Saturday, May 10, 2008

Persona 3 FES, Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness


Here in America, we rarely get treated to the special editions of JRPG's that so often come out in Japan due to a game's popularity so that when we finally do get one, it is a special treat.

Persona 3 FES (short for FEStival) is that and much, much more. Not only do we get an additional 30 hours or so of gameplay that takes place after the original game ends, but we get the entire original game as well - with additional content. So, for Persona 3 fans, this was a bit of a no-brainer.

After finishing Persona 3, I wanted more. Even after I had sunk 90+ hours into the game, spent countless hours dungeon crawling, grinding and made friends with everyone I could find in the game, I wanted to go back in and start a new game immediately. That's only happened one other time that I can remember for me in 25 years of gaming - Final Fantasy X-2. But don't hold that against me.

What you get in Persona 3 FES is the original quest, titled, The Journey, and the additional quest, titled The Answer. In the Answer, you start playing as Aigis and you have access to all of the Personas, just like your hero did in the first game through some space-time dimentional thingy or something. Whatever the reason, it's hella fun. The plot doesn't have to be deep when you are giving fans such a hoped for love letter in the form of FES. It's the same gameplay, characters (with some additional...) and elements that make the first one worthy of the time you need to invest.

I've started playing through The Answer straight away and I'm already hooked. The enemies are harder, the Persona fusing is tougher and there are fewer items and money to help you. Choosing the right cards after battle is now more of a strategic element than it was in Persona 3. The random dungeons that pop up underneath the dorm are really fun and the 'doors' you open up back to the world of Persona 3 are excellent and a perfect way to get you to grind to the next one.


Along with Persona 3 FES, I've been sinking in countless hours into Disgaea: Afernoon of Darkness for the PSP. As far as strategy RPG's go, I've really only got into the Fire Emblem series, but I own Tactics Ogre, Disgaea 1 & 2, Final Fantasy Tactics PSX and GBA and Jeanne D'Arc. It always seemed like a type of game I should love, with the level grinding, job systems and methodical RPG gameplay I like, but for some reason, I could never get into the other titles.

This has all changed with Disgaea.

I started the original on PS2 a while back and realized I was about to get hooked. I knew there was a port for the PSP, which was the first game and some additional content, so I stopped playing the PS2 version and sought a copy of the PSP one. It took me a while to find but it was well worth the wait.

The gameplay is typical SRPG, with strategic maps, character skill trees and massive parties possible, but with some funny, irreverant dialogue, a great cast of characters and some of the best voice acting I have ever heard in a video game, hands-down.

The maps themselves are well thought out and fun, with added effects like geo-panels to make the board somewhat of a puzzle as you try and make each space benefit you instead of your opponent. There are combo attacks if you place you attacking party members next to each other, which deal out big damage. You can also capture enemies and get them to join your party if you throw them into your spawn point, where they also thrash around, severely hurting you other party members still waiting to spawn. But, this is also one of the very original tactics in the game.

When you party gets beaten up, you can heal at the Netherworld Hospital. However, they reward you the more you get thrashed and give you rare and very, very helpful items the more you have to heal. So, from time to time, you'll find a map where you want to destroy your spawn point (which kills all of the members of you party except for the ones on the map) and use the one or two characters left to take out a whole map of enemies, vastly leveling them up and most likely, capuring one or two high-level enemies and getting a rare item when yo have to heal your totaled party members. How fun is that!

The game is 14 chapters long, minus the extra stuff at the end where people have invested literally hundreds of hours to complete the two or three chapters after the true game ends. Check Youtube for some crazy videos where people can hit for something like 6 billion damage. Crazy.

I'm 6 chapters in and throuroughly enjoying myself. I think this is the game which may have turned the tide for me on SRPG's.

No comments: