Review by Ruk Chan

"Experimentation is the Key to Enjoyment"

There was something quite strange that I have noticed whenever I try to surf the web for Persona 2: Eternal Punishment information. It seems that nobody else but me and one other friend find this game enjoyable. Perhaps really only a few people actually see this game's potential to be one of the world's classic role playing games.

Gameplay (9/10)
As creepy as it looks, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment actually is the perfect night-of-experiment experience. The controls are fairly easy to manage, and the system is so intriguing, you can't help but want to learn each section in the menu works.

The battle system is far from boring. It veers away from your usual walk-encounter-fight routine, which gets pretty tedious if you encounter enemies a lot. In P2EP, you might find yourself enjoying the random encounters. Why? Well, for the simple reason that you don't have to fight every enemy you meet. You can actually use your brains and talk to them. If they find you entertaining, they'll give you something in return. If you make them deliriously happy, they'd be your friends every time you encounter them (just don't make them angry or scared the next time you meet).

One notable thing I've noticed about their system is that, just like one other game called Wild Arms, you can change your Persona during battles so that each of your Personas can level up properly. This is just one choice. There are other aspects of the battle system that is highly recommended for you to explore.

This is actually the first time in my gaming life that I have ever enjoyed random enemy encounters.

Story 9/10
The story is quite intriguing in the sense that you feel like some kind of a detective trying to solve a supernaturally baffling case. I normally don't like creepy, dark games, and the only other extremely dark game I've played was Parasite Eve. P2EP, on the other hand, has the kind of setting you normally see on Twilight Zone because while there are dark undertones, there is still twisted humor emanating from the entire situation.

The characters' personalities are also well defined in this game. Certain types of monsters respond positively toward other characters, while other monsters get annoyed with the personalities of your other party members. What's great about this is that you can get to know your characters better as they communicate with monsters. You also get to experiment on enemies' reactions.

One drawback here is that, you might forget that you still have to be in a good enough level to defeat a boss. When you get attached to the monsters you talk to, sometimes it could be a little hard to bring yourself to kill those cute little monsters just to increase the stats of party members.

Audio / Video 8/10
While the graphics are not as intense as that of the latest Final Fantasy game, the anime scenes are just as riveting. Just from seeing the opening sequence, you'll want to know what the story is all about.

The actual game consists of polygonal images that are basically all right for a 21st century RPG. P2EP has a rotating camera feature that can be a lot useful during quests and treasure hunting. There is also an auto-map feature that makes traveling a lot easier, and a compass that will help you make sure that you won't get lost.

The sound system is basically average, with voice-overs that can sometimes be annoying. It's a good thing that you can shorten your battle sequences in the menu.

Replayability (7/10)
P2EP is basically a short game, disc-wise. Despite that, it can be very addicting. You can replay this game and not get tired easily. However, I must give a word of warning that there are timed quests here, which I find highly annoying. I wonder why so many video game developers just can't think of new alternatives to timed quests. Those kinds of tortures actually decrease the replay value of a game.

If you plan to play this game over and over, then by all means, buy it. The innovations of P2EP sure are worth it.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 01/10/01, Updated 01/10/01

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