Shin Megami Tensei Persona

When I received my newly released Persona 3 Portable I noticed I got quite bit of the western releases of the Persona series.

Since this series in my opinion is one of the best gaming experiences I had I will do an over view of the items I own.

First up is the enhanced re-release of the original Persona game for Sony's PSP. Like the rest of the series, and many of the Shin Megami Tensei series as well, Persona is set in contemporary Japan and involves the recruitment of demons through various means. These involves, appealing to their personalities, bribes, coercion, and several other options.

The first Persona was released in the West as Revelations: Persona on the PSOne. The original game when released was butchered a bit. The setting and some of the characters were changed to reflect a western American city instead of Japanese location as well as the removal of content from the game.

When Atlus released the PSP version all the removed content was restored and remained faithful to the Japanese original. Several tweaks to the game itself such as the interface, a new localization and new music were added. Further more, a complete soundtrack was included at the time of release.

If you want to know how this series started I find the PSP release superior in every way to the PSOne original.

The second entry in the series is quite an odd occurrence as it was split into two parts.

The first, Innocent Sin, never saw a release on the west and remained unavailable in English unit a fan localization effort was completed.

The second part, Eternal Punishment, was released in the west and deals with the resulting aftermath of the events of the first game. This second part involves an interesting mechanic, within the game there are rumors some of which you can spread. The more people believe the rumors it will eventually become a reality.

Another interesting bit is that Eternal Punishment came with a an extra CD that briefly shows the creators speaking about the game and an anime trailer.

With the enhanced release of the Persona on the PSP and the recently released P3P I hope Altus will release an enhanced version on the PSP that includes both parts of Persona 2.

Then came along this precious gem, Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3. I first learned about this game in a random trailer I saw way back in 2006.

Several things jump out at me at the time. The first was the music by Sh?ji Meguro, his tracks which ranged from rock, jazz, pop, even rap and orchestrated tracks. Many of those are voiced, this songs is one would expect from a regular released album not a soundtrack for a game.

The second was the modern setting up until that point all other RPGS I had played were set in either medieval fantasy or steam punk fantasy, the location an characters designed to follow this setting also grabbed my attention right away.

Most importantly though was the game mechanics, while this game lacks the negotiation aspects of contracting demons it gained the Social Links. With these you would meet and form a link with several people through the game, the more you explored the bonds and the stronger they became directly tied to how strong the different personae you could acquire became.

It was all of these design choices, plus well developed characters and a unique plot that made this game stand out from the crowd and became a sleeper hit for most people.

When it was relased Atlus went all out and included a hardcover art book for the game as well as a soundtrack featuring selected tracks from the game.

Both of these inclusions drove the point more for me, how different and unique this game was.

Later on the Japanese got an extra chapter of the game, an epilogue featuring one of the main game's party member as the main character. This epilogue dealt with the characters reaction and coping to the final events of the game.

When I heard about this I was saddened as usually this type of stuff is not released on the west.

However, Atlus being Atlus went and not only released it but was included as part of a tweaked Persona 3 that had more content than the original instead of a stand alone release.

With that said, many suggested that P3:FES is a perfect intro into the series and I completely agree with that.

Persona 3 now has a third release in the form of Persona 3 Portable. While the game was modified a little due to the difference in platform it's still the main game as in the original with several additions.

The most noticeable is the ability to play as a female main character that while keeping the main storyline intact  it offers a different experience compared to a male main character.

Another notice able add on is the choice to control your party as in the P3 and FES the party was AI controlled and made a good job for the most part.

Finally, we got Persona 4 which was released quite fast compared to the rest of the series.

Persona 4 took the game play and design of Persona 3 and further improved over it giving you a similar but more relaxed experience and giving you a change of scenery with more rural setting when compared to the rest of the series.

I forgot to mention that Persona 3 and 4 both occur over one year. Each day you have a limited amount of chances to spend time doing a variety of things, going to school, fighting in dungeons, exploring the social links, etc.

Persona 3 is a really big time and task management exercise, Persona 4 on the other hand is more relaxed letting you have more time to other things outside battle.

Small and quick over view of the series, with plot summaries intentional left out for the most part.

I think the Persona series is comparable to the bigger RPG franchises such as Final Fantasy and whatnot as well as in my opinion in some respects better.

Unemployment Woes...

Since I graduated from school I decided that I will make up the most of time and finish as many games as possible before I become employed.

My goal is to finish as many as DS and PS2 games as I can. The reason for that being that those are the consoles for which I own the most games with the most of them falling into the RPG genre.

Seeing as my life as a student has come to an end and have technically become unemployed I thought it was fitting to play Izuna: Legend of the Unemployed Ninja.

