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MisterArrogant

Starting 3H for first time - CS first or main routes?

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Hi,

I'm looking at starting playing Three Houses for the first time and given the new story DLC just released I'm curious if people would recommend playing Cindered Shadows first to unlock those characters for my main routes playthroughs or begin with the original campaign?

Part of me wants to have everything available from the get go when I do the main routes and have access to all the possible characters and other gameplay features. The other part of me worries the DLC story might spoil or "ruin" a main campaign playthrough with some of the salient plot points presented as something the players would already know as potentially the DLC would expect you to have already beaten some or all of the routes? Or maybe it presents a truncated version of the original game's introduction into the story assuming that you've probably already played it?

The other thing is this would be my first mainline Fire Emblem game and I'm curious if the DLC gives you the same introduction to the game's mechanics as the original campaign does? I've heard the DLC is harder than the main campaign. I'm an experienced gamer and I'm fine with a challenge, but I'm more concerned about being dropped into the deep end without a proper explanation of the game's mechanics as again potentially the DLC already expects you know those things?

Regardless of whether I start with the DLC or main campaign, would people recommend I read up on the game's systems and mechanics before I begin playing so I don't botch things up too much or just go in blind and let the game teach me?

Thanks!

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This is your first mainline FE game?

Then I would not recommend Cindered Shadows first. It's meant to be played when you've pretty much already seen most of the story. Plus, it's considerably more difficult than the main game.

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I'd say start playing the main story first and then decide from there.  Cindered Shadows starts about mid-way through - I think specifically it starts after chapter 4 of the main story.

To your specific points...

I'm not sure if it presents much in the way of spoilers.  A couple characters do talk about something that might be kinda spoilery (something about someone's hair), but so far I haven't seen it reveal any of the big stuff.  With that said, you won't miss out on the DLC features if you play through the main story first - at most, you'll miss playing with the 4 Ashen Wolves characters, but all of us managed perfectly fine playing the game without them, so I'm sure you can manage too.

And no, the DLC offers absolutely no introduction to any of the mechanics, it'll only give you tutorials on the newer stuff.  I don't know about your experience (playing a strategy game is leagues different from playing something like, say, a shooter or an action RPG), but I think even experience FE fans might find it difficult - heck, I have been challenged by the DLC at times.  Going into Cindered Shadows without playing the main game is basically dropping you off in the deep end - from a difficulty standpoint, it'd be like starting the main game from Chapter 13.

And I'm gonna say you should just let the game teach you.  It's funner to figure things out yourself - particularly figuring out the best strategies for beating the combat segments - than it is to let someone else tell you how to play the game.

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I'll address your questions one by one.

15 minutes ago, MisterArrogant said:

I'm looking at starting playing Three Houses for the first time and given the new story DLC just released I'm curious if people would recommend playing Cindered Shadows first to unlock those characters for my main routes playthroughs or begin with the original campaign?

No, I would absolutely not recommend that. Abyss mode is a neat addition, as are the characters, but they are far from necessary. Maybe after your first you could dive in and do it, but not as your first route. It's called "Side Story" for a reason.

16 minutes ago, MisterArrogant said:

Part of me wants to have everything available from the get go when I do the main routes and have access to all the possible characters and other gameplay features. The other part of me worries the DLC story might spoil or "ruin" a main campaign playthrough with some of the salient plot points presented as something the players would already know as potentially the DLC would expect you to have already beaten some or all of the routes? Or maybe it presents a truncated version of the original game's introduction into the story assuming that you've probably already played it?

I get that feeling of wanting everything from the get go, but even if you do Cindered Shadows first, you won't really have everything from the get go. You gotta completely finish the game once to fully unlock most of the features. 

The DLC doesn't technically spoil too much. However, it does heavily hint at some things, and by heavily I mean with the subtlety of a bag of bricks. Again, at least play through one campaign before giving this a shot. It does not give you a truncated version of the original game's intro. It presumes you know the story, and starts in the middle of the game.

