By Video_Game_King 13 Comments
Revelations: Persona( I'm aware that most of you see nothing confusing about this title, but hear very confusing things entering your ear holes.) That's simply because you don't have the entire story. It's Revelations: Persona, right? Not entirely; look at the red bar. You see what I see? That's right: "series." This game is part of the Revelations Series. This game is the ONLY part of the Revelations Series. I've done the research, and there's only one other, completely unrelated Atlus game with Revelations in the title. It's almost as if they're trying to insult me.
As we all know, Persona is the first game in the real-but-controversial Persona series. The second game features a gay Hitler (I think), the third game has characters blowing their brains out to summon Personae, and I haven't played the fourth one, which I think is about a group of Ku Klux Klan members going back in time to abort baby Jesus so they can refill their HP. Revelations, being the first entry, is rather tame with its controversy, merely dabbling in demon summoning, racist characters, and shitty localizations. Oh, speaking of dabbling, the plot does just that: it dabbles in themes it should outright be swimming in. It's a shame, too, since it at least shows potential for decent themes on identity and what constitutes reality. You know, the exact same things Dragon Quest VI did a few years prior. Unfortunately, it only shows that potential near the end, where you find out that you entered somebody imagination at some point early in the game, like a reverse Final Fantasy X. Until then, you're just wandering around the town of Lunarvale, looking for things to do.
See, Persona is one of those rebel JRPGs that refuses to conform to the standards of the day, like.....well, the only other JRPGs I know that do that are all SaGa games. Anyway, progression isn't as linear as it is in other games; almost everything is open to you as soon as you leave the labyrinthine school (are all high schools this confusing, or just this one?), and you actually have some sort of choice in where the story goes. Unfortunately, that shitty localization I mentioned earlier limits it to two options, both of them visible through the old "make multiple save files" trick. But whatever, at least they managed to fix a huge problem in most JRPGs; it'd just be nice if Atlus managed to fix its own problems. Namely, their love affair with first person dungeons. Don't worry, it's not as bad as it was in the original Shin Megami Tensei, where it was like you were navigating a series of confusing hallways where strobe lights activate whenever you move. There are definitely enough landmarks/moving parts (the screen, mostly) to help explain things, pulling the map out is now easier, and most importantly, LARGE ROOMS ARE NOT IN FIRST PERSON. They're just in this odd isometric view, which is never good, since you never know where the hell up will take you.
"But that doesn't sound s-" Shut up. Just shut up, I'll tell you how this sucks. Wait, I just did, with the whole isometric thing and all. But wait, there's more! Order now and this game won't really bother fixing that first person dungeon problem! Yea, I said that the game tries to make it less confusing, but that doesn't make it not confusing. Did you notice how I didn't use any pictures of the dungeons or anything? That's because you'll still need to pull up the map every nanosecond, which is when you discover the weird schism between the mini-map and the actual map. Better remember where those dead ends are in this horribly confusing, train-less subway, because once you go down the path, that mini-map isn't gonna help you at all. And to top it all off, some of the dungeons throw blacked out areas at you from out of nowhere, completely forgetting that The Dark Knight wasn't made yet, meaning we couldn't navigate dark areas with cell phone signals. Also, there are no cell phones in this game.
I'd explain the combat system to you, but knowing that people don't read anything anymore, I decided to explain it to you through video:
There you go, m.....what's that? You still don't understand the combat system? *sigh* I have to explain everything to you, huh, dumbass? Fine, I'll do it. I'll draw on the SaGa references again and say that formation plays a huge role in combat. But not in the Romancing SaGa 2 way, where you get stat bonuses or whatever depending on how you've set up your characters. No, it's more like Romancing SaGa 1, where you have to make rigid formations yourself, and everybody is disappointed. Only it's isometric, so everybody's more disappointed than usual, since certain attacks and spells have a limited, untold range. Other than that, though, it's pretty standard turn-based stuff. Oh, except for the dialogue. Like Final Fantasy Tactics, you can talk to your enemies to see how life is going for them; yet Persona seems to take the opposite approach of Final Fantasy Tactics, since you use dialogue whenever one side is fucked (IE after some type of combat) instead of shooting people when you can't convince them that there is no god. However, as that clip shows, there're more options than that. So many weird options. You can threaten, you can flatter, you can dance, you can sing....you know, I noticed something weird with those last two: they always, simultaneously, elicited every emotion except for joy. My best guess is that the song and dance was this. That may not seem scary, but picture, during the middle of heated combat, two demon summoning teenagers, ONE OF WHOM CAN MAGICALLY CHANGE THEIR RACE, breaking out into song and dance. There's no word for that type of horror; there aren't enough As and Hs in the English language to make it.