Izuna is a roguelike RPG meaning several things, randomly generated maps, each time you enter a dungeon it will be completely new floors.

It has turn based movement, when you move or perform and action such as attacking or using an item the enemies can also perform an action. In other words when you move the enemies move, if you perform no action neither will the enemies until you perform one.

The last thing to mention is defeat, defeat has permanent consequences. In Izuna when you are defeated you lose all your items, money, equipment and any progress you made on the dungeon.

If you still have no idea what a roguelike RPG is like all you have to do is take a look at the popular Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series on the DS.

I was originally attracted to this game for two reasons. The first is that this is an Atlus published RPG, the second was the title and the the titular character Izuna.

Izuna is quite an odd character as while she is good at heart she is also stubborn and a little selfish, things not usually associated with your run of the mill RPG protagonist.

What sealed the deal for me was this series of comics found at the American website for the game.

The reason why I mention this game and made this post is that I died playing this game.

A lot.

While some occasions it was just the game being plain sadistic, three traps in a row and one of them summoning enemies to surround me is no fun when those were my first three steps.

Most often than not it was my fault, the reason why I kept dying has a lot in common with why I die playing Demon's Souls or Monster Hunter.

Lack of patience, this generation for the most part has taken patience out of playing games, one can rush forward thanks to things such as abundant check points and regenerating health.

Izuna on the other hand is the total opposite, patience, preparation and playing smart is the key to success.

One cannot simply power through, there is a need to chose when to fight or when to flee, when to use items, heal, what equipment to use, or simply cutting your loses and exit the dungeon and start again.

It's because of those differences that I find myself enjoying the game as much as I have been.

Just like when slaying a demon in Demon's Soul, or capturing a monster in Monster Hunter, when I clear a dungeon and defeat a boss the feeling of accomplishment is something that I rarely find outside video games.

That's enough for my rant, if you are interested in playing this game the first is a little hard to find offline, but the second is quite common.

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Demon's Souls

Lately I been enjoying Demon's Souls quite a bit thanks to the Valentine's day event that has been going on since last weekend.

Today I was able to finally acquire a weapon I been wanting for a while to use against those lovely invaders you can have in the form of other players.

In order to get this weapon, Blind for those interested, I needed to kill the phantom version of an NPC.

I was reminded of how people say that this game is hard. However, that is not entirely true, this game is not about rushing forward to meet enemies head on. That will result in your quick death.

Demon's Souls rewards people who play patiently and smartly while quickly punishing those who don't stop to think first. That's exactly how I was able to defeat Selen and obtain her sword.

Personal insights aside go buy Demon's Souls, it's awesome if you own a PS3 you have not excuse to not own this game.

I Feel Robbed

A few posts back I mentioned I bought Demon's Souls. I was so happy to finally get my hands on it and was just waiting until I finished Valkyria Chronicles to play it.

Well, that didn't happen. I opened my brand new, factory sealed copy of the game only to find an empty case staring at me.

The case does indeed contain the instruction booklet, it does have that plastic smell from unopened games and the box is still shiny and smooth. No indication whatsoever that it was tampered with.

No idea what happened to the actual game disc.

Since I'm almost certain no one at the store I bought it is gonna believe me the case was empty I will probably have to buy the game again.

So I emailed Atlus, they are a reasonable bunch let's see how it plays out.

Misao says....

"Go out and buy these games!!!"

Today, thanks to some Christmas gifts in the form of money and a git card I was able to go and pick up two of 2009's best games.

First for the PS3 a title developed by From Software and published by Atlus is Demon's Souls.

It has lately received some wonderful good press from having won several game of the year awards in the RPG and PS3 game awards. This RPG is worth taking a look at for the mechanics that are unique to this game.

The first is the ability, through the use of PSN connectivity, is to see last moments of other players as you travel through the game's world.

The second is the ability of other players to come into your game for one of two purposes to aid you in your quest or slay you.

To read a more detailed description you can check out the wiki page for Demon's Souls.

As for the other game A Boy and His Blob.

This is a re imagining of the game going by the same name that came out for the NES back in the day. While the original might be not a classic this new take on is worth your time.

Developed by the American developer WayForward, who has in the past done several excellent 2D games such as Contra 4 and Shantae, and released on the Nintendo Wii this puzzle platformer is one of the best Wii titles of 2009.

The concept for this game revolves around the titular blob that can change it's shape by having the boy feed him jelly beans. Depending on the type of jelly bean the blob will change to different shapes to solve the different environmental puzzles.

Again for more info check the wiki page for the game.

If you somehow got to the end of this wall of text just listen to Misao and try them out, rent them, buy them, just play them and if you like either of them buy it to show your support for new and different game releases.