Monday, February 16, 2009

My Wallet is Going to Hate Me...

Dat da duh na nah, duh nah na na nah, da da dat da daa daa da dat da daaaya..

Sorry. Bleach Ending 17 still stuck in my head.

My second post today is my expression of a dilemma I've been having for quite some time. When I was younger, I was a Nintendo fanboy. I certainly didn't bash other systems much, but at heart, I was a Nintendo diehard. I still am, they're my favorite video game company, but the Wii hasn't had many games that I've wanted to play, while there've been a ton coming out for the XBox 360 (lessee, Tales of Vesperia- pure win, I'll talk about this in about 3 weeks when I finally get the sweet game back when I go home for Spring Break, Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Mass Effect, Halo 3, a variety of interesting-looking jRPGs, etc.). Point is, I never had any interest in getting a PS 2. That was the system with a huge load of licensed games that I never cared about. There are plenty of games I certainly would play on the system if I had the chance- Shadow of the Colossus, probably Final Fantasy X, another bunch of RPGs, but nothing made me think I have to get this system. All fine and dandy, right? We're in the next generation, the PS 3's got nothing worthwile coming out on it that's not also coming out on Xbox. Right? Right?


TV Tropes, through its constant references to it, made me mildly interested in Persona 3. Enough so that when I saw a Let's Play of it highly recommended, I decided to take a look.* I got addicted. The commentary and characterization provided by the author is great, and gives a face to what was a silent protagonist, but the game itself stood out as an absolutely fantastic story that really made me want to play it.

Aaaaand, now Persona 4's out and just about every review of it I've seen compares it favorably to Persona 3. The TV Tropes article on it is huge, and everything I've seen about this game suggests that it is absolutely fantastic. Which means that now I need a PS 2. *sob sob* I'm a poor college student! Do I really need to blow $15o on a used PS2 just so I can play Persona 4 (and, eventually, Persona 3)? I...I..think I do. Goddamnit. Thank God it's out for the PS 2 or I might just despair right now.

So, for all of you wondering, just what is the Persona series that has me so enamoured? Well, it's a jRPG series by Atlus, part of the Shin Megami Tensai series. From what I know off the webbernetz (having never played any version myself), the common theme of the game is that they revolve around a "mons" system- that is, collecting a variety of creatures and using them to defeat other, similar enemies usulally through exploiting weaknesses. Yes, this is like Pokemon. But Shin Megami Tensai came first for one, and for two, you're summoning mythical beings from a variety of religions and cultures. To quote that Persona 3 Let's Play: "We're summoning that guy (Jesus) to do battle with death itself. This game couldn't possibly get any more metal". But that alone is not what appeals to me, particularly as that aspect of the game, according to TV Tropes, is murderously hard. Like, throw your controller through the screen and curse at 3-AM hard. I've got the feeling that if I do play these games, I'm going to have to bring them up to my room so that my swearing when I die doesn't wake my parents (yes, I still live with my folks. Poor college student, remember?) But what makes the Persona series (or at least Persona 3 and 4) unique is that this aspect of the game is only half the package. The other half is a life/roleplay sim that puts you through life as a Japanese high school student who's got to build up social links with other people in order to get greater demon-slaying powers. That's the interesting part. What also makes me drool is that the storyline is fantastic, the writing is incredible, and all the characters are incredible, with fantastic voice acting to boot. The games are unique, intelligent, and look to have ridiculously good stories. And that's primarily what I want in an RPG, more so than great gameplay. Which is why I'll be willing to forgive the murderous difficulty for the sake of this game.

Oh, and I think I've already got something of a crush on one of the characters from the game. Yukiko Amagi. Hel-lo. She seems to have a great personality to go with those looks, and several gameplay videos I've seen feature her in a Yutaka. Yum.

*If you don't know what a Let's Play is, I'm with someone over on TV Tropes who said it's the only good thing to come out of Something Awful...If you don't know what that is, I kinda doubt you're reading this blog. Essentially, a Let's Play is where someone goes through a video game and plays it for the entertainment of others, either using screenshots to tell the story (and usually snark, either in- or out-of-character) or videos, where it tends more towards explanation and letting the game stand for itself. I'd love to do a playthrough of Tales of Vesperia as a Let's Play, largely because I think people would get a kick out of me swearing at all the boss battles.

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