Bottom line: The DLC's addition of several Auxilary Battles, a new side story, and additional players to recruit to your team refreshes Fire Emblem: Three Houses and makes it even more fun to play.
New side story
More recruitable characters
Additional character outfits
More Auxilary Battles
New romancing options
Lets you interact with dogs and cats
Cannot pet dogs or cats
Only two same-sex male romance options added
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It's hard to believe that Fire Emblem: Three Houses released last summer, but then again, considering how many hours I put into the game, it makes sense that time has flown by. This turn-based, strategy caught the attention of the U.S. Nintendo fanbase like none of the previous entries had before. In addition to providing at least 80 hours of gameplay on your first play through, Three Houses also provided tons of replay value. That's because there are three student groups to choose from and the choices you make determine the outcome of the game.
If you're like me, you've played through each of the Three Houses storylines, have uncovered multiple story paths, and still find yourself wanting more, you should seriously check out the Expanion Pass. This extra content released in four waves, giving players additional outfits for their characters, a new facility for the monestary, extra Auxiliary Battles, and a brand new Cindered Shadows storyline featuring the secret fourth house known as the Ashen Wolves.
I had the opportunity to test out the Expansion Pass, and I have to say that the new side story, additional recruitable characters, and new romance options make it a must-have for anyone who thoroughly enjoyed Three Houses. Here's my full review of the Fire Emblem: Three Houses Expansion Pass.
New side story and recruitable characters
Fire Emblem: Three Houses Expansion Pass What I like
There's a lot to like about the Expansion Pass and that's mainly because the side story is so enjoyable. Here's everything I love about the DLC.
Cindered Shadows The new side story is challenging and fun
The Cindered Shadows side story takes place during the first half of the main story and centers around the fact that a group of outcasts lives beneath the Garreg Mach Monestary, unnoticed by the majority of students within the grounds above. This definitely seemed unconvincing to me, but I willingly suspended my disbelief just for the sake of being able to uncover more Fire Emblem lore.
One of the best things about the side story is that I got to control all three house leaders: Claude, Edelgard, and Dimitri. You're also joined by one member of each of these houses: Ashe from the Blue Lions, Hilda from the Golden Deer, and Linhardt from the Black Eages. I wish I could have chosen which of these more minor characters joined the team, but turns out the side story was made just for them.
The members of the Ashen Wolves bring with them more lore surrounding the monestary as well as interconnecting relationships between new and existing characters. What's more, each of these students is interesting in their own right, and each have a fighting class that isn't available in the base game.
- Yuri Leclerc: He's the leader of the Ashen Wolves and starts the Expansion Pass in the Trickster class.
- Hapi: She starts the Expansion Pass in the Valkyrie class and rides a horse.
- Balthus von Albrecht: He starts the DLC in the War Monk class and fights using special gauntlets known as Vajra-Mushti.
- Constance von Nuvelle: Her starting class in the Expansion Pass is Dark Flier, and she uses powerful magical attacks from atop a pegasus.
More recruits New strategies, dialogue, and romance options
In addition to the four members of the Ashen Wolves, players who purchase the expansion can recruit Anna, a fan-favorite character from previous Fire Emblem games, as well as Jeritza, the masked teacher in charge of armed combat training. This opens the game up to new strategy options as you figure out who can support who and uncover brand new exchanges between new and existing players. Since more Auxiliary Battles get added to the game, you'll easily be able to train up every member of your expanded class.
Additionally, having more recruitable characters means that you have more romance options to choose from depending on if you play as a male or female Byleth. There are three girls, counting the girls from Ashen Wolves and Anna, as well as three new boys, if you count the two guys from Ashen Wolves and Jeritza.
As a side note, you cannot encounter the four Ashen Wolves in the regular game until you complete the Cindered Shadows side story. Oddly enough, you have to select the side story from the game's main menu instead of encountering it while playing the main game. This was really strange to me, but at least the Cindered Shadows save slots are completely different from the main story ones.
Lots of fluff, no Claude, no pets for the animals
Fire Emblem: Three Houses Expansion Pass What I don't like
While I really wanted to love the Expansion Pass 100%, there were definitely some things that bothered me. Here are the things I didn't like about the Fire Emblem: Three Houses Expansion Pass.
Can only feed the animals Why can't I pet them!?
I got ridiculously excited when I read that I'd be able to interact with the dogs and cats that hang around the monestary. However, when I started playing, I soon discovered that you can only give those puppers and kitties food and can't actually pet them. This hurt my heart quite a bit. So, I just stood close to the dog near the pond and whimpered.
So what's the purpose of feeding them? Sometimes an animal will give you something in return for food. It's a great way to expell all of those fish or unused items from your inventory. Additionally, the game keeps track of which animals the online community has fed the most. Which is strange, but interesting.
Only two male same-sex romances added Neither one is Claude!
One of the biggest complaints players had about the original game is that the only same-sex male romance option was Linhardt, who's so boring that he puts himself to sleep. On top of that, even though Claude seemed like a super flirt, he isn't romancable by male Byleth. So which of the three new guys can dude Byleth romance?
This first one is technically DLC that was automatically added to everyone whether or not they bought the expansion, but it's still DLC. It's Jeritza, the weird teacher who disappears from the monestary early on. The thing is, you can only romance him if you play through the Black Eagles route. However, male Byleth can also romance Yuri, the purple-haired leader of the Ashen Wolves. So, while I'm happy there's finally a cool option to choose from, I wish there were several more.
It's expensive But that's typical of DLC
I think it's a given that DLC or special content of any kind is going to be a bit overpriced. I mean, it definitely takes a lot of work to create those news visuals and experiences. However, considering that the base game was $60 at launch and the Expansion Pass is $25, you're paying just $5 shy of half the cost of the original game for far less content. But as I said before, this is pretty typical.
That being said, I still say that if you really enjoyed the original game that you're going to love the challenge and new opportunities that the Expansion Pass brings to Three Houses. However, if you didn't like the base game so much, you probably won't appreciate the DLC.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses Expansion Pass Bottom Line
It definitely isn't perfect, but I absolutely loved playing with the Expansion Pass. The Cindered Shadows story in particular makes the purchase worthwhile as it reveals more history surrounding Garreg Mach and gives you four additional students to recruit. This then gives you more choices to make, more dialogue to discover, and more romance options.
I really wish I could pet the dogs and cats that hang around the monestary. In some ways, being able to feed them but not touch them makes the lack of petting worse. Additionally, it's kind of ridiculous that the only same-sex romance options added for male Byleth are the cool leader of the Ashen Wolves along with a far less popular character that you can only interact with by choosing to align yourself with the Black Eagle house. If more options had been added it would have been a lot better.
Still, Three Houses was already an amazing game that provided hours of story and strategic thinking, but now with these additions, players can get even more quality content out of the game. You should really get the Expansion Pass if you're interested.
What lies beneath
Even more story to discover
The DLC's addition of several Auxilary Battles, a new side story, and additional players to recruit to your team, refreshes Fire Emblem: Three Houses and makes it even more fun to play.
Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.