Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Review

Jorge Godinez

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has been a long time coming. When the crossover between the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series was announced in 2013, many imagined a dark-themed and violent game. Shin Megami Tensei is known for its post-apocalyptic worlds and haunting demon designs.Three years later and the final product is something nobody could have anticipated.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is instead a lighthearted and colorful RPG that combines elements from both series to create one great adventure. The game is set in Tokyo, Japan in Shin Megami Tensei tradition. This time, however, you are set in a modern-day Tokyo where J-pop idols, actors, and various other entertainers are all the rage.

You play as Itsuki Aoi, a high school student who was quite ordinary until one day he is awakened as a Mirage Master. During the game’s prologue, Itsuki’s friend, Tsubasa Oribe, is kidnapped by Mirages and taken into an Idolasphere. Idolaspheres serve as the dungeons in the game. Itsuki jumps in and is transported to an alternate dimension. He eventually finds Tsubasa but is then attacked by a Mirage. He uses a light within him called Performa (this becomes important and essential to the game) and attacks the Mirage. However, he discovers that the Mirage was being manipulated and is actually a benevolent spirit who has lost his memories. He does remember his name, however, which is Chrom. Yes, the Chrom from Fire Emblem: Awakening.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Together Itsuki and Chrom save Tsubasa, who frees her own Mirage Caeda, also from the Fire Emblem series. From there, they all leave the Idolasphere with Touma Akagi, a mutual friend who helped them fend off the evil Mirages. Touma himself has already been a Mirage Master for some time, and his partner Mirage is Cain from the Akaneia series of Fire Emblem. Touma has been hiding his secret of being a Mirage Master from his friends but decides to tell them the truth after seeing that Itsuki and Tsubasa are both highly capable of being Mirage Masters themselves. Mirage Masters are capable of partnering with Mirages, which are all characters from the Fire Emblem series, and using them as weapons that are called Carnages in the game.

Touma introduces his friends to Maiko Shimazaki, the president of Fortuna Entertainment, a talent agency for Japanese idols. However, Fortuna Entertainment is actually a secret organization that recruits Mirage Masters to combat the Mirage invasions from the Idolospheres. Itsuki, alongside a group of friends, joins forces with friendly Mirages to save Tokyo and its denizens from losing their Performa.

Performa is a key aspect in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. It can be described as a person’s creative energy. While the reason why Mirages are going around stealing Performa is something for you to find out by playing the game, just know that Performa plays a big role in the story and in leveling up your characters.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

As is the usual case in RPGs, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has a turn-based battle system. However, initiating a battle stays true to the Shin Megami Tensei series. While inside of an Idolasphere, you take control of Itsuki as he brandishes a blade. Mirages which are symbolized by floating red coats randomly appear on the map. They will usually come after you if they see you, but you can fell them. This will cause them to remain injured in place, giving you two options: You can either run away from the enemy, or you can initiate the fight. Initiating a fight with a felled enemy will sometimes give you the advantage by allowing you to perform a preemptive strike.

The combat system in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is what makes the game a must-play for any RPG fan. It will be very familiar to Shin Megami Tensei fans because all the skills remain true to the series. Like other games in the franchise, you have to use a unique variety of skills in order to exploit an enemy’s weakness. For example, some enemies will be weak to Zio, a light magic lightning spell. However, some enemies will be resistant to lightning, which will make your attack useless. Finding out what enemies are weak to really challenges the player to use a variety of skills in order to perform long strings of combos.

New to Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and also the third word in the title, are Sessions. Session attacks are basically long combos connected by exploiting an enemy’s weakness. For example, if Itsuki casts Zio on an enemy that is weak to it, all of the other party members will be able to attack the same enemy as long as they have the needed Session skills. Racking up strong Session attacks is key to victory in battle, so make sure that your party members have a wide range of skills to perform them. However, note that enemies will also be able to perform Session attacks if they exploit one of your characters’ weaknesses. Session attacks on both sides make for thrilling battles. I found myself battling every enemy I met because the combat system makes sure that battles do not become too repetitive.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Instead of buying weapons in the game, you make them. As aforementioned, weapons are called Carnages and are made by combining Performa gained from battles. You take Performa to Tiki, another Fire Emblem regular, who then performs a ritual where Mirage and Master come together to give birth to a new Carnage. By the way, you will constantly be making new Carnages all the time. There are so many different weapons, and they all have great designs. Some of them are even modeled after Fire Emblem weapons. Every time I was in a dungeon, I had to leave around 5 times just to make new weapons. Skills are also made in the same way, but the materials needed for skills are gained by either doing side quests, advancing in the story, or raising a character’s stage rank.

Another thing to note about Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is its soundtrack. The soundtrack is handled by Japanese entertainment giant Avex Group, and all the songs in the game are originals. Considering that the game centers around J-pop idols, you can expect a lot of that type of music in the game, and they are all high-quality due to Avex Group’s work. I certainly found myself humming many of the catchy tunes while not playing the game. The music in this game is a large reason why ATLUS decided to keep the Japanese language in the game. There is no English voice acting, but captions make up for it and make the game stay true to its development.

That is one important thing to note. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is very heavy in Japanese influences. Characters will talk about anime and about waiting in line for the hot new anime action figure. Tiki is called a waifu in one particular side quest. While some of these inclusions can make some people’s eyes roll, especially if you are not the biggest anime fan, I found many of these occasions to be funny. They all added charm to the game, but they could scare away some players who are not too into the JRPG genre. Still, if you can get past these ridiculous scenarios, then you will be able to fully enjoy the RPG combat.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

The only real gripe I have with the game is the most disappointing of all, the Fire Emblem representation. While many of the characters and villains have Fire Emblem names, none of them look like who they are supposed to be. The designs do look great and colorful, but for being a crossover title, the Fire Emblem side of the game leaves much to be wanted. All the characters have their faces covered for the most part, making them unidentifiable even if you have been a big Fire Emblem fan for a long time. The closest Mirage that looks like her FE counterpart would be Tharja, and that’s only because the voice actress does a great job of getting Tharja’s gloomy demeanor. Other than that, Tiki is really the only other character that truly looks like she came from Fire Emblem. It is understandable that the designs were changed a bit to make the game feel original, but they go a bit too far and render the Mirages unidentifiable.

Other than the Mirages being Fire Emblem characters, there isn’t really much to correlate to the series. When characters level up, they get the Fire Emblem jingle, and when they awaken a new Performa, you can hear the main Fire Emblem theme. Still, these feel like small Easter eggs rather than concrete implementations made to familiarize fans of the FE series.

If you are playing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE solely for the Fire Emblem aspect of the game, then I would say there isn’t much to see. However, I would still strongly recommend playing the game because it truly is a great RPG for the Wii U, and there aren’t many as is.

Developer: Atlus

Publisher: Nintendo

Platform: Wii-U

Release Date: 24th June 2016

Score: 90%