Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Persona 4: The Golden (PSVita)

As my second foray into the world of Shin Megami Tensei and specifically the Persona series, I was excited.  Persona 3 left me wanting a little bit more and that is just what I got.  This is a great game and encompasses everything that I want from an RPG.  The battle system is solid, the story is absolutely wonderful, and the characters are all memorable in their own way.

Let's start off with the gameplay, this game is cross between a life-simulator and an RPG.  You can venture into the various dungeons with your friends or just try to live a normal life as a high school student in Japan.  Well as normal as you can get with the fact that you are the only people that can solve a murder mystery where people are dying from unknown ways and you somehow can go inside the TV.  The combat is solid and venturing through the dungeons is never dull.  Sure there can be some grinding when you are looking for a certain item or when you need to level up a Persona to get a skill you need but it is always fun.

The story in this game is my key appeal.  Everything is fleshed out and you never feel like something is just glossed over or forgotten.  Each part of the main story involves the aforementioned murder mystery but there is more to the game than just that. Through the social link system, you learn more about your party members, family, and people in the game world.  Not only are most of these interesting but they give you in game perks from new Persona's to party member skills.  You can do as much or as little as you want.  I never felt forced to do a social link.

I consider this game a must own if you own a Vita.  Even if you don't like the anime style or even want to listen to all the high school angst, the game is just too good not to suggest to anybody with any interest in RPGs.  The battle system is solid to the point of hindering no part of the game experience.  Even the story will keep you guessing as several times I was second guessing what was going to happen.  It is very rare that I care about characters in a game but this game made me care about all of them. I don't care if you played this on the PS2, buy this game on a Vita and enjoy it.  The added content is well worth it.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

ZHP: Unlosing Hero vs. Darkdeath Evilman (PSP)

This game kind of came out of nowhere.  Despite the strange name, it is a very solid title and definitely worth playing for any fan of RPGs.  The premise is good, the gameplay is better, and the story ties it all together.  Even though it can be challenging at times, it is well worth the effort.

Let's start with the story.  It is a very simple story about an unlikely hero saving the world from an ultimate evil.  Being a Nippon Ichi title, it has the brand of humor that you would expect from them.  There are some deep moments and it does get intense but it stays light and whimsical through out.  I don't think this game would work better if the story was too serious.  It needs to be light to keep it interesting.

This game is in the rogue-like style of other titles like Izuna: The Unemployed Ninja and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.  You start each dungeon at level 1.  If you die, you lose everything.  Simple concept but this game has a slight twist.  Instead of losing all your levels in this game when you die, you store them.  The more levels you store, the stronger your base stats.  Not only does this make the game a little easier but it also adds some strategy to the game. There is also permanent stat boosts using the body modification section.  There is a lot to this game and it will keep a player busy for hours.

In dungeons, each of the main story dungeons has a gimmick.  Some may just be huge areas connected by a large desert land to a dungeon that lets you fall to the next floor just by walking off. The monsters are all unique but there is some palette swapping towards the end.  The player can equip items on the head, chest, left arm, right arm, and feet.  Each of these can be powered up more using the body modification and each one grants special abilities.  Some of these abilities are not helpful.  For instance, using a Prinny Hat grants the player the ability to explode in one hit when thrown.  If an enemy that can throw the player, reserved for the pig monster enemy, that is instant death.  The player has to be mindful of what they are equipping before they equip it.

I would highly suggest this game.  Not just because it is a hilarious game but because it is a solid title and definitely worth playing. The game can be challenging but the rewards are great.  If you like an even greater challenge there are challenge dungeons, one that has 100 floors you must conquer.  A great game that deserves to be played.