Review by thundercat2600
"Good ideas, but a boring game"
Right off the bat, it's obvious that Persona 2 is not your typical RPG. The music, characters, environments, gameplay, and practically everything else are totally unconventional. However, this doesn't save Persona 2 from becoming horribly tedious.
The graphics in ''key areas'' (such as shops, bars, etc) are fairly detailed and get the job done quite nicely. They are simple but have a nice clean look to them. As soon as you enter a dungeon, however, you will realize that for 90 percent of the game you will be looking at some disgusting graphics. Dungeons, with very few exceptions, are made up almost entirely of right angles. They look as if they were made on a piece of graph paper. The repetitive textures make this game even harder to look at. You will frequently find yourself going through a dungeon with 4 or 5 levels to it, yet they all look exactly the same. Character and enemy sprites are just average, but at least they get the job done.
Persona 2 has a few poor songs, but for the most part the music is excellent. Most of P2's music has sort of a techno beat to it, and is a refreshing change from the typical RPG music. The battle music gets repetitive after a while, but that isn't a major complaint. The only problem I have with the music is that it starts over after every battle. This means you will literally hear the first 5 seconds of each song over and over (due to the high random encounter rate). Overall, though, Persona 2's music and sound are great.
The story line and characters are both very well-done. Each character has a unique personality. Persona 2, unlike most RPGs, manages to stay away from the stereotypical RPG characters (naive youth who wants to become a hero, cute hyper 12 year old girl, etc). The story is equally unique and does a good job of keeping the gamer interested.
Persona 2's gameplay is excellent for the first few hours. Each character has a ''Persona'' that they can summon in battle. Each Persona has a list of spells they can learn over time. Personae also have their own stats which are averaged with the character's stats, making Persona selection more than just picking which spells you want. You can obtain new Personae by collecting Tarot cards and trading them in. You get these Tarot cards by negotiating with enemies in battle. This negotiation is one of the most unique parts of Persona 2. You can negotiate with your enemies to get cards, items, information, or money. If you aren't successful, however, the enemy will become angry and attack you. Each character has their own negotiation style, and up to 3 characters can negotiate at once, making for many different possibilities.
It sounds great so far, so why does it get such a low score? First of all, the random encounter rate is WAY too high. You will get in a fight practically every few steps. When you're trying to explore one of P2's huge dungeons this gets frustrating very quickly. The battles are very slow-paced and get boring after the first few times. True, Persona 2 could easily take over 100 hours to beat, but that's because it takes practically a half hour just to get down a hallway.
The dungeon design makes the game even more frustrating. Many of the dungeons have traps in the floor that make you fall down to the floor below. You then have to make your way all the way back to where you came from, and fight about 10 battles on the way, all while looking at a bland and simplistic background. Some of the dungeons have entire rooms filled with these traps, meaning you will repeat this process several times just to make your way through one single room. This does not make the game more challenging, as anybody can make it through a dungeon by trial and error. It just makes the game incredibly tedious. It finally gets to the point where Persona 2 just isn't fun to play anymore.
Overall, Persona 2 has a lot going for it. Unfortunately it has a lot going against it as well. If you think you can put up with the tedious gameplay then you might end up enjoying P2. However, I found that Persona 2 finally came to the point where it stopped being fun, and that is what ruins it.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 01/10/02, Updated 01/10/02
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