Fire Emblem: Three Houses music

Trails of Cold Steel III was delayed from September into October, so my plan to finish the two fan-translated Trails games ahead of its release now has a bit less time pressure. I’ve been using that buffer to play Fire Emblem: Three Houses, another of my most anticipated 2019 games.

There’s still a long way to go, but I love it so far. (It actually resembles Trails of Cold Steel in some ways, especially the military academy setting and the Persona-lite time management.) In particular, I’ve been intrigued by its soundtrack.

I would say I’m generally neutral to positive on Fire Emblem music. At its best it has a triumphant, anthemic quality; at its worst it sounds boilerplate.

The Three Houses soundtrack is anything but boilerplate.

I’m going to share a few excerpts. Pay especial attention to the percussion in all of these.

This is “Life at Garreg Mach Monsastery,” which plays while you’re roaming the school grounds:

Here’s a bit of an early battle theme, “Blue Skies and a Battle”:

And here’s another battle theme, “Tearing Through Heaven”:

For a series that generally hews closely to fantasy music conventions, these are wild to me. It’s like they set an EDM producer loose to scatter trap beats and drops everywhere. Even wilder is how well it works!

I was wondering where all of this was headed, so I skipped ahead on the soundtrack CD and landed on “Shambhala (Area 17 Redux).” I’m not far enough into the game to know the context in which this track appears, but I’m excited to find out:

Dubstep Fire Emblem. Unbelievable!