Riddles’ Relapse Part 3 – Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3

persona3artwork05_2The first two games in my aptly-titled JRPG relapse were both what you’d call “traditional” JRPGs. Final Fantasy VI is about as meat-and-potatoes as the genre gets, (not an insult by any means) and even Final Fantasy VIII, with its unconventional magic and junction systems, doesn’t veer too far from the beaten path when compared to certain other games.

One of those “certain other games” is Persona 3. Standing out in a genre that’s not exactly known for breaking the mold, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is about as unconventional as JRPGs get. Is this a good thing? No… it’s an awesome thing.

You’ll immediately notice something extraordinary about Persona 3: there’s a shiny “M” rating on the box. Not exactly characteristic of the JRPG genre, which, by and large, tends to keep things PG.

As soon as the game’s trippy opening anime sequence begins, you’re treated to the site of a girl (apparently) attempting suicide. As well as… a lot of other trippy, weird Japanese shit.

The point is that the themes and atmosphere of Persona 3 (and all Shin Megami Tensei games) is a huge part of what differentiates it from the crowd. Tired JRPG themes and stereotypes have absolutely no place here; instead, Persona 3 treats us to a much more twisted fantasy based in a gritty realistic setting.

And that’s why after almost two years, the first two hours of Persona 3 instantly drew me back in. The characters, concept, and world are amazingly realized, and the scripting is unusually strong for a JRPG. (Heck, it’s unusually strong for videogames in general.)

That, and the fact that ┬áMitsuru, even on such dated hardware as the PS2, is unbelievably hot. It’s not just how she looks, it’s how she… keeps herself, I suppose? The self-confident air the she exudes just begs to be broken down and explored, and…

Er, sorry. My notes said “Mitsuru. Is. So. Hot.” So. I figured I should editorialize. But I suppose some things are better left… not editorialized.

Anyway. Because the first hour and a half of the game is essentially on rails, I wasn’t able to re-experience much of the combat in the game. A shame, too, because Persona 3 has quite simply one of the best turn-based battle systems ever created for a JRPG. The amount of skills at your disposal is mind-blowing, thanks to the amazingly in-depth Persona system. I could literally spend paragraph after paragraph writing about Persona fusion, use, advancement through social links, et cet – but, er, I won’t.

The game’s been out for years; I figure the lot of you either a) know what I’m talking about already, or b) don’t really give a fuck. Or… both.

I’ve been picking good games for myself this week; like Final Fantasy VI and VIII before it, I just wanted to keep playing Persona 3. But alas, I must move on. Next up? A certain Lost Odyssey, and the conclusion of my little relapse. ‘Till then!

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3 Responses to “Riddles’ Relapse Part 3 – Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3”

  1. DarthGibblet says:

    I really wish I hadn’t known about the evokers before starting P3. I know they’re kind of playing up the “Hey, you’re supposed to think it’s a real gun” aspect early, especially in the first cutscene, and I feel like knowing what they were kind of took something away from it. Oh well, that’s what I get for remembering the game as “the one where the guys shoot themselves in the head” for nearly a year and a half :F.

    Also, I think the Persona series has some of the best “bump scenes” (what I call the musical montages that play when you leave the controller sitting on the main menu screen) of any game I’ve played. I really liked Metroid Prime’s as well, if just for the music.

  2. Riddles says:

    Yeah… I agree with you there. For the longest time, I actually thought it was a game where high school kids committed suicide. Not so much, though the imagery is still fairly disturbing. (The opening scene with Yukari is made to look like an actual suicide attempt, that much is certain.)

    Agreed with the bump scenes. I’ve never heard that phrase before. I believe I’ll adopt and use it henceforth.

  3. DarthGibblet says:

    hehe, that would give a whole new meaning to the phrase “death as a game mechanic” :F. Lately, I’ve been really wanting to go back and play this game again, but with P3:P coming out in July, I figure I’ll probably wait for that and try playing through on a harder difficulty, see what percentage of the compendium I can fill up :D. Max social links FTW!

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