Tag Archives: atlus

Saturday Morning Rant: ***SPOILERS***

This article is not about spoilers, I will not be spoiling anything.

(Bruce Willis’ character in The Sixth Sense is dead the entire movie)   

This rant is not dedicated to spoilers themselves, rather the ideology game companies have when it comes to YouTubers and Twitch streamers playing games and letting the public view them and thus creating the “risk of people seeing spoilers” that so many (usually Japanese) game developers get really salty and downright angry about.

Obviously the biggest example has been Atlus and Persona 5 in terms of streamers being “asked” not to stream after the 7/7 date in-game, which by the way isn’t anything special, I’ve played through it. There were other things as well, but that was the big one. As someone playing on the PS4 though, I’ve noticed I can’t even do as much as take a screenshot of a single thing in the game. I can’t screenshot a funny moment, I can’t screenshot a great moment in a cutscene, I can’t even take a screenshot of the fucking pause menu. WHAT AM I SHOWING THAT’LL AFFECT SOMEONE NEGATIVELY, ATLUS?!!!

(Sephiroth kills Aeris at the end of Disc 1 in Final Fantasy VII)

It’s another thing that just goes to show you how behind the times and how downright inept and insane Japanese gave publishers and developers are. We’ve seen SEGA ban anyone who talks about Shining Force (ironically enough, popular YouTuber TotalBiscuit just ended his 5-year long ban of SEGA games on his channel [here]), Nintendo just banning anyone for doing anything in general (see everyone) and the current offender is Atlus, another case where the non-Japan sectors of the company don’t agree with what they’re doing and wish they could change their minds, but their Japanese overlords once again could not care less about anything going on outside of Japan.

For those unaware, if you thought America thinks highly of themselves, Japan literally gives zero fucks about anyone who is not inhabiting their island. Something could sell ten times as many copies outside of Japan, but if it’s not doing well in Japan, they’ll shut the whole thing down. They only care about what’s within their own little bubble, if it’s not something originating in Japan, to some it doesn’t even exist. It’s an extremely self-righteous and idiotic way to look at things, let alone an absolutely horrendous way to do business.

But let’s get to the much more pertinent issue, shall we?

(Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father in Star Wars)

It’s no secret that for some, spoilers is a major issue. Every time an episode of Game of Thrones or Walking Dead airs, people completely stay away from all social media to avoid anything that could spoil the episode for them. People tread carefully through walkthroughs and articles about games they’re playing, so they don’t come across information they might find that has something to do with something they haven’t gotten to yet. It’s completely understandable that people want to avoid that sort of thing, obviously when something is story-driven, we don’t want to know what happens before we see it ourselves.

But here’s the thing. When it comes to YouTube and Twitch, let’s be completely honest here. The people that watch these videos and streams fall into one of three categories:

  1. People who watch the first little bit of the game before the story truly kicks in as a way to decide whether they like the game or not and if they’ll end up buying the game or not.
  2. People who are already playing the game or have finished the game and want to see what other players did, such as alternate routes, different strategies and even alternate scenes/endings.
  3. People who do not intended to play the game at all and are just watching it because they like the person playing the game.

The majority of people usually fall into either #1 or #3 and the latter is where Japan falls victim to the oldest fact in the gaming industry that anyone with half a brain knows, going all the way back to the piracy days: If someone pirates a game, they weren’t going to buy it in the first place. This also falls in line with spoilers, the majority of people that are watching a Let’s Play series on YouTube or a Twitch stream that is late into a game, they’re not intending to play the game themselves and if they are, it certainly won’t be at release when it’s full price, they’re definitely waiting for the game to drop to under half-price.

(Sheik is really Princess Zelda in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

It’s pretty simple anyways, folks, if spoilers bother you, don’t go looking for it. It actually isn’t that hard, I know in this day and age of social media and the internet that it seems difficult, but in actuality it’s quite easy to avoid spoilers. Just don’t go on the sites you usually go for to see articles about the spoilers you just watched. Stay off of social media, or at least don’t spend hours going through every post you see. Most importantly, don’t Google shit about it! Google is the worst for hiding spoilers!

So yeah, Atlus and every other company are out of their minds if they think “preventing spoilers” will do anything. There are always work-arounds and people will come across them anyways, no matter what you do to try and stop it. At the end of the day, just worry about how good your game is.

Persona 5 is such a good game, I could care less if I knew a spoiler here and there.

Progress Bar: Persona 5 [40 Hours]

***Warning: Spoilers Ahead!!!***

So I figured since getting a full review of Persona 5 is going to take a long, LOOOOOOOOONG time, it makes sense to update you guys how I’m enjoying the game thus far.

So I’m just past the 40-hour mark and I’ve just recently finished the third Palace and am starting to work on social links again heading into what will definitely be the next Palace very soon as a little bit of foreshadowing has shown us our next party member and has pretty much tipped its hand on what the end villain is, not that they’ve shown the person, but if you’ve been paying attention to the game’s story up until this point, it’s pretty obvious.

The Story

At the current point of the game, I’m a little underwhelmed from the third Palace in comparison to the first two and especially the first one. The game at the start of its story, really turns up the volume on its seriousness. The second Palace doesn’t get too serious until the very end when you learn the true crimes of the subject of said Palace. When it comes to the third Palace however, I didn’t feel any hatred towards this particular villain, in fact I was extremely underwhelmed by it. The dungeon wasn’t that cool or exciting, the villain itself wasn’t very interesting and felt very one-dimensional and there really wasn’t a reason to hate this person in the same way I hated the first two. Perhaps it’s by design, but regardless the third villain is peanuts compared to the first two, so I was disappointed.

The social links continue to become more and more interesting however. I’ve been obsessed with the doctor the most, but the additions of a journalist, a maid with a shocking identity and the newest party member known as “Queen” have really added some new life to the game that for a while was honestly becoming a sausage fest. At this point, I’m far more interested in spending time outside the dungeons than in them, but given that the game is likely about to ramp things up, that won’t last very long.

The Gameplay

I really, REALLY want to say nothing but good things about this game. I still absolutely love the battle system, the dungeon designs, the mechanics, all the new features, life outside the dungeons and in it, I love a lot about this game. But I cannot let this game get away with the sheer insanity of its “difficulty levels”. As I mentioned in my first impressions post, I really don’t like how the game nickels and dimes you for cash and SP, the two things you really need to get by. Am I asking for an easier game? Absolutely not, but I think that Persona 5 maybe goes a little too far in the direction of keeping you from advancing as much as possible in one sitting. It obviously should be a challenge to finish a Palace in one sitting, but it should be because the enemies are difficult, not because you’re completely depleted of items and SP. The previous games had ways to recover HP and SP, not to mention extra money, experience, items, etc, whereas this game has very few treasure chests, which always yield common items and accesories, never weapons, armor and SP recovery items, those are hidden behind lockpick-needed chests and if you’re not spending every night making them, you won’t have that many available.

At this point though, I’m not getting the sense that we’re constantly running into enemies that are cheap, like the Incubus who had a Life Drain attack that always did 30 damage to you, which was a giant chunk of your health and in the first dungeon where your HP is low and you have almost no items, it’s a bit bullshit. Like I said, it’s not necessarily the battles that are the true difficulty of the game, so much as being able to keep yourself equipped for battle is. You really have to make the choice, whether you want a large stack of medicine, or more powerful weapons and better armor. You can’t have both and let’s be honest, spending hours in the first areas of Mementos isn’t exactly a fun way to get money and items either.

In terms of the social links, the only criticism I have is that the maid’s trail is bullshit, because it costs you 5000 yen every time you want to hang out with her. 5000 yen at this point in the game is a massive tax on you, holy freaking hell it will put you beyond bankrupt in a hurry! It sucks because if you want to rank up her social link early in the game, it’s nearly impossible. I’m following a strict “MAX Social Links” guide and I literally had to sell almost everything I had just to make the money to get everything done up until the next dungeon infiltration.

