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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Positive themes of friendship, loyalty, and responsibility among teens run through the story. But the narrative also glorifies pop star culture and promotes celebrity worship.
Positive Role Models
The protagonists are good people who want to help each other and play a role in fighting off the evil forces threatening Tokyo. They're also obsessed with pop stars and several are fixated on becoming famous themselves.
Ease of Play
Traditional turn-based combat and role-playing mechanics, as well as the ability to choose from multiple difficulty settings should allow both RPG (role-playing game) veterans and newcomers to jump in without too much trouble. Battles may feel complicated to start, but an optional auto-battle system can help. Some maze-like dungeons can be pretty tricky to navigate.
Violence & Scariness
Players pick from a mix of elemental magical attacks and melee weapons -- such as swords and lances -- to make young heroes do turn-based battle with fantastical enemies ranging from floating jellyfish to phantom cavaliers. Successful hits result in flashes of light and stagger animations (there's no blood or gore), and enemies quickly disappear once defeated.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters wear tops that reveal deep cleavage, extremely short skirts, and outfits that are so tight they're stretching at the seams. The camera sometimes focuses on their breasts, which tend to move and jiggle in exaggerated ways.
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Text dialogue contains occasional profanity, including the words "damn" and "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol and vodka are referenced. A character is shown feeling sick and in need of "hangover medicine" the next morning.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Encore for Switch is an upgraded re-release of a Wii U Japanese role-playing game called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. It sees a group of Japanese teens fighting off an evil force invading Tokyo, and includes turn-based combat against fantastical monsters using both magic and bladed weapons. Flashes of light accompany successful strikes, and enemies stagger before disappearing, but there's no blood or gore. The heroes are good kids who trust each other, come to one another's aid, and take their responsibilities seriously, though several of them exhibit what might be considered an unhealthy level of pop star adoration and celebrity worship. Note that several female characters wear revealing or too-tight clothing that highlights deep cleavage, and their breasts sometimes jiggle in exaggerated fashion. Also be aware that the text dialogue contains occasional profanity -- including the word "s--t" -- and that one of the main characters is shown recovering from a night of heavy drinking.
Is It Any Good?
If you're one of the few people who played the original, there's no need to pick up this game for its smattering of quality-of-life improvements and extra content. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Encore is very much the same game with just a few added bells and whistles. But Japanese role-playing game fans who never experienced the Wii U cult classic would do well to seek out this game. It plays like a condensed Persona game (it takes 50 hours to finish, compared to the 100-hour long Persona 5), complete with loads of text dialogue, several high quality anime movies, and plenty of teen melodrama. All of this is mixed with just a hint of classic Fire Emblem, thanks to popular FE characters such as Caeda and Chrom and familiar sound cues. The combat's both challenging and rewarding, requiring planning to chain together attacks based on enemy weaknesses, and the characters are likeable -- even obsessive fangirl Tsubasa, who tends to lose her mind when in close proximity to her favorite pop stars.
Keep in mind, though, that this game isn't quite as slick or polished as the two franchises it draws its inspiration from. The dungeons are fun and imaginatively designed, but can be confusing to navigate. It's easy to forget where you are or what you were doing to clear puzzles when you're interrupted by frequent battles. And players should go in knowing that they'll be doing lots of reading. With no option for English audio, anyone who doesn't speak Japanese will be forced to read the game's thousands of lines of translated text dialogue. Some players who like to experience Japanese role-playing games as they were originally designed will likely see this as a plus, but more casual players may eventually grow frustrated by not being unable to understand short, untranslated comments made by characters in the heat of combat. It's great that Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE: Encore makes this little diamond in the rough available to a new group of players, but, like the original, it remains a faintly flawed gem.
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