27 July 2010

Persona 3 FES

This was my first foray into the Persona Universe. Let me say 2 things up front about this game First it is Dark  As you know I like dark. Second - while I would call this a Mature Game, it is not Leisure Suit Larry or even GTA. The game deals with death. people die, people you like, people you do not like. Do not give this game to anyone under 16, you will scar them for life.

That said : on with it. Yes Another one off the stack - almost.

Start up and synopsis:
     You are a second year transfer student to Gekkoukan High School. You also happen to be an orphan and there is no explanation of You arrive late at night at the station on April 1st and head to the dorm.  As midnight strikes most people are suddenly replaced with coffins. You continue on listening to your headphones. It seems you have seen this before. Or just do not care. Upon arriving at the dorm, you are greeted by a creepy kid and have to sign some sort of contract. OKAY So you sign and suddenly there are people in the lobby, one of them has a gun!  They are both acting a little odd but the girl with the gun shows you to your room (Could I have an escort without a gun please?)
     You get up the next morning and a seemingly normal High School rpg begins. There is a lot talk about Apathy Syndrome sweeping the nation. People just stop and stay where they are. You hear students gossiping at the gate about it. You find your class meet some people and the game at this point does not really allow you to make many choices, this is one long set up.
     Then they come, shadows attack the dorm drawn there by Akihiko, one of the dorm residents. You head for the roof with the girl with the gun  you have found out her name is Yukari. I call her annoying.  Sh points the gun to her head and is unable to pull the trigger.  You grab the gun, point it at your head and know instinctively what this is, it is not a gun but an evoker. You utter the word Persona and the first of your persona's appears and kicks the Shadows' ass.  End of basic game set up and tutorial. Ok so it's a little strange that you have to shoot yourself in the head.

     The truth comes out that these Shadows attack people,  and their nest is is the location of Gekkoukan High School. But it is only accessible during the dark hour.  that weird time at midnight when most people are in their coffins. The few that are not are Persona Users. The students at the dorm have formed SEES - "Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad".  You the player are special user in that you can use multiple personas.   So of course they wanted you to join. Eventually you find out there is an opposing group - Strega led by a nihilist prophet -Takaya. They use the dark hour to carry out assassination requests they received through their Revenge Website.  You are told you have 1 year to get to the root of the problem. Once the truth about Nyx is revealed, they become the center of a cult wishing for her arrival and the annihilation of society and of course they try to thwart your plans to save the world.
     In being special you find there is a door in Tartarus that none but you can see.  Behind it is a room with a man, Igor who gives you advice concerning social links.  He has the contract you signed and reminds you of it periodically. He also allows you to fuse personas (DO NOT DO THIS YET) to form new ones. His odd sidekick Elizabeth can store them and makes some odd requests of you.  Most of which are fun. 
     As the plot thickens there are lots of betrayals, revelations and some deaths.  It turns out there is a reason you are special. There are people who help and some who hinder. but eventually it boils down to you have to save the world from the eventual coming of Nyx the mother of all shadows and her desire to wipe the slate and start over. You have to make some hard choices and that is part of the fun.

 Somehow the game manages to combine a card fighter with a High School RPG. It does so well and with minimal annoyances.  By day you attend classes and clubs, hang out with your friends, work on social links or stat increases through various activities. and  do some of the side quests given to you by Elizabeth. By night you have the option to  fight shadows in Tartarus, increase your courage by singing Karaoke, increase knowledge by studying, there are some social links that are available only at night as well. The stats you can increase affect your ability to get some social links started.  The social links affect the types of Persona you can fuse. It is better to complete a social link than to have multiple ones almost complete.  Only completed ones count in the end.
   Battle in Tartarus is easy enough each persona has different strengths and weaknesses. Like any RPG of this nature, you gain more party members. You can bring 3 into Tartarus with you and each has their strengths and weaknesses as well.
With a little forethought you can have a party ready for almost anything. The more time you spend in the Shadow's nest, the more tired you become. If you are too tired you are forced to leave the dungeon. If you stay on a floor too long death comes after you. Eventually you must fight him.  Do not try it before you are ready.
  Each character in addition to have a persona also has a weapon type. Some shadows have the ability to block Junpei's slashes but not Akihiko's punches.  This becomes important especially in the higher levels of the nest as you hit more and more shadows with only
    The daily grind is broken up by Boss battles that take place somewhere in town.  Each boss appears at the full moon and the completion of the battle reveals more of the story.Sometimes party members get ill or you do  on those days you may not be able to form a party to fight. And your other life intrudes in the form of exams holidays and school functions so time management is necessary.
     However there is still the grind of leveling and gaining money so that you can store and unstore persona. If you get to the goal in Tartarus early, you get the bonus of gonad. Harder mobs no death to stalk you, it was fin but not needed. So no sweat if you are cutting it too close to the deadline.
Some loads take a while. When I completed the game, it did not save the completed version. So if there is anything to unlock I cannot do it. Other than that no technical issues.

  • The party sometimes gets in each other's way.  
  • I really hate cutesy stuff.  The dog story is cool the dog in the party is not. 
  • What is it with robot girls in these things. This one actually has a story plot but you know, this is just getting old. 
  • The music wears on your ear after a while thank goodness for my ZEN Mp3 Player. Celldweller and Five Finger Death Punch worked well as background music in the dungeons when grinding.
  • Speaking of wearing on you, so did Mitsuru's and later Fuuka's words of encouragement. Let us lose them please.
  • Having to enter the velvet room to save persona, leave to dismiss persona then come back in to take others out of the compendium.
  • The final boss battle. COP OUT. I wanted an epic battle. But at least if you were going to do it like that you did not make me waste hours. 
  • Sometimes the forced  story portions went on too long. I needed places to break or save. Sometimes I got them, usually I did not. 

  • The story does not pull punches. I like that it is dark and while things turn out ok they do not for everyone on a personal level.
  • The social links and their stories were interesting and varied. The nice answer was not always the best depending on to whom you were speaking.
  • The gameplay was solid and consistent. No technical issue (except perhaps that the end.
  • Lots of slots for saving. I like this in an RPG lets me branch decisions.

 I liked the game. I will play it again in hard mode. Easy is too easy BTW. This time I will work on the social links and stats more. I highly recommend it. Out 10 I give the Journey portion of this a 9.

Ok so the Answer is a second game on this. It takes place after the events above on March 31st.  The last day of your year. I will not review that here.  As a matter of fact I MAY not finish it, it is shaping up to be a major grind with no social links
and less of a story to hold my interest.

1 comment:

Jim said...

over all a good game but it did become rather tiresome.

that was an excellent review