Tsubasa Oribe is the only survivor of the Mass Disappearance that occurred 5 years ago when her older sister also disappeared from stage. After getting over her shock she applies to be an idol in the hopes of finding clues to her sister's whereabouts but finds herself transported to another world as everyone around her disappears yet again. Itsuki happens to be in the area at the time and follows after her.
The two childhood friends soon discover the disappearances were the work of malicious beings known as Mirages who are after the Performa energy in humans. As the two gain the aid of Mirages, they decide to join the undercover idol company Fortuna Entertainment to put an end to the disturbances.
Always wanted to play this since seeing it on the Wii U but didn't want to get the console just for one game.
You dungeon crawl just like Persona games. Battle system is speedy. You can command your Mirage to attack and exploiting weaknesses triggers a combo "Session" attack if other characters have the right skills to chain with you. Gear system is very simplified. Rather than have your usual slots such as weapon, different parts of armour and accessories, you just have one piece of armour (or accessory in this case) and a weapon. Materials are dropped from Mirage you defeat before you can craft new ones.
While in Persona the attack system is layered; exploit a weakness, gatcha chance of a follow-up attack and also All Out Attacks. Here the flow is more automated. As soon as you exploit a weakness, a Session chain attack by all your party members occurrs. Sometimes there's a bit of gatcha hoping your party member will sing and hit them all.
It's still quite satisfying system when you pull off Sessions but not quite as much as when you exploit a whole party of enemies like in Persona. In fact, a lot of the battle system in passive where skills get activated automatically so just like the world setting is filled with idols, you're mostly sitting back to enjoy the show. You can be fighting Mirages one moment then suddenly one your party members decides to put on a show.
Your Mirages gain skills but unlike Persona games where you have multiple Personas to allocate new skills to, you only have one Mirage to allocate skills which makes it hard to manage.
No random encounters and you can save any time which is good. As with visibile enemies in other JRPGs you can take the iniative and hit them before going to battle for the upper hand. Interestingly enough you can get ambused sometimes so that you're completed surrounded which adds a bit of excitiment and reaction time. Powerful "Savage" enemies that are beyond your level will also keep you on your toes.
And if you're not a fan of level grinding there's a side dungeon that let's level really quickly with enemies that jump up in difficulty faster and dropping tomes that help max out your XP ready to gain the next level.
Other that dungeon crawling can be quite annoying because you can't expand the mini map to full. You have to open up your "mobile" and then manually select the dungeon and the level you're on.
Also, instead of puzzle solving you're made to run around the dungeon doing menial tasks before you can proceed with the story.
It's not an easy game however. Even on the easiest "friendly" mode you'll have to dedicate some time to level grinding to stand up against the bosses, be it the regular explore the dungeon way or using the training dungeon. Using the dedicated dungeon can get boring because the layout and enemies never change.
You get to make some decisions in dialogue as Itsuki but they don't really do anything such as affect your bond with a character.
It's a colourful game. Enemy Mirage designs look good and character expressions are lively although it can be over the top sometimes such as characters using the same encouragement phrases during battle repeatedly... This is a collaboration between Atlus and the team behind Fire Emblem with the idea of its characters being reincarnated into the modern world so you'll find the Mirages looking like they're from FE. Those who have played the FE series will recognise names such as Chrom right away I'm sure.
It's quite nice to see the posters and ads change as your gang stars in something new which makes the game world more immersive.
As it's a game about the entertainment industry of idols, you'll be watching lots of JPOP, all Anime themed of course. Unlike some other JRPGs all dialogue is fully voiced instead of just a few lines.
Themed dungeons don't look all that exciting but the everyday environments look fairly detailed and fun to walk around in. Although the game mainly takes place in Shibuya, the game has fairly detailed models of various locations around Tokyo which resemble their real world counterparts. They're bigger than the places in Persona 5 even so if you want a virtual tour of the big city you're not far here. It's quite fun with features such as a lottery when you buy from a store.
Unfortunately about 13 hours in I started to get bored. The overall story wasn't that compelling for me to play on. Most of the story is more about learning some back story about each new character while the main story feels too shallow and sugar coated. Battle system feels too automated to provide much tactic.
On the other hand if you like JPOP and enjoy a traditional level grinding JRPG with some cheery characters, you might enjoy this.
- Fast loading times.
- Cheery colourful presentation and cast of characters.
- Fairly fun pulling off session attacks.
- No random encounters.
- A side dungeon for power levelling.
- Lack of battle tactics, feels bit too automated.
- Some mandatory menial tasks running around the dungeons.
- Manual full map access.
- Limited slots for skills.
- Characters can be a bit too enthusiastic at times.