But enough about how I have a clip for everything (including this, somehow); what about all the non-horrifying options? Good luck finding one, since no response will ever elicit the same response from the same enemy ever. I've been told that the Moon has something to do with it, but being that I'm the King of the Moon, I can tell you that such a thing is absolute bullshit. You're angry, right? Then you are now 84% of the demons/women I've ever spoken with! Also like my experiences with women, everything ends when you get the end result. But unlike my experiences with women, it's not my fault; once that demon gives you a spell card (of which you can only have one at a time, for some reason), that's it. Battle's over. No more fighting; you only get the experience you've earned so far. Oh, and speaking to enemies doesn't garner any experience, which is why I mentioned that you save that shit for the end earlier. While I'm on the experience system, let me say that you get experience for how much work you did in battle, not for just being there. It's a satisfying, realistic system....until you need to grind. It's at this point that it becomes not an uphill battle, but a battle up a 90 degree angle. Hell, most of my end-game experience was spent grinding my characters and Personae to the right level just so I could beat the butterfly woman. (Oh, forgot to mention the butterfly fetish this game has.)
And so we finally come to the main part of the game, and the biggest thematic buttfuck since The After Years: the Persona system. Seems odd that I took six paragraphs, two/three pictures, and a video to get to the one thing that's in the title of the game. To that, I say that I'm not doing anything that this game wouldn't do. How so? Well, you'd think that to make a Persona, you just mash two demons together, right? Not exactly. First, you need their cards (and an item, in some cases), which, as I've already said, is a bit of trial and error. Next, you need to find a velvet room and ask some old guy to combine them. Then he combines them. Sounds simple, right? Christ, what the hell's wrong with you? Stop jumping the gun, whatever that means! Of course it's not simple! First off, there are often lots of combinations Igor won't do because of your level, begging the question, "Why do low level cards yield high level results?" What's worse is that there are combinations that he will do, but for some reason, won't take for any of your characters, leaving you with a kickass Persona who refuses to work for anybody. Meanwhile, you're left with a few OK Personae with weird quirks.
Quirks like the spells. I probably should've mentioned that Personae are equal to magic in this game, which turned out about as well as it did for Legend of Dragoon's Dragoon system. To be fair, though, there's a wide variety of spells to use throughout the game. The problems arise when you realize that each Persona only gets a max of six spells, that they don't always max out their spells, and that you only get three Personae per character. You can change them, granted, but why would you want to? Unless you have stat-changers spread over all your Personae (and you won't), you can just grind the same powerful moves until everything is dead. It's nice to see you guys putting your main system to such huge use, but it doesn't help dispel the whole "repetitive grind" thing I complained about in the 6th paragraph. And there are some other weird things I started to notice while the X button did all the work for me, like how PP cost is determined per Persona (per-sona?) and not by spell, or how a lot of them still have the same limits that regular attacks have. Especially since several of them are regular attacks. Again, it feels like you're just trying to insult me.
So that's what I'll do in this last paragraph: insult you. For example, you're really, really short. Not counting all the grind you forced on me in the end, it comes down to 20 hours; remove all the loading times, and I suspect that it's 15 hours. But whatever, that's just one storyline! There are three full s....oh, I forgot that the Snow Queen thing was cut out of the American release. But still, that's two major st.....fuck. It's just one storyline with more gameplay you can exploit with multiple save files. Speaking of multiple saves, this has to have New Game +, right? I mean, it's one of those games that just begs for it! Only it never gets New Game +; all you get for your hard work is a Descartes quote (with a typo, for consistency) and a stern middle finger. Damn it, Persona, I want to like you, but you refuse to cooperate. You get the Me on a Date Award, but no sex. You shall forever remain sexless. Mainly because of your slightly stoner intro.
