In Before it’s Out: Persona Q

28 Feb

The next installation in the Persona series by Atlas will be Persona Q: Shadow of the Labryinth, an RPG that mixes the cast of Persona 3 and Persona 4. Made for the 3DS and 2DS, the gameplay will be similar to Etrian Odessy, including chibi character versions of the casts.

Being a huge Atlas fan (and a bigger one of the Persona series) I was super excited to find out that Persona Q will be brought to the U.S. this year in the Fall. Ever since I heard about the game being released in Japan, I wanted to get my hands on it. The casts from Persona 3 and 4 were incredibly engaging and entertaining, with a story that makes you care for the protagonists and their friends. Now I get a second chance to spend time with some of my favorite characters and learn more about them and their weird world.

To catch up those of you who haven’t had a chance to play Persona 3 or 4 (shame on you!), the games revolve around a young man who has recently transferred to a high school, Minato Arisato in Persona 3 and Yu Narukami in Persona 4. That’s the guy with blue hair and white hair, respectively, in the picture at the top. They’re quickly involved in a period at midnight where strange murders occur due to the threat of creatures called shadows. The high school students are embroiled in trying to save their towns, while simultaneously trying to get through their school year.

We’ll stop there, don’t want to spoil the stories!

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth takes place in Persona 3’s Midnight Hour and high school, Yasogami High. The heroes of both games and their friends are trapped inside a labyrinth that appears out of nowhere on the school grounds during the Yasogami Culture Festival. The only way to return the world to its original state is hidden within lost memories of the two new characters, Zen and Rei. Both Zen and Rei are students at Yasogami High, but not much is known other than that except that Rei loves to eat and Zen is very protective of Rei.

To set things right and regain Zen and Rei’s memories, players explore a gigantic labyrinth and battle Shadows in turn-based fashion, just like in Persona 3 and Persona 4. Unlike the two games, players play in a first person perspective and can use teams of five picked from the twenty playable characters.  Akin to Dragon Age, dialogue will change based on the player’s choice of team as well as which protagonist they choose to play as. This leaves at least a second play through of the game once you’ve finished with Minato or Yu!

The dialogue and first person view aren’t the only changes from the previous Persona games. All party members are able to use a variety of sub-Persona. Normally, only Yu and Minato can change their Persona at will, but because the two main characters have met, everyone can switch now. There’s also a boost meter mechanic, used to perform skills with no cost, and generated by hitting the weak points of shadows the players fight.

Everything about this game has me excited – except for the new chibi art style. Bravely Default also used this and, while I understand it’s easier on the 3DS screen and technology, I just don’t enjoy it. I’ll still play this game and (probably) love it, I’m going to be imagining my teams as their larger counter parts the entire while.

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