Persona Q Shadow of the Labyrinth, Developed and published by Atlas it is JRPG Role playing game that also has a large amount of Dungeon crawling too it. Personally one of my favourite series of games, belonging to the shin Megami Tensei: persona series. It still retains a lot of the commonalities of the series including the characters from both persona three and four and implements some of them in a new way.
The story has one and a half storylines, by this I simply mean that depending on which character you select depends on which set of characters the game focuses as you can either choose to be the main character from the persona four series Yu Narukami or the unnamed protagonist from the third persona game. Knowing more about the characters from persona four I decided to go that way, the story starts with the school of Yu having a fair of some kind, I think it’s a cultural festival but compared to the ones I remember from school it seems a lot more like an a actual festival rather than just missing a couple of lessons to make a paper swan. Kind of like comparing a small university band with something like Metallica, a world of difference. However things soon start too change when everyone can hear a strange bell ringing, even when there is no tower within sight. Ignoring this and continuing with the daily events they eventually bump into the silver haired lady Margret. One of the inhabits of the velvet room – a space between reality and dreams. She is running a fortune telling booth at the school festival when she invites all of the gang in for a talk and upon entering she realises that the room feels quite different. Once the gang leave the room however things seem different outside too like there now being a massive clock tower in the schoolyard and now they have the ability to summon personas outside the TV world , the story progresses and we are introduced too both Rei and Zen two other people who have been trapped in this other place with no memories of there past and all the characters from persona three and for them all too escape they must fight through the shadows (monsters) in four labyrinths to get back home.
The games combat is much like most persona games with the moves and skills and how the basics work. However due too there being two people with the “wild card” everyone can equip a second persona increasing their health, SP and allowing them to use different skills. Also when attacking, if you manage to score a critical hit or hit the opponent with a type there weak against like bash, wind or fire than you can hit first and also not use any health or magic for your next attack. Then if you’re lucky and a lot of your party manages to gain the boost you can activate the all-out attack, which is, well… it’s pretty funny to be honest, oh and it deals a massive amount of damage too all enemies on the field. The boost works pretty well as the order and what you attack becomes more important- do you finish the weak enemy nearly dead or use the enemy behinds weakness to gain the ability to use a heavy heal spell for your team. It becomes a little more like a chess game with you having too think ahead with a lot of your moves however not as boring and with tons more fire and creepy looking demons.
The dungeon crawling element is also really interesting as the map isn’t given too you, nor is it drawn for. Using the bottom of the screen you have to draw the map yourself adding doorways, secret passages and power spots that supplement your equipment with rare raw material. Although this sounds kind of annoying, and sometimes it really is it is actually kind of fun and makes you feel proud when you have final drawn your map and signed it with various images, indecent or not. Also on the maps there will be FOEs, very powerful shadows that are impossible to kill when you initially enter the labyrinth. Not only that but how you move along in the dungeons is a first person view of a board game piece which initially is a bit jarring however gets pretty easy to get used too pretty quickly and is kind of fun too have the perspective of a board piece.
The characters, as with most of the shin Megami Tensai stuff, are brilliant. Also with keeping the original voice actors for all the characters from persona three and four and also having a lot of the dialogue really well voice acted the characters and there interactions feel very real and add to the general fun vibe the game has. That and the J-Rock Hip-hop soundtrack makes it brilliant hard to turn the sound off.
Overall this game I would say is very much a game for the fans with its impressive cast from the two previous games including a talking bear suit, a persona wielding dog and a combat robot girl. However even if you have no idea what I have been talking about with personas, shadows and the whole different realms thing then don’t be pushed away. The game Holds well enough on its own with its dungeon crawling RPG gameplay broken up nicely with great small events that add to the story. Also with about thirty hours clocked and still in the third labyrinth it will give you plenty to do. I mean if a game has a relevant Shakespeare quote for its game over screen you can be assured that a lot of thought and effort went into it.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.