How Persona 3 Reload Redefines the Classic JRPG

As a longtime fan of the Persona series, the announcement of “Persona 3 Reload” filled me with a mixture of excitement and nostalgia. Having spent countless hours immersed in the original game, the prospect of revisiting Iwatodai with modern enhancements was thrilling. “Persona 3 Reload” did not disappoint, especially for someone who treasures the series’ social simulation aspects.

In “Persona 3 Reload,” while specific details on new Personas or locations have not been explicitly mentioned, the game retains its focus on the Velvet Room for Persona fusion and the city of Port Island for exploration. The Velvet Room continues to offer Persona fusions, including special fusions involving three or more Personas, and allows players to register their Personas in the compendium for later summoning. Port Island, including areas like Paulownia Mall and Tatsumi Port Island Station, remains a hub for buying items, working part-time, and enhancing social stats. The game also introduces network features, such as the ability to review and compare progress with other players, access gameplay tips, and utilize online saves within the same console family, though not cross-platform. These features aim to modernize the experience and foster a sense of community among players read more

A Missed Opportunity: The Absence of Female Protagonist Kotone in Persona 3 Reload

As an avid fan of the Persona series, the anticipation for “Persona 3 Reload” has been a roller coaster of excitement and, unfortunately, disappointment. The Persona series, developed by Atlus, has always been at the forefront of delivering engaging narratives, complex characters, and innovative gameplay. However, the recent unveiling of “Persona 3 Reload” has left a noticeable void for many fans, particularly due to the exclusion of Kotone, the female protagonist from “Persona 3 Portable.” read more

Persona 5 delayed until Summer 2016

Persona 5 took center stage at Tokyo Game Show 2015 with a new Trailer (see it below); however, it also brought with it, the sad news that the game is being delayed once again, now with an estimated release date of Summer 2016. I’m disapointed by this news, as it was reported that the special Persona 5 event was in order to announce the “exact” release date. Not only do we not have an “exact” release date, but we learn that the game is once again delayed, and not even first quarter 2016, but instead, almost a full year from now – and that’s just for the Japanese gamers; the rest of us can probably expect an even longer wait.

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Oh well, gives me time to save up to buy a PS4 before the release. While we wait, check out the new trailer below:

https://youtu.be/DdepJemTf6M

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New LEAKED Trailers for Persona 5! NEW RARE Never Before Seen! New Footage. UPDATE.

UPDATE: another trailer was revealed at Tokyo Game Show, along with news that the game has been delayed until Summer 2016. Read more and watch the newest trailer in my new blog post over here.

My original post with footage released on Jun 30, 2015 is below:

Youtube has been buzzing all week with NEW leaked gameplay footage and new TRAILERS for Atlus’ upcoming rpg, Persona 5. Atlus disapointed fans at this year’s E3 by showing the same trailer they had already released. Now it seems some perhaps intentional leaks are coming in to help promote their cult classic RPG franchise. The game will be available this fall on both PS3 and PS4. i’m a huge Persona fangirl, and this title is a must-own in my opinion. I’m dying to find out what variations, if any, will exist between the PS3 and PS4 versions. Maybe it’s time for me to buy a PS4 for this game although I already have a PS3.

Check out all of the game trailers below!

P5 PV02 by personacentral

https://youtu.be/mvydlzyV9D4

https://youtu.be/WRRwvoU3FGI

https://youtu.be/1YlrGBsXDCs

Nintendo Announces Not Just One, But 2 Fire Emblem Games at E3 2015

Nintendo just made Fire Emblem, and Shin Megami Tensei Fans very happy with the following two announcements.

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Coming to America in 2016

First up, Fire Emblem Fates

IGN.com describes Fire Emblem Fates as “Developed by the same team that created Fire Emblem Awakening, the new adventure adds challenges never before seen in the series and asks players to make decisions that will affect the game’s world in new ways.” They also tell us that the game, known as Fire Emblem IF in Japan was released as 2 separate games. Further research uncovers that these 2 versions feature completely different storylines and different battles as well. They were subtitled Midnight Sun and Dark Night Kingdom. Nintendo did not announce which version(s) would be coming over to the US at this time.

Next, a special Fire Emblem X Shin Megami Tensei Crossover, called Genei Ibunroku which translates roughly to “Ilusory Revelations”

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This is being developed by Atlus and Intelligemt Systems, but it sounds as if Atlus is leading the project. In an earlier interview, Shinjiro Takada revealed that it was very challenging to blend the two gameplay styles. He alluded that it will be a very different game than anyone is expecting. It’s been in development now for over 2 years. Take a look at the trailer that was revealed last month. Also note Shinjiro Takada has already confirmed that there’s going to be even more characters than those shown in these brief trailers below.

