Someone finally gets it right! Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is absorbing and exciting in every possible way, shape, or form. The Megaten games are notorious for being strange and decidedly user unfriendly. This one is actually more believable and forgiving but still drenched in that weird gothic atmosphere. Players of more traditional RPGs might be put off balance by what this game offers. Instead of minigames and quests to destroy an ultimate evil, you actually go to school, join clubs, and watch movies to increase your academics, charm, and courage. But when midnight falls, you assemble your team and climb a dungeon tower to defeat monsters who come out to feed in the spiritual energy on those who can’t detect this hidden block of time between 12:00 and 12:01. A series of forced events and the passage of days give this more a feeling of watching an episodic anime and less of going on a expanding adventure, but the characters are interesting and just plain different than what you typically see in a JRPG. If it wasn’t for their powers, they’d be normal teenagers. If nothing else, the music is incredible! But don’t play this game for the music, and don’t be put off by its strange format. Persona 3 is an incredible game. I give it a solid A.
Another one to add to the list. My list of games to play is growing longer by the day.
If you own Xbox 360; Eternal Sonata also seems to be another excellent game that would most definitely be worth your time. It comes out Sept. 18.
I’ve already reserved it at Gamestop. You get a free Xbox face plate for reserving it too.
Don’t got the 360 yet, but it’s on my to-do list. I hope that game has some of Chopin’s works playing in the background. The concept sounds intriguing.
I’m a bit curious about Eternal Sonata - I played the demo over the weekend and while it was extremely beautiful, it felt like a store-bought cupcake: all sweetness with no depth. I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt because I know just how difficult it is to demo RPGs, but even then, it wasn’t very satisfying (however, I could see the potential - it wasn’t a bad game by any means).
The character designs were very uninspired (my fiance summed it up nicely with a unassuming question: “Is that kid a boy or a girl?”) and the monster design was par for the course. The environments were absolutely gorgeous, but hindered by the fact that there is no ability to move the camera (this is further highlighted by the fact that there’s a part where you stand on a cliff and the character says that the view is beautiful from here, but you can’t actually rotate the camera to see what he’s seeing). In addition, the run/walk cycle for the character is just distracting - he glides across the screen and his steps don’t match the speed he walks/runs at (I know, it’s nitpicking, but it’s such and easy thing to fix).
The overall gameplay appears to be extremely linear. I don’t mind a linear story (not every game has to be Bioshock/Mass Effect/KOTOR/etc), but it really just appeared to be one long “Run from Point A to Point B” exercise. Does anyone know if this ever changes?
The combat system was somewhat reminiscent of Grandia 2, but without the attack timeline/ability to knock people back on the timeline. I liked the blending of real time and turn-based combat, but it grew fairly repetitive and the fact that you can’t rotate the camera to see where the enemies are results in a lot of wasted time.
Another question: There was a menu option to play music, but I was unable to find any sheet music in the game to try this out. What’s that about?
All that being said, after playing the Blue Dragon demo, I was extremely disappointed, however this at least has the potential of offering something interesting on the X360. Oh, and I’ve never played a Persona game, and Persona 3 sounds like an interesting place to start… assuming I can ever get caught up on my gaming