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Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore review-bombed on Metacritic

What's the reason this time?

Man, oh man! Another week, another review bombing controversy. Last week, the troubles hit AI: The Somnium Files. This time around, the target is Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore.

Just two weeks ago, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Encore had an 8.0 out of 10 user review score. As of today, the score has plummeted to 3.6. Numerous low scores have hit the Metacritic listing, most of which are filled with garbled text. We're not quite sure who is behind the bombing just yet, nor do we know the reason.

Comments

We all know the reason, so let's not pretend that we don't.

Regardless, as I've been saying for a long time now, Metacritic needs to abolish their user reviews entirely. It's too easy to weaponize it, and it's used for that more than anything. Metacritic users reviews are the most useless metric out there when it comes to game reviews.

I don't understand the end goal of these people. Like would you prefer not to have the game at all instead of having it with minor changes? I certainly wouldn't.

psi wind
Mon Feb 17 20 05:23pm
Rating: 2

I don't generally mind minor changes. The problem stems from an entire chapter, character arc, and dungeon being rewritten and retextured. If it was just things like the few outfits or the shadow cloud covering a boss's cleavage, fine. But my limit is always editing entire messages just because they think it will give them a boost in sales. This game is the absolute definition of niche and it boggles my mind that they tried to widen the appeal.

Well this is Atlus we're talking about here who do absolutely no marketing whatsoever.

Unlike you however, a lot think that if it weren't censored, it would have sold well which is false.

I never said it would sell well. The game is just honestly not marketable to a general audience

it would have sold better

There, buddy. Fixed that one for ya ;)

Believe what you want. Its not like you get the point.

It's not about believing, but thinking, Socar. The censorship ruined sales in Japan. Not that it would have sold millions, but some copies more for sure. BEtter than now.

And yet, this one sold more copies than the original. What's your excuse to that?

As I have said a gazillion times before: the Switch has outsold the U already with a good number=Bigger user base. But it would have sold better if they released the original version (at least in Japan). I know several people in the West who would have jumped on (including myself) but when they completely dropped te original version and made such big, not just cosmetic changes, people wont get it.

When I speak good enough Japanese I'll get the Wii U Jap Original. Looks like a fun game.

enthropy
Mon Feb 17 20 05:46pm
Rating: 1

As PSI WIND mentioned: it's not a minor changes like covering a little cleavage (all Americans know that a little cleavage is the gateway to HELL!!!!), but they changed up bits of the story and in some cases even ruined the plot. It is supposed to be illogical after that part because of the censorship. Another thing is that the original version actually exists, but they chose to take the pansy version that the West got and also release that in Japan that got the original version to begin with... How the flying phuck did they think the Japanese market would accept this is beyond me. They had the chance to sell some copies this time since the Switch outsold the Wii U long ago. When my Japanese is good enough I will get the Wii U Japanese version unless they can somehow patch the Switch version or rerelease it how it should be!

As for metcritic, I love to read the viewer reviews. They are more like "from a gamer to the gamers" than a job. Of course, plenty of them are badly written, some just youngsters out for attention etc, but those are obvious and I just ignore them. Some are pretty good. But as I have said a gazzillionz times on here, I never decide a purchase for a game (or movie/book/album) on a score, but I read them to get an idea of the game. And sometimes the viewer critics are just better for that.

When it comes to review-bombing: I find it purely pathetic. Those idiots need not to get a hobby, but a life. Astral Chain for it being Switch exclusive when it's a Nintendo-Platinum owned IP and Nintendo actually paid for it? Really? And the AI: Somnium Files thing? What the... At least metacritic gets to know about these and fix the problem. Actually, I see something good in all this: The games get more attention and after the review-bombings have been dealt with the games might get a couple of more sales even =)

Mon Feb 17 20 08:55pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

Some people would rather not have the game at all. The bigger the fan, the less compromise the fan will accept. (This isn't specific to this game, but something I noticed across all sorts of fans across all media.)

The odd thing is the timing. I would expect a protest like this to occur at release or just before it, not weeks later.

sikes primero
Mon Feb 17 20 12:36pm
Rating: 2

This is again another that comes weeks after the release, so I'd like to see what spurred it on. We've seen that it's easy for one person alone to tank the user score. But the main reason one would wager is due to the list of changes they made to the localization and to the original JP release, which should not go understated how insane that is.