The Verdict So Far

I know I spent the majority of this post criticizing the money situation and the extremely underwhelming third Palace, but I have to tell you that I absolutely love this game and it only continues to get better as it goes along. The newest party member in “Queen” may just be the coolest party member I’ve ever had in a Persona game for one very specific reason and you either immediately know why, or you’ll find out soon enough when you get there. The game has also unexpectedly gotten me more interested in romancing the non-student options in the game, which is extremely unusual, I’ve never leaned towards an older woman in the game as my favourite in comparison to the many students I can choose from.

So the question comes up once again, is Yakuza 0 in danger of being toppled as my Game of the Year thus far? I still say no, Persona 5 is a fantastic game and I am loving every minute of it, but it hasn’t quite hit that point where I want to go absolutely fanboy crazy and talk endlessly about how it’s the best game ever.

My score after 40 hours: 9.5/10

A New Atlus JRPG? Sign Me Up!!!

01

So this Tweet came out less than 24 hours ago:

Obviously for those who don’t read Japanese (or in my case, don’t have the translation readily available), Atlus has announced that they are making a new JRPG series that isn’t a part of the Persona or Shin Megami Tensei series of games, this will be a completely new IP, or as they call it “a new challenge”.

The artwork above is the only image we have so far for reference, but as reported by Famitsu, the game will have more revealed in the next week, but what we do know is that the game will be a more fantasy-setting RPG and the game will be directed by Persona 5 director Katsura Hashino. So if Persona 5 is as good as I’m hearing from Japanese game journalists, that’s a fantastic start.

I’ve always been a huge Atlus fan, but once I got my first taste of the Persona series with Persona 3 on the PlayStation 2 in 2006 (crazy to me that game is now 10 years old!), I was completely sold on Atlus. Have they made a consistent lineup of great games? No, but I have not been burned by them either. I loved the Persona games, including the Arena fighting games, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, while not the best JRPG I’ve played in a while, it’s still solid, Demon Souls’ while I didn’t get too into it, kickstarted a whole new series that is beloved and Dragon’s Crown is a gorgeous, solid game (that pissed off a lot of people with H-cups).

So for Atlus to be taking a shot at something new, I’m absolutely excited to see how it goes. The artwork already interests me as well. Come on! It’s a hot red-haired elf girl in full armor! She looks so badass!!! I’m already in and can’t wait to see how the project is actually going to look.

Top 10 Atlus Games

With Persona 5 stuck in my head right now, I thought what better Top 10 to have than the tremendous library of games Atlus has developed and published. I could do a Persona-based list, but that’s something better suited for closer to Persona 5’s April 4th launch next year. So Atlus games it is!

Now remember, this list is of games I’ve actually played. There will probably be a few games missing that you guys are like “WHAT?! HOW IS THAT GAME NOT ON THIS LIST?!” and that’s why, I haven’t played them. I wish I could have played every single game ever made, but y’know the whole money thing. And time. And my sanity.

Anyways, here’s my personal top 10 Atlus games!

10

Cue the eyebrow raise from everyone! But actually, I really liked this game in an era when I was in my early teens and I still enjoyed tennis games whether it was more realistic or more arcade-like. Hard Hitter Tennis for me was a pretty solid tennis game that always challenged me enough to keep coming back to it and the fictional characters in the game were all very unique and different. Hell, there was a girl in that game who looks suspiciously like a dude. There was a little bit of everything in the game. It’s not anything super special, but it was fun enough for me to include it on this list.

09

I was such a sucker for this game when it came out. The art style is so perfectly cheesy and colourful and the idea of this over-the-top dodgeball game coming out with an anime-like art style to it, it was so perfect to me. The game was varied enough and offered enough of a challenge to keep the average player interested long enough to get their moneys worth. And come on! It’s dodgeball! How many dodgeball games have ever been made? To be honest, this is the only one I can come up with from the top of my head.

08

Now while these games kicked my ass and then some, the first entry into the Souls series in the PS3 game Demon’s Souls, I can’t deny just how polished a first entry into what became a resurgence of a genre of hardcore, challenging game that Demon’s Souls was. I still hate it because it grabbed me, bent me over and spanked the shit out of me, but it’s a love-hate relationship. Though ever since that game, I haven’t really been able to get into any other of those games.

