Sunday, March 8, 2015

Video Game Review: Persona Retrospective: Persona (PSP) Part 4: Absolutly Flawless

So our heroes fight their way though the streets, fighting demons along the way. After they spend time at the casino playing games, picking up the Totems for later and creating two saves (one is for preparation for the Ice Queen Quest which I will cover after the main quest) they finally get to the shrine where they start to look for Maki's mo.... hey look a butterfly! Our heroes everyone, distracted by shiny Bug Pokemon when they should be looking for critically injured people! Yukino asks the obviously silly question about how there might be something off about the Butterfly. Gee let's think here, a golden butterfly just magically materialized out of nowhere while the streets of your town are being flooded by demons. Lady, I think that a golden Beautifly popping out of nowhere is the least weirdest thing you've seen today! They start to trip out and meet Philemon again.
After that bit of foreshadowing the gang finds Maki's mom RIGHT NEXT TO THEM! Hey um quick question, when the demons showed up did everyone else lose all sense of Peripheral Vision?!
"Maki's mother Setsuko Sonomura. She works at SEBEC as an engineering specialist."
 Setsuko tells the group that she took a bullet wound after being shot at by Kandori's goons. She also says that he's the one responsible for the changes done to the town and that she was involved in creating a device that is responsible, the DEVA System. It was designed to affect reality but she had no idea it would get this bad. Hang on, something with the power to warp and rewrite reality goes out of control and the whole world is twisted upside down?
Nah. That would just be stupid.
 Setsuko says that Kandori gives absolutely no shits about what he's doing. She wants to go to the police and tell them what is going on, but aside from them dismissing her because it sounds like several flavors of crazy; the police station is a no go anyway since Elly came from there before meeting up with the gang at the hospital and according to her the place is already taken over by demons. Mark asks Setsuko how she escaped, she says she got out through a secret freight entrance in the abandoned factory next door. She then gives the group her security card before passing out. The group then splits up with Mark and Nanjo heading off to the factory while Naorin, Elly and Yukino take Setsuko back to the school to recover. After Elly gives a really dumb password Ms Saeko shows up to help get Setsuko to the Nurses office, she tells Elly and Yukino to help Ayase and Yuko plug up the hole in the wall near the gym's passageway.
Oh right I forgot to mention Yuko Himeno, long story short she's Maki's best friend and dirt poor. As for her character, just remember Pre-Chunin exam Hinata from Naruto and you're good.

