Monday, September 6, 2010

persona 3

persona 3 unexpected update 1
persona 3 original article

This work schedule is killing me. It's not even what most people would consider difficult to deal with, but it really saps a lot of gaming enthusiasm out of me. However, today I was able to sit down with Persona 3 on the PS2, a long-ass game I'm still working on, and have been working on forever. I was playing it today and decided to jot down a thing or two about it, how it compares to other JRPGs, and what I think about it. The game is kind of odd when compared to Western RPGs, and even some JRPGs. It's kind of a hybrid between dungeon crawlers like Diablo, traditional JRPGs like Final Fantasy, and Japanese social life / dating simulators like......Fudge, I don't know. I played one of those games in my web browser once. I was really bad at it and was never able to get past first base. Anyways, you play as a silent protagonist character to whom you give your name, and you are given one year to do.......something. I don't remember what it is. Save the world or something. Ah-BreakDOWN!

(1) Days
Every day you wake up and have to go to school (Youre 17), and must choose how to budget your time between clubs, stat building, studying and socializing. It's actually kind of cool how it's structured; there is only time in a day to get one or two things done, and relationships take a long-ass time to really develop. This is definitely marathon-style. You need to decide constantly what is the best way to spend a day and budget it over a long time -- almost nothing can really get done in one day. Night time is where the game gets a little different. You can choose to simply build stats or shop or something like that with your night time, for instance you can just drink some pheromone tea to build your charm stat, and that's that. Or you can choose to go to the game's dungeon level, and fight your way through it. Your progress in it is saved every so often, and you are expected to make progress in it with milestones every few weeks. It keeps your progress contiguous with the story nicely. So far in my playthrough, which is about 2 months of a supposed 12, the story is that at midnight, a 25th hour called the dark hour begins, during which only a few people are able to remain conscious. Everyone else (ready?) transforms into a coffin, all electronics stop working and demons called the Shadows roam the streets, harassing people and making everyone inexplicably miserable when they wake. None of the coffin-ized people remember a thing during this hour, and this is the hour that you and your friends use to explore the city's dungeon.

(2) Tartarus / Personas
A lot of people make fun of the instantly odd concept for this dungeon. You and your group of friends are users of what is called Persona, and are active when everyone else is asleep. Few people have this gift, and are able to call upon a physical manifestation of their soul, which is used for the spells in battle. They do this using a gun-like device called an evoker. They fake-shoot themselves in the head and the Persona comes out and casts a spell. Honestly, you will see some of the most model-fashionable suicide-looking headshots ever. You are the only one who can use multiple Personas, and much like Pokémon, you can pick from a few Personas at a time, each with their own abilities to grant you. If you have an ice Persona equipped and need fire, you must switch. The skills are arranged and accessible like in Final Fantasy, that is to say you just select an ability under the "Skill" menu and your guy performs it, but the Persona you have equipped determines your strengths and weaknesses, as well as which spells are actually available. Select the skill and your character points his evoker at his head, pulls the trigger and out comes the Persona, who casts a spell and fades away. It's actually kind of fashionably awesome. Much like in Scott Pilgrim, if you like Manga / Anime / Comic book sensibilities toward intensity and awesomeness and such, you'll like it. I'm not a big fan of Pokémon, though I did once play through Blue. I didn't notice the similarities right away, and while it normally would have bothered me, the game is good enough for me to ignore.

(3) Battle
Long story short, it's a great battle system. You are the only character that you have direct control over. The rest of the characters are your in-game friends, and you can only control them as far as saying "focus on healing" and such. This doesn't bother me even though I like absolute control of that sort of thing. I mentioned that you do a lot of socializing in this game, and somehow the battle system makes it feel like the people who fight with you actually are other individuals, and not just a selection of stats for you to pick from. It's kind of dumb for me to say that, but hey I liked Lifeline for the same reason. If I can really buy into the characters, it makes the game worth it. I often found myself yelling "Junpei!" at the character with that name when he did something dumb in a fight. And I yelled that a lot. I'm only so far into the game, and it is so kicking my ass. I didn't die this much in Devil May Cry 3. You will have to do certain boss fights over and over, to the point where beating one makes you want to take a breather. That part of the game is something I don't particularly like. I like my game to be challenging, but ultimately doable. I can appreciate developers and gamers wanting to include battles that really take effort, but it doesn't have to be downright painful. Just saying.

(4) Style
As mentioned, it does the Anime-Comic thing very well. You attend a rich, fashionable Japanese high school, with a sort of suave-expensive-funky vibe plastered all over it. If you input your name as John Smith, you will be called things like John-kun a lot. You will date girls who are 17 years old, which may freak you out like it did me. Still, I really like the world that they put you in. It just oozes style if you're into this kind of art direction and music, and you aren't into this kind of stuff, you will say it just oozes stupid. My sister happened to see the game call me Jeremy-kun, and then repeated it in a bucktoothed squinty-eyed accent. Like, "hoh-ho-ah-Jeddumy-koon ^_^  ". Bottom line, if this doesn't automatically look like something you're into:

don't get this game. Not sure? Here's some of the music. (Be kind and let me know if this breaks). Click here and click play. Basically this game is like living inside of a manga or anime. If you think that's a good idea, don't even think. Buy.

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