When Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was first announced it was referred to as Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem, a crossover between the two iconic RPG series. In some ways it’s a shame that the overt name didn’t stick, as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a mouthful that reveals very little about the game. However, the name change sets the game apart as it’s own thing, and after a few hours of playing, it feels like using the Fire Emblem name explicitly would have missed the mark of what the developers have tried to achieve.
Set in the city of Daitama, you take control of male student Itsuki, with the Wii U gamepad taking the place of your mobile phone and texts coming through that you read on the screen via the Topic app. As the conversation with your friend Touma plays out, you get to choose from a variety of different replies as he breaks it to you that he’s been a little bit delayed. At least he lets you know!
That just gives you the opportunity to bump into your friend Tsubasa, who despite her attempts to through you off the scent, turns out to be in the final for the One of Millenium idol audition. During her interview by the host Gojiun, his questions start to take a strange turn, then reality itself takes a strange turn. Gojiun reveals himself to be the villain of the piece, his cloaked Mirages looking to steal all of the audience’s Performa, and he kidnaps Tsubasa, dragging her through a portal.
Of course, when Itsuki gives chase he discovers a hidden power that reveals one of the cloaked lackeys to be a knight. Realising that he can help Tsubasa do the same they reveal a winged female warrior, before both of them merge with the different warriors. Tsubasa and Itsuki become clad in mythical armour, with the souls of the warriors transformed into their weapons. It’s all very fun, with anime-flavoured cutscenes doing a good job of enlivening proceedings with a great sense of style.
It’s here that some of the Fire Emblem style enters the mix, with the armour and weaponry hailing from that series. The warrior that Itsuki frees turns out to be Chrom, who in turn transforms into a Falchion, while Tsubasa’s companion during this opening section is Caeda.
It’s also at this point that you get your first taste of combat, and fans of traditional JRPG’s will be well served by the turn-based action. Anyone that’s played an RPG in the last thirty years will likely find systems to recognise here, from the bar at the top that shows which character or enemy’s action is next, to the range of actions to choose from, whether it’s simply attacking or using a special skill.
As in previous Shin Megami games, your opponents are weak against certain types of attack. Here though, when you attack an enemy’s weakness with a skill, an ally who possesses a Session Skill that matches the the first will perform a follow-up attack. This is called a Session, and they cause bonus damage when activated, liable to make them a crucial part of your arsenal as you progress through the game.
Level up also gains you mastery of your spirit weapons, known as a Carnage, with a new skill becoming available each time. You continue to level theses weapons until you reach their maximum level, which they did during these first few hours of play, so there will presumably be more weapons that become available as you progress that unlock yet more abilities.
While the game is overtly tied to the Shin Megami series both visually and aurally, there are some nice Fire Emblem touches such as the musical riff when your character levels up. It’s really the Shin Megami Tensei side of things that come through so far, though. The characters have a lightly cel-shaded look to them, and they all look the part. My only real criticism at this stage is the repetitive nature of the musi,c but I’m hoping there’ll be more variation as you progress.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is certainly shaping up to be an interesting RPG, though at this point Wii U owners are likely to be happy with any new release. Hopefully the narrative will expand to bring in yet more characters from both worlds, while telling an interesting tale all of its know. If it can do that, then quite a lot of Wii U owners could be adding this to their most wanted list this summer.