Review by Trigg
"A Refreshingly Innovative and Deep RPG"
Persona, one of the most underrated RPGs, is back again. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is actually the sequel to Persona 2: Innocent Sin, which is currently only available in Japan (they're lucky!) Don't worry, though, as you really aren't missing too much, and everything is nicely explained in this game, and there's plenty of appearances by characters from the other Persona games that we all know and love.
The game stars Maya Amano, a report for a teen magazine called 'Coolest.' She is assigned to the Joker story, which involves a rumor that has been going around the city that a recent plague of murders is the result of the joker, a man in black with a bloody paper bag over his head who kills by request if someone calls dials their own cell phone number. Soon, the characters will once again unlock their personae, and their quest will become much larger than just fighting the joker. Also along to help Maya will be her friend, Ulala, who works at a lingerie store, Katsuya, a policeman, and Baofu, who runs a site that collects rumors.
First of all, the best change is that the dungeons are all third person now (I hated the first person dungeons in the first game!) The characters are all 2D sprites in a fully rotatable 3D world (think Xenogears.) You can have five characters in your party at any one time.
The fighting system is simple, but nice. You specify commands for each of your characters and they will repeat those commands until you interrupt the fighting and change their commands. The battles are all challenging which is a nice change. Plus, there's tons of strategy involved in deciding which personas to use during your battles. The combat never gets stale, like a certain massively popular game (Final, cough, Fantasy, cough.) Yeah, yeah... I loved Final Fantasy, too, and I DO own all of them on the PlayStation, but let's face it, pretty graphics aren't everything.
The ''dungeons'' in the game are mostly buildings. You know, schools, hospitals, etc... The basic point of each ''dungeon'' is to make your way up the different floors of it until you get to the top - usually, that is! You simply find the stairs on each level and make your way to the top. Very different from your typical RPG dungeons.
Also, you can decide to converse with demons, and if all goes as planned, they may give you helpful cards or items. You choose one character to lead the contact and up to two others to help them out. Depending on what characters participate in the contact, the outcome will be different. You must decide which character's conversations are best suited to each demons personality. Sometimes they will talk back and ask you questions - And they are sometimes quite humorous! Some of the contact combinations can also be quite funny.
The music in the game can sometimes get old, but it's never TOO bad. The game has great replay value (as do most RPGs) because there are so many secrets to find, AND there are two different paths through the middle of the game. Another nice thing I'd like to mention, the fact that the world map has no more battles on it this time. I don't no about you, but I absolutely HATED walking around the town in the first Persona. Travelling from place to place was always tedious, but I am happy to report that it's no longer a problem.
This is definitely a sure buy if you are into RPGs and are looking for a new and innovative, deep and challenging game. This game deserves a look! Trust me, it may not have the hype, but you're missing out big time if you don't give this one a look!
Graphics: 7/10 - May look a bit dated
Control: 9/10 - The spot on controls and simple menus make it a breeze to use
Sound: 7/10 - Good music but can sometimes become annoying
Replay Value: 8/10 - Good replay and many secrets and side quest, plus, multiple game paths
OVERALL: 10/10 - A can't miss for RPG fans!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/12/01, Updated 08/12/01
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