Underrated JRPG Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore has a selection of characters to choose from in battle. Battles operate on a modified version of the Persona system, mashed together with elements of the Fire Emblem weapon triangle and a unique new ‘Session’ combination system. Should one of your active party members hit an opponents weakness during battle, and assuming your supporting cast have the requisite abilities, combinations of up to 20+ hits can follow, dealing massive damage and turning the tides of the fight. Levelling, allocating and optimising your characters to make the most of this system is one of the games’ main draws for seasoned JRPG players.
Our Tier List then, focuses on the relative battle power of each of your character choices, but key to this is exactly where: In your main battle team. For us, some characters are very well suited to being in your main team – they deal the most damage and set the team up for long Session combinations. We’ll get into the details below, but bear in mind we’re not recommending you just take all of the ‘S’ Tier characters and only use them.
In our experience, these three tend to deal the absolute most damage, the majority of the time. There will always be situations where a certain weapon isn’t ideal, and we’re super aware that we’ve suggested essentially two sword users, but throughout their time in the team we found them putting up the best numbers, regardless of their class.
Kiria is a no brainer. Her magic stat is absolutely huge, and it really shows in battle. She’s an out-and-out damage dealer, nothing more, nothing less. She was the one mainstay in our team that really didn’t shift at all. Itsuki too was always going to be here, and not only because he’s essentially forced upon your party no matter what – happily the lad has access to some of the best abilities, buffs and debuffs that the game has to offer.
Yashiro is the unusual option. We’re not going to argue that a different weapon type makes more sense regarding the exploiting of enemy weaknesses, but in our experience well… It really doesn’t matter all that much. This team of ours was able to hit upon at least once weakness almost 100% of the time, and Yashiro would always contribute huge chunks of damage no matter what. Your experience may vary of course, but in our games he just pipped Touma to the top slot, occasionally rotating the two if strictly necessary.
Our A Tier essentially consists of units that rotate in and out of our main party, but not enough to be considered one of the ‘main’ starting team members. The two members here are both able to contribute in a big way, be it through damage numbers, buffs and debuffs or unique abilities.
Touma is your main way to do big damage with the spear weapon, and he’ll not be found wanting in this regard, assuming you can patch up his accuracy issues. It was a toss up between him and Yashiro for our last S Tier slot, but in the end Touma loses out because despite the weapon triangle being important, having the spear in our backup team didn’t really matter all that much. He does high damage and some great AOE damage, it’s just not that necessary to have his weapon type active at all times. Shame really.
Mamori operates similarly to Touma, in that she’ll slot into the main active team from time to time, but her appearances are due to her defensive capabilities. Should you require it, she’s able to trivialise some of the games’ biggest and baddest enemies with her defensive skills.
We should explain that the B Tier of units are in no way useless. No unit is really terrible in this game, rather these are those that see the least amount of use, or perform slightly worse than the others throughout. Should the mood take you, any unit can take their place in the squad and do just fine, these are simply the two that spent the least time in ours.
Eleonora is a strange one. Upon her recruitment you’re greeted by a new weapon type and as such, new possibilities. She’ll start new combinations, get involved with your sessions and generally brighten up the place at a key point in the story. Unfortunately she doesn’t bring a great deal of damage, a trend that continues until you reach the end game. Once there she can contribute more, and her status shots can be a godsend on higher difficulties, but it’s just not good enough for us that she’s so unspectacular for the vast majority of the game. Even at end game, we’d argue that the status and powerful bow attacks aren’t wholly necessary, all of which makes her ultimately quite forgettable from a combat perspective.
As the main dedicated healer in the game, Tsubasa has one singular problem that she’ll struggle to overcome: Items. The items in this game are just good enough to render her almost useless in the role of solo healer, which tends to make her a complete afterthought. She sat in our sub party for almost the entire game, contributing nothing more than a little physical damage or wind spells in the session line. There may be a way to rescue her from obscurity, but if there is we have yet to find it.