My 2016 Game of the Year: Tokyo Mirage Sessions

[Cross-posted to my blog at giantbomb.com]

I wanted to do a list.

I really did. But I realized that if I don’t post something right this second, I will put it off until it’s no longer relevant. And I didn’t actually play that many games that came out this year.

I had a busy holiday this year. This might have been my first holiday as an “adult” or whatever. I travelled a lot, did a lot of family stuff, and asked my parents to buy me winter clothes instead of video games. I have been in transit for literally the last 20 hours and there was absolutely no international travel involved, because snowstorms like to hit whenever I need to travel.

So yeah. That’s why no list. I’m fucking exhausted. I’m surprised I even have the energy to write this extended intro to make excuses with. My brain is dead. I haven’t even unpacked. I just sorted out the bare necessities and plan to figure out the rest tomorrow. But I wanted to post something. So here it is, my favorite game of 2016!

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This game was a blast, and a surprising one, too. Over the years, I have been disappointed by crossover titles time and time again. They tend to lack the care and attention to detail that main series games normally receive. That might actually be true in Tokyo Mirage Sessions. In fact, yeah. The Fire Emblem characters have no personalities whatsoever. That’s not ideal. But you know what?

They made an awesome game out of it, so it worked out okay. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a game oozing with style. Incredibly goofy and over-the-top style. And while maybe the story and characters stumble into typical anime/RPG tropes, this works to the game’s advantage in a lot of ways. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a game that lets you enjoy the spectacle and doesn’t ask you to do anything else. From a storytelling perspective, that is.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions has a battle system that can only be described as fucking rad. Were this a review, I’d go into the details of how it works mechanically, but this is just a gush-fest, so fucking rad is a serviceable descriptor. It kept me engaged with the combat constantly, even challenging me to ramp up the difficulty or deliberately challenge difficult enemies, just to see if I could pull it off.

Games don’t do that to me. Like, ever. I am someone who likes to break games, either by overlevelling or finding a late-game weapon early, or something similar. I play most games on normal, but feel no shame knocking it down to easy when the going gets tough. Tokyo Mirage Sessions is the first game I wanted to play my first run through on “hard mode”, like, ever. That is high praise.

Tokyo Mirage Sessions isn’t an “achievement of gaming”or anything, but it’s a damn fun RPG with a battle system that engaged me more than any turn-based combat has since Paper Mario. I’m happy to name it my game of the year.

[Feature image is a screenshot I got from giantbomb.com.]

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