Considering how Persona and SMT has dominated my blog for nearly two years, I'll take time to play Persona Q inside and out multiple times before taking a good stab at writing extensively on it. Besides, I already promised myself too many times to get the Mass Effect 3 review started before I kick the bucket on my 21st birthday from good ol' alcohol poisoning. (Which won't happen, even if certain friends I have will be disappointed.)
So until I go crazy enough to squee or rage over a stupid video game, I'll at least make several points of observation regarding Persona Q and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. I won't spoil anything though, as tempting as it is in the case for Ultimax. Maybe in the future I can make a rant on the spoilers because I sincerely doubt I'll ever "formally" review a fighting game. Sorry.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold
- After playing this and the first game, I still can't entirely get into the gameplay. It may be because I'm not a fighting gamer, but seeing and hearing how people talk about the combat and mechanics make my head spin in circles. I mostly think it's an Arc Systems Works or "anime fighter" thing. It might just not be my cup of tea. Naruto: Clash of Ninja was a 2-D fighter made by a completely different company that was pretty easy for me to get into and I played that game endlessly during my Gamecube days. So I dunno what doesn't mesh with me.
- When I'm not failing so hard that I play on Easy Mode, I've found several characters I liked from Arena are completely infuriating in Ultimax. Kanji and Teddie are now utterly unplayable for me, and Yukiko somehow feels more boring and limited than overpowering. Even Aigis and Narukami were utterly dull despite them seemingly having no significant changes to them from my ignorant eyes.
- But I will say Yosuke was so much easier to handle. His agility and speed made a lot of dangerous attacks easy to avoid, especially against slow hard hitters like Akihiko or Kanji. With this improvement and his story mode in Arena, I think I can say that Yosuke is no longer on my shit list as a character... so long the narrative doesn't capitalize on his social incompetence.
- Aigis was even saved from my "meh" list too. Either from better voice direction or a more compelling character arc, I was very happy with how much she has grown to be a strong, brave, confident warm-hearted machine with the drive to protect her loved ones.
- The same cannot be said for Rise. In fact my opinion of her has only plummeted astronomically thanks to this game. Her character doesn't work with my lousy playing style and her part in the Persona 4's side of the story was irrelevant and pointless. She was not fun to play as at all.
- I still like her manager though. Hearing Grant George's voice makes me smile.
- Ken finally has a character arc, Koro-chan is still adorable, and Yukari is as enjoyable as she was in Minako's route in Persona 3 Portable. Triple the awesome sauce.
- Labrys might be my favorite character in this entire spin-off. Not only was her story heartfelt and her character development carefully, thoughtfully written, she's probably the closest candidate for being my "main" fighter. She's responsive, her attacks are easy to learn, and her Persona kicks a ton of ass. Someone once told me that sometimes what matters with fighter is playing the character you can get used to quickly and enjoy. That's Labrys in a nutshell.
- Her Shadow is pretty awesome too. A total scene-stealer.
- The other newcomer Sho Minazuki has received a buttload of hate for the sophomoric treatment of an already tricky archetype. I won't lie; the writers did a lousy job by turning him into such a colossal straw man for Narukami to fight against with the "power of friendship" philosophy. When that wasn't happening, I saw him as a lost, fucked-up toddler who needs thousands of years of psychotherapy to recover from his traumatic experiences. Watching him suffer and have psychotic breakdowns broke my heart.
- The end of the Persona 4 side of the story made me realize how badly I overly criticized Persona 4 Golden. As much as I despise that fucking Junes concert scene, at least the team practiced instruments for a few days to prepare for it. At least someone can enjoy the J-pop who isn't me. At least the event was genuinely fun for the characters and some of the payers of the game. And at least it wasn't shoving infantile cliches and simplistic Disney morals so condescendingly down my throat like how Margaret White beat her twisted version of Christianity on Carrie.
- The less I say about the true culprit, the better for all the wrong reasons on the planet.
