Back in 2013, we got a teaser which was completely unexpected. A Fire Emblem & Shin Megami Tensei crossover? These series have two very different feels so a crossover excited me. Jump forward a few years of no information, instead focusing on the much more successful Fire Emblem Fates, I completely forgot this game was even coming out. With little information outside of an E3 showcase last week, is this a hidden gem on the Wii U or just another mediocre title to grace the Wii U’s death?
Well, to ruin the suspense and surprise of this review, it’s actually pretty good. At the time of playing, I had no experience playing a Fire Emblem game (don’t kill me I’m playing Fates) but I have ample experience with the SMT side and honestly I couldn’t even tell what the Fire Emblem parts are in this game.
Like any crossover, it’s never really 50/50, Developed by Atlus (since Intelligent Systems were too busy with Fates) it’s clear we are getting a very SMT heavy experience. You play as a group of Teenagers who just happen to be not only Pop Star sensations, but also Mirage Masters, which give them the ability to bond with Mirages and transform to obtain their power. Pretty standard stuff in Japan it seems.
The meat of the game is in the Dungeons. These are mutli-floor labyrinths that include some puzzle solving and thinking to get around. Your main objective is to get to the top floor and take on the boss, and unlike Persona, these aren’t randomly generated. Enemy Mirages will appear around the dungeon floors and allow you to sneak attack for a first strike, or be chased around by them.
When you’re not going through murdering monsters and saving the day, you explore Modern Tokyo and complete side quests with all your characters. These sidequests are a mix between Persona’s Social links and the Fire Emblem Support Links while of course giving you more dungeon exploration.
While this sounds all very Persona, the Fire Emblem parts show up in the combat system with the Mirages. Mirages essentially take the place of Demons & Personas. Chrom, Tharjar, Shiida, Cain; all your favourite characters are here. Well that is if your favourites only come from Fire Emblem Game Boy Advance or Awakening. These give our main characters the ability to fuse and transform into their Mirages and gain combat abilities. Physical attacks are based off the Fire Emblem classes: Lance, Sword, Bow & Axe, while the magic attacks are based off the SMT system: Ice, Fire, Electric, Force, Light & Dark.
While you can only have 3 characters on the field at any given time, you can swap out between any of the 7 characters whenever you like. Session attacks carry over from Persona, where once you strike the enemies weakness it will allow other members to combo attack it for massive damage. Dual Arts can be unlocked via the side quests which as it sounds, allow two Mirage Masters to team up and attack an enemy or group of enemies together.
The gamepad is used in really neat ways; In Combat it shows full stats of both your characters and the enemies including attacks. You can also use it to display text messages that the characters receive during the course of the game, and also a map of course.
Across the 6 chapters of this game, you always have the choice of just finishing the dungeon and ignoring any side content. There’s no long story sequences that hold up gameplay so you can really go at your own pace. You can easily beat this game in about 30 hours if you just go from point A to B.
There’s no English voice acting in this game either which may disappoint fans, but with all the J-Pop soundtrack, it makes sense to not butcher the songs with English lyrics as it’s a major part of the game surprisingly.