Released on Wii U at the end of 2015 in Japan and in 2016 in the rest of the world, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE hadn’t made a lot of noise at the time, certainly due to very discreet marketing on the game. The RPG was generally well received by critics and had something to interest JRPG fans, and it is with pleasure that we welcome this suffixed version Encore on Switch.
The game developed by Atlus and Intelligent System was first known as Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, a mix between the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series. The adventure takes place in Japan and more precisely in Tokyo, and it all begins when Tsubasa Oribe wishes to participate in a competition to become a singer. Surprised by his childhood friend Itsuki Aoi, we discover the links that unite the two characters. During this competition, things do not go really well, and a tragic event takes place under the eyes of Itsuki: evil characters invade the room in order to absorb the Performa of humans, a kind of inner force linked to the soul. Tsubasa is then kidnapped and taken to a very strange place, and Itsuki will then go to look for her in an attempt to save her.
Very quickly, we discover that some humans can become Mirage Masters, and thus bind with a particular mirage to obtain powerful powers. Itsuki will bond with Chrom, straight out of Fire Emblem: Awakening, while Tsubasa will be in pairs with Shiida, from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. Other characters will then be added to your team, each linked to a different Mirage. The story is quite interesting and has the merit of venturing into the rather unknown world – outside Japan – of the Idols, even if the events will sometimes lack a bit of depth and interest, without however becoming unbearable. As for the mixture between Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem, it works rather well, with this contemporary universe straight out of the Atlus series,
The combat system of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is quite simple at first, but wants to be much deeper and more interesting after having understood the subtleties. Taking place in turns, the battles are quite classic but we quickly realize that the Triangle of Weapons of Fire Emblem is present: to simplify, the swords are particularly effective against axes, which are more effective on spears, the latter having the advantage over swords. Then, the system of strengths / weaknesses of Shin Megami Tensei is also in the game: each enemy will have different strengths and weaknesses, you can for example meet an attacker who will be very resistant to fire magic – even be able to absorb the damage – but very sensitive to ice magic.
Good point, the game has several levels of difficulty, allowing you to promote the discovery of the story by facilitating the fights if you wish. The discovery of the enemy’s strong / weak points is also necessary in order to take advantage of the Sessions, attacks that will be triggered after having used an enemy’s weakness. For example, against an adversary sensitive to fire magic, after having launched the attack with your first character, another of your companions could follow up with another attack and thus inflict great damage. These techniques are powerful and very useful during your fights, but you will have to pay attention to the sequences: if the monster undergoing the attack absorbs electrical damage and your session triggers a lightning attack, this will heal your opponent. This adds a bit of complexity and depth to your battles, which are not just stupid turn-based confrontations without ideas.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, however, suffers from a few flaws, starting with the technical part. If the design of the characters and enemies is good, the rendering of the decorations in Tokyo or in the Idolasphère is really not eyepopping. The quality is fortunately much better on the sound department, the diversity being very appreciable with many pieces of J-Pop and themes which are likely to resound in your head once the console is turned off.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore compensates for its technical limitations with fast load times and a fairly deep combat system that requires a little investment to discover all the subtleties. It is a JRPG for fans of the genre, and even if we would have appreciated a little graphical facelift, we advise you to take a look because if the Japanese culture interests you or you just love JRPG, you should definitely be checking this out or picking it up.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is a great collaboration between Fire Emblem and the Megami Tensei series. If you couldn’t try this game the first time then you sure should now.