I’ve only had about an hour with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, which released on Friday for the Nintendo Switch.
I was initially excited for the game when it was first announced as SMT x FE, since I’m a huge Shin Megami Tensei fan. The game went through a few chances, and I had lost interest in the game when it did finally come out for the Wii U.
Even though I’ve never been into idol culture, I decided to give it a fair shake, as the Switch is a fantastic console for RPGs.
In the first few minutes, the game tosses some exposition at you. Apparently a few years ago, an entire opera house full of people suddenly disappeared, except for a little girl, Tsubasa Oribe.
Tsubasa is now trying out to be an idol like her missing big sister. For some reason, you can choose whether or not she wears glasses. This is apparently a crucial decision you have to make before even starting the game. I picked glasses because my girlfriend has glasses, but they didn’t look that great on Tsubasa. At this time, I’m not sure whether you can change your mind.
As I was in the first room of the game, miffed that Touma, my bro date, had stood me up, this talent scout who resembles Timothy Spall starts asking Tsubasa about her missing sister. Much like Timothy Spall revealing that he serves Voldemort, he then reveals that he is some kind of spectral miscreant. He then sics his other ghosts on the people in the venue because he wants to consume their “Performa” (some kind of psychic energy).
The stage is set:
Tsubasa goes missing, and in true RPG fashion, Itsuki Aoi, the main character, has to go looking for her. One of the ghosts with a very familiar voice actor tries to suck his Performa and Itsuki somehow purifies the spectre, who holds off the other enemy ghosts. Itsuki rescues Tsubasa from a female ghost who is also purified. A Sailor Moon transformation sequence occurs, and the two teens take on the enemy ghosts, who take forms reminiscent of shadows from the Persona series.
The teens learn that their talking weapons are actually Chrom and Caeda from Fire Emblem. The kiddos hit it off pretty quickly with their mirages (that’s what Persona/JoJo Stands) are called in this game).
Thoughts so far:
The ambience and music remind me of a Shin Megami Tensei title, and I’m okay with the game leaning into the idol premise.
I am hoping that I can customize the characters. I’m used to the demon recruiting system in Megaten games, and I’m not sure that I want to be stuck with Chrom and Caeda. Itsuki is weak to fire, which is a very common attacking element in the series. That seems like a big liability later on if as many enemies are packing Agi in this game as in mainline Megaten games.
Thankfully, there aren’t random encounters in the dungeons. The game seems to use both Fire Emblem and Megaten spells and elements, as I’ve seen Dia and Zio. There are at least 10 damage types. These include the weapons from Fire Emblem, as well as the regular spell categories from Megaten.
So far, I’m enjoying the game and it’s nice going in blind. I’m looking forward to singing (slashing?) my way through Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore.