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Famitsu review scores for Jan. 22nd, 2020

Your weekly helping of reviews

Just four reviews in this week's issue of Famitsu, and three of them are for Switch. See how things played out with this week's scores below.

Coffee Talk (PS4, Switch) – 7/7/9/8 [31/40]
Sisters Royale: Five Sisters Under Fire (PS4, Switch) – 6/7/8/7 [28/40]
Valfaris (PS4, Switch) – 8/8/8/7 [31/40]

Warhammer: Chaosbane (PS4) – 8/7/7/8 [30/40]

GoNintendo Review - Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore (written by NintendoJam)

"It's not just a game, but rather, an experience"

NintendoJam is back with another review, this time giving us the skinny on Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. See how this Wii U to Switch port turned out in the review below! - RMC

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Referring to Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore as "just another port" would be a huge disservice to this legendary JRPG title. Initially released in December 2015 for the Wii U, this previously overlooked Atlus and Nintendo collaboration project will finally be given new life on Switch in 2020. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is much more than just a Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei franchise crossover, it's a standalone RPG experience you won't want to miss (again).

Tokyo Mirage Sessions is visually beautiful, both graphically and artistically. With extremely fast load times and a stable frame rate to accompany it, there is no doubt that the Nintendo Switch version is entirely superior to its Wii U predecessor. Additional content in the form of new music, costumes (including Joker from Persona 5), and story extras (EX Stories) have been added to the game as well, giving an incentive for players to purchase the title for a second time.

While featuring characters from both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei, the main cast of Tokyo Mirage Sessions are newly introduced characters specifically designed for this unique JRPG. Previous knowledge of the aforementioned franchises are not required for a massively entertaining experience. While it could probably provide maximum enjoyment, becoming familiar with the surrounding world throughout your playthrough is a true delight on its own.

Although a more than satisfactory amount of content has been added to Tokyo Mirage Sessions, there is one notable element that has been altered, arguably for the worse. Some fan-service and suggestive material has been removed or toned down from the original Japanese release. This is due to development of the Nintendo Switch port being based on the original Western version. Playing the game in its “uncensored” state will stay exclusively available for Wii U in Japan. Quite honestly, the differences are barely worth mentioning, as they likely won’t be noticeable to the average player without a side-by-side comparison. After all, the game is still rated T for teen by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board).

Tokyo Mirage Sessions is voiced entirely in Japanese, with the option available for English subtitles. The subbed translation provides comedic, heartfelt, and modernly relevant dialogue making the story and its characters genuinely interesting and engaging. I was surprised to see the term “special snowflake” be used in an official Nintendo published title. While lack of English voice acting could be disappointing to some non-Japanese speaking players, the voice actors do an excellent job at conveying consistent passion and emotion. As the game takes place in Tokyo, Japan, you can expect Japanese culture and references to shine through. Prepare to frequently be referred to as "big brother" by Tiki, someone who is most certainly not a legal relative.

At first, the story of Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a bit overwhelming. Lots of new terminology is established, making the narrative seem more complex than it actually is. The game follows protagonist Itsuki Aoi, working with Maiko Shimazaki of talent agency Fortuna Entertainment. There, they promote friends; Tsubasa Oribe and Touma Akagi with their respective singing and acting abilities (plenty more characters are also strongly involved in the story, but it would be best to experience their introduction firsthand). As the characters begin discovering their true creative potential, they collect the spiritual substance “Performa”. Otherworldly humanoids known as “Mirages” serve as both the games main antagonist, as well as trustworthy companions to those who possess Mirage mastership. Inhabiting the “Idolasphere” realm, Mirages use Performa to increase their power. This results in wrongful Mirages possessing others for their own benefit. Luckily, the human protagonists are Mirage Masters, allowing them to work together to defeat the evil operations.

With a plot centered around entertainment, the music production and composition never fails to deliver. Tokyo Mirage Sessions’ entire OST (original soundtrack) is a bop, and has majorly sparked my personal interest in the J-Pop music genre. While writing this review, I have the songs from the game playing on loop in the background (despite not understanding a word of Japanese). Acting as occasional cutscenes, beautifully animated music videos are played during the chapters of the games main story. Music in Tokyo Mirage Sessions goes beyond large performances, however. Incidental tracks throughout different locations really give a sense of the environment you’re in. I found myself feeling hyped up during battles, and then sometimes eerie in darker sequences. All of course, depending on the intention of the amazingly orchestrated sound design.

In terms of gameplay, apart from its focus on turn-based party combat, Tokyo Mirage Sessions includes three primary elements: Main Story, Side Quests, and Character Side Stories. The Main Story consists of 6 chapters, taking your party through various dungeons (Idolaspheres). Each dungeon includes puzzles to solve, bosses to fight, and mysterious enemies you’ll encounter. Enemies defeated sometimes drop Performa, which can be used at Bloom Palace (a hub for your partys Mirages) to perform “Unity”, required for growing stronger in battle.

Intermissions in-between the chapters allow for the opportunity to purchase useful items, using money earned from battles, from in-game shops, or partake in Side Quests and Character Side Stories (which can be also be done mid-chapter). Side Quests are mostly filler content, but Side Stories are an excellent addition alongside the already expansive main game. While the Side Stories may not provide much of a gameplay challenge, learning more about each of the characters personalities through visual-novel-esque RPG storytelling is quite engaging. Performa and skills can also be achieved by participating in these missions, helping the Main Story to progress.

Turn-based combat is the heart of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, taking place during all boss battles and enemy encounters. Each party member is granted with their own list of skills, earned and collected by leveling-up with gathered XP. When proper “Session Skills” are obtained, and when using skills that are most effective towards certain enemy types, you’ll automatically activate an ability known as a “Session Attack”. This is treated as a combo in battles, creating a chain reaction of attacks against the opponent. The turn-based combat is where the games’ challenge and difficulty is fully present. It’s flashy, colorful, eye-catching, and fun, and the interface is easy to understand and use.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions is an almost perfect game, held back by a JRPG standard. Lack of autosaving is a much bigger deal than initially expected, and it’s highly encouraged that you save your game every few minutes, before and after battles. Losing a fight will result in returning to the title screen, where all unsaved progress will immediately be lost. Don’t make the same mistake I did in the beginning, regrettably losing over 2 hours of progress.

Another minor setback comes from the lack of Wii U gamepad. While it generally goes unmissed for most of the game, there is a specific section in Chapter 4 clearly designed with the controller in mind. Not having access to the frequently used TOPIC device (mainly used for incoming missions and chat messages from characters) in the palm of your hand, means you have to press the + button on the Switch to pull up the menu. It’s easy to forget that the map of your area is located there, so keep that in mind if you’re confused on a puzzle in Chapter 4’s Idolasphere.

For those inexperienced with the JRPG genre, the learning curve may be somewhat difficult. However, pushing through the initial confusion will eventually result in immersive gameplay that you won’t be able to put down. Bosses are challenging but completely fair if you have an understanding for the battle mechanics. Grinding enemy encounters, purchasing useful accessories from the Jewelry shop in Shibuya, Carabia, performing Unity using Performa in Bloom Palace, and buying items at Hee Ho Mart, are a requirement to making your playthrough a smooth and (mostly) painless experience.

Prepare for a time-consuming title, jam-packed with content! Tokyo Mirage Sessions will likely take around 30 hours just to complete the main story. With plenty of additional discoveries beyond, the portability of Nintendo Switch, and TMS’s pick-up-&-go nature, there is lots of fun to be had. Playing through Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore isn't a right, but a privilege. It's not just a game, but rather, an experience. The Atlus and Intelligent Systems developed title deserved the second chance that it got, and the Nintendo Switch version is highly recommended for long-term fans of the JRPG genre, as well as those fishing for something new to play. If you can remember to save frequently, hopefully you can experience a similar magic, when Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore launches exclusively for Nintendo Switch on January 17th, 2020!