That said, screw this game and screw censorship :P

mr life
Mon Feb 17 20 12:37pm
(Updated 1 time)

Why am I not surprised.

No one lowered the score for the censorship, if that's true then most Sony games would have tanked.

It's not about some simple censorship like putting a little clothes above a cleavage! And that's the point! Several commenters here have written down the details so many times...

thedreaminghawk
Wed Feb 19 20 08:22pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

This is still one of the silliest non-issues I've ever seen. Besides the minor clothing edits, the one story-edit was chapter specific and was obviously done to decrease the age rating: Not only due to the characters being aged up, but due to it being T when the OG trailer from the first reveal in the US stated it was expected to be rated Mature. Considering how the Japanese release was a B, it's more or less clear the edit was done to make it T rated for the US and fit more with the same age range that the original release was going for, and not to increase it due to the ESRB's ruleset. That and 2016 Nintendo wanting to do literally *anything* to make games more marketable for their dying Wii U, since it's clear they're a bit more loose with edits now and only do them when it's an absolute *must* instead of as a precaution.

It's also not uncommon for the "International" versions of things to be made the new master version come a rerelease in Japan, like in the case of encore. Acting as if the minor edits and the weird story bit is what kills the entire game, from the whole main plot, the characters, the battle system and side quests is just utterly stupid. I find the cutting of the hot spring DLC more of a "problem" than this and I just find the DLC cut more annoying for having less things to do and them not bothering to edit if they needed to,, rather than a crime. The original devs are OK with these changes, localizations make these kinds of edits all the time in the form of text being toned down or altered. (sometimes too far for the sake of being silly, like in Snack World's recent mess of a localization)

The Yakuza games had stuff tweaked and altered in their remasters. Especially 3 which had a pretty not-nice sidequest that the devs decided to replace and remove due to the times changing.

Xenoblade is dubtitled to hell and back. (the JP audio's the same, but the subs don't match any of the things being said at all and all the stuff about gods and whatnot are just ignored, and as someone who knows a decent bit of Japanese it's really obvious hearing someone say "Kami", the word for god, but no mention of god whatsoever.)

Heck, even Pokemon isn't immune: Super Mystery Dungeon has a segment where the main characters are literally banished to what's practically Hell (being a world of emptiness and misery), and the Japanese dialogue and dungeon names at that point in the story represent this by labelling one dungeon "Hell Badlands" and using forms of the word Hell/nothingness a lot. Yet the US version renamed it "Voidlands", named the dungeon "Abyssal Badlands", and did all that for the same reason TMS toned down the fashion dungeon, to keep a similar rating to the JP original and to prevent SMD from going from an E rating to an E10/T one.

You didn't see anyone complain about censorship or the intensity of the situation being lost a bit as a result with mystery dungeon, because barely anyone who ends up bitching about this sort of stuff can hardly read the original text behind it to begin with, and thus none of those reactionary sites or channels made a point to label it as censorship, when by the definitions people seem to like using, Super MD was doing just that. I guess because it doesn't have breasts or fashion involved, or it's not a visual edit that bypasses language barriers, people don't seem to care too much.

But TMS is a seriously great game and however you choose to play it, I can't recommend it enough: They could have easily made it low effort and dubtitle the whole game but they did a darn good job at keeping the text as consistent with the dialogue as possible, and the rerelease makes it a far more engaging experience to play. It's a shame some people are passing on it or continue to ignore it over these edits, even though they're the least concerning aspects of the game by far. Go bug Snack World for silly edits, not this game. Of course, this is also a metacritic fault in general, since we know this is a trend lately to just hardcore review bomb titles for the heck of it, and I believe some indies like Kunai have been struck unfairly over it too, but I'm not surprised to see the old discourse back again

TLDR: TMS is a great game, ignore the bombing, go play it if you like good RPG stories

Wed Feb 19 20 09:19pm
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

I'd also like to add one more case: Intelligent Systems also makes the Paper Mario games, and that is heavily changed in the localization. The original Paper Mario games' changes were taken so well, it earned Nate Bihldorff a permanent spot on the NOA localization team and gave Paper Mario a level of popularity it never had in Japan, which was criticized for being very bland. We're talking stuff like Vivian, who's an incredibly effeminate male in Japan, rewritten as female, as well as dialogue completely changed and pop culture references added in (though said references can get quite obscure, such as Dimentio describing a scene from Deliverance), all of which would be anathema to Fire Emblem fans. Instead, consensus among Paper Mario fans is that the games were made better thanks to the changes.

