Review by Lune550

"Mystic, mature jewel in the sea of standard RPG clones."

Persona 2. What can I say... this game is absolutely amazing. You start off as the beautiful Maya Amano, a reporter for a teen magazine investigating an unusual series of murders. She meets up with her friend Ulala Serizawa and a plethora of others to solve the crimes. Soon demons infest various parts of the town and you'll have to fight them off. What ensues next I'll leave for you to discover...

Story: 10/10
This story will definitely consume you. It's twists and turns will leave you wondering why Atlus didn't release Innocent Sin in the United States (The prequel to Eternal Punishment). I can't say much without giving anything away but I can tell you it is definitely amazing and something most gamers haven't experienced. The characters of Persona have the ability to conjure their inner selves and use them in battle. They’re pretty much everyday people brought into a bizarre situation. But I'll look into that more later. Being in a modern environment it's something that gamers fantasize about. I can't really explain this either; you'll just have to play it. The story contains a gross amount of symbolism if you really look into it, including mass amounts of Jungian theory (*cough cough, take a look at 'Just a Rumor' if you want to know). If you’ve ever played a game with this much depth, let me know! I doubt you’d find one.

Graphics: Ummm...
This really isn't important, honest! Typical PS1 sprites. Nothing too great. You can rotate the camera so you can get a complete view of your surroundings, which I thought was pretty cool, even if the environments aren't all that pretty. They do the job though. Don't buy this game for the graphics. There are a few FMV's, which are excellently done. The art is the best I've seen in a video game ever. I believe Kazuma Kaneko did the art for all 3 personas, including other Megami Tensei titles (Creators of Persona in Japan).

Gameplay: 9/10
I took off a point because there is some definite leveling required, more than your run of the mill Final Fantasy. It can get a bit tedious at times but I thoroughly enjoyed using personas and weapons in battles. The personas are basically your magic. You obtain them in the Velvet Room by way of communicating with the demons, and making them interested in you. They'll fork over tarot cards, which you can return for different personae. But you can also make them scared and they will run from you, or they will become angry and attack you. Making them happy can result in a contract and they will give the player different items if you choose to contact them again. The personae each have a different look, set of weaknesses/strengths, spells, and many other things including bonus spells. You get bonus spells, stat bonuses, and the ability to transform into different personae by ending a battle with a mutation spell. To achieve a mutation means you must combine two or more character's persona's magic and create an all-new, all-powerful spell. There are dozens and dozens and you'd probably never find them all out without a guide. The personae and fusion spells will keep you wrapped up in the gameplay if you like variety as I do.

Sound: 9/10
Wow. The sound. It's kind of a... techno sort of thing. If you sit down and listen to it it's pretty cool. If you don't, it just flies by. But a lot of people really like it; the music does fit the mood quite well. The piano score found in the Velvet Room is exceptional. It's really a matter of personal opinion. The voices of the personae and sound effects of spells and gunfire and whatnot are pretty standard. The voice actors are fairly decent, some of which sound a little too over exaggerated at times.

Replay ability: 6/10
I'm actually on my second playthrough and the game's been out for a year. The standard first time through I'd say would be around 70 hours, which excludes many, many things. The length is probably a turn off and doesn't merit a second playthrough until you've forgotten about it. There is a section where you must choose between two different characters. The point of view you get is not the same. You end up going a completely different route with each character so to get the whole story you need to play at least twice, plus there is an extra dungeon if you complete both routes, which has many surprises. I certainly got my money's worth.

Rent or Buy?: BUY!
You probably couldn't even find one for rent and it's too long to complete within a few rentals, unless you have a LOT of free time on your hands.

Overall: 9/10 (Not an average)
I would never give a game a 10/10 simply because I think all games have their faults. If there were a perfect game out there this would be it. The story, the characters, the gameplay, the music, this game has it all! It's a shame the title isn't as popular here in America as it is in Japan. The entire series transgresses through something most all of us have experienced or are experiencing... that's right, school! All of us can probably relate to one of characters whether it be Persona 2: Eternal Punishment or Revelations: Persona (the original Persona). Don't just sit there... GO OUT AND BUY IT!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/16/02, Updated 03/16/02

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