IGN Video - AO Tennis 2 video review

In AO Tennis 2, tennis fans can take themselves from the outside courts to centre-stage glory in the all-new narrative-driven career mode. For the first time in AO Tennis, success for a young talented player depends as much on external events as great play on the court, which provides deeper immersion into the world of professional tennis.

GoNintendo "2019 Backlog" Reviews - Little Town Hero

A hero arises

2019 might be over, but we've still got some backlog reviews to work through! Today we have a review of Little Town Hero from NintenDaan. See what he thought of the game below!

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While I can understand the disappointment some people have, I adore the original games that Game Freak makes. Games like Pocket Card Jockey and GIGA WRECKER offer up fresh ideas, which is what I personally prefer when gaming. While not every idea of theirs is a winner, I think discussing the game's creation can be just as interesting. That approach to Game Freak's work applies perfectly to Little Town Hero, the latest original offering from the developer.

Little Town Hero is quite unique, making it hard to wrap your head around. The game is fairly complex, and doesn't do anything to ease newcomers into the experience. If you're willing to dedicate the time this game requires, you should find Little Town Hero to be quite charming when all's said and done.

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Famitsu review scores for Dec. 25th, 2019

That's a lot of sevens!

Three new games have been given review scores from Weekly Famitsu. Lots of 7s have been given across the board! Check out the scores from this weeks reviews below.

Gensou SkyDrift – 7/8/7/8 [30/40]
Damsel – 7/7/7/7 [28/40]
Bokura no School Battle – 7/7/6/7 [27/40]

Read Famitsu's full reviews for Pokemon Sword and Shield, as well as Yo-Kai Watch 4++

The full details

We may have had the Famitsu review scores for Pokemon Sword and Shield and Yo-Kai Watch 4++, but it's always nice to have some context. If you want to know how Famitsu's reviewers came to the conclusions they did, you can check out the full reviews for each game below.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

1st reviewer: Explorations, battles, and contacting Pokémon; all of them have been legitimately evolved. The Pokémon’s appeals themselves have also increased which is great, from becoming cooler in Dynamax to becoming cuter in Pokémon Camp. Popular features like Raid Battles and Open World are being included in Pokémon’s world, setting out a unique appeal which also leaves a good impression. There are also small “fun factors” spread all around the adventure – from riding a bicycle to changing attire – which is also good. 10

2nd reviewer: The structure of “Wild Area”, where Pokémon of various species and levels appear in a vast field, is revolutionary. It has become possible to swap Pokémon from boxes without having to return to towns, and in the Pokémon Center you can also re-learn moves, which gives more freedom to the composition, making it even more fun. Although the story leaves a rather light impression, gym battles become hype as they are elaborated presentation-wise, such as the Pokémon becoming giants among other. 9

3rd reviewer: The aspect here is that the timeless Pokémon has been inherited by children of the current era. The presentations that reminds me of sports and the champion’s character design among others are like seasonings that grade schoolers might find them interesting, leaving a good impression. I feel like the follow-ups to the Pokémon you didn’t choose at the beginning are being summarized with the game’s tone. Lots of the features are being reset which refreshed me, but it’s a bit unfortunate that the structure of obtaining a Pokémon after battles has been abandoned. 10

4th reviewer: The modeling designs of appearing Pokémon and characters are neat and catchy. The straight-line scenario brings a starting point to the story of growth, and the elaborate field compositions are also good. The battles where type compatibilities come out in reality and the abundance of healing opportunities in the middle of roads are just like the past series titles. With the network connection you can do versus or raid battles with unknown people; although they require an appetite for victory and countermeasures, it’s also enriched with methods where you just slightly connect such as trading. 9