That being said, I have noticed Fire Emblem fans get very touchy about anything being changed in the localization (with the most extreme ones opposing any sort of localization at all), seeing this happen with most of the recent Fire Emblem games (Three Houses seems to have escaped that for the most part). I'm not a Fire Emblem fan, and I haven't played any of them, though I did pick up Encore because it was selling out real fast locally--and while it got a restock, it got sold out again after the review bombs had come in.

sikes primero
Wed Feb 19 20 10:08pm
Rating: 1

Fire Emblem fans have every right to be touchy. Awakening was mostly fine, but Fates was horrendous. Much of the dialogue and meaning in support convos changed, and in one case entirely removed (as a haha joke). Doesn't help that the story in general in those games were also horrific, so that made complaints worse. This was a chance to do a Paper Mario and enhance and massage that story as much as possible, but no dice.

Yeah there was no saving that story and to see the story just made worse instead of better was pretty sad. The game's fun, but Awakening was far better in general and it's clear why they went back to 8-4 for Echoes, which ended up being not only an outstanding game with a better story, but one that had a better sense of writing too. I don't know who translated 3H, but the bit I played was also a lot more interesting than Fates.

Yeah, localization is pretty much vital for the industry and the more good and clever ones like Paper Mario, the better. Some people just act as if the game might as well be released in 100% Hiragana with no english whatsoever... Though in the case of Fates (The one people hated the most, localization wise), that wasn't really a thing NOA could do a damn thing about: The original JP script is just bland and dull and Birthright may just be one of the most cookie cutter stories in any RPG I've ever played, so NOA trying to spice it up didn't really help matters.

The only way to fix a mess like that, is to not do it in the first place. As much as I enjoyed the maps, I didn't want to bother buying the DLC for Revelations after how bored I was with BR and Conquest. The only things in those games that made me impressed plot wise, was the twist at the end of Conquest, and the pre-path split "Twist" that every trailer and promo vid spoiled the crap out of but I somehow never knew until I saw it on screen. Coming off of Awakening it was a huge shame, especially since the character designs and music are still good. At least Echoes ended the 3DS off on a godlike note, and is easily the best game in the entire franchise, and people like the translation for that since it remade a good story and made it better by fleshing it out and updating it in a good way to be super engaging.

sikes primero
Wed Feb 19 20 11:02pm
Rating: 1

Fundamentally disagree.
First off those of us against censorship are very much a minority, I guarantee you can find those complaining about those localization changes in those games you mentioned somewhere on the corners of the internet.

Secondly, the costume edits are not minor. Some are removed completely (Hot Springs, Holiday) some replaced (godawful and nonsense hip hop outfits) and the rest are hideous edits, case in point the wedding dress for Tsubasa.

The story edit is also not minor, it's an entire dungeon and an entire backstory for a major character in the game, as well as a point of growth for a main character. It is also constantly referenced in the following chapters, so you have lines of dialogue and choices cut later on I
the game. In a game about Japanese entertainment and culture it removes an integral piece of that idol life as well. It's pretty significant.

Of course the visual edits would be the most apparent to us at first, we are visual beings after all. That doesn't make the complaints about this game invalid. You're engaging in whataboutism, dude.

