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Does Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Deserve Better?

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Almost everything, not just game series, all have a 'Black Sheep' of their families.

While I cannot say that Tokyo Mirage Sessions doesn't have some competition for that title in the Fire Emblem series, I do believe it holds a place as one of the weirder and often overlooked games when it comes to FE. Even here on Serene's Forest - The unreleased, briefly announced last year Switch title has more posts than Tokyo Mirage Sessions does. Not that I blame the Fire Emblem community for this. It is a strange addition to the series. An odd combination of the Shin Megami Tensei series and various Fire Emblem characters from Awakening and Shadow Dragon. It comes as no surprise me that Tokyo Mirage Sessions, from my knowledge and observations, is often ignored when it comes to both the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem fanbases.

The two games are odd to put together into such a collaboration. Most Fire Emblem fans aren't likely going to play a game that is A) a total 180 from the game style they're used to,  B) involve only a few characters they know and who also aren't the main focus of the plot a majority of the time (especially in the early game) and C) is just incredibly long and less replay-able when compared to other Fire Emblem games. Shin Megami Tensei fans likely won't play a game framed to be a collaboration with Fire Emblem and contain major characters from that series. Especially that become very important when it comes to the ending of the game. As well as the more lighthearted, idol-focused nature of the game. It takes a certain kind of fan or person, in general, to sit down and enjoy this game entirely. 

It is no surprise to me that it's not popular. Though, with so many intricate and thoughtful designs for the FE cameos (both as mirages and enemies!), the completely animated and lovely songs, down to the smallest details of the silly texts between the characters that contribute little more than just fun sometimes - So much was put into this game, yet it was the somewhat odd combination of games and styles that I believe made the majority of people ignore it. 

So, I ask, does it deserve better?

Obviously, I believe it does. There was a lot of thought put into it as a whole. From the basic things such as the Mirage's Character Archetype oftentimes managing to match up with their Mirage Master's. The wonderful work that the animators and singers did on the various songs throughout the game. The fun interactions between characters that felt fairly casual and accurate to all of their relationships with one another. Even small cameos like Anna being the shopkeeper at the convenience store and Gaius' lollipop as the symbol for the production company! Or bigger ones like Lon'qu's role as a side character in a side quest. They were enjoyable for FE fans to spot along the way as they played what was, admittedly, mostly a Shin Megami Tensei game. There was thought and care put into this game, and I'm sad that it doesn't get as much love as the rest of either series. 

Though perhaps you believe the opposite. The awkward plot and sometimes confusing pacing ruined it for anyone looking to enjoy the story. Perhaps the fact that it's barely a Fire Emblem game means it doesn't really deserve the attention of Fire Emblem fans as much as actual, serious, full games in the series. Were the outfit designs (mostly for the girls) even with the censorship done in America too weird? Or being able to dress up Tiki in various outfits and her calling you Big Brother even weirder? Maybe the characters they chose to be the Mirages weren't the best they could have done and maybe should have branched out into more than just pick and choose from Awakening and Shadow Dragon. Whatever the reason is, I thought there could be a discussion on it.

Was Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE a good game? Does it deserve better than what it gets? Why did it not become as popular as others? Could it still make a resurgence in the community? How could we make that happen? And would it be a good thing? 

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I have no idea.

The marketing and premise for the game were so unappealing that it's highly unlikely that I'll ever touch it. I doubt I'm alone here, and I don't doubt that it's a big reason it didn't do well.

Edited by Slumber

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I never played it and I doubt I ever will. From what I have seen of trailers and some gameplay footage it does not represent the Fire Emblem side of it well and I've heard some say that it also does not represent Shin Mengansai Tensi (hope I spelled that right) side either. 

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I did saw Tokyo Mirage Sessions was in the Wii U eShop marked in the Best Seller category in the US, but I did heard some people say it didn't sold well in Japan. I think they were taking the part some of the game mechanics from the Shin Megami Tensei franchise and use the strategy mechanics from Fire Emblem as well. But, I haven't played Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE yet; I do like to see if they can get a Nintendo Switch port if Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE more noticeable and we can see if the sales do better.

