What do you get when you cross Shin Megami Tensei with Fire Emblem? Apparently, it's a game called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore about monster-fighting idols and actors set in modern-day Tokyo. At first glance, fans of either series might find it difficult to see where either of those franchises come into the equation. For Fire Emblem in particular, the style of gameplay and setting is far from anything players of the series come to expect when they think of the strategy RPG games by Intelligent Systems.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore, originally announced as SMT x FE, is the recent re-release of a niche Atlus-developed Wii U title from 2015. With Fire Emblem at peak popularity and the Nintendo Switch in far more households than the Wii U, more players than ever are getting their hands on Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Looks can be deceiving, so read on and see how Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore appeals to Fire Emblem fans.
Fire Emblem characters in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
Maybe people describe Tokyo Mirage Sessions as a game with Shin Megami Tensei and Persona gameplay mixed with Fire Emblem characters. This would be a mostly correct assumption, as you will find many characters from the Fire Emblem series recognizable from two specific games in the series. Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is the first Fire Emblem game, which was re-released in 2008 for the Nintendo DS as Shadow Dragon. Characters also appear from Awakening, which released on the 3DS in 2012 and instilled new life to the then-dying franchise. These two games together take place within the same timeline, albeit thousands of years apart, so there is some meaning behind Atlus' choice to include characters from these titles.
In Tokyo Mirage Sessions, players take control of a Japanese teenager named Itsuki Aoi, as well as a party of talented entertainers with similar abilities as Itsuki. All of these characters have the power to control Mirages, which are ethereal forms of Fire Emblem characters that are bound to their Mirage Master. Mirages manifest into weapons and are used to fight against other hostile Mirages causing all kinds of havoc among Tokyo. These Mirages are the main connection to Fire Emblem. The Mirages' likeness to their Fire Emblem counterparts can be difficult to discern at first, as they appear more robotic and alien. Although some characteristics such as dialogue quirks and aspects of a Mirage's appearance mirror that of it's Fire Emblem equivalent, it is a deliberate design choice to have them subtly resemble their original forms rather than be strictly one-to-one.
It's also interesting to see how a Mirage and its master match each other in terms of personality. Itsuki, the main character of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, utilizes Chrom, the protagonist from Fire Emblem: Awakening. Chrom and Itsuki are the protagonists of their games, and they fit the leader archetype perfectly. While both characters' personalities are outshined by their supporting cast, they are quite likable and among your most competent fighters. Meanwhile, Tsubasa, another Mirage Master and secondary protagonist in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, uses Ceada. Ceada appears in Shadow Dragon and acts as the protagonist's leading lady, much like Tsubasa in her own game.
Although the main cast of Tokyo Mirage Sessions takes up far more screen time than their Mirages, Fire Emblem fans will be able to pick up on the personality traits that defined them in the Fire Emblem games they represent. Tharja, the infamous dark mage obsessed with Robin from Awakening, is just as stalker-like and creepy as many come to expect. Navarre, the powerful swordsman from Shadow Dragon, is still so edgy that he doesn't even need a sword to shed some blood.
Many will also appreciate that all of the bosses within Tokyo Mirage Sessions are from Fire Emblem, as well. Appropriately, the first gargantuan Mirage boss in Tokyo Mirage Sessions—Garrick from Awakening—is a bandit. Bandits as the first boss is a typical trope for Fire Emblem. Early on, another boss that makes an appearance is Aversa, a dark and sultry temptress that is just as dangerous as she is obnoxiously lewd. If you have played several Fire Emblem games, you'll notice a theme of what the final boss is; therefore, it's easy to guess what you might fight at the end of Tokyo Mirage Sessions.
Fans will be happy to see many characters from the series represented in Tokyo Mirage Sessions—there's even more beyond just Mirages. Tiki, the lovable manakete, is a pivotal player in the story. While you cannot control Tiki, she helps you upgrade your party and create new weapons. Also be sure to look at the store clerks at Hee Ho Mart for a returning popular character.
Fire Emblem Gameplay Mechanics in Tokyo Mirage Sessions
If you're looking for a strategy game in the same vein as Fire Emblem, this is not the game for you. There are some similarities and elements borrowed from Intelligent Systems' franchise, but Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a JRPG through and through. Still, there are enough minor elements from which Atlus has cleverly incorporated into this game. Combat might be the most obvious example. One of Fire Emblem's most signature gameplay elements (which, admittedly, has since been omitted from the past two entries of the franchise) is the Weapon Triangle.
For those unaware, the Weapon Triangle is a system that operates like rock paper scissors; in this case, swords beat axes, axes beat lances, and lances beat swords. In gameplay, most Mirage enemies wield one of these weapons, which allows you to easily identify what party member is best to use against a given enemy. It delivers that same satisfying feeling of a sword unit obliterating a poor axe wielder. Other examples of this system includes bows and wind magic being particularly effective against flying units. If Fire Emblem fans are familiar with this system, they will feel right at home. This also gives players time to familiarize themselves with the strengths and weaknesses of Shin Megami Tensei's magic.
The remainder of Fire Emblem's gameplay components within Tokyo Mirage Sessions serve as subtle nods to the franchise, but not much else. For example, later in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, players can use Master Seals to upgrade the class of their Mirage, which is always an exciting moment. Many weapons share names of Fire Emblem armaments such as Durandal, which serves as the namesake of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Certain musical cues—such as when you level up a party member—are also fun nods to the strategy series. All of these small details are nice ways to remind players that this is, in fact, partly a Fire Emblem game, even though it stars Japanese pop idols in the present day.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore doesn't feel like a Fire Emblem game, but it does offer a lot of fan service for those who enjoy the series. With Mirages taking the form of iconic units from the series, ridiculous bosses and more, Fire Emblem fans are catered to with enough elements from the franchise without feeling like they're left in the dark.
Have you played Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore? What are your thoughts as a fan of Fire Emblem? Let us know in the comments below!