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Persona 3 by Worm 12/23/2007, 7:32am PST
I put off this review for awhile since I sort of hit a wall in game that seemed to require a little grinding to get past. Recently I learned that Persona 4 was slated for a 08 release on the PS2, so that’s gotten me back into playing it.

Persona 3 doesn’t really satisfy your fantasies of a giant nerdgasm that Bioware games or most RPGs do. Even though it all done in anime style very little of it is queer or stupid, the localization is great and they avoided focing the game’s English version to be based in America. Persona 3 is a very stylized, technically perfect, and wonderfully entertaining JRPG.

First let me address the few bad things about Persona 3.

Your lead character dies, and the game ends, that’s it, that’s your loss state. I haven't played it all the way, so if there is some bhaalspawn copout explanation is unknown to me. This is a problem for a few reasons: you can easily get stunlocked into oblivion by getting hit with what your current Persona is weak to, higher level physical attacks can easily one shot you, and the enemies cast low chance instant death group effect spells. So even though your leader is four levels above the rest of your group, it’s still just as realistic that he’ll bite it as any other one of your characters.

There is a giant tower that only has checkpoints on certain floors. So risking it to make it to floor 110 from 95 is really a risk. It's pretty possible you could have some bad luck and bite it on floor 109. You can decide you've accumulated enough experience and just head back without activating a checkpoint above you, or you can risk it, die, cry bullshit, and throw your new Philips Freak Berserker Gamepad across the room.

Rare monsters are not only rare spawns but when they spot you they often disappear or immediately run away and eventually disappear, and if you do engage them they always get the first turn, during which they usually escape. This makes doing a quest where you specifically need to kill one pointless. You won’t get the drop without the quest accepted, and actively seeking them out is just an exercise in frustration.

All abilities have made up names, agi is fire, bufu is ice, ma at the start means it effects a group rather than individual. This gets really annoying when you accidentally use mabufu instead of mahama and totally fuck up your attack. It also makes leveling up and replacing old skills a chore, as there is no description for the old skills and I can’t remember if me patra was a useless buff or a good one. Granted you go throw Personas faster than the fictional drivers from Burnout go through cars, so it’s not much of a loss.

That’s really all that really pissed me off about it. The extremely small soundtrack that is re-used liberally throughout the game, watching cards get shuffled to get a free power-up at the end of a fight, needing to befriend the town’s varied miscreants to get bonuses on the personas you create, school kids shooting themselves in the face. All that shit I love.

The weakness system is good, basically if you hit something with the element it’s weak against or otherwise score a critical, it gets knocked down, and you get a free attack. Knock down all the enemies and you get a free combined group attack on all the enemies, complete with a giant cloud of dust and onomatopoeias in comic lettering. This doesn’t work as well for enemies who are only weak to low-chance insta-kill skills (light or darkness) but the weakness makes the insta-kill skills more likely to hit at least. It really removes some of the classic JRPG marathon fights from the game, but a boss who isn’t weak against sort of falls back on that. Those bosses usually just end up with you doing the encounter again and again hoping for a lucky break. Often the boss’ waves of group attack spells and status effect spells will wear down your party.

The tower opens up more and more, and you have boss battles outside of it that are dependent on the phase of the moon. This calendar system adds a nice bit of order to what would just be a pretty standard dungeon crawl. Since the tower expands each month, and there is a full moon each month, basically two days out of every thirty that you absolutely at least must go in combat, when the scripted fullmoon boss battle occurs and when the tower expands so you can fight up to the next blocked area so you’re ready for the fullmoon battle.

The dungeon itself feels kind of rogue-like, involving random grid mazes, bosses at certain levels, random events on certain levels. During the card minigame I noticed a little card with a skull on it, if you pick it the game says “death draws near”. Much later into the game, I was banging around a level and your recon girl yells “I SENSE DEATH APPROACHING”, and wouldn’t you know it? The fucking reaper was on my ass. I was delighted! Naturally he’s an undefeatable level 99 monster that requires a Golden Chocobo of a Persona, but that’s JRPGs for you.

You can end up on levels filled with rare monsters (suffice it to say that’s pretty rare and death comes after you quickly), your party can get split up, small things which make the dungeon more fun. It’s not so boring just running around there and killing well modeled silly looking monsters.

In the mean time you raise your skills like courage, academics, and charm, or make friends. The former allows the latter in some places but isn’t something that felt particularly grindy. The latter benefits you by giving you bonus experience to certain Personas you can create. The bonus experience is pretty valuable, and the little storylines associated with the various social links are nice.

