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Viewing Topic: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE - Page 1
#0: 04-01-2015 @ 04:02:34 pm
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=10023#10023

MachVergilMachVergil

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  • Real Name:Adam
  • Joined:2010-01-22

So this is a thing that is happening...

Perhaps it is time to SHIP ALL THE SHIPS?!?!?!?!


We set Wednesdays on Fire!
#1: 06-27-2016 @ 08:12:42 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=12975#12975

MachVergilMachVergil

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  • Real Name:Adam
  • Joined:2010-01-22

House Keeping mostly, I updated the name of this topic to the actual title of the game.  I do want to pick this up sometime this year  so I'm saving myself a headache then >.>


We set Wednesdays on Fire!
#2: 04-04-2017 @ 09:56:07 am
Link to this Post: http://www.machvergil.com/gamenight/messages.php?go=14806#14806

MachVergilMachVergil

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  • Real Name:Adam
  • Joined:2010-01-22

I got two big JRPGs for Christmas 2016 - Final Fantasy XV for PS4 and Tokyo Mirage Sessions#FE for WiiU.  Both games took me over 70 hours to beat, and I just finished Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (which I'm going to shorthand to "#FE" for the rest of this post) over the weekend.   If last years was my Dark Souls/Bloodborne year, this year might be my JRPG year.  At least so far it has been.

Despite associating it with FFXV above, the games could not be more different.  That they are both RPGs from Japan is about all they have in common.  FFXV is a next-gen action-rpg/open-world-thing where nearly all the combat is real time and you never control more than your one character.  #FE is turn based, you control your whole party, and relies very heavily on coordinating your ability to teamwork. 

Let me start at the top:  "Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE" had another name in Japan that should help identify it better:  "Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem." Basically Nintendo worked with Atlus to make a game that combines SMT's type of JRPGs which tend to be about Japanese High Schoolers battling a super natural threat from "another world/plane," where said supernatural threat are inspired heavily by Fire Emblem characters and lore.   How this turned out somehow resulted in them to take a very entertainment industry bent, resulting this game being about not just High Schoolers, but young-adult aged idols, singers, actors, actresses, retired rock bad guitarists, and tv hosts forming oats with Fire Emblem characters in a quest to stop evil "mirages" from stealing "performa" from gifted artists in the real world. 

As absurd as that sounds, #FE is an amazing game, one of the best I played on WiiU and certainly one of the better JRPGs I've played in awhile.  I'm not familiar with SMT as a series (never played one or a Persona game) so I can't speak to how well this game handles like it, but it is a fun and different way to engage the Fire Emblem setting.  IMO it belongs in a list of "Best games for the WiiU' and unless you're one of those people who has no patience for japanese popular culture, I recommend it (those people should stay away and never come close to it because oh man, is this game FULL of Anime and J-Pop tropes).

The game plays mostly how you expect a turn based JRPG to play.  You play as Itsuki Aoi, High School boy who gets wrapped up in all this mess with mirages, entertainment, and ends up bound to Chrom (the Fire Emblem:Awakening hero not the god from Conan the Barbarian) and helps his two school friends, Tsubasa Oribe and Touma Akagi on their quests to become famous and defeat the mirages.  Along the way you make more friends and expand your roster to seven heroes and heroines as you uncover what the mirages are up to and try to protect Tokyo.  Each chapter will reveal a new dungeon (they call them "idolospheres") each with a unique theme and mechanic.  In one you are having to avoid cameras to not get warped back to the beginning, while in another you are having to enter the correct TV sound room and advance on a large LCD screen puzzle to proceed.

The combat of #FE is one of my favorite parts.  Again at base it's a turn based JRPG - each character takes a turn and there's an initative tracker on the top of the screen.  This helps you coordinate which foe you want to kill next since of you can take it down before its next turn it won't get to attack.  So far so standard.  Where it gets fun is the game brings in Fire Emblem's "Weapon Wheel" system of restances and weaknesses (along with some elemental ones from SMT).  So Itsuki, bound to Chrom, uses swords, which means he's weak to lances and strong against axes.  Hit an axe using foe while using Itsuki and it will do more damage.

However matching weaknesses isn't where this ends.  When you hit a foe with an attack they are weak against they don't just take more damage, it staggers them in a way that will allow an ally to attack the same enemy for free on their friend's turn.  This then can chain into another attack from another ally.  This attack string is called a "session" and proper management of sessions is the difference of life and death in this game.  If you plan your attacks and swap members correctly, it is possible (and you'll actually do this often in random encounters) to run an entire fight and deny the opponent ever getting a turn. This feels especially satisfying once Itsuki unlocks the ability to "Direct Overkills."  This is when you kill a foe with a Session Chain, the chain will continue onto the next available enemy.  Additionally any attacks during a session while in overkill ignore resistances.   

By the end of the game you are chaining together 7 hit sessions, with a chance to trigger a two-character duo attack (most of which are at least flashy, musical, and often times ABSURD) that then extends the session, and sometimes those too have a chance to trigger another duo-attack and another session extension.  There were a few fights where once I kicked off the session I just got up and got a drink because I knew the fight was over, it was just a matter of waiting for all the sessions to hit.

That said the session system does have two flaws with it.  The first is that after 50 or so hours of gameplay, you'll have seen all the animations before and you'll start to wish you could skip or fast forward your character's 10+ hit sessions.  The second is that sessions are broken if at any point it would hit a foe who would Nullify or Drain that type of attack, and you don't have control over which characters choose to jump in with which session attacks - that's all up to the AI.  So sometimes you'll have a case where a character has the ability to session chain with an attack that wouldn't break the chain, but refuses to do so and you cannot tell them to wise up and stop it.   That said, manually directing each part of a session chain would be a pain, and it seems like you have some ability to make them lean on one time of session attack over another by placing it higher or lower on its list.

Another mechanic to watch out for is characters can only learn so many attack, session, and passive skills, so you do need to plan while leveling up is making sure you wisely replace skills with ones you want because you can't have everything.  This sometimes means being careful about maybe giving characters new session attacks to replace old ones, and hoping you don't break any old reliable chains by doing so.   The good news is after a certain point early in the game you gain the ability to re-craft a weapon with a +1 on it to re-learn any skills you might have lost in case you feel you messed this up.

Another thing I like about the game is its music.  The music is a fun mix of popular-music and suitable adventure stuff in a lot of cases, and in addition to that there's a several fully voiced tracks complete with music videos.  I love almost all the battle themes (sadly they won't be thematically appropriate for any of my D&D games anytime soon, but I still love them).  I'll attach a couple of my favorite tracks to give you an idea of what's going on.  The game is also pretty good looking for a WiiU game.  The cell-shading suits the game's style well and the interface oozes style.  The pre-rendered cut-scenes also were recorded on an engine that does a great job of making 3D characters look like anime.

So yeah that's Tokyo Mirage Sessions#FE.  Again I recommend anyone who like JRPGs and owns a Wii U to give this one a go. 

SIDE NOTE: Much like Fire Emblem:Fates - there's some pretty big localization differences between this version and the Japanese version, especially in the costumes of the game's female characters. The version of the 2nd music video I posted is for that character's US version of the costume.  It's not hard to find the different versions on YouTube.

This post was edited by machvergil on April 4, 2017, 12:57 pm


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