TOKYO MIRAGE SESSIONS #FE ENCORE / DEVELOPER: ATLUS / PUBLISHER: NINTENDO / PLATFORM: SWITCH / RELEASE DATE: 17TH JANUARY
Tokyo Mirage Sessions brings together several characters and gameplay elements from the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensai series, mixes them all up and drops the lot into modern-day Tokyo. Here, we find budding popstar Itsuki and his pals at the Fortuna Entertainment agency, where they're chasing their dreams of superstardom – but it's not going to be easy when there's an interdimensional invasion going on...
A cult hit on the Wii U (those who played it really loved it, but the masses didn't quite catch on), TMS: Encore on Switch includes all of the previously-released DLC and adds a handful of brand new missions for good measure. The game itself plays out as a fairly standard JRPG – Itsuki and friends travel around Tokyo and its otherworldly counterpart, the Idolasphere, traversing Persona-esque dungeons and fighting monsters (here known as Mirages) in turn-based battles. Your interchangeable team of three (each represented in battle by their own “friendly” Fire Emblem Mirage) has the ability to chain their attacks via Session moves, where certain attacks can be automatically followed up by extra hits from your team-mates, allowing for some creative encounters, and landing enough strikes builds up a special meter which eventually enables the use of super-powered Performa attacks.
Your characters level up with each victory, learning new attacks in the process. Their mastery of their currently-equipped weapon also increases, and additional weapons can be created in the “Bloom Palace” which also contains a training area where experience points can be gained and rare items can be found. It's also possible to create passive skills and abilities using items found in dungeons, so it's always worth exploring your surroundings rather than heading straight for the boss room. Although it has to be said that the layout of the dungeons are often a tad confusing, so they're not always the most fun places to spend a lot of time in.
TMS is a solid entry to the Switch's JRPG library but, as fun as it is, its gameplay doesn't quite hit the heights of other recent releases. The amount of enjoyment you'll get from it will largely depend on how keen you are on the J-Pop idol theme and the idea of seeing characters from other series interact with each other. If that sounds like your sort of thing, buy this game immediately!