Who doesn’t love a good surprise? Up until the games release I was convinced that Tokyo Mirage Sessions, the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei crossover, was a 3DS game. It had flown completely under my radar until the reviews hit and I was shocked by both the high review scores and the fact that we are still getting quite niche Wii U games. As someone who was really looking for something to scratch that itch till the arrival of Persona 5. This certainly did that.

Despite being advertised as a SMT/Fire Emblem collaboration, the core gameplay is firmly in the SMT camp, maybe even more in common with the Persona spin off series. I never got on much with Fire Emblem outside of cluttering my house with the amiibo’s, this makes me quite happy.

Turn based battles play out like an advanced game of rock, paper, scissors, with each enemy having a weakness to a specific type of attack. Once the weakness is exploited your other party members are then able to jump in to a pile on the damage in what the game calls “sessions”. Outside of the Persona series, turn based battles have always been my kryptonite, I can love the story of a JRPG but the battle structure always turned me off before I reached the conclusion. TMS carries on the Persona tradition of having a fun, interesting and at times challenging battle system where when the level grind was needed, I didn’t actually mind as battles were fun to take part in.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank whichever game it was that started the trend of seeing enemies on the map rather than random battles occurring every number of steps. Being able to avoid battles if you wanted has been something that’s really helped me get more into modern JRPG’s. I tip my hat to you.

The story centred around Japanese teen idols isn’t usually something that would have me invested, but the colourful cast of characters managed to win me over. These aren’t just ordinary idols however, they are linked with Mirages, these ghostly beings who have lost all memories of their previous life aid our heroes as they enter the Idolasphere. A world where they have to stop a calamity from occurring, which is probably the only part of the game that you would call cliché.

It’s a gripping story, but one that at the time of writing I may struggle to complete. As it stands I am at the final boss, now I expected this to be the toughest battle in the game, so that wasn’t exactly a shock. I wasn’t expecting it to be this time consuming though. While I praised the genre for ditching the random battles, once thing I’m sad has yet to be eradicated are the final bosses that have an ocean of health. I thought I’d beaten it at one point, in fact I had, until a second form appeared and I got promptly murdered resulting in an hour long battle being a complete waste of time. I felt like throwing my gamepad through the TV.

Normally this is the point I would say it’s not worth it and go play something else, but I was having so much fun with the game up until this point I need to see it through. As it stands, even with this blip in quality it’s still my favourite game of 2016 so far.

I suppose its back to the grind for a bit, stock up on items and finish off a few side quests.

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