Nintendo has wasted no time in getting the ball rolling on the Switch lineup in the new year, and their first (arguably) major release for the year is Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. Originally revealed as a collaboration between Atlus and Nintendo in January 2013, the game was touted as a crossover between the Shin Megami Tensei series and the Fire Emblem series. Eventually, the project was released in June 2016 for the Wii U as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Much like a lot of the Wii U catalogue, the game was great, but not a lot of people played it. Thankfully, the game is seeing new life with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, releasing later this month.
And while it might not have the clout that comes with the heavy-hitting franchises like Mario or Zelda, there’s so many reasons why you shouldn’t sleep on Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore when it releases on January 17th later this month.
I’ve had a huge amount of time with the original game, as well as the new Switch version, and here’ s just a few small things that are immediately obvious when playing the game.
IT PLAYS LIKE A SUPER CHILL PERSONA MORE THAN A SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI GAME
I absolutely adored Persona 5 but one aspect I did find a little bit hard to relax with was the effort required to plan each of my days to maximise what I could do. Tokyo Mirage Sessions has a similar structure – you go into dungeons to complete the main storyline while also taking time out to relax with your party members and help them out in your day to day life.
The difference is that Tokyo Mirage Sessions doesn’t force you to cram or prioritise your activities into single days or anything like that – instead, it lets you do things at your own pace, whether it be breakneck or sluggish. The more relaxed pace makes the game feel approachable without sacrificing anything else – and as a result, is bound to be more accessible to any fans of the genre no matter what experience.
THE FLOW AND PACING OF THE GAME FEELS MUCH FASTER
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was one of the better-reviewed games on the Wii U, but Encore seems to be taking many steps to ensure it’s even better than the original. For one, it’s clear that a heap of quality of life improvements has been implemented here to improve the general flow of the game.
Simple things, like load times that are literally halved from the Wii U version as well as the options to shorten the lengthy multi-attack sessions in battles keep the flow of gameplay to an admirable pace. These are little changes but they impact the game in a big (and positive) way.
THE INCLUDED DLC HELPS COMBAT THE OMNIPRESENT GRIND
Almost every RPG has a moment where you hit a wall and realise you have to go back to the drawing board and defeat a few more enemies to grind up to an acceptable level. Thankfully, with Tokyo Mirage Sessions, there are three extra dungeons that were previously added as downloadable content in the original game. Now, they’re available pretty early on and allow you to go into battle and earn items that let you level up your characters without excessive grinding.
The game does a great job at warning you of the perils of relying too much on these dungeons, and how they may ruin the fun if you over level, but they offer a great way to keep your whole party leveled especially when a new member is introduced as the story progresses. Given the game has such a reliance on playing the right types against your enemies, it’s a bit of a relief that the game gives you a manageable way to keep your whole party levelled, even when they’re not participating.
I have a lot more to say about Tokyo Mirage Sessions on the Switch, but for now these are the three things that really stand out as improvements over the original game. Look out for my review later in the month.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on Friday, 17th January 2020.