And let's get into the reasoning for these changes. You say rating. Ok, that's a thought. But consider literally every other game released by Atlus at the time, your SMTs and Personas, which this game takes influence from. All rated M. And the most recent entries for each broke 1 million, in Persona 5s case over 2 million. Major releases in general across consoles are profoundly M-rated and sell millions. With an already niche genre and premise found in TMS, there was no reason to fear jacking up the rating. It's not like they promoted at all afterwards, it was just dropped in stores, I don't even think we got a proper collectors edition like Japan did at the time. But ok, maybe they wanted to keep the rating down and didn't have a way to get by the ESRB. Even though the stated reason for the changes was for cultural sensibilities of territories other than Japan...
It's still a damn disappointing localization. If they were gonna go full tilt on this they should have went all the way. Translate EVERYTHING and even dub everything. The songs can stay the way they are but the fact that battle dialogue, some of which can give players clues as to weaknesses and points of attack, is untranslated is unbelievable. Dubbing hell every other Atlus game is. And this is an Atlus localization. Nintendo freely dubs their games when they have to, I don't know why this was any different. Maybe it was to keep that Japanese entertainment feel? But then why enact numerous changes to the story and visuals of the game? It's a mess, one that should be fairly ignored by those who care. As someone who played the original release, I do think the gameplay foundation is solid, I enjoyed that all good and done, but on a second go around I would have liked to have a full, complete, uncut package. And I didn't get that. I will not admonish those who won't support the game because of the changes, as I stated they are a minority and I believe their complaints are as valid as those who are able to look the other way.

Oh definitely, there's still Wii U era jank with the localization that isn't limited to the edits: The aforementioned battle dialogue (I can understand some of it so I'm pretty OK on it, but I can absolutely see why people want it subbed as bosses outright detail plot exposition during battles at points... Which isn't translated) and the lack of a dub are huge, totally legitimate bummers that reviews have noted for both versions. I love the VA from the JP version and whatnot, and am glad the songs are retained in the original language as a result, but part of me hoped that there would be some sort of dub back in the day. The whole game gives me a very mild Inuyasha vibe, due to Avex's involvement, so a dub of that quality would have been really nice.

But in the Wii U era of 2016, Nintendo just wanted to get games out NOW, before the switch would crush everything and make the Wii U deader than dead. They already noted to releasing the game in the west via that direct, so they couldn't back out... So they just tried to make it T-range as possible. It clearly didn't do the game any favors in the west as your average teen would be turned off more by the japanese-ness than any content in the game, (Though the aging up was pretty much a requirement and I'm glad they do that, nobody should be bugged about that aspect) but I feel that most edits were done for desperation over anything else.

Remember how NOA pretty much just threw Fatal Frame V on the eShop because they had no idea how to market it? or how Devil's Third only came out here due to people begging for it only for them to realize that yes, the game was horrid and they almost had the right idea to skip releasing it? I wouldn't be surprised if that made Nintendo scared to death of M rated games on the Wii U. They saw that FE did amazingly on the 3DS, and those games are typically teen... So they just toned down whatever they felt would get the game in that T range, more than likely.

I think if it was a 3DS game it would have done good regardless of rating, and I still find most of those edits to be tame compared to other much-worse edits I've seen in games last decade, but it didn't really help at all. I just find it silly that people still think most of these edits are the worst in modern gaming history, (As I have seen people outright call this game the worst modern example of a localization, even though I can gladly name five games that are far worse to the point I can't even touch the US version because of it) and I hope it doesn't hurt this version of the game, which IS on a system where both T or M rated games would do perfectly fine and the game deserves it so we can get a sequel: And since games on Switch like this are made with worldwide mindsets now, there would not be any regional differences whatsoever as any changes would be internal, which is a win-win for everyone.

From your comments it sems like you are trying to dance around the part of the changes not being so small in this game, as Sikes points out. They are not just small cosmetic changes (as what one would call an artist I hate them too, but I can somehow live with them). And that's the main issue with the game here. Not minor changes (there's a little pun in there).

I can get that some games get changes for pop-culture or cultural purposes in general for jokes and puns and just getting the gamer to "feel more at home". Not every westerner is a "japanophile" after all and there are MANY Japanese games coming ot the West, but in this case it was just too much o a change. And when that happened in Japan also I wonder what the flying fuck they were thinking at all. A very Japanese game much based on Japanese pop-culture gets censored in the West and then the port gets sensored in Japan and they totally drop the original version?

You also made me want to play Xenoblade in Japanese now, but I'll still eed a couple of more years with Japanese to get to that point =)

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