Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
Review by MAX PAIN
"Persona 3, a great game to buy used."
First, I'd like to say that this isn't a bad game. It's just really annoying at times and could have been done a lot better. I've never played the others, but this makes me kinda of glad...
Story: 8/10 A brilliant story, worthy of it's own Anime, however, it's completely beaten, bludgeoned, and smashed into oblivion with 100 million freaking hours of useless high school Sim dribble. Example: You the player, sit through 30-second increments of class almost every day. These increments usually ask if you want to sleep or listen to the lecture. If you don't listen to the lecture, you usually miss some randomly created fact for the game which you will be tested on (yes TESTED, during exam week, they ask you randomly about facts they told you, expecting you to remember). Now, I already completed high school, and this part was more annoying then fun for me... But, moving onto the good part, the Dark Hour Story!!! Basically, every night at midnight, time stops for all but a select few. All regular people are put into coffins for some reason not fully explained. I don't know if they explained this in the other Personas or not, but it's kinda weird. Anyway, during the dark hour, these monsters called "Shadows" wander around basically eating peoples brains and turning them into mindless morons who are completely useless wastes of space... You can actually have an incredible conversation of Uh, Oh and ...'s with one at the Mall occasionally. Anyway, basically, persona users are the only people who can walk around in the dark hour who instead of getting turned into complete morons, get instead beaten badly by shadows... Still not sure why, as the game doesn't explain why the shadows would rather beat the snot out of you, instead of turning you into a raving lunatic. The game starts with your character going to a female dorm, because his main housing is not ready, but alas, TIS A RUSE! secretly, the dean, a college-age chick, and this dude who is NEVER seen without a coat of some-sort have cameras in your room and are SPYING! They realize your a persona user, and the dorm gets attacked because one of the others in this "group" wanders out alone and gets chased back by a giant freaking monster, but what happens, he runs inside, and you get to retreat to the roof with the most useless member of the group who is knocked unconscious in record time (about 6 seconds) and then, you guessed you run into the monster. Anyway, moving on...
Game play: 6/10 They used an interesting way of monster fighting, basically, from the wander-around view, you can see the monsters and either engage then or try to avoid, BUT, in order to them and not have them get the jump every time, you have to whack them with your sword to start the combat. I liked this, because if you sneak up and they didn't get alerted, you got a massive advantage and completely destroyed them, however, one second off and it's no advantage, another second off and they have the advantage and completely decimate you in most cases. One of the both good and annoying things in combat, is that monsters that are hit with attacks that are their weakness, are stunned and you get a free hit. This usually allows you to take out an entire group of the same monster easily by stunning each one, and the getting awarded an "all out attack", which is only available when all enemies are stunned. However, you also have an elemental weakness... The main character is weak to fire, and guess what, 1 in every 3 enemies has some fire attack and when you fight them, you spend 90% of the time on the ground stunned. It makes it more of a movie at that point, and I found myself leaving for about 5 minutes at a time when this happened, because my teammates would be healing me and fighting the monster, while it just knocked me down over again and again and again and again... Another thing that could have been greatly improved is that when you die, there is a 2 minutes scene, followed by the game restarting. Now first, by die, I mean YOU drop to 0 health, Everyone else on the flipping planet can be revived by beads, but apparently, they can't use them on you, as it would be to difficult, instead they just watch and complain. There is an item that lets you resurrect yourself when you die, but other then that, you can't get resurrected. Anyway, following your drop to 0, is a 2 minute scene with a creepy long-nosed guy (I'll go into him later) and a chick in blue. It shows about 5 lines of text, basically telling you that you suck and they expected it to happen, then it resets the game. I really would have enjoyed a "Continue from last save" or a "Load a saved game?" button. But, I guess since that works on all other games, they couldn't use it here... About the guy see when you die, he's a special kind of magic guy who looks like The Penguin from Batman. He lives in a room with seizure-causing lights in the background called the "Velvet Room" you never learn how he does basic human functions like, eating or using the bathroom (which your character can do both) but, whatever. Anyway, he fuses your Personas into better ones. It's a good function and usually, the new one keeps 1-2 skills from each of the old ones. The chick however, offers "requests" which range from "Create a Jack Frost persona with Dia" to "Bring me a muscle drink because I really can't think of anything better to have someone who can summon a gigantic demon do, oh, and I've never tried one". Some have time limits, I guess that's to keep you doing the story, it eventually feels like you need to cram to get the stuff in on time. One genius function however, is the persona registration. Basically, you register a persona with it's current stats, then, you can combine it into others, now, the good part, is that a registered persona can be "Bought" with the stats it was last registered at. This means that you can have a level 27 persona, register him at those stats, then combine him with someone to make another persona, and then re-buy him so that you have both your original level 27 persona, and your new bad-ass persona of world domination. Just for fun, here's a quick run-down on the simulation part of the game. It's basically based on creating social links with other random people throughout the city to make more powerful Personas when you fuse them. It's a bit difficult, and insanely boring, but pays off a little in the end, when you wanna make a level 74 Persona, and it's magician variety, so because you made friends with the guy who wants to date a teacher, you get like 7000 bonus exp because that apparently makes sense...
Graphics: 6/10 Average for a PS2 game. Nothing special, Most cut-scenes are done in Anime-style movie format instead of CGI. Nothing really screams out "I'M THE SHINIEST GAME THERE IS". Except for that fact that most other characters have multiple changes of cloths. I didn't really nothing any for the main, except for when he was at swim practice and wore what appeared to be a thong...
Music: 8/10 Pretty good music, not much else to say. It doesn't want me to run out and buy the soundtrack (which is probably why it comes with the soundtrack...) but it's not so horrid you play the game muted.
SUMMARY: 6/10 The game has it's good and bad points, but it's also got about 11 hours of sitting in a classroom or doing other completely useless stuff that has almost NO impact on the important part of the game.
Rent/Buy: I actually think this is a buy once it drops down in price. If you can get it used, thats even better. It's a good game, but not worth $60.
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/10/07
Game Release: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (US, 08/14/07)
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