The video game series Megami Tensei is one that is very near and dear to my heart. While most of the series manages to slip through the cracks, one of the gaidens, or side stories, of the series has been released in the U.S. The video game Persona 2 Eternal Punishment is quite unlike any RPG you will ever play. Filled with rich game play and graphics it is truly a classic RPG game.
The story takes place in modern day times, complete with i-Mac laden internet café's, and cell phone carrying teenagers. You are put into the role of Maya Amano, a junior reporter for the teen magazine Coolest. You start the game investigating a series of bizarre and disturbing serial murders committed by an entity simply titled "the Joker". Rumor has it if you call your own cell phone number this deranged psycho will kill who ever you order him to. Sounds twisted right ? Well it only gets stranger from there, and to spoil anymore would be a serious disservice to the game player.
The game play in Persona is about as unconventional as it gets. You can actually communicate with your enemies, as well as summon an unspeakably high number of new Persona's for your characters. So what is a Persona ? A Persona is a mystical guardian who is supposedly another side to you. The unique contact system, as well as the ability to customize your characters Persona's adds a lot of depths to the game play. The game also employs a unique Rumor system, which allows you to affect things with in the game by spreading rumors. Such as getting a shop to carry new items for your characters, or getting a special item you need.
The graphics are of a high caliber for a Playstation game, and generally render the environments in an intriguing way. The characters themselves are traditional two dimensional sprites, while the back grounds are three dimensional. Although the graphics on the characters can get somewhat pixilated at times, they are well detailed and equally well animated. The three dimensional backgrounds are all well rendered, and very effectively convey the games many diverse environments.
The music and sound in Persona is yet another one of its high points. The songs are extremely unique, and convey the dark disturbing atmosphere of the game. The voice acting though is one of the games lower points in my opinion. While the Japanese original had excellent voice acting, we English speakers got stuck with a really bad dub job oh well.
Overall Persona 2 Eternal Punishment is an experience I highly recommend to all who can still find it. A very unique, but unfortunately overlooked RPG highly recommended by the Gamer's Edge.
Gamer's Edge score: 8 out of 10