This system is better than most, mainly because you can only piss off a person if you completely blow them off or mack behind their back, and you don’t feel like you failed if you can’t do “unbreakable bond of trust” with everyone in the game. Each encounter involves dialog choices which are pretty simple. There’s little to no FAQ searching for most stuff, and even if you pick the wrong thing they still love you. It seems like there is ample time to do everything in the game, and seems like a worthwhile reason for replaying.

The dialog and main story arc isn’t really any more embarrassing than every other RPG. It manages to be at worst average anime and at best good anime (if such a thing truly exists!). I felt less gay in all of Persona 3 than I did scouring FAQs to learn how to fuck Viconia and turn her True Neutral.

That’s basically it, you run around devoting anywhere between a minimum and maximum of time to combat, and just play around in this sort of anime playground in the mean time. Having the synergy of the combat and story elements just totally sold me. I haven’t yet finished it, but being able to switch at any time from a dungeon crawl to a dating sim ends up making it a pretty fucking awesome game.
Persona 3 by Worm 12/23/2007, 7:32am PST NEW
    I WAS WRONG FUCK THIS - lets all talk about umberto and sassy and faggot skating by bombMexico 12/23/2007, 8:19pm PST NEW
        Suikoden by jeep 12/23/2007, 8:49pm PST NEW
            Re: Suikoden by bombMexico 12/25/2007, 5:03am PST NEW
                When you see a western one day you will LOSE YOUR SHIT NT by Sergio Leone 12/25/2007, 7:43am PST NEW
                    Way to change my "Fistfull of Dollars" soundtrack JUST ENOUGH to avoid a lawsuit NT by Ennio Morricone 12/25/2007, 9:04am PST NEW
                Why can't anime guys get a decent shirt with a neck? NT by Entropy Stew 12/25/2007, 3:45pm PST NEW
    go throw personas = go through personas by Worm 01/09/2008, 1:10am PST NEW
    Is Persona 3 like fucking ninety dollars or something? by Ice Cream Jonsey 01/12/2008, 1:00pm PST NEW
        Atlus under produces all their games. by Worm 01/12/2008, 2:03pm PST NEW
        With any luck, Atlus will follow through on the rumors and release FES:US by Lizard_King 01/15/2008, 10:43pm PST NEW
            Did somebody say weeaboo? NT by Jhoh Creebul, Witch Toucher O_O 01/16/2008, 3:20pm PST NEW
                Cos I think I heard a weeaboo NT by Ice Cream Jonsey 01/19/2008, 9:34pm PST NEW
            This story has a happy ending by Ice Cream Jonsey 01/16/2008, 4:55pm PST NEW
                Re: This story has a happy ending by Ice Cream Jonsey 01/19/2008, 9:47pm PST NEW
                    That is a happy ending. by Lizard_King 01/20/2008, 1:27pm PST NEW
            Re: With any luck, Atlus will follow through on the rumors and release FES:US by Jhoh Creebul, Witch Toucher O_O 01/17/2008, 10:20pm PST NEW
                These sure are topical! Did you commission them or what? NT by Worm 01/19/2008, 9:08pm PST NEW
                No someone had already drawn them. NT by Jhoh Creebul, Witch Toucher O_O 01/20/2008, 12:13am PST NEW
                    Oops I replied to myself instead of wrom oh well. NT by Jhoh Creebul, Witch Toucher O_O 01/20/2008, 12:14am PST NEW
                        I'M TAKIN' YOU GUYS TO RED LOBSTER! by Injun Chester 01/20/2008, 12:34am PST NEW
                            And that's not EVEN the most ironic part! by Jerry Whorebach 01/20/2008, 12:59am PST NEW
                                He looks exhausted, how long has he been trying to lift those? All day i bet NT by bombMexico 01/20/2008, 2:11am PST NEW
            FES is coming out 4/22 for 30 bucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by Worm 02/25/2008, 7:50pm PST NEW
                Re: FES is coming out 4/22 for 30 bucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! by Ice Cream Jonsey 02/26/2008, 12:02am PST NEW
                    For $30, I would buy this if it added teen pregnancy to all the teen suicide. by Jerry Whorebach 02/26/2008, 5:43am PST NEW
    Golden mobs/rare monsters by Lizard_King 01/26/2008, 9:18pm PST NEW
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