Review by AlucardX
"Atlus stomps all over Sqaure"
It's time for Sqauresoft to move over. Atlus's Persona 2 is a downright incredible game. The story is dark and haunting, while the gameplay is fun and addicting. Besides Xenogears and Vandal Hearts 2, I don't think any game's storyline is as dark as this. Persona 1 looks like Sesame Street compared to this. The only thing that Sqauresoft has against Persona 2 is Xenogears and Final Fantasy Tactics, none of their other RPG's on the PSX come close, not even FF7. If you can handle Persona 2's dark storyline and complex gameplay, then get this game immediately. If not, find another RPG. This game is strictly for RPG veterans who can handle this type of complex gameplay.
Persona 2 continues the revelations series after Innocent Sin, which was not released in America. The game puts you in the steps of Maya Amano, a reporter for the magazine ''Coolest''. When she is assigned to cover the storyline of complex murders happening in the town, she receives a threat from the killer, she stars seeing flashbacks of a boy who she cannot remember, and she is caught in a web of murder and intrigue. I'm not going to reveal anymore of the story, you have to see it happen yourself.
The storyline is very complex, so pay attention to what happens in the game. The characters are developed well, and each one's past is shrouded in mystery. The game packs quite a punch with it's storyline. It's one of the darkest one's you'll find in an RPG.
Persona 2 improves on everything from the first installment. For one thing, the world map. Yes, you're still a cone, but you actually know where you are going because the map is broken down into easy navigate able chunks. This is quite an improvement over the tedious world map in the first Persona.
Another thing that gets improved is the dungeon exploration. The dungeon exploration is now in a 3D overhead view similar to the view found in the rooms where you talk to people. This makes the exploration a little bit more user friendly then it was in the first Persona, which had a clunky first person view.
The last thing that gets improved is the battle system, which gets a complete overhaul. The system is similar to the first Persona, except in this game, there is much more of a talking influence to the monsters then there is to battle them. The monsters still have their moods, happy, scared, angry, etc. but now, it's much easier to talk to them. In the first Persona, about every single monster you encountered wanted to see you dead, now, you can talk to most monsters, and most of the time, if you do it correctly, you'll be able to make your way through the battle unharmed. You can now talk to the monsters with 2 or more party members, and it's much much easier to get through it. However, in boss battles, you can't talk your way out, and they are hard and long, good luck.
The battle features also add in more complexity. You now can use tarot cards to add points and stats to your monsters, similar to the feature found in Ogre Battle.
The main battles occur in real time. You input what you want your characters to do, and you just let them do it until the battle ends, turn after turn. For example, you can use one person to attack, while another will use their personas. This goes on until the battle is over, unless you hit the square button. This will bring your menu back up again, and you can rechoose what you want your characters to do. You can put each of their personas in a certain order, this will have them do a super attack that will deal massive damage to your enemies. You can do many things with the battle system, but my main advice here is to read the instruction manual before playing. If you purchase the game without instructions, good luck.
Other cool features the game has to offer is the rumor system and the internet access. The rumor system lets you spread rumors around the city, this enables you to get items and new allies. The internet access is similar to the one found in Front Mission 3, in which you can search the internet for in game clues.
The graphics in the game are ok, but they do seem a bit dated. They are 2D sprites in a 3D world. They look better than they did in the first Persona, but still, they could have been a bit better. Still, it's nothing to really complain about.
The music in the game is pretty good. Dark and moody to set the tone. There's also quite a bit of JPop included in it, this can be good or bad, your choice.
So in the end, Persona 2 is an incredible game. It can be quite fun once you get the hang of it, but if you can't deal with such complex RPG's, it'll most likely scare you away. However, if you think you can handle the complexity and dark storyline, then you should really pick this game up. It's well worth your time, and the 45 bucks it costs to get. Atlus surpasses Square for the first time on the PSX.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/07/01, Updated 08/07/01
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