Originally released in 1996, Revelations: Persona was a game firmly rooted in two schools of JRPG game design. First, it was a RPG from Japan that was released before the huge sea change that was Final Fantasy VII. It was never a glamorous game, it wasn’t a multi-disc affair held up with overly long cut-scenes. It was poorly translated, with every Japanese element of the game being Americanized, in an effort to apparently make it palatable to Western audiences. It was also rooted in the Atlus RPG philosophy of making grind-filled, long, fairly difficult games. Atlus also likes to make games with many systems layered on top with one another. Their best known series of the time, Shin Megami Tensei was a series that was known for a layered, punishing turn-based combat system, that also involved talking to and recruiting the help of your demon enemies.
Running with many of the mechanical premises of SMT, the new spin-off series, Persona dropped the SMT prefix that was present in the Japanese edition and came to American shores, and seemingly sold kind of okay. The Persona series has since floated itself through the PS1 and PS2 eras of RPG’s, changing and reforming itself the entire way. It all came to a head with the late PS2 title, Persona 4. After riding high on the large popularity bump Persona 4 gave to Atlus, they decided to go ahead and give the people an enhanced remake of the first Persona game, this time on the PSP. This happened in 2009. I finally finished my first step down Persona memory lane the other day, on the Vita. Let’s talk about it for a bit. Continue Reading
Etrian Odyssey never really intrigued me. I have heard of it, but everything I would see of the games never appealed to me. Strict dungeon crawlers, especially first-person is not usually my thing. I like a healthy dose of story in my games, especially RPG’s. Plus I always heard that those games were pretty hard, with a large portion of the game’s playtime being taken up by grinding. However, Atlus as of late seems to want to bring people around to their entire catalog, breaking them out from the tons of niche games their brand makes up. So in the middle of the milking of the sublime Persona 4 and Persona 3 stories, why not make an Etrian Odyssey game that has a Persona coat of paint slapped all over it? Enter Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, the game that made me understand why people like Etrian Odyssey so much.
Featuring the cast of both Persona 3 and Persona 4, Persona Q has you starting the game as one has so often before in this series, naming your main character. However this time around, you will name both the protagonists of Persona 3 and 4, you then choose which cast the story focuses on. While I have only gone through the game focusing on the Persona 4 side of things, I cannot imagine the game changes too dramatically as the two groups meet each other early on. Continue Reading
I never played any of the Etrian Odyssey games, but honestly this may be my gateway game into doing that. Which really that may be Atlus’ plan with this game, and it is damn smart. Synergy. Everything I see in this new trailer is something that my inner Persona fanboy screams for. The only thing I can hope for here is that the game gets the full English localization treatment. But so far Atlus hasn’t let anyone down in that respect. Anyway, here is the trailer.
Persona 3 Portable- Opening Music (Soul Phrase):
Final Fantasy VIII- Ride On (Ragnarok Theme):
Bust-A-Groove- Kitty N’s Theme:
Months ago, Gamestop had some weird-ass random sale where they were selling Persona 4: Arena for 20 dollars. Why not go pick it up? I had recently completed Persona 4: Golden, which ended up as my favorite game ever, and I heard that this…fighting game was somehow a worthy follow-up to the story that had forced me to stare at my PS Vita for over 100 hours. Sure, why not. I had heard about this game long before I even played Persona 4, and even then I knew it was a bit of an odd-duck. An Arc Systems fighting game, with all those insane bells and whistles; paired with the story depth of an Atlus RPG? On the face of it all, sounds like it’s going to be a mess. A horrible…pile of crap. Much to my surprise though, it’s not. It’s not the perfect distillation of a Persona style story, but it is more than competent. While this sounds like the start to a traditional review, I am not even going to bother with this game. While I do like it, and right now would rate it pretty high, that is because I bought it for one reason: the Story Mode. Maybe one day I would throw myself into actually learning the various systems, and playing online. After all, I do have some history with Guilty Gear, before the time of ubiquitous online play. But that is besides the point. Continue Reading
After finishing Persona 4 Golden for the second time, my lost love of Japanese RPG’s was suddenly awakened. Granted, I started a new playthrough of P4G also, but I craved something new, something in that genre I had not really sunk my teeth into in so long. Despite craving something new, I still craved the smart writing, well developed battle system and contemporary setting of Persona. So instead of going back to another medieval-inspired JRPG, I simply went to the PSN store and downloaded Persona 3 Portable (P3P). Did it help foster my new love for the Persona series, as well as keep me engrossed in the JRPG genre? Yes, yes it did.
P3P is the third version of Persona 3 to be released. Coming out twice on the PS2, and this time on the lesser-powered PSP, some differences were bound to crop up. Before going on, it is important to note that I have never played the other two versions of Persona 3, only read about the differences. The basics of Persona 3 are still there, such as the exploration of the dungeon Tartarus and the Social Links first made famous in the original Persona 3 return. However, instead of directly controlling the main character in the field, a smaller, often one-screen long version of an area is shown. A cursor appears when in these non-combat areas, and you use the cursor to interact with people and objects in the environment. It appears this was a technical limitation of the PSP, and considering the system power, was most likely a good one. Even if the protagonist could have been rendered like how he was in the PS2 versions, it would not have looked nearly as good, and would have had insane loading times. However, it must be considered that although you are not running around and directly interacting with the characters as the protagonist, nothing is lost in the content given, just a sense of immersion is broken.
The content one experiences, as hinted at above is not cut in anyway from the original title. Every social link is still available, and the personal tales told as the protagonist gets to know the eclectic cast of P3P are very well told with satisfying resolution to each. While at times it may take a few too many wasted days to get to a social level up (especially as you approach max social rank), never do you feel you are slogging your way through pointless content. Every conversation in P3P is important, and has a place in this very alive and vibrant city. Even side-activities, used to raise your three secondary stats of Courage, Academics and Charm seem fun. Although you never get to see the activity being performed directly, it helps to flesh out an already fleshed out world, as well as leading to other worthwhile options in who you can hang out with. Continue Reading
Lying around mostly. Playing games. Playing way too much Persona 4 Golden. Though really there is never too much Persona 4. I know I did a review of it, where I gave it a glowing recommendation, but really after playing through it again, I can only say better things about it. It is the best RPG ever created, Japanese or Western. The great characters, story, music, battle system; it all comes together to create something truly special. It’s definitely a slow-burn going in, but totally worth it. So much so that when I decided I was finally done with the game, I immediately hopped on my PSN account and bought Persona 3: Portable for the PSP. Bought it digitally mind you, so I could play it on my Vita. While I love my PSP and have a ton of games for it, the Vita has such a lovely screen, and feels just the right size in my hands. Continue Reading