Impressions: The first 5 hours of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Victor Barreiro Jr.
Impressions: The first 5 hours of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Are you looking for a light-hearted RPG for your Wii U? Tokyo Mirage Sessions may be something you can idolize!

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U)
Price: $59.99 and available in physical and digital formats

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (pronouned as Sharp F.E.) is the spiritual gaming mashup of Atlus and Nintendo properties Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem, released on the Wii U on June 24 in the US. I purchased a digital copy of the game to get in on the action early and with 5 hours clocked in so far, I can say I’m having a blast.

Set in modern-day Tokyo, Tokyo Mirage Sessions is, despite the dark and gloomy pedigrees of the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem franchises, defined by the measured lack of brooding darkness and the horrors of war.

Instead, the first 5 hours of the game has you and your best friend being recruited into one of the foremost idol management agencies in Japan as idols-in-training, and as you progress through the game, you and your fellow idols overcome the struggles of being and staying popular.

Oh, and this entire time, you’ve been fighting invisible monsters that suck out the Performa – or the creative energies and dreams – of people.

Spoilers for the first 5 hours of the game will occur in the following paragraphs, so be warned.

When stars are born

The prologue and first chapter, “Reincarnation” and “A Star is Born,” provide an interesting premise for the game as a whole. One of the characters – Tsubasa Oribe – is the lone survivor of an incident where nearly 1,000 people disappear in a theater during a performance.

Five years later, Itsuki Aoi – Oribe’s best friend and stand-in for the player – and Oribe are both at an audition for potential idols when a similar event from 5 years ago begins happening at the venue.

Phantom monsters called Mirages are draining the performa from venue-goers, and during this tutorial chapter, both you and Tsubasa are sucked into an alternate world and become able to harness the power of a Mirage, becoming Mirage Masters in the process. The two of you are tasked with stopping the big bad of this chapter from stealing the performa of others.

Upon completion of “Reincarnation,” “A Star is Born” provides some resolution to Oribe’s own backstory, as players are tasked with stopping another event from stealing all the performa from venuegoers at a live event in the middle of Shibuya. Players are accompanied by another character, Touma Akagi, a friend and fellow Mirage Master, as they find out what happened to Oribe’s sister at the start of the game.

What’s the deal with this pop life?

Tokyo Mirage Sessions’ first 5 hours are reminiscent of a Shin Megami Tensei or Persona game, only without all the grim philosophizing. At its core is a story focused on working together to fulfill everyone’s dreams and turn-based battle system that harnesses the strengths of a Shin Megami Tensei game with a layer of Fire Emblem flair on it.

Players don’t need to know much about Fire Emblem or Shin Megami Tensei at all to enjoy the game, as it’s set in its own world but uses a similar fighting system and has the main characters summoning the Mirages of famous Fire Emblem characters instead of Shin Megami Tensei demons.

In these turn-based battles, players and enemies all have weaknesses which can be exploited to allow characters to team up during battle to tack on even more damage against an enemy. As such, performing well together with attacks that not only take advantage of enemy weaknesses, but also synergize with fellow party members’ skills is paramount.

On the story side, while I’ve mentioned that becoming an idol is a big part of the game, two other major aspects of the game are developing relationships with fellow idols as well as why Fire Emblem characters are serving as Mirages. Both of these will likely be explored further in succeeding chapters, which should be a fun romp.

That said, if you’re a newcomer to this sort of gameplay, there is a selectable difficulty option at the start of the game. This will allow new players to ramp down the difficulty if needed, so they can pick whether or not you want to focus on story or challenge at the onset.

One stylish addition is the very battle stage you’ll find yourself on: literally a stage with a virtual audience with your party and the monsters at center-stage. Every battle is literally and metaphorically speaking, a performance that attempts to recapture the hearts and minds of a captive audience.

They dreamed a dream

The story of the first 5 hours is solid, as most of what’s been talked about so far in the media throws back to these early hours, leaving subsequent chapters open for plenty of twists and revelations.

The premise itself is so much more intriguing than it sounds, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Finally, two noteworthy comments for those interested in this game.

First, loading times on the disc version are slightly longer when compared to the downloadable version of the game. Reports say things like loading and booting the game are 3 to 4 seconds longer on physical than digital, but it’s mostly negligible, as most loading times are less than 15 seconds at most. While this does mean that transitions from one area to the next are slightly longer, they aren’t likely to hurt the experience unless you’re the most impatient sort of gamer.

Second, this game is not exactly like the Japanese version. Some of the fan service, or showing of suggestive poses and the like, have been toned down from the Japanese release to allow it a wider release in areas that object to it. It won’t hamper the game’s enjoyment much if you’re not actively looking for specific costumes or events to occur.

That said, as a Wii U owner, I couldn’t be more pleased to have heard about and purchased Tokyo Mirage Session #FE.

I look forward to more singing and dancing with my fellow idols as I slay monsters in parallel worlds. Cheers! –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.