Edited by King Marth 64

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It definitely deserves better and i would definitely by a Switch port if it ever happened. I haven't played the game myself but from what i hear from people who've actually played it, it's a solid JRPG and extremely underrated. It's definitely gonna be featured in 5 years in those "Top 10 hidden Wii U gems" videos.

I think part of the reason why it didn't do so well aside from the premise turning people away, is that it came out during a time when the FE fanbase was........not very good. Also, regarding the Japanese release date, it released the day after Christmas. Like, why? Literally the worst day to sell anything.

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I think it is a really good game, in fact it is in my top 2 favorite Wii U games.  It was marketed badly and was released at a bad time in Japan (Dec 26th) and I hope it gets another shot on the Switch with better PR.  I honestly like how different it is and I found the game play fantastic.  I might actually buy a Switch port just to support the game, and I normally don't rebuy games that I already have.  Honestly I get tiered of the smack people talk about it when they have not played it, I wish people would watch a LP of TMS before they make comments about it being a bad game or that the people that have played it don't like it. 

Edited by EricaofRenais

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All good points! Marketing can definitely make or break a game. If a game doesn't look appealing then it's unlikely that anyone will seek it out and play it anyway. Along with the horrid release date in Japan - The day after Christmas? Really? It almost seems as if they didn't want the game to succeed with the perfect storm of poor advertising and a bad release date. Still, I hope that it will manage to get a port to the Switch! Maybe giving it a boost back into the public eye will help it in terms of popularity, and I think it deserves a chance to be fairly judged. Being rated and ridiculed is better than being swept under the rug entirely, which is what it seems like happened to Tokyo Mirage Sessions. If it was given a fair chance to make itself known as a title I think more people would be inclined to see what it's all about.

I will entirely admit that the game has a very weird premise that's unlike either Shin Megami Tensei or Fire Emblem. Combining the two games together and throwing an idol twist on top? It is an odd choice, but it was still enjoyable to play. I think that it's unfair people just look at that idea and reject it immediately as if nothing good can come from being out of the box and different. It might not hold true to either an FE or SMT game but that's because it's not! It's a crossover that didn't just mush the two together into a half-and-half hybrid that likely would've been weird and out of place too. Honestly, I think throwing that weird spin on it was all they could do with two vastly different games being crossed over!

It really annoys me as well that people won't give it the time of day and simply judge it off of what they've heard or only portions of what they've seen. I understand that sometimes you have to decide if you're going to play a game or not based on things like that, but deciding your entire stance on it is a little unfair. Please don't blow off the entire game because of stuff like that. If you don't like it and have your reasons from having played or seen a somewhat sizable portion of the actual game, that I can understand, but trailers and bits of gameplay aren't all a game is! I just want to urge people not to judge this book by its cover, even if it's a bit of a moot point now. All I can hope is that it will get a Switch port and people will give it a second chance. 

Though, being a huge fan of the game myself, perhaps I'm simply biased.

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They never should've called it a cross-over with Shin Megami Tensei, but rather Persona (which yes I know is a sub-series of SMT, but still). It basically is a Persona game but instead of Personas, you get FE characters.

Personally, I never really cared for the "series representation" as I just enjoyed the game for what it was. A good old JRPG game. I think it does deserve better, but not as a "fire emblem" or "SMT" title, but rather as its own thing - which, speaking of, it probably would've done better if created and advertised to be a more original concept. All it did was drag itself down with the whole cross-over business. Regardless of all that, the game truly is wonderful. It obviously won't be everyone's cup of tea or aesthetic, but it certainly is a good game, albeit a little cheesy (which I find fun/funny). If it got a switch port and if anything new was to be added to it, I may honestly buy it again.

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As someone who was initially following it, stopped being interested in it for years, and has gained some interest in it over the past few months I'd say it honestly is overlooked. I wouldn't mind a switch port of it so I can play it as it does honestly look like a fun game to play.

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If the protagonist wasn't the bland every-male-lead-in-anime-ever, maybe I would consider it worth looking at.

