Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch
Who it Caters to
When it comes to RPGs no company is as consistent and shines as bright as ATLUS, who continue to strive for excellence every step of the way. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is the latest title from the revered company which originally launched back on the Nintendo Wii U in 2016, but has now been revamped with a ton of additional features for the Nintendo Switch. Anyone who dabbled with the original will know that Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was a genuinely fun title, filled with challenging missions and tough dungeons that required a great deal of strategy in order to win. In Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore all of that fun is still retained but throws in extra dungeons, costumes and characters to ensure that everyone can enjoy this strategically enticing title.
What to Expect
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore brings both the Fire Emblem and beloved Shin Megami Tensei series together to create a unique blend of depth, strategy, and a captivating story that keeps you glued to your seat for hours. With a sophisticated turn-based battle system, that’s reminiscent of the classic Shin Megami Tensei titles, and the brutal difficulty that awaits you in battles similar to Fire Emblem, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is a gift within itself and is a must-have title for anyone who’s a fan of both franchises. All of the paid DLC that was included in the original Wii U version is now a part of this wonderful package, which as mentioned before includes new dungeons, along with new battle elements, additional character stories which include an EX story that focuses on Tsubasa alongside Kiria, plus a new music video. Now that you know what to expect let’s dive deeper into what makes Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore a worthy purchase and why players new to both franchises shouldn’t sleep on this incredibly robust RPG experience.
Much of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore and its story take place between present-day Tokyo and the mysterious Idolaspheres—an area filled with dangerous enemies known as Mirages. Everyone within this world is known to have energy known as Performa, which enables them to pursue their dreams. This Performa is known to attract Mirages who typically form alliances with humans to protect the world, but recently a darker force has emerged from the shadows to devour Persona at will. It is now up to Itsuki Aoi along with his friends Tsubasa Oribe, Touma Akagi, and the rest of the Fortuna Entertainment team to work together to use their Performa to put an end to the suffering before it’s too late.
One of the defining aspects of both the Fire Emblem series along with the Shin Megami Tensei titles stems directly from their presentation. The moment you dive into the world of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore you’re immersed in a world that closely resembles that of Shibuya and Harajuku, with attention to detail being at the forefront of it all. The Tokyo backdrop may not resonate so well with those who are living outside of Japan, but in our case, seeing Shibuya so accurately depicted even down to the Hachiko Crossing and department stores is mesmerizing. The menus within the game are very easy to navigate thanks to the simple approach ATLUS took to ensuring that more of the focus be placed on gameplay and keeping things to a minimum to avoid confusion. Animated cutscenes feel like you’re watching an actual anime episode which blew us away completely, and only proves just how much time and devotion ATLUS put into creating a visually captivating title. Every performance that you experience feels unique and really helps to define each character in their own way, breathing more life into the game.
The sound and music department is no different, as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore strives to ensure that players are immersed in a world that feels real, even making sure that store employees greet you with the typical “Irrashaimase~” once you enter. The most important point to bring up though goes back to the performances that each character displays during battle. The Performa that you have is like your own personal talent and each character wields unique abilities that can be showcased in battle. Tsubasa Oribe, for example, strives to become the best idol and during many of her cutscenes, everything is so fine-tuned to perfection when she performs, creating a sense of connectivity between the player and the emotion. With music industry powerhouse Aven Group being the one behind creating the musical numbers, it’s no surprise why this game blew us away.
Admittedly, jumping into the battle system of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore felt a bit confusing at first, primarily due to the specific naming of things. To clarify, there’s a Unity System within the game that allows players to take advantage of their Performa and work alongside other Mirages to strengthen the party. When players enter the Bloom Palace, they’ll be able to level up their Carnage Unity and Radiant Unity. Carnage Unity uses Performa, which is typically collected during and after battles using special performance techniques, to create special weapons for each character. Each of these acquired weapons contains 4 skill slots that a party member can obtain through earning EXP throughout battles. Command Skills grant the member the ability to perform a plethora of attacks and spells, Passive Skills aiding in boosting stats alongside effects, and Session Skills are pretty much your chain meter where chaining together Session Attacks will boost overall damage, and grant more rewards.
