Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE has finally come out in North America and much to many people's odd disbelief, it's been far better received than what was originally expected, with many looking beyond the censorship and lack of dubbing, and toward — surprise, surprise — the gameplay.
As the game is the product of the collaboration between Intelligent Systems (Fire Emblem) and Atlus (Shin Megami Tensei/Persona), it should be of little surprise that the gameplay is this title's strong suit, taking inspiration from all three games and combining it into one complete product.
However, even with plenty of outside inspiration, there are plenty of mechanics that are unique to Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and can actually leave those unfamiliar with RPGs (or at least those by Atlus) feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Fortunately, your debut in this game doesn't have to be a difficult one. Here are five simple tips and tricks that will be of great help to anyone starting out:
*Note that these tips are taken with a first play-through on hard mode in mind, so they will no doubt work for anyone playing on a lower difficulty.
Honestly, remembering to save whenever you reach the appropriate spot should be a no-brainer for any gamer considering that it allows you to have some peace of mind in the event that something unforeseen should occur. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is no different, but there is one thing about saving in the game that separates it from many other games in the industry: players can save anywhere and at any time — no save points required.
However, this isn't a special service the game offers players — it's mandatory, and much like Shin Megami Tensei where this concept finds its origin, the momentum in battle can shift with just a single action, even leading to a game over if you're unlucky.
Don't let this happen to you. Save and do so often. It wouldn't hurt to have multiple save files either.
Sessions are an entirely new mechanic to come from Atlus and Intelligent Systems and it's probably one of the game's most important features. Simply put, if a character uses a skill against an enemy that it's weak against, then other characters will launch an attack of their own if they have the appropriate session skill equipped.
On the surface, this may look like it only has value as a way to deal extra damage to an opponent, but, in reality, the benefits of session chains go far beyond that. For starters, sessions are great ways to build up SP for Special Performances (which will be discussed later) that can turn the tide of battle with a single use. Furthermore, performing complete chains will yield extra money and materials that are essential for purchasing items and equipment, as well as obtaining new weapons and Radiant skills.
3. Restoration And Recovery
Always be prepared and stock up on items accordingly. If you make effective use of sessions, then even early on you shouldn't find yourself having any serious money problems. With that money, stock up on the appropriate items and don't be afraid to use them if you think you need them. They're cheap too, so don't be stingy. On a similar note, guarding restores a little bit of EP, so if an enemy is on the verge of death, and you have a few extra turns before its next turn, then guard for a little while to gain some of that precious EP back.
4. Special Performances (SP Skills)
Special Performances, or SP Skills, are no different than special attacks seen in other games, and just like in those games, SP Skills are among the strongest attacks in any given character's arsenal. However, just because they're strong doesn't mean you should use them whenever you want — moderation is key when it comes to getting the most out of them.
As a rule of thumb, you should only use the skills when you're up against a boss, in the middle of a savage encounter or fighting a rare enemy. Why? Because not only do they do high levels of damage and have special properties, but they also ignore enemy attributes, which allows for easy sessions. Tsubasa's first SP Skill, Aerial Dance, gets a special mention as it's the first true AOE attack you get in the game and it also heals everyone for their next three turns.
5. Know Your Enemy
One thing that Persona and Shin Megami Tensei are known for are the diverse array of enemies that players can expect to encounter throughout the game. This game is no different, featuring enemies ranging from strange-looking umbrellas to armor-clad knights on horses.
This diversity means that you can expect each enemy to have its own unique set of weaknesses and resistances, but fortunately, it's easy to determine those attributes right off the bat. For example, generally speaking, enemies who have some reference to an element in its appearance will be weak toward the opposing one.
Furthermore, the tie-in to Fire Emblem makes things even easier to figure out, since the almighty weapon triangle — Sword > Axe > Lance > Sword is present. Therefore, if you see an enemy with an axe, then you can be fairly certain that it will be weak against a sword.
As an added bonus, there are certain types of skills such as Horseslayer and Armorslayer that are inherently effective against mounted enemies and armored enemies, respectively. Of course, this becomes somewhat moot after you defeat the enemy for the first time, since all its weaknesses get revealed afterward, but this knowledge will eliminate much of the guesswork before then.
So there you have it — five simple tips and tricks you need to get a leg up on your opponents early on in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. There are certainly a lot of things to digest, but if you go forward with this advice and go one step at a time, you'll soon be winning your battles in style every time.