Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Sharp FE, not Hashtag FE) has been the subject of controversy for years. Originally teased as a Shin Megami Tensei Fire Emblem crossover back in January 2013, information about this crossover became sparse. During an April 2015 Nintendo Direct (more specifically an April 1st, 2015 Nintendo Direct) the game’s title was announced: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. People were confused, angry, and excited. The game came out to good reviews when it was released on the Wii U, but it got a Switch port in January 2020 where it became the subject of controversy again.
The game was heavily censored in the Western Wii U version, so when news came out that the Switch version is using the censored Western Wii U version as the base, people were angry. If you see any discussion of Tokyo Mirage Sessions on the internet, it is mostly on the censorship. All I will say is that the censorship was unnecessary. It is disappointing people are focusing more on the censorship than the rest of game because Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is a good RPG. I would not call it Atlus’ best, but it is still a good game in its own right.
TMS’ story has Itsuki and his friends needing to stop this mysterious force called Mirages. They join Fortuna Entertainment, a talent agency which happens to have Mirage Masters, people who can control these mirages. Throughout the story, we are introduced to more characters, get into different careers like idol scene and modeling, and discover the cause of the disappearance 5 years before the game started.
The story is fine. Tsubasa, Kiria, and Itsuki get most of the screen time while other characters like Touma, Eleonora, Mamori, and the like do not get as much screen time. The game is divided in 6 chapters excluding the intermissions in between each chapter where nothing story related happens. Each chapter is formulaic and I successfully predicted certain story portions because it was that predictable. Do not expect major twists because you are not getting any here.
The game is a turn-based RPG with a heavy emphasis on the Sessions mechanic. You get new skills by leveling up your weapons like elemental or healing spells and physical skills like a strong sword attack. Beside skills, you can get Session Skills which are needed. After you hit an enemy’s weakness, you will perform a session. It is a combo move where your party members come in and lay the smackdown on the enemies. I like this mechanic as I want to see how high I can get that session combo number.
Abilities are called Radiant Unities and you get the same way as to get new weapons: Needing a certain amount of enemy drops and Performa. You also get certain Radiant Unities from doing character side stories. I recommend everyone to do the character side stories because you get more Radiant Unities and to flesh out more of the characters.
I enjoyed the gameplay except the dungeons and constant backtracking. I did not find the dungeons fun to navigate. I got lost multiple times doing the dress and TV studio dungeons and do not get me started on the final dungeon. I understand it is the final dungeon, so of course it is difficult. However, Atlus got carried away with it. I got stuck in two sections and that was frustrating. You need a guide to complete the last dungeon and I had to look one up because it got on my nerves.
The game loves to make you backtrack. Want to get a new weapon or Radiant Unity? Go back to Fortuna Entertainment and get to the Bloom Palace. It is worse when you are doing a side story because you tend to get a new Performa for a new Radiant Unity for that specific character. There should have been smaller Bloom Palaces outside the Fortuna Entertainment building or make getting the Radiant Unity automatic in the side stories. Getting told to run straight to the Bloom Palace to acquire a new Radiant Unity for a specific character in a side story is a pace breaker. I would not mind if there was a portable Bloom Palace a la SMT 4’s compendium on Itsuki’s phone.
Speaking of Itsuki’s phone, this is where you can see the full map of a dungeon and view Topic messages from different characters in the main story, side story, or direct messages. The direct topic messages can get annoying because your phone will notify you of a message and it can be useless information.
Visually, the game looks good. It is nice and colorful and I enjoy the music. The soundtrack is mostly comprised of idol music and there are some good tracks here. Kiria’s Reincarnation is my favorite track of the entire game.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a good RPG from Atlus. The gameplay, visuals, and soundtrack are good. The story is predictable, the dungeons are not fun to navigate, and the backtracking needed to be toned down. However, I think it is still a good RPG and the Encore version on Switch is worth playing. This has been another Atlus game crossed of my list.