I know some people will find that petty reasoning, but I could never get invested in a game where I'm forced to play as this guy, no matter how good it is.

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44 minutes ago, SuperIb said:

They never should've called it a cross-over with Shin Megami Tensei, but rather Persona (which yes I know is a sub-series of SMT, but still). It basically is a Persona game but instead of Personas, you get FE characters.

Personally, I never really cared for the "series representation" as I just enjoyed the game for what it was. A good old JRPG game. I think it does deserve better, but not as a "fire emblem" or "SMT" title, but rather as its own thing - which, speaking of, it probably would've done better if created and advertised to be a more original concept. All it did was drag itself down with the whole cross-over business. Regardless of all that, the game truly is wonderful. It obviously won't be everyone's cup of tea or aesthetic, but it certainly is a good game, albeit a little cheesy (which I find fun/funny). If it got a switch port and if anything new was to be added to it, I may honestly buy it again.

Even saying it was PersonaxFE, it wouldn't have helped. I love Persona.

I lost interest as soon as it was a modern Japanese setting based around idol culture. I cannot give two shits about idol culture, and I find the whole thing dumb and vapid. To add on top, the fact that this was supposed to be a Fire Emblem and SMT crossover and neither was that well represented? Not only was I put off by the base concept, the fact that THIS is what we got was so goddamn offputting to me.

If you tell me you're getting me a chocolate cake, and then you get me strawberry shortcake, I'm going to be upset. If you tell me you're going to get me a chocolate cake, and you get me bubblegum ice cream, I'm going to be mad.

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It's not the black sheep of the fire emblem franchise because it's too busy being the black sheep of Shin Megami Tensei. Or it's not, since instead of drawing on weird mythological creatures and religious figures, our "demons" in this one are vague representations of fire emblem characters. TMS is a weird game to convince people is actually good. Most of all Fire Emblem fans, the fire emblem stuff just meant nothing to me, I just gradually pretended it wasn't there save for Tiki. Tiki as an utaloid is probably the one sensible crossover idea in this "crossover".

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It's a pity that the aesthetic seems to be a turn-off, because the actual gameplay is FUN.  I'm willing to give a lot of things a pass, if the gameplay is good (see: Stella Glow).  I was a little annoyed that Itsuki was forced in the party, though.  Really hope it sees a Switch port!

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Not just overlooked, but so far, the only Wii U exclusive that is really worth buying - other games be damned...or at least be renovated their asses by Kanji - and the only reason why I'm considering getting a Wii U:

Spoiler

AZLEy1f.jpg

(Otherwise, I'm playing the other Wii U games through the non-remasters versions from GC and Wii.) The gameplay is fun, the story - while perhaps not Persona-level of greatness - is both refreshing, and at any rate, lot better than the majority of Nintendo-published titles, and the music is awesome. For those on the fence for the music, particularly consider the last one as I'm otherwise generally averse to J-Pop and Japanese idol stuff. It was also what got me interested in the Persona series as a whole. If anything, it made me feel that Nintendo really should start learning from Atlus and others in building their stories into the game, and well, diversify their library far more.

Edited by henrymidfields

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Honestly, it’s a pretty good game. The gameplay is incredible and the battles feel really fast. The battle system is also pretty creative abd enjoyable. I really wish people gave it more of a chance, look beyond first impressions.

4 hours ago, eclipse said:

It's a pity that the aesthetic seems to be a turn-off, because the actual gameplay is FUN.  I'm willing to give a lot of things a pass, if the gameplay is good (see: Stella Glow).  I was a little annoyed that Itsuki was forced in the party, though.  Really hope it sees a Switch port!

I can be annoying that Itsuki is forced, but at the very least he’s a decent party member. He can also heal, which means you can relegate him to healing duty if he’s getting behind in damage dealing.

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It truly is a shame that it alienated everyone it was trying to appeal to considering its an overall solid game, but even I was turned off by it massively when it got revealed just what it truly was.

Instead of being like Majin Tensei (Which is actually like SMT & FE merged together) it was more a Persona-Lite based on idol culture.

