Getting Started On The Path To Stardom In Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is the re-release of the Wii U RPG from Atlus and Nintendo. It’s filled to the brim with J-pop, idol culture, showbiz, and classic Shin Megami Tensei demonic themes (though much more lighthearted). Now that TMS on Switch, it’s an opportunity for many more folks to give this somewhat overlooked gem a fair shot. And if you’re one such person, we have a few tips to help you find your rhythm.
Here, we cover many of the basics, like the inner workings of the combat system, some important items you should have at all times, and some small details that could go unnoticed. Carnage Unity and Radiant Unity upgrades are explained in the game, so we skip going through those systems. But we also dive into some ways to sort of game the system with a few pointers on how to get money fast and level up quickly.
For more on this wildly stylish RPG, be sure to read our impressions on Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. You can also check out the original review from 2016 when the game first came out on Wii U.
If You’ve Never Played An SMT Game, Here’s How Combat Works
Shin Megami Tensei games are turn-based RPGs, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions uses that foundation for its own combat system. If this is your first rodeo, there are a few basics you should know about. Exploiting elemental weakness is at the heart of winning battles, but in SMT games, hitting a weakness not only does more damage, but grants extra attacks within the same turn. In TMS, these manifest as Sessions attacks, which we explain in more detail below.
You won’t know an enemy’s weakness unless you either defeat them once or hit them with the right element the first time around. To make things easier to track, highlighting an enemy when choosing an attack will list their weaknesses, and an exclamation mark will indicate which spell to use when scrolling through your spell list.
What most SMT/Persona games don’t have that TMS does is a timeline for turn order. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye on this since it’ll help you identify when enemies are due for attack–you want to prioritize killing enemies before it’s their turn, so target enemies that will attack sooner before those that attack later.
Session Attacks Are Crucial
Once you know how to exploit enemy weaknesses, you then line up what are called Session Skills. Each party member will gradually build up a number of them, but each one activates under certain conditions–Session Skills chain into combos when specific elemental attacks are used. It’s fairly easy to keep track of early in the game since you have fewer party members and simply accept all Session Skills you learn, but it’s something to be more mindful of later when you’re juggling much more with party composition and who gets what spells. Some fights can be difficult, so it’s absolutely necessary to plan around Session attacks in tougher battles and land big combos in a single turn.
Cheesing Your Way To Higher Levels
Encore comes with the DLC and extra content from the original TMS release. Right off the bat you’ll have access to what’s called the EXPeditous Hunter Training Area within the Bloom Palace. In that particular area, you’ll collect Tomes in the four corners of the first floor, and using one Tome on a character will boost their XP bar to about halfway–using two Tomes will bring them right up to the point of leveling up. The Training Area is very generous when doling out Tomes too, and they’re easy to farm since you can just enter and exit the dungeon repeatedly.
Cheesing Your Way Through Weapon Skills
There’s another dungeon in within the EXPeditious Hunter called the Mastery Area. And just like with Tomes, you can farm Skill Books here. Skill Books work similarly but instead boost the XP of a character’s weapon. Leveling up weapons is how characters learn new spells, abilities, and stat perks. This can help you in a pinch if you don’t want to grind in order to get the skills you’ll want before big fights.
Get Rich Quick Scheme: Cash For Gold
Furthermore, EXPeditious Hunter areas can also contain Gold Bars instead of Tomes or Skill Books, and that ain’t no problem. Gold Bars have no purpose other than to be sold at stores for a lot of money (50,000 yen, to be exact), and they can be farmed just as easily with repeated visits to these areas. Having a ton of money lets you stay on top of the newest accessories you can buy at the jewelry store to boost your armor and stats. But it also allows you to stay stocked up on important items.
Stock Up On Energy Drinks
With that cash-for-gold scheme, you can now ball out on anything you want, and you’ll always want plenty of healing items at all times. Energy Drinks are important because they restore full HP to any one party member–keep in mind that you can only carry 20 at a time, which should be enough for any boss fight. This also means you won’t need to relegate a character’s Command Skill slot to an individual healing spell like Dia or Diarama, making room for more elemental attacks and saving you the EP cost of healing.
Have Someone With Media / Mediarama / Mediarahan
While you can rely on Energy Drinks to heal single party members, it’s still important to have a way to heal the whole party in one turn. Early on, Media will be your best bet for an all-party heal, which Tsubasa can learn by leveling up her Silver Feather weapon. As the game progresses, keep an eye out for party members who can learn Mediarama and Mediarahan, which are stronger versions of the all-party healing spell.
Protect Yourself With Spells, Stones, And Soda
A big part of keeping your party battle-ready is to use buffing spells such as Tarukaja, Rakukaja, and Sukukaja, which increase attack power, defense, and hit/evasion respectively. There are items that impose the same effect for your party, but you can only keep five in stock at a time.
Two important buff-related items you’ll want to have on hand are Dekaja Stones and Dekunda Stones which negate stat buffs on enemies and stat debuffs on your party, respectively (and you can keep 20 at a time). As for dealing with status effects like poison or sleep, be sure to have Amrita Sodas on deck, which also let you skip having to rely on the Amrita spell.
Have Elemental Stones Just In Case
Since you still have so much cash from dealing gold bars, it’s smart to stock up on other useful items like Maragi, Mabufu, Mazio, and Mazan Stones. You won’t want to rely on these too much since they won’t hit as hard as stronger spells, especially from characters with high magic power. They come in handy if there’s an enemy weakness not covered by your party’s spell composition or when you want to hit several enemies at once.
Characters Not In The Party Level Much Slower
One thing to be mindful of is that characters outside of the combat party won’t gain experience points at the same rate as those who are. Over time, they’ll fall far behind in levels, and you might be inclined to swap them in at certain points to use their particular strengths and abilities. With plenty of Tomes in hand, keeping them up to the general level of your party is a cinch.
Restore HP And EP At The Cafe
Admittedly, I was wondering where to restore my party to full HP and EP for the first couple hours (other than the green aura in the prologue dungeon). I found out that going to Cafe Seiren in Shibuya (Central City) and getting anything on the drink or food menu will take care of that. It’s only 400 to 500 yen, too.
Always Go Into Boss Fights With Full SP
It’s always smart to go into boss battles with full HP and EP, of course, but it’s also important to build up your party’s SP meter beforehand. Think of SP attacks, or Special Performances, as a the Limit Break or all-out attack of Tokyo Mirage Sessions. These tend to deal very high damage and always initiate subsequent Session attacks, so you’ll want to save them for the tougher fights.
Manually Save Your Game Often
Unfortunately, like its Wii U version, TMS#FE Encore doesn’t have an autosave feature. At least you can manually save your game at any point outside of battle, you just have to remember to do so. It’d be frustrating to spend two hours making progress in a dungeon only to have the party wipe in a Savage encounter you didn’t intend on fighting.