Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE - Wii U Review

Tokyo Mirage Sessions *(TMS) is the love child of both Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) and Nintendo's Fire Emblem (FE) series. True to the weirdness of SMT, our cast is thrown into a world of weird that only they really see while everyone simply walks on by. While trying to maintain the fast tracks to idol-hood our cast will also have to slot in time for Dungeon Crawling and performing concerts. The stage is set. They just need to survive it!

One of the biggest features that stuck out is the actual use of the WiiU's gamepad in order to add an immersion to the experience. The gamepad's screen not only contains a variety of windows for enemy stats and weaknesses but also acts as your main character's cellphone and the primary form of interaction with the rest of the cast when they are not there in person.

Texting, because who even calls anymore, can come in two varieties. The first are important and story related texts that have to be answered. These will stop your character on screen and have him look down to his phone to answer. Some of his answers are already per-determined according to the story while others allow you to decide what kind of person he really is. Nice guy? Jerk? Nonchalant? You choose as he's basically your avatar to this world.

The second set of texts are either updates letting you know that something new can be built, learnt or supplements to everything else. They aren't necessary to the overall story but they add something without having the characters on screen chat bubbles be cut off because a battle started. If anything this annoyed me because they didn't continue once the battle was over essentially making you miss the rest of the conversation.

A bit like the Persona series, our cast finds themselves in today's modern world, and more specifically, Tokyo Japan. Who would have thought that with that title? Being downtown allows for some pretty crazy things to happen but also allows for some easy accessibility of store fronts and transport between locations. Essentially a very convenient form of fast travel, but one that also makes sense.

While the SMT parentage can take the reigns of the experience, it does not mean that the FE components end up by the wayside. Getting wrapped up in the weirdness each character ends up with a Mirage (slightly different than a Persona) in order to be able to fight against the forces of another world that are attempting to steal what is known as Performa. These Mirages are Characters from the FE series with their own personalities and fighting styles and lend themselves to the cast after dedicating themselves to their cause. Some of the more recent characters such as Chrom and Tharja from Fire Emblem Awakening take the stage.

With the assistance of the Mirage to head into combat, the turned based approach is a perfect blend of both series' Rock Paper Scissors styles. SMT contains a lot of elemental "magical" attacks leaving physical into the three categories of Pierce, Blunt, and Thrust. FE on the order hand has Swords / Tomes -> Axes / Bows -> Lances / Hidden -> Swords / Tomes. Tokyo Mirage Sessions puts both of these into a three person team combat system that will face off against foes that didn't get the three person memo limit.

Because three on more than that just isn't fair, several other elements are added in to not only make something new, but also even the playing field a bit. Instead of hitting an enemy's weak point and then being able to double damage it on following attack, a new follow-up system has been put into place. Added onto active and passive skills are follow up skills which allow an ally to instantly perform a follow up attack if a weak point has been hit. This means that by using fire, if an ally has "fire sword" then a sword attack will follow up the fire one.

Further, if an ally has "sword lance" then a lance attack will follow up after the sword which already followed up the fire attack. Follow-up attacks help level the playing field when more powerful enemies are encountered or if the group is outnumbered. Keeping the party composition aligned for these is honestly more important than who you prefer having in the main party making sure that everyone gets their turn and doesn't fall too far behind the rest while dungeon crawling. This isn't much in the beginning but the system evolves as your characters learn new abilities through their Mirages. More and more follow-up attacks leaves this open to some interesting strategies.

Learning these follow-up attacks is slightly bizarre as they are not learned from either leveling up your main character or their Mirage. Actually in effect Mirages don't level but the weapons that they use known as Carnages do. These weapons are where the skills are going to come from and each Active, Passive, and Follow-up each have their own sections to be slotted into. Once a skill is learned then it goes into the appropriate list to either be used or be in effect. Making these weapons is a whole other story and often? More of a pain than not.

Weapons are created through a hybrid system of having defeated xth amount of an enemy, collecting different levels of Prestige Points, and possibly having picked up a certain item. This wouldn't have been so bad if it didn't require unnecessary backtracking as Carnages can only be made inside of a room inside of the main base that you have to run to the near end of of to talk to the person to start the process. Then you have to run all the way back out.

This is a bit where things don't jive as well as to see what you need to make a Carnage you need to go back to this room every time. Your cell will receive a notification that you can make something new, but as for looking for the specifics? You're out of luck. In this not being able to see things category you also can't see your side quests. Not quite sure what you were supposed to be doing? You need to track down the person that gave it to you. Not sure where they are? Start looking. The main bulk of TMS works great but there were some smaller details that can get in the way at times.

On the whole Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a solid RPG that will keep you occupied for hours on end. Good storyline and great implementation of the Wii U's system can sometimes be dragged down by some not so well implemented systems but these are only secondary to the overall experience in most cases. I do hope that Atlus creates another such experience down the line but in the meantime, Persona 5 is coming up (Edit: "was coming up" when I started to write this) and this was a good distraction while waiting for it!

*Yes Tokyo Mirage Sessions (TMS) is basically Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) in reverse acronym-wise. Well played!

Game Information

Nintendo Wii U
Single Player
Other Platform(s):


Article by Pierre-Yves


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