There is no doubt in my mind that Persona Q was made by Atlus Games as pure fan service. The jokes aren’t too well thought out, but the main story is creative and detailed, adding a new layer to the ongoing Shin Megami Tensei world.
Fans of Persona 3 and Persona 4 start off their journey with Persona Q with a tough choice, which main character they will take control of. Both Minato Arisato (P3) and Yu Narukami (P4) are available along with the entire cast of both games since Persona Q takes place in the middle of story of both Persona 3 and Persona 4. No one is dead yet and neither team has conquered their enemies.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! some of you are saying. How can both casts be fighting Shadows at the same time? The story lines take place a year apart!
Good question, like minded fan of Persona games! This question isn’t really explained, but it’s hinted at a few times. It seems Yu and his friends are sent back in time while Minato and his group are sucked into an odd Tartarus (the Shadow world where the bad guys are for you uninitiated) as the “other world” is a bit busted due to [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER]. Ahem, I mean for unknown reasons.
Of course, fans of Persona 3 and Persona 4 will already know all this as they bought Persona Q immediately upon release and have already beat it. Good for you! If you haven’t ever played a Persona game (where have you BEEN and how did you find this blog?) the game can be a bit confusing since the cast has plenty of back story behind its hokey banter. It’s not impossible to understand what the characters are saying and the jokes are still funny, but everything is better for those who have played both games.
As an introduction to the series, the gameplay is disingenuous. Consisting of more combat than story, it’s unique among Persona games which normally are very story heavy. However for those who have always wanted more combat from their Persona games, this is right up their alley. Since I love both the story and combat of Person, I was more than happy with this switch. Well, so long as Persona 5 is what I’m used to that is. A permanent shift away from story towards game play is certainly not what I’m looking for.
What is the game play you ask? Yeah, maybe I should have mentioned that by now. Persona Q, like all Persona games, uses a typical JRPG turn based rock-paper-scissors combat system. You use different Personas to fight shadows, finding their weaknesses and exploiting them for easier kills and lower damage. Unlike normal Persona games, Persona Q uses a system more akin to Atlus’ other franchise, Etrian Odyssey. All party members can equip a single extra Personas, in addition to their main one, allowing them to use more skills during combat. Taking advantage of an enemy’s weakness knocks them down and allows that character to use a skill, without using up SP on their next turn, instead of allowing the party member to take an extra turn.
All in all, the differences were minor and Persona Q was a lovely addition to the long running series. It will more than tide me over until the end of the year when Persona 5 is released as I can play through again as Yu since I started my game as Minato. I give the game a firm four screaming Jan cats out of five and look forward to whatever else Atlus has in store for their IP.