Monday, April 7, 2008

Persona 3: 80+ hours and still going! (but not for long)


I have just over 85 hours into Persona 3 and I cannot believe how much I am enjoying the last month (NOTE: all time references in this post are in-game time). It moved forward slowly in December, though I'm sure it was so that you could concentrate on leveling up and making the fateful decision come January 1st, but it just seemed slow. I feared that the end game would be all about grinding with weak enemies and repetitive levels and the game would lose me when it should have been at its best.

Well, January has been all fun. In fact, I played until 11:30 last night and just couldn't focus on the screen any longer, so I had to give up and retire for the evening. I climbed to the top of Tartarus in 12 days after January 1st, which, considering you had to go through 5 (!) bosses, seemed to me to be the end of the fun Tartarus battles as my party seemed pretty well powered up.

I left Tartarus, a little regretful that there would be no more dungeon exploration and tough, new enemies to deal with - and lo and behold, there is another door! I saved and went in, not sure what to expect, but it turns out to be another 10 floors of Tartarus with VERY hard enemies that give you loads of experience. I huge smile spread across my face while visions of the Via Infinito from Final Fantasy X-2 ran through my head. This is the stuff I love!


For three days, I kept entering the new door and fighting a battle or two and leaving, trying to research all of the enemies on the floors and run from the hardest ones. Sometime I would get wiped out, other times, I would get 10K+ exp and watch my characters level up every battle. Truly addictive.

I am now four days from entering the final battle and I'm pretty excited. I have four different saves throughout the month to make sure I can go back and level more in necessary, but my I'm at level 91 currently and most of my party is at level 85 or better, so I think I'll be tough enough for the end battles.


I have also maxed out a ton of the relationships in the game, including Yukari, who (spoiler) professes her love for you once you reach level 10 of the Yukari social link. This stuff was actually really fun and for a grinding fan, with some of the same elements that make level grinding and dungeon exploring fun, namely rewards for time spent working on them. Being able to to fuse Personas and add lots of exp to them is fun and helps create that specialness that attention to detail and level grinding give you.

I have also collected a few other RPG's while I have been working on Persona 3 and I'm looking forward to tearing into those, namely Disgaea 1 & 2, Yakuza, Magna Carta and Grandia Extreme, as well as Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII for the PSP (a recent purchase, if you didn't see the Patapon post), which I have started and I'm already enjoying, even if I am only ten minutes into the game. I even had my girlfriend Linda play through the opening battle to see the cinematics, which are Advent Children/Spirits Within-quality.

I'll most likely finish the game in a day or so (in real time) and I'm going to pick up FES without question. This game is really masterpiece and has kept me interested all the way. Great pacing (for the most part), level building, Persona fusing systems and elements that break the traditional RPG mold really make it a tremendous game worthy of the 80+ hours you'll need to invest to finish it. Highly recommended.

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