- The story, like you, just didn't develop all the way.
- You navigate the world through a first person perspective, apparently while wearing tap dancing shoes. It's about as fun as it sounds.
- Making a Persona is a lot like becoming a US citizen: a lot of annoying work for little pay-off.
It's always fun to make people feel deep, hideous shame. Especially when you know that you're free from such shame. By "you", I refer to myself, not you. You still feel that soul crushing pain.
Astro Boy( Finally, a straightforward title!) No more fake moon ruins, no more series that aren't, no more Roman plant penises; just Astro Boy (or Mighty Atom in Japanese, because he's tiny? I don't have a clue, really). Nothing confusing about that title, right? Again, it's in Japanese, but I've seen far more confusing titles in English. You know, like the one's I've been spewing at you for the past few sentences. But I feel like this game tried to balance the confusion, since I couldn't tell what was going on in the story whatsoever.
Maybe it was because I'm not big into Astro Boy; maybe it's because I skipped all the cutscenes; maybe it was the fact that the entire game is in Japanese. The point is that since I didn't understand the story, I just pretended it was Omega Factor all over again, meaning it involves racism and pedophilia and Mega Man and a lot of other things that people really don't like. However, when you start comparing two games like this, problems are obviously going to arise, especially when one is clearly better than the other. Let me explain, using the rest of this blog (which, rather conveniently, solely covers Astro Boy! Lucky me!). First thing first: no shooter levels in this game. It's a straight-up platformer. The only non-Omega Factor reason I consider this a problem is because Astro Boy's a robot with so many guns stuffed into his body that they're leaking out his ass. No, they're seriously leaking out his ass. Given that there's a scrolling-shooter level (and that this game came out in 1994), I don't see why they didn't at least try to give us a Powdered Toast Man scenario, flying ass-first into danger and shitting metal death into its stupid face.
Maybe they just ran out of variety; hell, that happened in the shotless-scrolling-shooter level I mentioned back there. It's odd that for a platformer, platforming levels aren't the majority. I'm guessing it's a confidence issue, since it crams a metric shitload of different game concepts into itself without any sort of planning or follow through. What we're left with are a bunch of disjointed levels that are somewhat difficult to like. The overhead level comes to mind immediately: you find yourself flying around a city, blasphemously not ass-first. Don't worry, Astro Boy doesn't go unpunished; his turns are so sharp that he can use them as attacks (yea, you wish), and the best way to get around is by doing barrel rolls every five seconds. Unfortunately, you're punished, too, as you're never told what the hell you're supposed to do. I assumed it was "destroy all enemies", but that plan died when I realized that the enemies would not. One FAQ later, and I found out that Astro Boy took this level off so he could catch birds with a butterfly net. I'm sure that the Japanese text I skipped would have explained this, but I'm also sure that the explanation would amount to, "You'll do what we tell you, you piece of human excrement." Now imagine that for about half the levels, and you have a good idea of the Astro Boy experience.
That other half? It's all the platforming stuff I mentioned. This is where it gets hard to get mad at this game, making it that much more amazing that I did. But remember this: it was hard to find reasons to be mad at this part of the game, mainly because it does its job. You jump around levels, you punch enemies into death, you know, all the things you do in regular platformers, only with weird quirks. You can't punch up, and jumping behaves oddly. It's hard to explain to those who haven't played it, and saying that it behaves like a halfway Castlevania doesn't do the jumping system justice. What does do it justice is comparing the incredibly dedicated jetpack system to Wario's farts. Just charge and fly away. I'd call it a simple point-and-fart system, but the lack of mid-jump fart blasts makes it a bit less simple. I'm being informed that because my blogs should match the lengths of their games, I only have room for one more thing before I get to the awards. Fine, whatever. The boss battles are unique, but a bit on the easy side. We good? OK, Just Play Omega Factor Award.
- A large collection of various gameplay elements that amount to fuck-all.
- The actual platforming is OK, but not without its problems.
- Shorter than the song I used at the beginning of this damn thing.