Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore First Impressions

It feels a little weird writing a first impressions piece of a port of a game that I already wrote a twelve part series on. That being said, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE might be my favorite JRPG of all time, and I was super excited to get back in and see what new features were added. So far, I’ve played a little over eight hours of the game and I’ve only found a couple minimal new things, which is unfortunate, but I’m still having a really good time.

Just in case you are somehow a reader of my blog but don’t know what this game is, I’ll quick rundown the basics. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is an Atlus developed game that crosses over their Shin Megami Tensei series with Nintendo’s Fire Emblem series. Despite that crossover, the game manages to be kind of it’s own thing, a story about Japanese pop idols that are secretly also fighting an inter-dimensional threat. It does take a few cues from the main series though. Your characters have ally Mirages (the beings from the other dimension) that basically serve the same function as SMT-spin-off series Persona’s titular Personas. Also, those Mirages are all based on Fire Emblem characters, such as main character Itsuki’s Mirage Chrom, based on one of the main characters of Fire Emblem Awakening.

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Elements of both games also show up in the combat system. The Persona games have a battle system that focuses on you exploiting enemy weaknesses, which enables you to unleash stronger group attacks. TMS is also all about always trying to use attacks that the enemy is weak to, but now it results in a chain attack with other charters in your party, if they have the right skills. Basically, one character could get a skill that allows them to combo off of sword attacks, so if an enemy is weak to swords, using a sword skill will enable the other character to jump in without costing their turn to attack. By the end of the game, most attacks end up involving your entire party, even members that are currently sidelined. Fire Emblem elements pop up too, by including the classic weapon triangle. So, if your enemy has a spear and you haven’t uncovered their weaknesses yet, using a character with spear skills is a good bet.

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Tokyo Mirage Sessions was one of the few Wii U games that really took full advantage of the Wii U Gamepad. Throughout the game, your party members send you text messages, which would appear on the Gamepad’s screen, which was a neat little touch. Your map would also be displayed down there. As Encore is on a single screen console, this had to be changed. Now, pressing the plus button will display your phone’s screen, allowing you to check texts and see a full map. Thankfully, an added mini-map on the main screen means you’re not constantly pulling up the phone screen. It’s a perfectly good solution, although I will admit that checking texts feels a bit more like a chore this time than it did last time.

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Unfortunately, eight hours in, there’s not that much more new stuff that I’ve seen yet. You have a clearly very important option to have one of the main characters, Tsubasa, wear glasses. This can be toggled on and off at any time and has no effect on anything. Also, there’s now an option to speed up the animations for your Session attacks, but that’s all I’ve seen so far. My understanding is that there’s a new dungeon and a new song, but I have yet to actually see those myself.

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In my opinion, if you like JRPGs even a little bit and have never played Tokyo Mirage Sessions, it is absolutely worth the pickup. The bigger question is whether it’s worth it to double dip. For me personally, I’m very happy to be playing the game again on a modern console, and one I can take with me. The game works quite well in portable mode, so that’s a plus. But, I suppose if you felt like you had your fill after playing the Wii U version, there probably isn’t much for you here.

It’s very rare for me to replay RPGs. I just don’t have as much free time to play games as I would like, and that’s usually spent playing new games. It’s also rare for me to actually finish a JRPG. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is one of the rare ones that I have finished, and with this Encore release, I’m more than happy to play through again.

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