Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE doesn’t immediately call to mind Fire Emblem at a glance, even though the it mashes up elements from Atlus’ Shin Megami Tensei games and Nintendo’s strategic series. The youthful characters, modern settings, turn-based JRPG battles, and Mirage bonding call to mind Persona more than the other contributing factor. But anyone who pays close enough attention will see how much Fire Emblem has found its way in there.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE’s Mirages are based on iconic Fire Emblem heroes, whether they’re allies or enemies. Chrom and Caeda are the first ones encountered, initially attacking Itsuki and Tsubasa before being purified by the two teenagers’ Performa. Their identities are more obscured and costumes altered, but there are certain similarities. Chrom is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita, just as he was in the Japanese version of the game, has the same white cape, and begins the game wielding his Falchion. Caeda has a similar dress and armor. Tharja and Virion both also share the same Japanese voice actors in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE and Fire Emblem Awakening, and characters wield the same weapons.
Our heroes’ Mirages also retain their original classes. Chrom begins the game as a Lord, Caeda is a Pegasus Knight, and Cain is a Cavalier, as examples. Their skills tend to favor abilities you’d expect from such warriors in Fire Emblem, with Tsubasa gaining healing abilities, referencing the Falcon Knight’s ability to use staves and Pegasus Knight’s Relief ability that restores health if no one is within three spaces. Tharja gives Kiria more magical abilities than anything else, due to her being a Dark Mage.
Each of these Mirages also has the ability to advance to a higher class with Master Seals, just as characters do in Fire Emblem. Chrom begins the game as a Lord. Once you acquire and use a Master Seal on him in the Bloom Palace, he can reclass as a Great Lord or Conqueror, with the former giving Itsuki new access to healing skills and the latter focusing on stronger attacks. Draug, Mamori’s partner, begins as a Knight and can become a more defensive General or attack-focused Berserker.
Each Mirage gives their Mirage Master partner the ability to use weapons more commonly found in the Fire Emblem series. As mentioned earlier, Chrom gives Itsuki Falchion upon becoming his partner, while both Tsubasa and Touma use lances, due to Caeda and Cain’s Pegasus Knight and Cavalier classes. When people head to the Bloom Castle to have Tiki create new weapons for them, they fall in line with equipment found in Fire Emblem. We see Iron Swords, Silver Lances, and similar tools. The weapon triangle perseveres as well, with swords besting axes, axes beating lances, and lances beating swords.
Speaking of Tiki, she’s the one Fire Emblem mainstay that is immediately identifiable in Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. It’s fitting, as she appeared in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, and Fire Emblem Awakening. Her Uta-loid identity greatly resembles her initial appearance, and her powers allow the party to strengthen themselves with new equipment, skills, and classes in her temple.
While all of these are obvious nods to the series, there are smaller references tucked away as well. Audio cues from Fire Emblem pop up throughout Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. When characters level up, you’ll hear the same chime as you would in Fire Emblem Awakening or Fates. Similar notes sound when getting new Carnages or abilities in the Bloom Palace.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE may not scream “Fire Emblem” as loudly as it does, say, “Persona” or “Shin Megami Tensei.” That doesn’t mean the homages to the series aren’t there. You just have to look a little closer and keep an open mind to recognize them. Just because the Mirages aren’t all carbon copies of the heroes and heroines we remember and it isn’t a strategic RPG doesn’t mean it doesn’t do its part to honor games we love.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions will come to the Nintendo Wii U on June 24, 2016.