Review: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Over the top, colorful, a little bit weird, but still exciting to experience

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, or, as I still find myself trying to call it, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, is one of the more bizarre and unique RPG mash-ups I have ever experienced.

Take a dash of Shin Megami Tensei’s plot, relationships and writing, throw in Fire Emblem’s character designs and combat mechanics, drench the whole experience in neon paint and pump a J-Pop soundtrack in over some big speakers. That’s the core of TMS#FE, and it makes for a fascinatingly energetic experience from start to finish.

The game’s plot is a little bit over the top and silly, but ultimately takes itself charmingly seriously. Demons are stealing the creative and performative energy of humans all around the world, and a bunch of Shin Megami teens pair up with Fire Emblem character summons to try to reclaim it.

Each hero has a Fire Emblem character attached to them, and the pair level up and grow together. Each character can learn new skills, forget old ones (essentially respec-ing entirely), alter their classes and be tweaked to suit whatever gameplay niche you want to use them for.

Over the top and silly, but ultimately takes itself charmingly seriously

The core of the game involves exploring typically Shin Megami Tensei-style dungeons, which feature a mix of puzzle and combat gameplay, ending in a boss fight.

The puzzle gameplay, which often involves a lot of environmental exploration and searching for clues to safely progress, does not hold players hands in the slightest. Often vital progression clues are hidden impossibly well which can at times be frustrating, but largely as the game progresses the kind of tricks the dungeons play on you become easier to spot.

A battle system that’s not only deep enough to remain rewarding, but enjoyable to watch unfold

The turn-based combat in Tokyo Mirage Sessions is often very visually over the top. The core gameplay loop involves strategically triggering Sessions, a stylised combat move which allows your team to get in extra attacks. This is paired with elemental type advantages and team positioning to create a battle system that’s not only deep enough to remain rewarding, but enjoyable to watch unfold.

Boss battles are, unfortunately, a bit of a let down in an otherwise interesting game. They are often excessively and arbitrarily tough in ways that are simply not fun: bosses with crazy amounts of health, bosses that continually summon in mobs to defend themselves, and pretty much every other cheap trick pops up. It’s a real let down when the rest of the gameplay is so enjoyable.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a bright, colorful, energetic and definitively Japanese experience. It’s trying to be numerous things at once, and for the most part the slightly cacophonous collection of mechanics and themes comes together in an exciting and rewarding way.

It’s odd for sure, but It commits to what it is in a truly endearing way.

This game was reviewed using a copy purchased by the reviewer.

Platform: Wii U

Developer/Publisher: Atlus/Nintendo

Price: £39.99/$59.99

Release date: June 24, 2016

  • Energetic genre blend largely works
  • Combat system is complex and engaging
  • Bosses are damage sponges
  • Puzzles feature zero hand-holding

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a bright, colorful, energetic and definitively Japanese experience. It’s trying to be numerous things at once, and for the most part the slightly cacophonous collection of mechanics and themes comes together in an exciting and rewarding way.

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Laura's gaming journey began in the 90′s when she was given a SNES by her older brother with Mario paint. From that day video games were all she thought about day or night, be it playing them, designing them, discussing them or writing about them.

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