07

I remember when I saw this game for the first time, I thought it was an ingenius idea. Both the Wii and DS versions in this series were such a great idea to me, motion controls or a touch screen allowing you to do precision (well not really, but…) surgery sounded so damn cool! Then attach an anime art style to it, some ridiculous over-the-top anime bullshit with superpowers and stuff and you have a series of games that are a lot better than one would’ve expected.

06

While a tough game to get into, especially for those who are used to the Shin Megami Tensei name being behind the Persona series, this game is still a very solid JRPG, it’s just suited for the more hardcore tactical JRPG audience who prefer a more dark and dreary kind of storytelling and universe surrounding it. I’ve yet to finish the game (because Destiny is so good at pulling me away from newer games), but the time I’ve spent with it has been fantastic and hopefully after writing this article, it’ll convince me to go back and finish it.

05

It’s weird because I don’t remember much about this game, I haven’t played it or looked at it since I got it on release day in 2005. That’s 11 years where I haven’t played the game, or even seen screenshots of the game. By Google Image searching the game, I remember bits and pieces here and there, the combat system, some of the characters and especially the beautiful anime art style. What I can tell you for sure though is that when I played and finished this game (real quick cause I couldn’t put it down), at the time it was definitely one of my favourite games, I loved the hell out of it!

04

I love the Persona series. I also love the Arc System Works 2D fighting games such as the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series respectively. So what do you think happens to me when both come together? Yep, I break my golden rule of not pre-ordering games. Both the first and second entries into this series have been some of the best fighting games I’ve ever played, rivaling games like Guilty Gear X2Super Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat (remake) and many other fantastic fighters. The art style is so perfect, the music is fantastic and the game has arguably the best story mode ever in games, unless you hate visual novels as a style of storytelling. But if you’re into Persona and even if you’re not too big a fan of fighters, this is worth a play and then some. 

03

Speaking of things mixing together, THEY MIXED SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI WITH FIRE EMBLEM!!! AGH!!! Upon hearing this concept, my mind blew. After cleaning up the brain juice on the floor, I was now waiting in anticipation for what would come out of this and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The art style is so goddamn good, especially considering this is on the WiiU of all consoles. The battle system is a great mesh of the Shin Megami Tensei with Fire Emblem elements (not the tactical overhead stuff, but the sword/axe/spear setup) and the characters are all very unique. There’s so much to love about this game and I’m so happy that this amazing crossover didn’t end in failure.

02

Now we get to the good stuff. I can remember reading PlayStation Magazine and seeing this game getting an 8.5/10 rating. This is during an era where I was completely done with JRPGs because in the second half of the PS2’s lifespan, JRPGs were 95% shitty anime art games with a clunky battle system. So for anyone to rate a JRPG that high, that got my attention. Upon playing it, I was shocked by how much depth there was to this game, even today this game holds up so well for its story, characters, battle system and just how much there is to do in the game. While I’ve had trouble getting into the first two Persona games, Persona 3 definitely kickstarted my love for the Shin Megami Tensei name and certainly put confidence back in me for the JRPG genre.

01

But then Persona 4 came along and not only improved upon the greatness Persona 3 already was, but completely shattered it. There were even better characters, better storylines, better sidequests, better battle systems, better world to explore, everything was better and then some. In fact, this game was so goddamn good, I’ve played through it more times than any post-PlayStation/Nintendo 64 era game, not just JRPGs, but all games. The only game I’ve played through more is Final Fantasy VI for the SNES, which is probably the only game I would put above Persona 4. It’s that good a game and if you’ve still not played it, you’re doing yourself such a major disservice by not doing so.


And that’s the list, thank you so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it!

If you have your own games that I’ve missed (likely because I didn’t play it), list it in the comments below. Keep the conversation going!

Game Spotlight: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3

persona-3
(left to right) Junpei, Minato (MC), Yukari

Before Persona 4 became one of my favourite games of all-time, there was the first Shin Megami Tensei game I ever played, Persona 3. I had heard a lot of good things about it, Gamespot rated it very highly, which was unusual to me as at that point in the PlayStation 2’s run JRPGs were starting to get real shit, like MagnaCarta, Ar tonelico, Forever Kingdom, all those random ones that were just shiny anime garbage. So to see a JRPG with a high rating upon release, that piqued my interest, that genre has always been my bread and butter and the art style was pretty cool, so I gave it a shot.

