#156: Tokyo Mirage Review Round-up, Valve Index Stock Shortages…

TODAY: What do you do when you lose the rights to your Chupa Chups ninja ant? — Epic Games Store made epic amounts of money in 2019 — Doom Eternal proves you can go big and go home in latest trailer

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Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore review round-up

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is an enhanced port of the 2016 Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover set in modern-day Tokyo. What do the critics say?

  • Nintendo Insider (Score 9/10) – ”Yet another brilliant Japanese RPG to add to the Nintendo Switch’s growing line-up. More Shin Megami Tensei than Fire Emblem, it’s hard to care too much when the end result is this enjoyable. Likeable characters and a satisfying combat system all wrapped in vivid visuals and a wonderfully weird and often uplifting story. Of the remaining Wii U games left to bring over to Switch, this was quite the curveball, but it’s one I hope gets the recognition it deserves second time around.”
  • DualShockers (Score 9/10) – ”The aesthetic, charm and gameplay Tokyo Mirage Sessions brings make it worthy to stand on its own and I hope that those who end up playing the game see it this way as well. Nintendo seemed to think that Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was worthy of an encore here on Switch, and I find it to be a worthy encore, indeed.”
  • Nintendo Enthusiast (Score 9/10) – ”With quick loading and Nintendo Switch portability, it’s easy to call this the definitive version of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. It’s a fun, silly, and engaging experience that excels at paying homage to two iconic game franchises while also crafting its own memorable, endearing world. Fans of the addictive RPG gameplay of Persona 5 or the charming characters of Fire Emblem: Three Houses will be right at home with this game, as long as you’re prepared for yet another lengthy RPG experience to absorb your life for a while.”
  • TheSixthAxis (Score 9/10) – ”Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore feels particularly timely. The world hasn’t been the brightest, most hopeful place in recent years, but leading a team of cheerful, committed teen pop idols against demonic entities makes it feel that much brighter. This is a game that’s dedicated to hope for the future, and that creativity is an integral component of that. I’m willing to believe them too.”
  • Twinfinite (Score 4/5) – ”While I never found myself all that engaged by the story or its characters –both integral parts in an RPG– I did enjoy the little interludes in between main missions. There are catchy song performances and music videos to bop to, along with cutesy outfits to put on your characters as you progress further.”
  • Nintendo Life (Score 8/10) – ”Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore is one of the most colourful, approachable and downright endearing RPGs you’ll find on the Switch. Its new story chapter, music tracks and character assists improve on the original to an extent, but not enough to greatly affect its overall quality. Thankfully, what was there was already fantastic, meaning those who missed out on it the first time around really have no reason not to get stuck in now.”
  • USgamer (Score 4/5) – ”Whatever you think of port-begging, it’s justified with Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore. Not only does #FE Encore give us a chance to play a great game that was overlooked on the Wii U, but it also adds a new dungeon, new songs, and content that was previously DLC. A lot of new Persona fans have been minted since #FE’s initial release in 2015, and this is one song they should all enjoy.”
  • Press Start Australia (Score 6/10) – ”Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore features some much-needed quality of life improvements, as well as a strong opening and novel combat. But, ultimately, tedious dungeon design and unrefined boss battles that plagued the original remain and prevent Encore from being the improvement it could be.”

Unscored / Pending

  • Destructoid (Score Pending) – ”Although it does have some issues with text readability in handheld mode, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore otherwise represents a clear improvement over its Wii U counterpart. The ability to speed up Session combos makes the combat feel substantially faster in the game’s later stages, and the new content exclusive to the Switch release is a more than welcome addition to an already sizeable package. Despite my one issue with it, I can’t help but consider it the superior version of an already excellent game.”
  • Eurogamer – ”Unable to combine the best of two beloved series, this JRPG can’t really find its focus.”
  • The Verge – ”Tokyo Mirage Sessions is the next best thing, and yet another perfect fit for the Switch. It’s a game that didn’t get nearly enough attention as it deserved at launch — but one that will hopefully find new life on Nintendo’s tablet.”

Time For A Quick Daily Quiz?

What is first episode of Doom called?

