Today I will talk about one of my favourite RPGs for PS2:
Persona 3 was released in Japan in 2006, in America in 2007 and in Europe and Australia in 2008.
Persona 3 FES was released in Japan in 2007 and everywhere else in 2008.
Persona 3 is a rather classic J-RPG. The fights are turn-based, which means you give the battle commands (Attack, Item, Persona, Guard,…) and then wait until every character on the battlefield made its move. Afterwards you can give commands again. Enemies are always visible in the dungeon, so you can avoid fights if you want to, BUT you don’t see which kind of enemy it is until the fight starts because they all look like Ooze before.
Unlike most J-RPGs Persona 3 has some specialties. First of all, you can only command your main charakter in battle. It is possible to tell the other characters that they shall just attack, attack and heal when necessary or just heal and so on, but you can’t give them direct orders.
The second thing are the Personas. Every character has one special Persona, except the main character, he can have up to twelve unique Personas. Further is it possible to merge two Personas together to get a new (and possibly stronger) one. Personas have various strenghts and weaknesses, which affect your characters directly. Is a Persona immune to fire, then the character who has this Persona equipped is also immune to fire.
The third specialty is about interaction with other characters in the game. The game is parted in months, weeks and days. At daytime you have to go to school, pay attention in classes because you may be asked something the teacher explained before, and on breaktime you can interact with your schoolmates. This is very important because every character you can socialize with stands for a certain Arcana (a sign found on Tarot-cards), as do your Personas. So if you socialize with a person of the Death Arcana, you can get stronger Personas of that Arcana. At nighttime you explore the Tartarus (the dungeon, yes there is just one but it is huge and you don’t need more than that), where the fighting takes place.
The game starts with the main character (you have to name him, first- and last name) moving into a dorm near his new school: Gekkoukan High. Soon it is clear that somethings not right there. Every night between midnight and 1 a.m. there is an extra time period called Dark Hour. During this time most people transform into coffins and they don’t even notice Dark Hour. But some people are awake during that time and those people fight against monsters, so called Shadows. Those people are the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad or S.E.E.S. for short. One night the dorm is attacked by some Shadows and our hero finds out that he can summon a Persona, he joins S.E.E.S. and together they try to find out why the Dark Hour exists and why the school transforms into the Tartarus during Dark Hour. And of course they want to put an end to the Shadows, who attack people and leave them in a catatonic state.
Holy cow, this is one of the most impressive games I ever played. Okay, the graphics are not up to date, not even considering it is a PS2 game, but they are not bad either and deliver the right mood. The music is just great, considering you like J-Pop. But it’s not all J-Pop, there are some really cool Jazz numbers in there as well as other music styles, but a lot of the music is J-Pop. This game has some really well done Anime cutscenes but most cutscenes are in-game graphics. The voice acting is just amazing. Not often have I heard so well spoken characters in a videogame. The voices fit the characters perfectly and bring them to life. The characters are also excellent written, everyone has his own motives, background story and personality. And the best thing is, they are believeable. They are not some superhero teens, but ordinary highschoolers who are put in unusual situations. The story is awesome and sucks you right in. It can happen that you start playing the game in the morning and when you look at the time for the first time it is evening already. Last but not least I have to say I love the presentation of the game. Persona 3 is definitely not a game for kids, for it turns around the abysses of the human psyche and even contains some disturbing scenes like the summing of the Personas. This is done by a character putting an “Evoker” (a device that looks like a gun) to his head and pulling the trigger. I should mention that the game has two different endings, and both are very emotional and satisfying.
If you need a good RPG for grown ups then play Persona 3.
Persona 3 FES contains a second story that takes place some time after the events of P3.
Rating & Summary:
Graphics: 7 – I’ve seen way better graphics on PS2-RPGs. But somehow it fits the game this way.
Sound: 10 – Some really catchy tunes in that game, first of all the battletheme is so great you will sing it even weeks later. Voice acting is top notch.
Gameplay: 8 – It sucks that you can only control the main character because sometimes the AI of your teammates does really strange stuff.
Story: 10 – Absolutely great, touching and memorable.
Overall: 9 – One of the best RPGs for PS2, a must-have.
That’s all from me today,
keep playing 🙂