By fraser 10 Comments
It's been a couple of weeks since I last put something up on t'Bomb. I put this down to unexplainable EXHAUSTION and this freakin' raising-questions-about-my-sexuality-though-not-really Robot;
Over the Christmas break I began Persona 4 with a friend but didn't bring it back to uni with me (kinda a co-op thing, yeh?), and I've honestly never craved a game so much. So I quenched that thirst the only way I knew how;
I only went and bought Persona 3:FES
I was immediately struck with a strange sense of alienating familiarity. The graphics, the gameplay, and most notably, the music are almost identical to Persona 4. Almost. Let's go with the soundtrack for now.
For every situation in both Persona 3 and 4 there is a musical accompaniment. Whether it's the brass sounds of the generic "light hearted walking around music", the eerie piano of the "soon-to-be-revealed creepy plot twist", or perhaps the "Japanese-female-vocalist singing a mash of seemingly English words", both games share the same motifs. Only they're not the same. So it feels like isolated events from the two games are merging into one when I play them, but for some reason I'm always expecting the other piece of music, or the other character to accompany them. Has anyone had this strangely-disturbing experience?
"Shut up you're talking nonsense"
I'd like to say this is an example of lazy game design, rehashing previous properties to make the production of a sequel easier. But it's just so darn good I can't even try to complain. If I did, well, I'd be wrong.
(To distract you from my inane ramblings, lets look at this banger;)
Onwards to opinions that aren't BS!The other day I was discussing this eerie similarity with one of my friends who directed me toward this article by the antichrist of Giant Bomb, Leigh Alexander. I, for one, was struck by how perceptive her comments are regarding your interactions with the characters who populate the world around you. She has opened my eyes fellow Bombers!
(Still, stay off the Bombcast)
I think she's spot on when she differentiates between Persona 3 and 4 as two games with oddly oppositional themes; the latter consists of you learning to "embrace and accept" your different selves, whilst the former has you trying not to piss everyone off; appeasing them by wearing your "multiple selves" like masks. This is the reason why I can't enjoy Persona 3 as much as I have done 4. Whilst I think the story of 3 is superb*, (the constant threat of the Tartaraus and the Full Moon bosses accompanied by the unravelling mysteries of the event 10 years ago has me utterly hooked), I'm yet to reach the same levels of enjoyment that I've reached frequently in 4. Well that makes me sound like a pervert but lets ignore that. Today I may have discovered what prevents me from this PLEASURE:
I hate everyone in the game.
Maybe not everyone (I'm looking at you fighting dog/sexy robot), and maybe not "hate". But the majority of the cast are cynical, whiny, egocentric mannequins attached to two dimensional self-doubt story-lines. I don't care if your knee is buggered, nor if you're worried about work, nor if you can't talk to boys, nor if your parents are getting a divorce. Honestly I don't know what it is but everyone just needs to calm the fuck down.
I'd really appreciate some help here, because when it comes to Persona 4, I do care if you're worried about inheriting the inn, I do care if you're secretly gay, and I do care if you can't handle fame or the way you're seen by the opposite sex. Honestly, I think this boils down to what Leigh Alexander discusses. The theme of learning to accept the parts of your character you're uncomfortable with, rather than complaining about it till somebody makes you feel better, just makes Persona 4 a more enjoyable experience.
(*I'm not finished yet so please don't kill me if the story turns out to be utter balls.)
What do you reckon?
Am I just talking bollocks? I've tried to avoid talking about the game-play here because I think each game is different enough to warrant praise on its own merit, but I can't really understand this business about the different relationships with the characters. I'm kind of intrigued to know if what Leigh Alexander discusses and what I'm currently feeling are objective truths about the quality of the two games, or whether, on a personal level, I just don't relate to Persona 3's characters as well as those in its follow up.