Persona Q (JRPG 3DS Game Review)
As a fan of the Persona series, with Persona 3 FES being my favorite in the series, I have been eagerly looking forward to the series crossover games that will see release before the series’ fifth installment. While there were several titles announced that are being used to bridge the gap between the stories and characters of Persona 3 and Persona 4, the one that immediately caught my interest was the game Persona Q for the 3DS. The original trailer shown, at the announcement of the series, displayed a meeting of the characters from both series, plus two new characters, that have come together to solve a mystery. The true strength of the series is in the well written dialogue and stories told in each game, and an RPG is where these stories are best shown. While the additional crossover RPG would be enough to satisfy most fans of the series, it was the new art style that was shown, where all of the characters and settings have been recreated in a chibi form, that excited many.
In playing the game, the player selects which protagonist they would like to use, Persona 3 or Persona 4. This is the most important choice, as the game will revolve around the characters from the respective protagonist’s game. The game occurs in the middle of the stories of the Persona 3 and 4 timelines in an alternate universe, an interesting idea because both games occur in different periods of time. Upon selecting the protagonist from Persona 4, which I named Yu to keep with other entries in the series, the story begins in the Persona 4 high school, Yasogami High, during the culture festival that takes place in the Persona 4 game. After the failure of the group date café and the beauty contest, the group ends up going to the fortune telling booth, which is actually a makeshift Velvet Room created by Margret. Upon exiting after a very strange fortune reading, the school seems strange. Soon the Investigation Team finds that they are in a very strange alternate reality where they meet two students they have never encountered, Rei and Zen, who are also confused as to the situation. All of the students have been replaced by repetitive students who all go about a standard pre-programmed routine.
The game mechanics are solid, and a bit different from the previous games. The game uses a new take on the classic dungeon crawler game play, as all dungeons are navigated in first person perspective, and a map can be drawn on the bottom screen. The 3D effects are very impressive and really work for this style of game. The music is fantastic, and much like the rest of the Persona games, seems to be one of the most over looked aspects of the series. The art style and story are fantastic. The story has a bit of tragedy and mystery, but with lighthearted moments interspersed throughout.
It should go without saying that if you are a fan of the Persona franchise, specifically the third and fourth entries in the series, this is a game you will enjoy. If you enjoyed the Persona 4 anime, or if you enjoyed the Persona 3 Movies, this will be a great game to play through. For fans unfamiliar with the Persona franchise, Q might not be the ideal starting point. In general, the game tries to familiarize those unfamiliar with the characters through descriptions and some of the talks that occur between the characters. While the attempt is nice, it seems that this would not be enough to catch up new players on many aspects of the game. If you want to try this game and are not aware of the franchise play through Person 3, or the FES update, and Persona 4, or the PSVita Golden re-release. If you don’t feel like playing through either of these long, but fantastic games, check out the Persona 4 anime. The anime will do a fantastic job of showing the story and characters of Persona 4. As a fan of the series, this is without a doubt one of my favorite games of 2014, and if you are familiar with the series, or willing to become familiar with it, I would highly recommend it.