Review by Larcen Tyler
"Persona, you're back for more!"
The Persona series has returned with a sequel called 'Eternal Punishment.' Don't let the title fool you, however. Although it's definitely different from most RPGs, this game won't be punishing on RPG players looking for a new challenge!
This time, the series revolves around a woman named Maya, who writes for a teen magazine. Maya, and her friend Ulala (no relation to the dancing space reporter, people!) are sent to a local high school to cover a report on strange incidents going on there. What happens next leads to another one of those very long quests!
Unlike its predecessor, Persona 2 has ditched the 3D dungeons, instead giving the player the ability to view it from overhead and freely rotate the view 360 degrees for orienting purposes. The rooms are still drawn in 3/4 views. As in the previous one, main characters have anime-style portraits shown when they speak, only this time, their portraits reflect how they feel when they're speaking (happy, angry, etc.)
The music sets the mood perfectly, not only based on what's going on, but where you are as well. The sanitarium has a slow, eerie tone to it, while the Velvet Room has a new age theme to it. The characters also utter various one liners and quips during battle, either when they're fighting or communicating with demons. The demons also utter various roars and things of that sort in different tones, depending on their mood.
It's a lot easier to control your character thanks to rotating the background. Another interesting thing is the Tarot Card system which is used for unlocking new Personas, effectively earning new spells. When communicating with demons, you must know who to use and how to talk. Talking to a demon the wrong way can make them angry, but giving them the right words may make them help you!
It seems simple enough, but it's pretty long! Expect to spend a lot of time earning tarot cards so you can earn new Personas. After you win the game there are a couple of extra modes to try out, giving it another reason to replay the game again and again. The game also comes packaged with an extra disk containing an interview with the developers, as well as an anime trailer.
Whether or not you played the first one doesn't really matter, in my opinion. If you like RPGs and/or unique storylines in a game, then I strongly suggest making Persona 2: Eternal Punishment a lifelong reward for your collection!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/12/01, Updated 07/16/01
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