This game comes from the good folks over at Atlus and Nintendo. I’m glad to I got the chance to review Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE since this game has been through quite a journey.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Directors: Mitsuru Hirata, Eiji Ishida, Kaori Ando
Producers: Shinjiro Takada, Hitoshi Yamagami
Artists: Fumitaka Yano, toi8, Hideo Minaba
Writers: Yoh Haduki, Makoto Miyauchi, Aoi Akashiro
Composer: Yoshiaki Fujisawa
Series: Shin Megami Tensei & Fire Emblem
Platform: Wii U
Release dates: JP December 26, 2015; NA & EU June 24, 2016; AUS June 25, 2016
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (or TMS #FE) comes from the minds of those who brought you the SMT games and Fire Emblem games. Originally this game was titled SMT X FE, but near the end of development, it was renamed. The game is a standard JRPG with a unique twist on the characters from other franchises. You will meet with Fire Emblem characters, see Persona easter eggs, experience combat from SMT, and just have an overall good time with the soundtrack as well.
The game takes place in modern day Toyko where Itsuki Aoi (that is you, the main character) is supposed to meet some friends at an idol event. However, things do not go as planned and you end up in this realm known as the Idolsphere (dungeons in the game) while you figure things out. During your first visit, you encounter a strange shadow chasing you. You come to find out that it is Chrom from the Fire Emblem games with his memory gone and in this form. As you help him regain himself, you learn that these Fire Emblem spirits (and non-Fire Emblem as well) are known as Mirages. The story continues to develop from this point further, but I will leave the surprises for those who are going to play this.
For those familiar with SMT/Persona games, the combat system is more or less exactly the same. For those who are not familiar with it, it is a turn-based system in which you attack the enemy in the center while your party surrounds it. Different from other RPG turn systems, this one has a unique way of keep track of what is effective and ineffective in battle. In addition to this, as your skills develop, you will learn combo attack which will stack your party members attacks against the enemy once they are hit with a weakness. Be forewarned, the enemy can do the same to you.
As you battle an enemy, the game keeps track of what is effective and ineffective. It will alert you as to what the enemy is weak against, resistant to, strong against, or a normal attack. Those that are not discovered will have a ? in the circle for those type of attacks. This is nothing new to SMT/Persona fans, but if you have not played one of those games before, you will find this to be a convenient tool because the difficulty begins curving upward after chapter 1. This is what I found to be a bit of the con of the game since the difficulty spikes pretty quickly. However, this is expected of SMT game. Still, I personally found it infuriating at times (especially with the optional dungeons).
The level up and skill system is something else that may be different if you are not familiar with Fire Emblem games.
The level up system basically follows that of a Fire Emblem game. For those not familiar with this, it is a random number generator (RNG) as to what actually levels up. Once you level up anything (or everything) can level up. You can get 6 stats that gain a point, or just 2. It can be something useful that levels up or something that is not useful. The RNG in terms of leveling up will have you holding your breath as you level up in hoping its good or great. Fire Emblem fans will know exactly how this goes as sometimes they dread the level up. The skill system, however, is not as intense.
The skill system follows that of SMT/Persona games once again. When you hit a certain level, you assign your skills. You will be able to stack elemental attacks as well as combo attacks. The skills are linked to a weapon, so once that weapon is maxed out, it is time to create a new weapon to get new skills to learn. This covers combat, let’s move on to the outside of combat.
Outside of combat, you are roaming around the world of Tokyo. You will travel between your music studio, Shibuya, and other locations. You can undertake quests or just explore the world. There is just enough to do to keep a player interested as they randomly roam.
Visual and audio:
Visually, this is one of the most impressive WiiU games I have played. It looks beautiful and the art style fits perfectly well with the theme of the game. It is very animated in cutscenes and in gameplay. It looks wonderful as it does it. Atlus/Nintendo did well again.
In the audio department, once again (like all SMT/FE games) the soundtrack is fantastic. I enjoyed listening to is as I explored and played the game. Below is a sample song
The official soundtrack release will be either later this year/next year. I hope to pick it up when it comes out.
Like all SMT games, there is a new game plus that carries across difficulties. Below is a list of what carries over, except for lunatic difficulty, if you so choose.
- Level, stage rank, skills, weapons, accessories, items, money ,Costumes, achievements, trophies, play time, and items you unlocked for shops will carry over.
Outside of this, you get DLC content, which is optional dungeons, which can be very difficult if you are not ready.
TMS #FE is a fantastic game with very little cons. If you are not a huge anime fan, maybe some of the things in this game will turn you off. However, I found nothing really to complain about as I played outside of the difficulty spike that occurs after chapter 1 and keeps going. I think the developers made chapter 1 the tutorial chapter, but then right after, it just got difficult. I found myself grinding a bit in each dungeon just to stand a chance in the dungeons. In addition to that, the optional (DLC) content currently available had even much more of an insane difficulty spike. You defeat one enemy, the difficulty of every other enemy spikes, and it just keeps going until you either leave or finish the dungeon.
However, I enjoyed the ride the entire way through and I am already beginning a NG+ run. So far I have over 100 hours, here is to add another 100 more. This is probably the best RPG I have played this year so far (and RPG is my favorite genre so I mostly play whatever I can get my hands on). It is easily a game of the year contender to me. I fully recommend this game to anyone.
I know censorship is apparently a huge debate when it comes to this game, but regardless of censorship or not, or however the game was localized, I enjoyed it for what I got to play. It was fantastic.