Sunday, December 14, 2008

PS2 - Persona 4

Persona 4

Yes, you read that corractly... this is a PS2 game. I originally bought this game because it was represented to me as an RPG. Well, it is sort of. This is a Pokemon / Final Fantasy turn based fighting game with limited 3D roaming aspects and annoying 'time limits' on quests.


Note, I generally do not play turned based RPG systems because they always end up with far too many unavoidable random encounters. These games also end up far too one-sided favoring fighting over questing. Persona 4 is no exception.

Game Play

The game play starts off with this very very very long dialog-based almost cinematic sequence with lots of button pushing to get past dialog. After probably 1-3 hours of playing, you finally get past all of the intro stuff that really leads nowhere.

After you get past the exceedingly long and boring intro sections, you finally get to the point where you get some action. Unfortunately, the action consists of Pokemon style battles where all you're doing is leveling up.

The idea is that you get playing cards which give you personas. These personas help you in battle.

Story

You've moved to the country from a big city. You're staying with a family that consists of a dad and daughter. While staying there, you end up investigating some mysterious deaths. Because of your investigation, you find that there are supernatural forces at work. These forces lead you into an alternate dimension of 'shadows'. You constsantly fight these shadows as you roam through the dimension.

You ultimately find that as the fog arrives in the 'real world' city that a shadow crosses over and kills the victim. So, you are tasked to roam into this alternate dimension and kill the shadows before they can do more damage and kill someone else.

It's an ok premise, but where this game fails is in the execution.

Fighting

The fighting is ok, but it's not outstanding. It's a typical turn-based game. Sometimes you have the advantage, other times the enemy does. You have no control over the strength of the enemy that appears (or how many appear). It's all a random tossup when they occur. You can avoid the enemy (sometimes) by running around the enemy before the battle sequence starts. But, they do chase after you reasonably fast, so you sometimes cannot outrun them.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack for this game is actually quite good. In fact, they include the soundtrack CD with the game. So, the only redeeming thing for this game really is the soundtrack. But, it doesn't make it worth the money just to get that soundtrack CD.

Game Save Locations

This is the sore spot of this game. Once you get into certain parts of the alternate dimension, you are stuck. For example, in one quest you end up going into a castle. As you enter the castle, the castle is multiple levels. I got the 6th floor and realized there are no save points, there's no way out and it would take far too long to go all the way back down just to save.

So, you're stuck in the middle of a bunch of battles with limited supplies, no way to save and no way out. You're ultimately going to just "game over" at some point without winning the final battle. The intermediate battles just serve to whittle down your supplies, health and points. Worse, this castle quest is the first you receive. And, you're only level 8-9 (weak) and they're throwing level 15-20 monsters (or higher) at you on this quest. Not really that much fun.

Overall

I am not impressed by the concept, layout or realization of this game. In the beginning, it goes far too slow. Once you get into the action, it's completely one-tracked (fights). The fighting is limited and boring. The personas are weak and, overall, the game is just not that fun. There's really very little to do other than fighting.

Score
  • Sound: 9/10 (best part of this game)
  • Graphics: 7/10 (decent for PS2, but could be better)
  • Bugginess: ?/10 (not rated yet)
  • Controls: 7/10 (look controls reverse, no way to change them)
  • Bang-To-Buck: 1/10 (may not even play anymore)
  • Overall: 5/10 (lack of save points, one-tracked, limited questing, too much dialog, too many encounters)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your review!
Everyone was so excited about this game and gave it really high ratings, so I purchased this game.
What a disappointment! The beginning was so boring and so long, I almost stopped playing before I got to the game. 2 hours for an intro! What the heck? After that, the game is okay. Fighting is kinda of fun, but overall totally not worth it. I feel like the game play is for 11 year olds, but the difficulty is way hard. The plot is silly and while it does have some good ideas, it's overall kind of not engaging. This game is too dark for children and too dumb for adults. I wish I had read your review first!

~Indi

commorancy said...

Thanks for your comment. I was expecting a lot more from this game, but it really didn't deliver. You might check back for future reviews. I generally like to review RPG style games, so if you have any specific requests, please leave your comment here and I'll be happy to review it for you.

-Brian

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