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Three Houses is the Fire Emblem game that helped to make the fantasy role-playing game series a bigger hit in North America.
The Fire Emblem series started with Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light in 1990, published by Nintendo for the Famicom. Since then, there have been 16 games released, and the latest –Three Houses from 2019 for the Nintendo Switch – has caught on in the US.
Many love the game for the characters and the story but also for the battle tactics and the personal experience this tactical role-playing game has to offer. And it’s a fantastic game that is lauded by critics and fans of RPG and strategy games alike.
If you’re thinking of starting it up soon, you’re in for a treat. However, you might find your first playthrough quite daunting because of the many new characters, houses, and paths to take.
The Fire Emblem series has many chapters to play through and paths to take before you reach the final chapter. And then, you can start a new game with a new main character and choose a new route for a second playthrough.
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How many chapters are in Fire Emblem Three Houses?
The short answer is that there are 12 chapters in part one of the games, where the first 11 are the same main story for Black Eagles, Blue Lions, or Golden Deer houses.
The main routes diverge in chapter 12, and this divergence continues in the Part II storylines based on the faction you chose.
In Part II, the Black Eagles’ storyline Silver Snow (Church of Seiros), has nine chapters, the Blue Lions’ storyline Azure Moon (Holy Kingdom of Faerghus), has ten chapters, and the Golden Deer storyline Crimson Flower (Adrestian Empire), has six chapters.
The side quests storyline Cindered Shadows (Abyss) DLC has seven chapters.
There are also 29 Paralogue Chapters spread across Part 1 and Part 2 and the different faction routes. You can see a full list of chapters and their names here.
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Read on to learn more about the different routes you can choose in the game and how long it takes to beat the game on average.
There Are Several Different Routes in This Game
Before figuring out how long this game is, you have to understand how the game works. This is a strategy RPG where you will be given a lot of choices.
Depending on what choices you make in the game, you’ll wind up going through different paths. Each path will alter the story in significant ways.
If you want to see everything the game offers, you’ll need to play each path to completion.
There are three main paths in the game and a secret path you can activate during one of the main paths.
Below, you’ll learn a bit about the different paths that you can take. You’ll also learn how many chapters are in each of the paths.
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The Blue Lions Path
The Blue Lions are one of the three houses in this game. This house is led by Dimitri Alexandre Blaiddyd. He is the noble prince from the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus.
There are many other members of the house that you will get to know as their teachers.
If you choose this path at the beginning of the game, then you’ll be able to enjoy 22 chapters.
Some distinct things about this route make it worth playing through. This is the only path that allows you to collect all 12 of the heroes’ relics. This is one of the most popular houses in the game.
The Golden Deer Path
Claude von Riegan is the leader of the Golden Deer house. He’s the heir to House Riegan, and they’re an important house in the Leicester Alliance.
This is the house in the game that has more students that come from a commoner background. Many students in this house use bows as their primary weapon, too.
This path has 22 chapters in total for players to enjoy. It has the same chapters as the Blue Lions path mentioned above.
Playing through these paths should take roughly the same time, but it will depend on how you approach things. The Golden Deer house is very popular in its own right and resonates with many players.
The Black Eagles Path
The Black Eagles’ path is one of the most interesting in the game. This house leader is Edelgard von Hresvelg.
She is the heir to the Adrestian Empire and is a central figure in the game’s events. This house is filled with nobles and others with ties to the Adrestian Empire.
Interestingly, the Black Eagles’ path has fewer chapters than the two houses mentioned above. When playing this path, you’ll be able to enjoy 21 chapters.
Why is this path one chapter shorter than the others? It has to do with the hidden path you’ll learn about below.
The Hidden Path: the Crimson Flower Route
You’ll find a fourth secret route called the Crimson Flower Route, which is part of the Black Eagles route.
To access this hidden path, you’ll need to make specific choices during the first part of the game.
