Overall - 80%
Any Persona, Shin Megami Tensei, or JRPG fan shouldn't hesitate to pick up Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. It's fantastic to see another lost gem from the Wii U shine brightly on the Nintendo Switch.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore attempts to breathe new life into the Wii U JRPG after its original North American release in 2016. Is the game worthy of being rescued, or should they have chosen a different title? Check out our review and find out.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore Review
Tokyo Mirage Session starts with an event known as the Mass Disappearance. As the name suggests, 1,000 people suddenly disappear from a concert. Of everyone in the venue, only one person didn’t get taken. Tsubasa Oribe was watching her sister perform, and a mysterious light protected her from this strange occurence. Fast forward five years, and we meet with the main character: Itsuki Aoi.
Itsuki and Tsubasa are friends that run into each other at an idol event. Tsubasa has an audition to be an idol in something akin to American Idol. While she is answering questions, the shadows appear again and start taking people. Tsubasa is one of the people who is dragged off, and Itsuki follows after her. From here, you enter the world of Mirages and rescue Tsubasa. The Mirages are after people’s Performa, which is basically people’s performance skill, and it is why they take Tsubasa. Tokyo Mirage runs roughly about 45 hours, and comes with plenty of side content.
While you are in the Mirage world, you awaken as a Mirage Master and summon your own Mirage to help you in combat. These Mirages that help you are all Fire Emblem characters. Chrom awakens in Itsuki, Caeda in Tsubasa, and others like Tiki make appearances as well. It is worth noting that their appearances are unique to this game; they don’t look like they do in Fire Emblem. Note that you can’t switch your Mirage, but you can equip new weapons and skills.
Combat is turn-based and centers around two major factors. First off is weakness and resistance. You are always aiming to hit the opponent’s weakness while making sure you are resistant, or at least not weak, to the enemy. When you hit the enemy’s weakness, it triggers a Succession Attack. This is when your allies jump in a join the strike. At first, this is one or two hits. As you progress, benched characters and NPCs can join in on the Succession. Using the Succession Attacks successfully is the true key to victory in combat.
Aside from all this Mirage business, most of your allies are also trying to become better entertainers. While you are the leader in combat, you play more of a backup role to your friends on their journey to stardom. Actors, singers, and idols might sound silly, but the side missions unlock new skills and outfits for your comrades. It caught me off guard the first time Touma switched his outfit mid-fight and rammed the enemies for crit damage and triggered a Succession. Once I figured out they could use their new skills in combat, I would go out of my way to complete their side quests. One problem I had is that you can only have one side quest one at a time. If you don’t finish the sidequest and you switch, you have to restart the original one from scratch.
There are requests you can take on in dungeons and from random citizens in the world. You can have multiple of these as they are often searching for items, killing certain enemies, or helping someone get their Performa back. The rewards for these aren’t as good as side missions sadly, so you’ll probably end up skipping some of them. One thing I did enjoy was the item shop lottery system. The more items you buy, such as healing items or revives, the more lottery tickets you get. You can spend those to earn free extra items or extra skins – just a fun little addition to the game.
While you are running around in the real world, your Mirages are hanging out in the Bloom Palace with Tiki. In the Palace, you can forge new weapons, learn new skills, change classes, and do optional dungeons for bonus items. The extra dungeons remove the need for any heavy grinding by giving you EXP Tomes for both character EXP and weapon EXP. You will still have to fight a lot of enemies in the game, but with the Tomes you will have to battle less. The additional EX stories DLC is also present, providing additional insight into your characters and unlocking new skins.
One last thing I want to cover is the dungeon design, which I found to be fantastic. They are the right balance of puzzles, combat, and boss fights. These dungeons follow a theme that related to entertainers as well. You will go through photoshoot dungeons, TV show dungeons, a movie set, and others before it all wraps up. One downside that the enemies are often reskinned and higher-level versions of earlier enemies. And if you are wondering, it pulls far more from the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona series, rather than the Fire Emblem series. The story and the battling is more Fire Emblem, while the rest is more Persona.
I didn’t run into any frame drops, bugs, or crashes, but I did have a couple of issues. There is no autosave, and death leads to a game over – be sure to save often to avoid this. In addition, bosses will occasionally call in extra enemies to join the fight, which is something I’ve grown very tired of in games. Backtracking is commonplace, with bosses triggering an event that makes you return to the Bloom Palace. You can warp to the Bloom Palace at will, but it gets to be a bit much as you keep playing.
Any Persona, Shin Megami Tensei, or JRPG fan shouldn’t hesitate to pick up Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. It’s fantastic to see another lost gem from the Wii U shine brightly on the Nintendo Switch.
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