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I love this game. It's really it's own kind of thing, and a crossover in name only, which is good, mind you. The game has a lot to like about it, and is a very solid JRPG that I definitly reccomend.

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It was a great game, quite fun, and probably one of my favorites on the wii-u.  If anything it was hampered by terrible marketing and a poor release timeline.  Nothing on the box or published materials indicated exactly what it was with LPs giving more informative gameplay footage than Nintendo.  It ended up being this weird Japan pop culture x persona gameplay x fire emblem references game which is difficult to mix.  On top of that it was released at a time when the wii-u was mostly dead with the the switch announcement coming in at about a month later.  Even if a switch port came out today, it would probably sell bad with P5 being available.

It almost seems like Altus and IS were actively trying to make an unmarketable game.

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I love it. Bought all the DLC too. Would definitely buy it all again for the Switch.

Just look at it as its own thing, which is what it should have been advertised as in the first place.

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Come to think about it now, what's with the better/more ambitious/more unique games? Including FE Tellius? Why do we have such unusual titles not marketed as heavily as the usual Mario/Zelda/Pokemon games? It makes me want to think that Nintendo was just not interested in giving different entries a chance for the Wii U...

Edited by henrymidfields

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Personally, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was an amazing game. Although, all the points about marketing and representing the game are valid points. But I think we are missing the fact of the matter.

It's a cross-over spin off game for both franchises. So of course it wouldn't represent both sides that well. But it does also bring key points from both sides as well.

The Battle System is heavily inspired by the TMS games. With magic countering each other, while the physical weapon have been out classed by the Fire Emblem Weapon's Triangle, it provided a very nice fresh coat to the FE formula in this manner.

As for TMS, it may have provided an interesting gameplay change to include specific types of weapons.

As for cosmetics, the story heavily leans towards TMS in this case. However, I can make the arugment that the character side-quests can also act as C, B, and A rank supports, but act like TMS bond system from the games.

The characters being Fire Emblem centric is probably what people think of when they point out Fire Emblem in this game.

But I implore you to remember that the game creators had a loooong time to think about how to make this game. And the reason why it did so poorly in Japan was due to the release date, which was Dec. 26th.

 

So, does the game deserve better and a fair shot? Absolutely..

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I wouldn't have minded criticisms against the game if they didn't exist exclusively of 1) passive-aggressive (or just naked) xenophobia, unable to comprehend that Japan exists and 2) whining about Tsubasa not showing off her boobs as much. Can't exactly treat those on the same level as legitimate criticisms (of which there weren't a lot, considering how well-crafted the game is)

It'll probably see another entry or a reexamination at some point. The characters are still used in Cipher so Nintendo is still using them. Plus it seems that Japanese gaming is back on the rise what with the Switch carving a swathe through the sales charts and most of the biggest games last year being Japanese titles like Nioh, Zelda, Mario, Persona 5, and Yakuza 0/Kiwami. Those games weren't just made by Japanese studios they were AGGRESSIVELY Japanese in themes, aesthetic, tone, and story-telling.

 

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13 hours ago, Aiddon said:

I wouldn't have minded criticisms against the game if they didn't exist exclusively of 1) passive-aggressive (or just naked) xenophobia, unable to comprehend that Japan exists and 2) whining about Tsubasa not showing off her boobs as much. Can't exactly treat those on the same level as legitimate criticisms (of which there weren't a lot, considering how well-crafted the game is)

The game isn't perfect, and I definitely have my gripes against it (none of which comes down to pure aesthetics).  However, I'm also in the vast minority.

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2 hours ago, Jotari said:

This was a Fire Emblem game?

It was conceived as a Fire Emblem crossover with Shin Megami Tensei, but ultimately ended up becoming a spin off of both parent series so it kinda exists inside it's own bubble.

I think the game's story and premise are absolutely ridiculous and far to silly for me to take them seriously, but the actual video game behind it all is really good and defiantly an overlooked gem. If you can get past the initial hurdle of the game's bonkers outward appearance it's a polished JRPG worth playing every so often on a lazy afternoon.

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