80 hours later I finished the game and then would later buy Persona 3: FES and play it all over again.

Mitsuru Kirijo
Mitsuru Kirijo

Again, the art in this game is gorgeous, it’s one of the first games where I really started to notice my sheer obsession with anime artwork. Mitsuru stands out as the runaway beauty in terms of design, but other characters like Aigis and even the guys like Shinjiro they all were uniquely designed and beautiful in their own way. The voice acting is also fantastic in the game, Mitsuru again shines in this category, as well as Akihito, Ken and of course your favourite Velvet room employees, Elizabeth and Igor.

The tone of the game is a half-and-half sort of mix between regular everyday life and dark, depressing and downright fucked up shit. I mean, y’know you’re just a regular student going to a regular high school with other regular students attending regular classes and going to other regular places after your regular day at a regular high school and HOLY SHIT YOU FIGHT MONSTERS IN A GIANT FUCKED UP LOOKING CASTLE THING AND YOU FIGHT BY SHOOTING YOURSELF IN THE HEAD TO SUMMON YOUR PERSONA!!!

I wasn't kidding...
I wasn’t kidding…

The game runs on a much darker tone the majority of the game, which is common place for a Shin Megami Tensei game. What the Persona series does is break away from it a little bit and turns into a high school life simulator, which honestly is the best part about the series. You go to class, can upgrade your academics and other personality traits, make friends, go out with said friends, even find true love (ooh la la!) and stuff like that. It’s a great way to take time off from the grind that Persona has, like most JRPGs.

That’s because of the massive dungeon, Tartarus which never seems to end until the very end of the game. It’s the one big problem this game has compared to Persona 4, it only has one dungeon the entire game, where Persona 4 had unique dungeons for every character who got lost in the Midnight Channel. I find I grinded much harder in this game than most, I would go way past the threshold of the characters and still have them fighting while tired, which lowered their stats. I wanted to finish the entire 20+ floor section so I could spend even more time in the high school life simulator and get more stuff done.

Tartarus
Tartarus

The battle system is your standard JRPG system with just a few quirks. Your party members have a single summon while you can have several different summons, which makes things really interesting party-wise. You can fit whatever role at any time, which allows you to set your party however you see fit, put your three favourites in and get a Persona that works around those three, whether it’s your elemental magics, support spells, etc. The other great mechanic is the ‘Down’ system, where if you hit an enemy’s weakness, they are downed and can’t get up for at least a turn, allowing you more time to plan. Unless that is you get all the enemies down, at which you can perform an ‘All-Out Attack’ which looks like a cartoon fight scene with the smoke and ‘BAM!!!” speech bubbles popping up. It’s a fair system, you can also be downed as well, so it becomes a matter of preparation against all enemies.

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Story-wise, it’s nothing spectacular, but it offers a lot of interesting characters, which I think is the more strong point of Persona games, the character development. It’s also written much like an anime, there’s a beach section, hot springs, the usual fodder. If you’re looking for a dramatic story, you may be a little off on this front. Again, it’s more an anime than a novel.

To further extend that point, the game’s many re-releases have brought newer and some more ‘sexualized’ costumes into the game for those having a second playthrough. The character’s swimsuits for example become wearable outfits in battle, which I imagine pisses off a few of the feminists out there, go figure. But again, it’s that anime charm the series has, it’s not surprising to see that in a game that resembles anime as much as this series does.

1429698-p3fes_swim

I’m waiting patiently for the Persona games to get put on PS4 like we’re slowly seeing old PS2 games starting to show up. Persona 4 is the better game, but that’s not to say the third installment of the series isn’t also a fantastic game in its own right. The third game is the foundation to what made Persona 4 an instant classic. So if you haven’t played this game before and can play it, whether on PS2, PSP or maybe PS3 if it’s a digital copy on there, I have no idea…do it!!!