 After Setsuko fills Saeko in on what happened she tells Naorin to go by the hole and ask Yukino and the others to not fill up the hole since she thinks that Mark and Nanjo might come back. Now before you do anything make sure you talk to everyone and go to the sports club rooms to collect some new weapons and gear for your team. Once you tell Yuka that you're off to attack SEBEC Maki shows up! Wait what? And for some reason she seems more perky and optimistic then when you saw her in the hospital. As in she's well enough to move of her own accord. Even Ayase knows that something stinks like dead fish and responds accordingly.
 Ayase thinks this Maki is a demon in disguise. Yuko doesn't think so because she has Maki's favorite compact mirror around her neck. "Maki" wonders if something is different with Yuko, but before we get any answers Nanjo shows up and says that Mark was captured by demons at the police station when he was trying to get some weapons. Nanjo managed to escape with some guns to get help since Mark still has the security card (otherwise he would have just left his ass there to get munched on by demons, great guy huh?) Once outside Maki asks what a police station is, and no she's not joking because even after being told by Nanjo what it is she still has no idea what the hell he's talking about. Even more warning flags are raised since Maki asked when the gym was renovated and Nanjo replies when she was hospitalized and Maki says she's never been in a hospital. Just as the group is about to head out a demon attacks, Maki then summons her Persona, Maso of the Priestess Arcana.
Based off of Mazu or Matsu, a Chinese Goddess of the Sea that protects fishermen and sailors from its many dangers.
Once that's all taken care of it's time for a jailbreak. The trio gets to the station and finds that the place is trashed; but they find a key to the prison cells and haul ass over there. Once there they find not only Mark but Brown locked up as well. Apparently he had the same idea and came to the station to get some weapons but got caught too, the police lieutenant shows up but it turns out to be a demon in disguise and sends zombie cops after the group. Brown is speechless after the others kill the zombies with their Personas. Just as the Demon Lieutenant is about to kill Brown he summons his own Persona, Nemhain of the Justice Arcana.
Along with Badb Catha and Macha, Nemhain was part of a trio of goddesses that represented various aspects of the goddess Morrigan. Nemhain represented the state of frenzy and panic and often created such feelings in armies, causing those of such states to attack both allies and enemies in rage.
With the demons gone Mark gets Brown up to speed, then he gives Naorin the access card and rejoins the group. Now with four permanent party members we need to discuss the potential fifth member, in the main quest you can choose who will be in your party as the fifth member between Brown, Ayase, Elly and Reiji. Be careful though, once you choose one, you're stuck with him/her, and Yukino is only available in the Ice Queen Quest. But the one you will really want to get is Reiji. Why? Because not only will he have exclusive access to certain Personas, have negotiation skills that work on almost every demon, has some actual relevance to the plot and (most importantly) can only be obtained as a party member in the SEBEC story that's the one we're going to aim for, if you've been following my reviews and wondering why I've been pointing out those Reiji parts, this is why. If you don't want Reiji my second best choice would be Elly since she has similar points to Reiji like the compatibility with certain Personas but also because you can choose her to be a Party member in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment and well, continuity and all that. But don't worry, you can still play with Brown, Ayase and Elly as party members in the Snow Queen Quest, along with Yukino. So for now when Brown offers his services just say no. With that Brown heads back to the school while we head off to a certain room.
Welcome to the Velvet Room.
 This is where you can create new Personas with the help of some of Philemon's servants. The first is called Nameless.
He plays the piano to open the doors of the heart. Since music is the language of the soul as it were.
Next is Nameless' partner Belladonna.
Her singing accompanies Nameless' music. She covers her ears while she sings.
The last is the one who handles the fusions themselves and the one character that appears in almost every game in the Persona Franchise, Igor.
Yeah because THIS GUY looks trustworthy eh?
Though these three; Personas can be drawn from the collective unconsciousness to aid those who are either directly chosen by the trio's master, or those who are bound by a contract when they are granted a certain power will be covered MUCH later. The purpose of the Velvet Room is to aid their guests by honing their power through creating more powerful Personas. Now to give the bare basics of how the Room works here, Igor will show you a list of potential Personas that can be fused from the Spell Cards obtained by negotiating with demons. Then by selecting the Persona you want and which cards you want to fuse to create it (you can also add an item from your stock to give your Persona a power boost or skill it couldn't normally know depending on what item you use in the fusion) all Igor has to do is use his special Bone Phone and voila new Persona. Also certain Personas can only be created by adding in a Totem Item into the item select. But the exclusive Persona can only be summoned by a fusion that would result in their Arcana. Remember that you can only create Personas that are at most Ten levels above you and can only equip them once the characters Persona level matches theirs.  The Persona list will tell you what characters work better with what Persona based on their Affinities.
Best - If the appropriate conditions are set, it may activate its Unknown Power.
Good - Can be equipped and used, but its Unknown Power will not be activated.
Bad - Can be equipped but not used in battle. Healing and support skills can still be used outside of battle via the menu.
Worst - Cannot be equipped.
 As you would assume, the party members have a "Best" affinity with their original Arcana, Naorin with the Emperor, Nanjo and the Hierophant, Maki with the Priestess you get the idea, however each of them has a second Arcana that also gives them "Best". I personally only bother to equip my party with Personas that have a "Best" affinity since they will level up their rank faster. Igor can also store away up to 16 extra Personas to swap out with the three each of the five characters can equip. You can also have Igor delete any Persona you want which will give you an item if you delete it once its Rank is maxed. Anything else you want to know, you can just ask Igor. Now listen to the sounds of the Velvet Room before we come back next time where we start the attack on SEBEC.

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Shin Megami Tensai Persona is owned by Atlus and Sega.
The X-Men are owned by Marvel Comics, The Walt Disney Company, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Yugioh is owned by Konami, Kazuki Takahashi, Toei Animation, Shonen Jump and Viz Media.