Japanese Role Playing Games have occupied thousands of hours of my time during my many years of gaming. From the earliest days of catching 150 Pokemon to more recent times trying to catch over 800 Pokemon to everything in between. I was never a fan of most Final Fantasy‘s more rigid structure and some other games put me off with steep learning curves or obtuse narratives. I have spent a lot of time playing western role playing games such as Mass Effect, The Witcher, and Dragon Age. But the East keeps pulling me back and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has given me a reason to keep the Wii U around for a little while longer.
Persona 5 was high on my list of games to buy when I finally purchased a PlayStation 4. After barreling through Nier: Automata and The Last of Us: Remastered, I need something new to occupy my time. Persona 5 seemed to be the answer, but I was wary about sinking dozens of hours into a long and drawn out genre that I was unfamiliar with. I have never played any of the Shin Megami Tensei games that the Persona series draws from and most of my more recent role playing games were action combat based.
Persona 5 is still selling for full price on the PlayStation Network so I decided to start playing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE for the Wii U. I bought the game when it first launched in 2016 and it has sat in my backlog ever since. The first night that I bought the game I played it for an hour and loved it. I hadn’t touched the game for about two years, but I often lay awake at night thinking about playing the game.
While the game does not have much in common with Fire Emblem (hence the #FE), the complex combat system keeps the game engaging enough that I can’t put it down or stop thinking about it. Your party of wanna-be teen J-Pop Idols battle in inter dimensional rifts that allow mirages of past Fire Emblem characters to do battle. The weapon triangle from Fire Emblem is featured prominently, Swords hurt Axes, Axes hurt Lances, Lances hurt swords. As well as elemental resistances and weaknesses.
This is a complicated game that demands precise planning and optimal party structure in order to succeed. Ultimately the game boils down to turn based combat, which I believe is the best kind of role playing game, and the intricate wheel of weakness and resistance to certain moves makes organization a key factor towards victory. Leveling characters and weapons grants new moves or upgraded powers that enhance your arsenal; however, you are only able to store 6 active moves at any one time. This allows for many tough decisions as the player is forced to choose which move sets will be most effective during the upcoming battle. Combine this with a “Session” system that allows support characters to chain together super effective moves and you have a game that draws you in and doesn’t let go.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has quickly risen to become one of my favorite games of all time. The Wii U game pad adds some fun touch screen functionality and a constantly visible map to help guide you towards hidden collectibles. Hopefully this game receives a remastered collection on the Nintendo Switch so more people can enjoy this fantastic experience.
Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks