What’s in Your Box: Tokyo Sing
Kalvin Martinez / Feb 4th, 2017 No Comments
Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?
What’s in Kalvin’s Box
While most people are super excited for the Nintendo Switch, I’m sitting here still enjoying games on the Wii U. The biggest travesty is how Nintendo had great games for the system but never could figure out a price and strategy to market it to people.
Even if you’re hot on the Switch, definitely track down a Wii U at some point because its library of games is absolutely fantastic. The last game released for the system of any note was Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, and I’ve been obsessed with it all week.
Sing for the Moment
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was announced early in the Wii U’s life cycle as a Shin Megami Tensei/Fire Emblem crossover developed by Atlus. It was one of my most anticipated games for the system as I am a huge fan of both series, but the wait was agonizing.
As the Wii U continued to struggle and fail, it seemed like the game would either be canceled or released only in Japan. Luckily, Nintend of America did release it here, but probably as a token gesture to Wii U owners as they decided to discontinue the system by the end of last year.
Figuring out what would have helped the Wii U is a fool’s errand now, and hypotheticals really don’t matter anymore. What is important is Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, despite its silly name, is fantastic. It is basically a Persona game, but with more idols.
Even though it borrows more from the Shin Megami Tensei main series than the Persona off-shoot specifically, it feels more like the more like Persona. The emphasis on regular people thrust into extraordinary circumstances is there with deep bonds of friendship, a light hearted tone with a dark streak, awakening a great power to fight alongside your team, and a normal world violently changed by a demonic force that can be changed back through your efforts. It all feels more like Persona than anything else, which is for the best.
Mystery and Mirages
Five years prior to the main story of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, an extraordinary event in a theater causes the mass disappearance of the entire theater including the performers. Only one girl is left unscathed, Tsubasa, the sister of one of the performers.
The story picks up five years later and centers on Itsuki as he witnesses a similar event happen at an idol audition with his friend Tsubasa. She is taken into a weird portal by a demonic force, and Itsuki rushes in to save her.
Inside this portal, Itsuki finds odd specters out to take his essence, but he manages to awaken a powerful force inside himself and saves Tsubasa from having her essence stolen too by awakening the force inside her too. The two find themselves with the means to escape this bizarre area, but to do so they must defeat a powerful enemy.
Once they exit the bizarre area, they discover they are now Mirage Masters and incidents like this have been popping up all over. Both Itsuki and Tsubasa are brought into an organization out to contain Mirage events with their friend, Touma and idol, Kiria. They’ll need to become strong and work together if they want to help keep Tokyo safe.
The story is where JRPGs focus their attention on, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE certainly has a story focus. It just isn’t as strong as most of Atlus’ other work. There are certainly intriguing parts to the story, but it doesn’t grab you right away. It takes its time to draw you into what’s going on with the Mirage Masters and Tokyo. While it does focus on characters, they aren’t immediately striking and take a lot of time to warm up to. It isn’t a bad story by any means, but the combat being so good helps keep you invested in the game.
Taking Advantage of my Weaknesses
The gameplay is an interesting mix of the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei series. It is 100% SMT turn-based combat with some tweaks. You still have the advantages and weakness systems, but instead of gaining extra turns, you can initiate combos called Sessions with other party members that have similar skills.
The more Session skills your party has, the longer and more effective your Sessions will be. It is the best way to be effective in battle, and makes the combat and progression systems exciting to tackle.
One of the cool tweaks to combat is the presence of the Fire Emblem weapon hierarchy. In addition to the magic system from SMT, your party and enemies are also subject to the weapon triangle from Fire Emblem. Lances are strong against swords, swords beat axes, and axes crush lances.
It adds another layer to combat and forces you to think strategically when facing down a large number of enemies because enemies can also initiate Sessions. If you’re not careful and mindful of weapon advantages, three lances can annihilate your swordsman.
It is a huge shame Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE came out at the end of the Wii U’s life, but it is definitely a game Wii U owners should play.
tags: atlus , Fire Emblem , nintendo , opinion , persona , Shin Megami Tensei , Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE , What's in Your Box