- And this ending is why I will now call the Persona 4 protagonist Souji Seta. The Broswaggonist pimp Yu Narukami is utterly dead to me as a character and is objectively worse than Rise.
- Fuck it, I'm wrong. SCREW YOU TOO, ATLUS JAPAN!!!!!!
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
- I can finally enjoy over 80+ hours of BOOMERANG HAMMER ACTION!!!!!!!!
- Seriously, having this much Shinji-kun without replaying an entire month endlessly is disastrous to my health. He and Aki are absolutely perfect together as they argue, bicker, fight, and tease like little five-year-old boys. And - of course - mai husbando will NEVER leave my party under ANY circumstance... EVER. This is everything I wanted and so much more. Seeing him have more moments of freaking out, blushing, being happy, and gushing over cute furry animals is making my skin turn a hundred different shades of red. My Fangirlism has surpassed the stratosphere and I'm shocked that I'm not dead yet.
- The second labyrinth is a date cafe that determines your soul mate?! Atlus, pls, you're playing with my heart!
- And yes, I played the soul mate quiz and got Shinjiro on my first try. *squees* (>///_///<)
- Still, I'm very sad Minako isn't in the game at all, further marginalizing her as non-canon. On the other hand, given how one can interpret some of his sassy comments about the Shadows you fight, I'm kinda glad that the Shinjiro fanservice is not excessive.
- Other than my obviously obsessive devotion to the delinquent with a badass horseman for a Persona, I generally like both the Persona 3 and 4 casts more than ever. But since I'm still only 15 hours into the game, I still have a long way to go before making that statement a so-called "fact".
- The innumerable character interactions in this game is absolutely perfect inspiration for my fanfiction. It makes me happy when I wrote a character like Fuuka a certain way and felt proud of myself when the game hints talks about something similar to what I wrote. It's not 100% exact of course, but it brought some comfort in how I have interpreted the characters. Besides, there are more details I got completely wrong than close to right or acceptable.
- I just adore the boss battle music to pieces. It gives me plenty of Sonic Adventure 2 flashbacks for some odd reason, but it's still fan-f%$#ing-tastic in my books. My bizarre moment of nostalgia aside, the music in general for this game is excellent so far. AND ALLELUIA TO THE SUPERIOR BEING(S) FOR LOTUS JUICE IS BACK!
- I just now realized the only rappers I consistently enjoy, Lotus Juice and Mike Shinoda, are both ethnically Asian. That's... mildly interesting.
- Etrian Odyssey Untold really prepared me well for Persona Q. I was very familiar to the FOE system, the Boost system, and the general mechanics behind map-making. Basically, my biggest worry is how I should arrange my party and how often I should fuse Persona. So it's not too different from a typical Persona game in that regard.
- Despite his further humiliation for his sisters' entertainment, I'm glad Theo hangs around for an entire game and participates in side quests. The apron he's wearing has grown on me a bit too. Because I don't use online features for my 3DS for any reason, I ignore Marie, which upsets me, the only Marie fan in the Persona fanbase.
- Rei is adorable, but her food-obsession is kinda similar to Teddie's constant desire to "score" every girl her meets: it's getting annoying REALLY fast. Thankfully, it's been toned down slightly and there's more focus on her creating cute pet names for everyone.
- I have no real opinion on Zen at the moment. He's kinda dull, but an efficient and flexible combatant who (with Rei) rarely leaves my party.
- Persona Q isn't that difficult of a game to be honest. Constantly paying Elizabeth nearly all of my yen to heal gets to be a pain in the ass, but as long as I keep a slow pace, not waste too much SP in battles, and take advantage of Fuuka's healing skills, I can stay in labyrinths and grind for good while (until my inventory gets full).
- So yes, this game was totally worth the wait... it's a shame I have too much shit to complete this week to make productive progress.
That's about all I have for the moment. I should get back to my papers. *cries* Once this hell is over, I'll finally get back to Persona Q. Then once winter break hits, I'll download the Adachi DLC and end the story mode of Ultimax for good.
Baby steps, Fangirl... baby steps...