Yo-Kai Watch 4++

1st reviewer: YW4 had a hype story with the series all-stars including the movie and anime; The Busters multiplayer gets added here, which makes it a game where you can fully enjoy the real “Yo-kai Watch” world. In multiplayer you can fight by possessing other characters in the map; it brings over the fun factor unique to this game both strategy and control wise which is great. I’m also glad they have an upgrade support from YW4. If I had to speak out my desire, I wanted to play YW4++ from the beginning half a year ago. 9

2nd reviewer: The various additional features – from new yokais to quests – strike my chest. I’m also glad I get to play “Plus Plus Blasters” which allows multiplayer; Although you basically only control the yokai, you can also control the Watchers by “possessing” them which is a good structure. The Nintendo Switch version has a DLC that lets you upgrade to ++, so thankfully people who already have YW4 can enjoy the additional content without having to re-buy the whole game again. 9

3rd reviewer: The main game had appeals in magnificent all-star composition that transcends time and space, and the experience of getting into an anime world; I’d definitely recommend this to people who haven’t experienced it yet. Players who already have it can rest assured as a method has been prepared to obtain the additional features. The “Plus Plus Blasters” has fun multiplayer; as it is on a home console, it would’ve been even better if there were at least one mission where people can cooperate with one console and multiple controllers. 9

4th reviewer: You’ll get moved all around the map even by just progressing with the main story, but as there are sufficient and convenient features related to movement it didn’t cause any hardships. Depending on your action controls, you can somewhat fill the gap on yokai stats in battles, which is also good. The new mode “Plus Plus Blasters” has the appearances of many boss yokai that even your raised yokai would struggle against in the vanilla version. Collecting the newly added yokai among others will give a motivation in playing the game further. 9

GoNintendo Review - Pokemon Sword & Shield (written by NintendoJam)

"Filled to the brim with new discoveries."

NintendoJam gives us his opinion on Pokemon Sword and Shield. Plenty of people will be diving into the game this holiday season, and hopefully they come away as impressed as NintendoJam was! - RMC

In 2018, Pokémon made its Nintendo Switch debut with remakes of the 1998 classic, Pokémon Yellow. Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee where critically-acclaimed and financially successful, but fans were itching for another main-line entry in the series. Now, an all-new generation of Pokémon games are available for the very first time on a home console. Gen 8 has officially hit store shelves, selling a massive six million units in just its first three days on the market. Despite a loud minority of controversy on some inexcusable issues, Pokémon Sword and Shield are undoubtedly some of the greatest games currently available for Switch.

Explore the vast region of Galar with Hop (your newly introduced friendly rival), discover the secret of “The Darkest Day”, and learn the origin of the mysterious “Sword and Shield”. While the story is far from complex, following Sonia and Professor Magnolia on their search for answers on the perplexing “Dynamax” phenomenon is an adventure worth taking. Each character you’ll encounter during the main story-line is filled with unique personality. Along your exploration, you’ll learn about the history of your surroundings, and uncover the secrets of Galar.

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Famitsu review scores for Dec. 11th, 2019

The warriors are strong this week

Some well-review titles for the Switch in this week's issue of Famitsu. Check out the rundown of scores below!

Ancestors Legacy (PS4) – 7/8/7/7 [29/40]
ESP Ra.De. Psi (PS4, Switch) – 8/8/8/8 [32/40]
Gunlord X (PS4, Switch) – 7/7/7/7 [28/40]
Kaminazo: Mirai kara no Omoi de (Switch) – 7/8/8/8 [31/40]

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PS4, Xbox One) – 9/9/8/8 [34/40]
The Surge 2 (PS4) – 8/8/7/8 [31/40]
Warriors Orochi 4 Ultimate (PS4, Switch) – 8/9/9/8 [34/40]

Darksiders Genesis - more gameplay footage, and an IGN video review


The Horsemen ride again in Darksiders Genesis, an isometric action adventure featuring two of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, War and Strife.

Alien Isolation - footage and video review round-up

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