This is the first and only time I will ever use a #hashtag in a title.  I picked up Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE to scratch that JRPG itch while we wait for games like I Am Setsuna or Final Fantasy XV, but found myself hitting the 4 hour mark for this review and continuing for another couple of hours before I could start writing.  Let me get this out of the way up front: If you don’t like JPOP or reading subtitles, this game isn’t for you.  Still here?  Good.  Let’s get into it.

Presentation:

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a Wii U exclusive from Atlus, the guys who make Persona, but they use Fire Emblem characters and systems (hence the hashtag).  It is not a strategy RPG for anyone who might be thinking that, it plays far closer to a Persona game than a Fire Emblem game.

Given the Atlus/Persona pedigree, it should come as no surprise that this game is oozing with style.  From the unbelievably catchy JPOP opening song to the gorgeously stylish visuals, it’s a bright and fun game.  Remember, it’s on the Wii U so it doesn’t look like Persona 5, but it’s a definite step up from even Persona 4 in terms of presentation.

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The story is told through a combination of anime cutscenes/music videos and fully voice dialogue.  However, there’s a catch.  There is NO English language option for the dub, so you’ll be reading subtitles.  I think this was an incredibly bold move by the publisher and I’m glad they did it.  It completely lends itself to the game and setting and makes it feel authentic.

Gameplay: 

The game really shines in the gameplay department.  The dungeons are laid out Persona style as in you can enter and leave the dungeon at certain points to level up.  This might be jarring to you if you’ve never played a Persona type game, but once you get the hang of it, the checkpoints and exits are well placed so you can get in and out at will.

The battle system is really fun.  It’s your traditional turn based battle, but with the Fire Emblem weapon triangle built in.  The cool part is, when you hit a weakness you can activate what’s called a “session” which is a fancy combo attack.  Do it right, and you can get several extra “free” rounds for your characters each turn.  They’re flashy and fun to pull off.  I haven’t carefully planned out each battle in an RPG this much in a long time.

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In between battles, it’s your standard walking around solving puzzles to progress style gameplay.  The enemies are visible and you can strike them first to get a leg up in battle.  There are tons of new weapons to work for, costumes to collect, and charming side stories for each character as well.

Verdict: 

I did not expect to enjoy Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE as much as I have.  If you are a fan of JPOP, Persona, Shin Megami Tensei, or Fire Emblem don’t wait to pick up this game.  It’s a blast.  As a Dad note, they also have the ability like with Fire Emblem to download an extra dungeon that helps you level up quickly anytime you want.  For those of us without tons of time, it’s worth the extra $1.99.

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