatically repair itself. Hmm, I think that’s going to be fairly important.
Poor Sylvain cannot be saved (although the player could use Divine Pulse). But you can still save those who are merely injured. Annette goes over to Ingrid and uses a supportive Gambit called Resonant White Magic to heal her. Her Battalion also Levels Up, getting increased Hit Rate and Resilience (magic defence).
Dimitri throws a Javelin at the hulking beast to finish it off and avenge the fallen Sylvain. His Battalion Levels Up too. It gains a point in Physical Attack by going from Level 1 to 2. Every little helps.
Wait, the King of Beasts isn’t dead yet! Its HP bar disappears, but a new one takes its place. Hey, what gives?
Byleth goes in to continue the job. If you look at the King’s HP bar now, where there used to be two red diamonds, one of the diamonds is now greyed out. That suggests each diamond represents a HP bar–and that the King only has one HP bar left. Also, the player shuffles through Byleth’s Combat Arts, revealing “Ruptured Heaven”.
Sadly, they don’t select Ruptured Heaven, but we’ll see it later. However, they do choose to attack from range, so we can see how the Sword of Creation functions at a distance. Wow, it does not disappoint. Byleth swings the sword like a whip, similar to Nemesis(?) in the debut trailer.
Ingrid returns for another go at the King. She uses the Assembly Gambit and triggers a Gambit Boost with female Byleth and Ashe who are nearby and in attacking range. Amusingly, Ingrid only seems to have 2 Pegasus Knights in her Battalion. Well, from the two triangles, we know her Battalion has less than two thirds health. Still that’s pretty silly.
After the Gambit, Ingrid attracts the demonic beast’s attention, just like Dimitri did. Hmm, is this related to using Gambits or the amount of damage dealt to the beast? We don’t find out, as the video ends.
Next, IGN, shows us their attempt at the map. I think Gamespot did pretty OK, all things considered. Although somebody should have told them to use Divine Pulse to bring Sylvain back. But the IGN player seems to be on the game.
Firstly, the player cleverly check Byleth’s Combat Arts. We have Wrath Strike, which was a Sword-type Combat Art in Echoes. This boosts Attack and Hit Rate. Grounder is effective against Flying foes and boosts Hit Rate, and Attack and Critical slightly. Bane of Monster is good against, yup, monsters and boosts Attack and Critical.
There’s also Ruptured Heaven, which we briefly saw in Gamespot’s video. This is good against dragon-type foes. The player doesn’t hover over this, but does use it later on. Anyway, it’s interesting to see that Byleth has so many Arts that are effective against family types. He/she looks to be quite the versatile unit!
The player chooses Bane of Monsters, but at the last minute switches to Ruptured Heaven. The “green tick” icon next to the Might value suggests that both Arts are effective against the King–and indeed they deal a whopping 36 and 38 damage respectively. So the King of Beasts is a Monster and a Dragon…
The rest of the fight is pretty standard fare and I don’t believe there’s anything more to gleam.
Last but not least, let’s see how Kotaku perform. Unlike the others, their footage begins near the very start of the map.
To start with, Felix uses the Stride Gambit. It targets Dedue and also buffs Annette and Mercedes. From what I can tell, it seems to affect units within 2 squares of the target. But I’m not sure of the exact shape. Judging from an earlier Japanese screenshot, I have a feeling it might be a triangle.
This is the OP Gambit that temporarily increases Movement by 5. It’s assigned to the Seiros Holy Monks, but not the Seiros Sacred Monks. Those have Resonant White Magic. I can see everyone rushing out to hire this Battalion ASAP! It’s an E Rank Battalion too, so I think pretty much anyone can equip it… Maybe foot-units only though.
I’ll give them credit. Out of the three, only Kotaku bothered to press the ZL button to trigger Divine Pulse. If you missed the memo, Divine Pulse is this game’s version of Mila’s Turnwheel (which appeared in Echoes). You can use it to rewind whole turns or individual actions. It’s useful for rectifying mistakes without restarting a map.
The player rewinds through the actions until their finger stops over “Fight”. This refers to the beginning of the map. Er… wait… UHHHHH. Moments later, the video fades out and we’re back at the start of the map. OK, I think we can guess what happened there…
In any case, the player checks over Dimitri’s Combat Arts. Tempest Lance is another returning Combat Art. It boosts Attack and Hit Rate. Knightkneeler also returns. It’s good against Cavalry and boosts Hit Rate and slightly boosts Attack. Monster Piercer is new; it’s effective versus Monsters and boosts Attack and Avoid.
That’s about it for discoveries. But here are some highlights from the rest of the video. Gambits can miss, just like normal attacks–and when they do, it can look pretty hilarious. Poor Ashe gets a terrible Level Up. Finally, Annette shows off her mad skills by avoiding an enemy attack and instantly retaliating. Attagirl!
Riiiight, that’s everything! I dunno if anyone else tried the same map, but honestly, I doubt there’s anything left to find.
Unless I was there playing. Thanks for reading and I’ll probably see you very soon!