The choices you need to make will come before a major time skip. It’s easy to miss this alternate path if you don’t know what you’re supposed to do.
Most players will go through the normal Black Eagles path first. They will then learn about the hidden path from other players or hear about it online.
It is certainly possible to stumble upon this path naturally, but most players likely won’t do that. So how do you find the secret path in Fire Emblem Three Houses?
First, you need to get Edelgard to support level C+ or higher. Then you must be in explore mode on 8/2 and 22/2 in the game. Find Edelgard on those days and talk to her.
You’ll be prompted to choose between following her and staying in the monastery, and you must choose to follow her to get to the hidden path.
You’re not quite done yet, though. You’ll reach a point during the Black Eagles route where you’ll participate in the “Conflict in the Holy Tomb.”
Players must choose to protect Edelgard (the sole heir to the Imperial Throne) during this battle. You won’t even have the option to do this if you don’t have the prerequisite conversations with her.
On this fourth route, some players are going to leave your party. You lose access to characters such as Flayn, Seteth, Rhea, Catherine, and Cyril.
This route changes the story up quite a bit. If you’ve experienced the standard Black Eagles path, then you should certainly consider activating this hidden path on your next playthrough.
This hidden path is a bit shorter than the normal Black Eagles path. There are 18 chapters for you to play through. Check this one out after playing the normal path. Or you can follow this path immediately if you like the choices that led you down this road the best.
How Long Does It Take to Beat Fire Emblem Three Houses?
Getting to the final chapter in Fire Emblem: Three Houses will require you to put a lot of time into it because it’s a long game. Going through just one of the paths will take up to 50 hours on average.
Since there are multiple paths through the game, you could easily spend as much as 200 hours the first time playing this title.
Of course, you can potentially finish the game in a shorter time. It depends on how much you decide to do in the game and whether or not you read all of the dialogue.
If you want to play one route and choose your favorite house, expect to spend 50 hours with this game. You’ll always be able to jump back in and try a different path if you get the urge to play again.
The Cindered Shadows DLC
This game also has DLC that can expand and give you more to do. The Cindered Shadows DLC reveals the existence of a fourth hidden house.
You’ll discover The Ashen Wolves, who reside below Garreg Mach Monastery in a town known as Abyss. The church would like to eradicate them, but you can discover the truth of their story.
Since this is a DLC side story, it’s a bit tougher than the normal game content. You’ll only be able to play in normal or hard mode. For those who love this game, it’s well worth checking this DLC out. Most players will take 8 to 10 hours to finish the Cindered Shadows DLC.
Intelligent Systems did a great job with this DLC content. It adds to the game and enhances the experience. You can purchase this content for $24.99 on the Nintendo eShop. If you feel you’re fine with just the main game experience, you can feel free to skip it.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is an in-depth game with a lot of content to explore. Knowing what route to pick from the first chapter can help you choose the right path through the rest of the game.
You have four paths that you can choose, with one of those paths being hidden behind making specific choices at the right time. Dedicated players will wish to play through each path to see everything.
Both the Blue Lions and Golden Deer paths contain 22 chapters. The Black Eagles path only has 21 chapters, but this is the route that you need to be on to access the hidden path. Playing through the hidden path will allow you to enjoy 18 chapters.
Playing through one path should take up to 50 hours. Depending on how you play the game, it could go a bit faster. Some might even take longer to play through one match due to going slower and completing as many side quests as possible. Either way, you’re getting a choked game full of content.
You should feel like you have a good idea of how long this game is. Playing this game can be a huge undertaking, but it’s so fun that it won’t feel like a chore. You’ll get very invested in the world and the characters. The writing in this game and the excellent strategy gameplay will keep you coming back for more.
Don’t hesitate to pick this one up for your Nintendo Switch. It’s one of the best Switch exclusives. If you love this game, many other Fire Emblem games exist on older Nintendo platforms, such as the Nintendo 3DS.