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            Can you handle it?
by Ethos

The Five Sexiest Chicks in Gaming – #2: Mitsuru Kirijo

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

To preface, I’d like to say that Persona 3’s Miss Kirijo was my personal pick for the #1 Sexiest Chick in Gaming. Ethos, boob that he is, has never even played Persona 3, so we had to compromise. But, if this were Riddles.com – as it was for that glorious 24 hours or so – she’d be receiving top honors.

Why? Well, to begin, Mitsuru is probably the only videogame character I’ve ever had a legitimate crush on. As we all know, a crush can simply be a crush – it doesn’t necessarily need explanation, and oftentimes there is no legitimate explanation outside of the strictly superficial. So, perhaps Mitsuru gets a bit of a free pass in that regard – but this my website, so you can all live with it. (That includes you, Ethos.)

But, beyond that, there are plenty of reasons to love Mitsuru. She’s gorgeous, first of all. Red hair, fantastic body, and a pseudo-schoolgirl outfit = utter sex. Second, she compliments that beauty with an attitude of utter calm and cool. Mitsuru is the leader of the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES) the organization you work with throughout the game to investigate the Dark Hour. She’s expected to be the cold, calculated mature one – even though she’s a high school student just like the rest. But she pulls it off, and pulls it off well. As far as strong, leaderly female videogame characters, there are none that match the lordly presence of Miss Kirijo.

Behind it all, though, Mitsuru has that essential soft spot. It shows itself on more than one occasion during the course of the game, and finally culminates in my personal favorite social link. The process of slowly breaking down her walls and finding the surprisingly vulnerable, human character behind them was probably one of my all-time personal favorite videogame moments. She may look like the girl who has it all, but in reality, she’s just a scared kid in an arranged marriage, doomed to inherit her father’s legacy – and more than anything, she just wants out. In some way, we can all relate to that, can’t we?

To be frank, Mitsuru kinda personifies the sort of woman I often find myself attracted to in real life: calm, collected, intelligent, and straightforward; but with a healthy dose of softness and humanity behind it all. If we ever do a list of “Videogame Characters We Wish were Real,” she’ll be at spot #1.

Ahem. But, Mitsuru is not real, crushing as that is to realize. Check back tomorrow for our #1 picks. ‘Till then, readers!

Games where the Sun Don’t Shine – #4: Persona 3

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

“Games where the Sun Don’t Shine” is a completely random, arbitrary, and pointless list of games that give off a dark and/or depressing vibe. What better way, after all, to celebrate the season of Spring?

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3

Ah, Persona 3. I’ve actually written about it before, during our JRPG Relapse Week. In that article, I touch on how dark the game can be. Sure, it’s set in a high school, and there are plenty of instances in the game during which the sun is, indeed, shining.  But it’s actually the realistic setting that makes Persona 3 such a gritty, atmospheric experience. No castles or queens  here; only teenagers with guns, a dark hour, and big, creepy tower.

(Hey! That rhymes!)

Ahem. Anyway. The premise of Persona 3 involves a phenomenon called “The Dark Hour,” which occurs when the clock strikes midnight. Only certain individuals (aka Persona users) can experience the Dark Hour, during which time everyone ELSE in the world turns into a coffin of some kind. Weird, yes, but that’s kinda the point. The Dark Hour itself is a pretty trippy place to be; obviously, it’s dark, but it’s accentuated with psychedelic neon-greens, bright blood-reds, and, and a lot of nasties known as Shadows.

It would be a bit of a misnomer to label Persona 3 as “oppressive,” per se, but it’s definitely dark. And not just because of the Dark Hour either – you’ll find that the game touches on some oddly mature themes that most JRPGs steer clear of. So, while it’s certainly going to be one of the more unorthodox choices on my list, I think it earns the #4 spot.

Not that that’s any sort of accomplishment, at all, whatsoever. Anyway. Time to write up #3!

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

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

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  Mitsuru, 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!