Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Dark Hour Returns.

So if you don't know what Persona 3 is and you own a PS2 you may have something wrong with you. P3 was the best RPG of last year and one of the best PS2 games ever released. If you never played it you now have your chance. Persona 3 Fes is the enhanced version of the original game along with The Answer. The Answer is a 30-40 hr add on that takes place after the events of Persona 3 and provides a real conclusion. Oh and did I mention you are getting all this for a budget price? So there really is no reason to pass it up.

First off if you don't know how Persona 3 works I'll explain. During the daytime you basically do everything a normal high school student would. Making friends, Dating and of course taking classes, Studying and exams. At night the game functions as a hardcore dungeon crawl. It's these two complete opposites that keep the game so inventive and fresh through the whole 100+ hr experience.

You will spend daytime trying to balance your time between studying and hanging out with friends. The key here is the closer you get to your friends the stronger you can make your persona which in turn will make the battles that take place at night easier. Certain Persona can only be obtained after you have reached a certain point in a relationship with a certain character so the game encourages you to get to know all the characters so you can excel in battle.

At night battles will begin and you will explore the tower of Tarturus. Battles are your basic turn based affair with a few twists. You don't fully control your party. You can direct them to use a certain strategy but you can't directly control their actions. This dynamic adds alot more strategy to battles then you might think even more so during boss encounters. If that sounds a bit rough fear not as you do hold complete control over the main character so you will be able to make up for the rest of the party's short comings. You also have to be careful not to push your party to hard as they can become tired or sick and hinder your exploration. Those that become tired or sick will be alot more susceptible to being knocked down or end up on the receiving end of a critical hit so you must plan ahead to avoid such things.

Fes adds a number of new additions into the game such as a weapon synthesis system in which you can combine Persona and weapons to make powerful new weapons to fight off shadows. A costume system was added in which when you put a costume on a character it really looks different unlike the first version of P3. In addition there are also new Side quests, A new Social link involving Aigis and alot of little fan service for those who played the first version of P3 such as seeing more of the social link characters around town far more often then in the first version.

But wait that isn't all. Persona 3 Fes also includes Episode Aigis which was changed to The Answer for the US release. The Answer is a add on to Persona 3 that will take about 30-40 Hrs to complete and takes place after the events of the original game. You take on the role of Aigis and for some unknown reason the same day begins to repeat itself endlessly. It is up to S.E.E.S to find out exactly how this is happening and to stop it once and for all. The Answer plays out just like the night portions of Persona 3 however there are no social links this time around which may disappoint some. However The Answer is simply there to give closure to fans who didn't fully understand the ending to P3. Also be aware that the difficultly of The Answer is much higher then that of Persona 3 unless you played Persona 3 on hard mode.

Now you may notice that I never once mentioned anything about graphics and the like and that is because there is simply no need. Persona 3 is a game that is immersed in it's world. The story and the characters are what make this game shine. Atlus went as far as to hire many big name anime voice actors( Michelle Ruff, Vic Mignogna, Liam O'Brien)to bring the characters of Persona 3 to life and it shows. Anyone can find a character in Persona 3 to relate to and that makes the story that much more emotional by the end.

All in all Persona 3 Fes is one of the best games to ever see release on the PS2 and in my opinion one of the best RPG's ever made. Atlus took two ideas that upon hearing them would sound crazy and combined them to make one of the most compelling RPG's to date and it certainly should not be missed by anyone.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Say it ain't so Frankie

It's a sad sad day for Bungie fans everywhere. In a shocking revelation Frankie O'Connor will be moving on from Bungie. He left a message to fans thanking them for all the memories over the years and assures us he won't be to far away. He is departing Bungie to go work with Microsoft on the Halo franchise.

He leaves us with positive thoughts stating that we will be surprised on what Bungie is working on. There isn't really much I can say about this it's sad that we will be without who is perhaps Bungie's most vocal member. It seems no one really saw this coming but it's nice to know that we will be seeing a lot of Frankie as he shifts focus at Microsoft.

For now I think mister chief says it best.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Gears of War 2 Thoughts.

So last night the first game play footage of Gears of War 2 was revealed. How was it you ask? Well calm down and I'll tell you.

First off all that talk of the Unreal Engine 3 looking way better for Gears of War 2 is really kind of non sense. While it is true the graphics are better they are only slightly so. That's not a bad thing as Gears is still one of the best looking games out there.

What is impressive is the amount of things going on at once without even a hint of slowdown. I think that's where Epic has truly gotten the Unreal Engine to shine. The video depicts an area of the game in which you are aboard a armored walker of sorts heading into Locust infested territory. What results is absolute chaos. Looking off the side of the Derrick as the armored vehicle is called you can see 20-30 locust running around trying to take the vehicle down. Also multiple Brumacks and Seeders firing those nasty exploding missile pod things. Oh and yours is not the only Derrick entering this fight. So as you can see a lot is going on and there wasn't even a hint of slowdown anywhere and that's very very impressive.

As far as game play goes there are a few interesting things to take note of. First it seemed as though there may have been a new weapon, an automatic pistol of sorts. Second there was the ability to use a downed Locust as a living shield. Third was of course the chain saw duel. Basically how it looks like it pans out is that if both players chain saw at the same time they will mash the B button and the one who does it faster wins and gains the kill. It will be interesting to see how that works out in Multi-player as the animation takes a bit and if the characters are invincible during the animation it may become a bit unbalanced.

Before seeing this video I wasn't at all excited about Gears 2. I thought it would be simply a rehash with new missions and that's it ala Unreal Tournament. However I was pleasantly surprised and am now excited for the games release. I'm anxious to find out what other changes and improvements Epic has in store. If you've yet to see the video you and find it at or on the Xbox Video Marketplace. Go check it out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mirror's Edge.

I never thought I would find myself looking forward to a EA game. Maybe it's not so much that I'm excited about it but more that I'm hoping they pull it off. For those that don't know Mirror's Edge is basically a First Person action game somewhat like Breakdown in which the movement is far more realistic and you will see your body as if you really are the person you are playing. You will see your arms when you running full speed just as if you are really pumping your arms and you will see your legs as well. If you perform a roll when landing from a jump you will see you torso just as you really would. Immersion is the name of the game here. Some are worried that motion sickness will even take hold of players as they get into the game.

Now graphically the game looks great if a bit to shiny. What I am really wondering is if the game play will be able to handle the concept well enough. I'm hoping EA DICE takes the Breakdown concept and runs with it. If they can pull it off it will easily be one of the more innovative games to come out in a while. I'm hoping the game doesn't devolve into a run of the mill shooter in which you just happen to be able to see your arms and legs. I want the game to really immerse you in the character and make you feel as if you are really there in the game fighting enemies and jumping from building to building as if you are a street runner.

It will be interesting to see how EA DICE handles the game and I'm anxious to play the final product. Let's hope they can deliver.