Another giant JRPG is out for the Wii U today. Is Atlus and Nintendo's mash-up of Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem any good? We've got positive impressions of the Japanese version of the game and video of the first hour of the Western version to help you decide. Called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE in the West, the game was released in Japan back in December. In his Kotaku impressions of the Japanese release, Richard Eisenbeis described the game's plot:
Like many Shin Megami Tensei games, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem is set in modern day Tokyo. The story follows Itsuki, a normal high schooler. After school one day, he goes to watch a singing competition — only to discover that his class mate Tsubasa is a finalist. Suddenly, all hell breaks loose as ghost figures appear and begin stealing energy from the gathered crowd while Tsubasa is dragged through a mysterious portal. Chasing after her, Itsuki is able to turn one of the spectres, Chrom, to his side and the two merge to rescue Tsubasa. After this, the two (along with Tsubasa and her own partner) join talent agency Fortuna Entertainment — the front for an organisation that uses pairs like Itsuki and Chrom to stop these otherworldly incursions before people's energy is sucked dry.
The game is not just a mash-up of two popular RPG franchises but an RPG take on modern Japanese pop culture. It plays more like an SMT game, but with FE character designs used during battle scenes. Richard's import preview explains how the game works, so give it a read. His takeaway?
If you are expecting a dark and brooding game, you're not going to get it in Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. While there is good character drama and a few darker moments, it is largely a light-hearted adventure set in the Japanese entertainment world. The gameplay is challenging and the characters a ton of fun to get to know. So while it might not be exactly what you pictured for Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, it's certainly an RPG worth playing whether you're a fan of either series or not.
Earlier this week, our own Patricia Hernandez streamed the first hour of the game. You can watch that here:
And here are some screens from the first hour of the game:
Our heroes Itsuki and Tsubasa, channeling the spirits of Fire Emblem characters...
In battle, our modern Toyko teens will look like they too are characters from Fire Emblem.
Yep, this is an RPG. Plenty of stats to level up.
It's also one of those games where the introduction of a busty female character (two so far in the prologue) for some reason requires the camera to stop and focus on their breasts. Distracting "fan service".
The graphics for when you're running around looking for an enemy to trigger your next battle encounter? Not so amazing.
The battle scenes? Much more fun-looking. They're set on a virtual stage, treating combat a bit like it's a concert, live audience and all. Notice that our combatants are "artists".
The main twist to the battle system involves identifying an enemy's weakness and attacking with the corresponding move that then chains allies with related moves to join in for a "session" attack.
As you battle, the Fire Emblem spirits who've transformed our young heroes imbue their weapons with new skills.
Making the most of the Wii U's two screens, the GamePad screen shows the text messages the game's expanding cast of characters are constantly sending each other throughout the game (or at least throughout the prologue, but probably throughout the game!)
This screen will eventually fill up with the characters in your party.