Radiant Unity are a lot like permanent skills that you’ll earn over time, either through plot progression and taking part in character side stories, or by increasing your Star Ranking in battle. Star Rankings are usually obtained by performing Session Skills, with Session Attacks granting more over time. Similar to the Shin Megami Tensei series, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore’s battles take place in dungeons, where players must navigate through each floor and encounter power enemies along the way. Each Idolosphere you enter is designed around a specific theme and players must activate switches, and devices to solve puzzles in order to progress through. One of the reasons why we love the Shin Megami Tensei series is because of its enormous depth and strategy when it comes to battles, knowing when it’s best to engage or simply avoid enemies in order to save your resources for when it matters. Just like in both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei, enemies along with the characters have their strengths and weaknesses against certain types of physical attacks, alongside elemental attacks.
Each character and enemy will have a small image next to their name which helps players to determine what their typing is, and how to take advantage of it in battle. The affinities of each party member will change, depending on what weapon they’re currently using in battle, so it becomes a very important strategy to be able to utilize all weapons for the right scenario. Diving deeper with Session Attacks, think of it as a combo system where a succession of attacks allows you to deal a ton of damage to the opposing side. So let’s say that we have a wind-type weapon equipped and perform a Session Attack. What will happen is if one of our other party members also has a wind-based attack and perhaps another element attacked like electricity, that attack will likely be the next follow up. With enough SP meter built up, players can then perform a very powerful performance known as Duo Attacks, in which the member and their Mirage attack in unison to deal an enormous amount of damage. Performing well in battles will reward you with an increased ‘Stage Level’ which helps to unlock Performa for Radiant Skills, plus giving you the chance to embark on new character side stories.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to actual gameplay, and much of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore requires that you do a lot of planning before entering dungeons to battle. Once you receive a game over it’s back to the title screen and so, if you have a habit of not saving throughout your run then this game will surely teach you the hard way. One of the more defining features of any Shin Megami Tensei game is its ability to really test your patience and throw you off guard during very serious battles. So it’s highly encouraged that you save frequently throughout your adventure to ensure you don’t rip your hair out along the way. We totally loved Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore and for many reasons that we’ve elaborated above. The rewarding battle system is a bit confusing at first but once you develop a good understanding of things the game truly is exciting.
The side stories are a nice refresher after long and arduous battles, with much the game overall really embracing Japanese culture to the fullest. By this we mean focusing on the concept of stardom and helping players empathize with the characters, showing them the struggles and obstacles that many entertainers must endure not only on stage but in their daily lives. Another added cultural tidbit is how ATLUS used the infusion of Japanese pop idol culture and performing arts to emphasize the depth of Japanese Shamanism, in which priestesses would perform in order to be closer to the gods they deeply worshiped. In a similar fashion, the main characters draw the attention of the Mirages and summon them into the real world in order to be of assistance. It’s these finer details that truly make Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore an incredibly breathtaking experience.
Sure, not everyone may understand some of the nuances that are shown throughout the game but we still feel players can immerse themselves in a world that feels aesthetically pleasing from a visual standpoint.
Using cultural references to really help emphasize the importance of life and its challenges is truly a beautiful thing that ATLUS does so well.
The animated cutscenes in the game are some of the best we’ve seen in a long time, with the Switch really revamping the visuals in a big way.
Each character in the game feels authentic and you come to build a strong relationship with them along the way, which is a plus.
Plenty of gameplay means a lot of hours invested in this highly tactical title.
Perhaps a double-edged sword, a lot of the cultural nuances in the game reflect that of Japan and so players who dive into the story may find themselves lost in translation at times.
We wish there were a lot more Fire Emblem characters 🙁
Honey's Final Verdict:
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is a must-have for any RPG enthusiast and we highly encourage new players to pick this one up and play. With all of the additional features added, this is a huge step up from the Wii U version so be sure to jump straight into the music world and perform with all of your heart! Be sure to check out our other reviews and as always, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section.
Until next time!
Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!