  • Thy Flesh Consumed
  • Inferno
  • Knee-Deep in the Dead
  • No Rest for the Living

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today’s issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

News Bits

New Resident Evil 3 Remake trailer featuring plenty of Nemesis

Get ready for about two minutes worth of pure Resident Evil 3 Remake from the latest trailer. Nemesis makes for an imposing foe, stomping around and laying the smack on a somewhat helpless Jill Valentine. We also get a glimpse of Carlos Oliveira, who seems to be working for Umbrella. Resident Evil 3 Remake arrives on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on April 3rd, 2020.

GameStop reports 27.5% lower holiday sales in 2019 than 2018

No-one’s going ho, ho, ho over game retail giant Gamestop’s 2019 holiday sales figures. They dropped precipitously by over 25% from 2018. They’re certainly not going bankrupt any time soon, with global sales of $1.83 billion, but the curve is definitely trending downwards. Gamestop blames “an accelerated decline in new hardware and software sales”.

Daily Fact

From Zool to fool: Ninjabread man didn’t impress rights holders

Data Design Interactive was working on a reboot of Zool: Ninja of the Nth Dimension, but the right holders weren’t particularly impressed and took back the license. Data Design, however, couldn’t be stopped.

They rebranded their platformer as Ninjabread Man, and released it on PC and PlayStation 2 in 2005, and then for Wii in 2007. It wasn’t particularly well-received, with critics complaining about a short campaign along with lacklustre controls, camera and graphics.

Once again, Data Design were unperturbed and planned a sequel for 2008 – but the studio went bust in 2012, without ever releasing the sequel.

Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today’s fact.

Daily News

Epic Games Store rakes in $680 million

Whatever you think about Epic’s somewhat controversial strategy for carving out a niche in the digital distribution market for PC, they managed to generate $680 million worth of sales – and that figure does not include F2P revenue.

Since launching late in 2018, Epic has pursued an aggressive customer acquisition strategy involving lots of timed exclusives and a seemingly never-ending buffet of free games. These deals involve a lot of cash up front, and some have accused Epic of anti-competitive practices.

With great success comes great scrutiny

So far the strategy seems to be working, as Epic Game Store has 108 million registered accounts. They will keep giving away games every week throughout 2020, so expect that number to keep growing.

Epic’s David Stelzer revealed some sales figures four months after launch, claiming $500 million in gross revenue, but it appears he quoted the wrong figures. In any case, Epic is certainly a force to be reckoned with, controlling both a premier game engine and an apparently competitive digital distribution channel.

Valve has nearly run out of Index stock

Valve’s announcement of the VR-exclusive next chapter in the Half-Life saga has done wonders for sales of their VR platform Index: most of their stock was sold out – the only place you can still buy an Index is Japan – and Valve is now manufacturing more to meet demand and make sure they have plenty of headsets ready in time for the Half-Life: Alyx launch.

Half-Life: Alyx is a prequel to Half-Life 2, putting players behind the eyes of Alyx Vance, the first fully-voiced protagonist in the series, who sports a pair of gravity gloves that will enable unprecedented freedom to interact with the game world. Valve is also underscoring that Half-Life: Alyx is the next chapter in the series and not just a spin-off. Half-Life: Alyx hits Steam on in March.

News Bits

Doom Eternal trailer shows off angels, demons and ridiculously huge bosses

The second trailer for id Software’s impending Doom Eternal features a pretty sorry-looking Earth anno 2151. All hell has literally broken loose despite the Doom Slayer’s valiant efforts on Mars, and that’s not all: The heavenly host has joined the fray, so don’t be surprised if there are heated – maybe even violent – disagreement with angels as well as demons. Doom Eternal will be unleashed on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 20th.

Moons of Madness loses grip on console release date

It may sound insane, yet Rock Pocket Games and Funcom have announced that Moons of Madness will miss its original console release date. The sci-fi horror game was scheduled to test our sanity this month, but Rock Pocket needs a few more months to make sure the game is crazy slick on consoles. Moons of Madness was released on PC on October 22nd last year.

Quiz Answer - Did You Get It Right?

What is first episode of Doom called?

Answer: Knee Deep in the Dead!

The original Doom is perhaps the most iconic first-person shooter ever made, and essentially the great-grandfather of the entire first-person genre. Sure, there were FPS-es before, but none enjoyed the impact or success that Doom did.

Its first mission is probably the most played in the genre’s history, since the first episode of Doom was shareware and spread like wildfire: In the mid-nineties, it was hard to come by a computer that didn’t have the shareware version of Doom installed.

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