Well, they use a somewhat peculiar turn-based system… they work quite similarly to the Shin Megami Tensei IV system (and I suspect that the other SMT, but I haven’t played them) with some Fire Emblem elements (like the triangle of weapons, sword> axe> spear> sword) and some other variations. Your team consists of 3 characters, Itsuki and 2 other characters that can be changed at any time, even it the middle of a battle with no apparent penalty. Each character is set to some kind of Fire Emblem class (Lord, dark mage, social knight, general, etc.), enemies can usually be identified with a Fire Emblem class, but there are also weird monsters.
… the second one are the duo attacks, these can only be activated after attacking an enemy’s weakness, while the other characters are in the chain of attacks, some times a screen prompt will show up indicating that certain characters are ready to perform a duo attack and if you want, press L or R to activate them. The best of all is that they do not require anything (beyond the EP cost of the special attack that started it all); the bad part, as far as I know (and it is quite possible that I’m wrong), is that the activation is totally random so you can not count too much on them.
What is the basic structure of the game?
It’s actually somewhat similar to a TV show…
In essence, Maiko tell us that she wants Tsubasa (for example) to do a certain thing (related with the entertainment world) and for that, Tsubasa will have to prepare… we will go to a intermission, here we can do whatever we want without advancing the story, this is specially good to complete some secondary missions; once we decide it’s about time to keep the story going we will go to Barry’s studio and will get a sequence with Barry training Tsubasa, and the intermission will be over, a new chapter will start. Tsubasa will try to perform in whatever she has been preparing but an evil Mirage Master will cause problem, Itsuki’s group will try to solve the case by entering in a new idolsphere… once the problem has been solved, Maiko will propose some new actuation for another character, and we will go again to a intermission…
This is a Wii U game, and a exclusive at that, the Gamepad has to do something weird!
Indeed, nothing that couldn’t have been done on a single screen but is rather curious and more comfortable this way. The idea is that the gamepad becomes Itsuki’s mobile, the most important is that quite often we will get some messages from all the characters, much like whatsapp… actually almost all the important information will reach us this way. We can also check the status of the missions and of course we can see the map in which the most important elements are marked.
Unfortunately there is no remote play… you can’t play only with the gamepad.
Does it has DLC?
Yes, there are two types:
Costumes for the characters: In Japan there were several versions of the game, some included codes for additional costumes, but at the end they put them all for sale in the eShop. Some costumes (like the swimwear) includes small sequences with the characters using the costumes (for example the promotion of a Spa).
Idolspheres: You are offered the opportunity to acquire three idolspheres (actually it is the same one, but you get different things). In the first one, you can get experience faster, in the second the same but you get weapon’s skill faster and in the the third idolsphre, only “Wild Mirages” will appear against us, these are very powerful Mirage (distinguishable from normal ones because they are completely black while the normal mirages are red and some very rare one golden) that will give us very interesting objects … if we win, which is not usually the case!.
Do you think that Nintendo will change anything with the European or American release?
Why, of course my friend! XD
The problems usually come for sexual content or extreme violence; for some very strange reason, in video games, it’s kind of OK to show how we rip apart our enemies while their inner organs splatter over the floor, but showing nude bodies (let alone sex depiction) it’s much worse considered than the extreme violence… but anyway, enough with this rant. In #FE you won’t find neither in any alarming way; there is violence, because ultimately there is fighting, but no blood, nor rejoice in it, it has the minimum to show you has actually won the battle; what it does have are suggestive dresses and dialogues, like bathing suits (for both boys and girls) or some of the dresses the girls wear when singing and some references to drinking alcoholic beverages (by Maiko); I imagine that Nintendo Europe and America would prefer if they were not there, but what i’m sure freaked them out is a chapter centered on Tsubasa and Maiko and what it takes to be a good gravure model!
It remains to be seen what they do… in Japan they already changed one of the dresses of Kiria so that it doesn’t show as much flesh as seen in the first videos; in the latest Nintendo Direct we could already see that one of the Tsubasa’s dresses was slightly different for the west release, so it seems clear that the minimum they are doing is dressing them a little more… maybe they want to lower the age classification, or they just fell like changing it like removing the bust bar in Xenoblade Chronicles X. In any case, please note that even if some dresses are quite suggestive and you may think they are more or less suitable or even ridiculous, they are nothing that a real pop singer wouldn’t actually wear so it kinds of makes sense!.
After this subliminal message from Anna, let’s start the review ^_^ u.
As I have mentioned before, #FE is a full-fledged JRPG, but perhaps watching a short video or some random pictures won’t let you see through the thick layer of paint above it; typically there is some sense of urgency in this type of games ( “The Evil God wants to eat all of us, but I will devote all my life to eat him before that happens!”) that here is somewhat limited (at first); They know there is a problem, they want to solve the problem… but they haven’t identified the source of the problem and therefore they can only try to solve the problems when they arise, not to try to prevent them… then, while they wait for a evil Mirage to show up, they have their works at Fortune Entertainment… Tsubasa has singing practice every evening, Kiria a concert on Tuesday, Mamori has to record the latest program of “Renchin Idol Mamorin”, etc. At the end of the day, Fortune Entertainment is a talent agency and these are the kind of things they do, so much of the game’s story focuses on how the characters try to achieve their dreams in the entertainment world in parallel to saving the citizens of Tokyo from the attack of crazy Mirages!.
In the sound department the highlights are the numerous songs of the stars of Fortune Entertainment, generally it has very correct melodies with some classic Fire Emblem theme reinterpreted; I would have liked if there were more than 1 melody for normal battles, but hey, this is a common problem for the bulk of JRPG. Most of the game is perfectly dubbed, but there are some (filling dialogues and messages in the gamepad) that are not and you will only hear some short expressions.
About the gameplay, well, at first it might looks like it uses the classic structure of turn based JRPG, but actually it’s unusually complex!… identifying weaknesses, managing skills, suppor attacks, changing characters in the middle of a battle to adapt to the conditions, the luck factor (passive skills that are might active or the special perfomances), class changes, creating weapons… Like i said, the look of this game can be really deceiving, it’s a really complex and deep game in mechanic.
By this point in the review, i’m sure you have thought a few times that you want an epic JRPG and not a student melodrama (and if that’s not the case, it’s because you have not read the whole review! ^_^ U) about if Eleonora is picked in a casting… and i understand you!, but here comes once again the layer of paint that cover all the game that i have mentioned quite a few times enter in action, somehow, for Eleonora to pass the casting requires beating a lot of Mirages!; in another game, maybe your best friend has been poisoned and you must climb to the top haunted mountain to get the materials needed for the cure, here Maiko gets plastered for drinking the last night and she has an important meeting in 1 hour… of course, she can’t show up in that condition, so you’ll have to go to a idolsphere and get some rare materials so Tiki can create a special potion that restores Maiko condition. In short, everything is shown like more of common thing, but actually you have to do the same as in any typical JRPG!
It is no super production by any mean and you can even kind of discern that Atlus didn’t know very well what to do with the game until the pieces fell into place!, but the result is quite remarkable. My simple recommendation is to give the game a chance, in this case, the look of the game can be really deceiving!