19 minutes ago, MisterArrogant said:

The other thing is this would be my first mainline Fire Emblem game and I'm curious if the DLC gives you the same introduction to the game's mechanics as the original campaign does? I've heard the DLC is harder than the main campaign. I'm an experienced gamer and I'm fine with a challenge, but I'm more concerned about being dropped into the deep end without a proper explanation of the game's mechanics as again potentially the DLC already expects you know those things?

Yeah, no, the DLC assumes you understand all of the game's mechanics. It fully expects you to utilize everything at your disposal to beat these maps, especially on hard. Even on normal I wouldn't recommend you start with CS. The DLC purposefully subverts a few of the game's mechanics, and unless you understand those mechanics you won't really understand that subversion. So yeah, no introduction to game mechanics

21 minutes ago, MisterArrogant said:

Regardless of whether I start with the DLC or main campaign, would people recommend I read up on the game's systems and mechanics before I begin playing so I don't botch things up too much or just go in blind and let the game teach me?

I'd say look up something if you're confused or want more detail. The game does a pretty good job of teaching you most of its mechanics. If you're struggling, then turn to Google. If not, keeping on trucking.

If you want my personal opinion on which path to do, Blue Lions or Golden Deer are both great choices for a first playthrough. Black Eagles are a good second playthrough, imo.

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You can play through the first couple of chapters of the main story, then play through the Side Story after you're comfortable with the game's mechanics.

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Cindered Shadows sets in chapter 5 of main story.

But as other said, it's high against you starting with CS, you would need some basic understanding of the main story to get CS. CS is also much harder than main game, even seasoned FE players are challenged.

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Start with Blue Lions. It will give you the easiest playthrough AND it has the best implementation of the game's main plot twist.

 

Then play Cindered Shadows before doing a second playthrough for the character unlocks.

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Thanks everybody for the information and advice! I really appreciate it! It sounds like the main campaign is the best starting point so I'll begin with that. I'm really excited to play my first mainline Fire Emblem game. I've played a lot of Heroes and I've really grown attached to the characters so it's exciting to get a chance to see the stories play out firsthand. I'm looking forward to it!

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As far as the maingame goes, I strongly recommend choosing whatever route you want. The game's story works regardless of what route you play first and I don't think their challenge levels are meaningfully different.

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If your dead set on recruiting the DLC characters, it’s worth that they aren’t all unlocked at once- Constance, for example I managed to unlock after Chapter 2 or 3.

I do agree that it’s generally harder than the main game, with Chapter 4 being the worst I’ve ever played.

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43 minutes ago, ZeManaphy said:

I do agree that it’s generally harder than the main game, with Chapter 4 being the worst I’ve ever played.

Now you got my attention. I want the lowdown on what makes it so bad.

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38 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

Now you got my attention. I want the lowdown on what makes it so bad.

 

20 minutes ago, forsettipatty said:

Chapter 4 was good tf?

Basically it’s an escape chapter. You are being chased by Golems who are invincible, with a swarm of phantom soldiers after you. When you reach the 2nd room, and army of rouges appear to add on the headache. When you reach the homestretch, an additional 18 units appear to block your way. I literally was spamming Gambits left and right for this chapter. Oh, BTW there is a 10 turn chapter.

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XD I had a lot of fun on that one though Edelgard nearly didn’t make it with her armor move but she was a great rearguard distraction 

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The Abyss is completely useless in your first playthrough because you dont have enough renown to upgrade it.

Play at least one route before doing the Side Story.

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6 hours ago, ZeManaphy said:

 

Basically it’s an escape chapter. You are being chased by Golems who are invincible, with a swarm of phantom soldiers after you. When you reach the 2nd room, and army of rouges appear to add on the headache. When you reach the homestretch, an additional 18 units appear to block your way. I literally was spamming Gambits left and right for this chapter. Oh, BTW there is a 10 turn chapter.

Spoiler

17 turns actually, they give you a few more turns after you closed first gate

I made it 15 turns by using Ashe unlocking gates, not sure how it would be possible at all if I went the normal path.

The one I hated the most is chapter 3, unending reinforcement + Kaga style trap levers...

Edited by Timlugia

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