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Persona 4 Review

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Title: Persona 4

Genre: RPG, Dating Sim, Raising Sim, Monster Collection, Dungeon Crawler

Publisher: Atlus

Platforms: PS2, Vita (Persona 4 Golden)

Languages: Japanese, English, Other

Buy this game now on Amazon

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: 

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Story: People have been disappearing lately, and there’s rumors at school about a mysterious channel that comes on at midnight every night. This midnight show can show you a better “you”, a you that is your soul’s true desire; but you might not like the “you” you find here. A group of youths with a strange ability to call upon powers known as “personas” find that they must fight to save their friends, and ultimately the world, by calling upon different reflections of their inner selves.

Concept & Gameplay: The Persona series focuses on building relationships with monsters found in randomly generated dungeons. There’s only one dungeon in the game and its map changes each time you enter. You are free to explore as often as you want and climb as high as you want (though there are locks at certain points where you have to progress the story further before you may continue). In addition to a dungeon crawler, it blends dating sim elements by allowing you to forge relationships with not just members of your party, but even the NPCs which you encounter. Increasing these relationships reveals story information and also makes your personas much stronger in battle. You can fuse and combine personas within the velvet room in order to create new personas. Once a persona has been registered, it can be summoned again without needing to capture it again first. Also at certain points you will make small choices in how you respond to characters or in which activities you take part in (such as joining clubs), this allows you to meet certain characters and see certain scenes, while forcing you to miss out on other characters and scenes, increasing the replay value, but ultimately, not impacting the story or ending of the game (aside from one very important choice near the very end of the game which results in either the good or bad ending). If your game continues after the train sequence in the epilogue you will know you are headed for the “good” ending or “true ending” as they call it. Which adds at least another 2 hours of gameplay to the game. The only slight flaw with the gameplay is it is possible to screw up so badly that you might have to start the game all over from the beginning, because of this, save often! You have until the “next full moon” to level up before being forced into boss encounters; if you forget and don’t have the level, gears, equipment, items, potions, personas, etc that you should have by then, you will probably be resetting your game out of desperation. I use 3 or 4 save slots, and alternate every 20 minutes or so between which slots I save in. This way I have a few options to try and salvage the mess I’ve gotten into. While I never had a problem where I felt I needed to reload an old save, it never hurts to be ready for a “what-if” scenario.  Also, unlike other games I’ve reviewed so far, this game has combat and action elements too, and the combat is very fun and intriguing using the monsters you have collected for various abilities and teaching your monsters new abilities. You can also split up and search the dungeons for treasures or stairs to the next floor. The AI seems fairly intelligent too.

Characters: There are hundreds of characters in this game, you might not meet them all, and you definitely won’t be able to max your relationship with all of them in a single play through. The characters are diverse and have depth and as you progress your relationship with each of them you witness the strength of character development that went into this game and how human and realistic these characters are. They have flaws, they have worries, troubles, joys, memories, pain, pasts, families, etc. It’s very touching and really the highlight of the game for me.

Graphics: The graphics are a bit dated by today’s standards. The 3d especially looks pretty bad. Keep in mind, this is a ps2 rpg, not ps3 or ps4. I think for its time that the graphics were fairly decent and I loved the added touch of the animated cutscenes and expressive character portraits.

Music: The music is very good, I dunno of anyone who’s played it who hasn’t had the “Junes Theme” stuck in their head at one time or another lol. It’s simple but catchy music. My favorite music is within the velvet room :).

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Voice Acting: I played the official/commercial English version of the game, therefore my review and scores of voice acting are for the English version and the English actors. I thought it was actually really well done and I am not a fan of most dubs. I like that the script was left fairly untouched with a lot of mature decisions, such as allowing characters to use foul language; this makes their emotions seem stronger and more “real” to me. If you’re in a situation of high stress, it sounds more natural to curse rather than to use children safe alternatives. (just my opinion) Most of the cast did really really well. They showed a really wide range of emotion and versatility, and even many of the NPCs are voiced, it was probably a huge undertaking to record that much dialogue.

Final Scores:

Story: 8/10

Concept: 8/10

Gameplay: 10/10

Characters: 8/10

Graphics: 7/10

Music 9/10

Voice Acting: 9/10

Overall: 84% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Devil Maker Tokyo Review

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Note: Sadly, this game is no longer available. It was one of my first, and favorite, Ipad Collectible card games. This review will remain up in honor of what a fun game this was.

If you’re looking for similar games, you can try: Million Arthur: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/million-arthur./id935513908?mt=8

Lussid Magic School (AKA Sid Story) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sid-story/id983543914?mt=8

Lastly, you can check out soccer spirits which combines collectible card games with soccer team management here https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/soccer-spirits/id808137814?mt=8 or Love Live School Idol Festival which combines collecting cards with a rhythm game mechanics which you can pick up right here https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/love-live!-school-idol-festival/id834030294?mt=8

Title: Devil Maker Tokyo

Genre: Collectable Card Game / RPG

Publisher: Palmple

Platform: Ipad / Android

Language: English

Geeky Factor: 

Sweetie Factor: 

Grab it on IOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/devil-maker-tokyo/id659867068?mt=8

Grab it on Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.palmple.glodmkr.google&hl=en

Cost: Free (with additional in-app purchases available.) There’s nothing that you “have” to pay for. There are no cards that you can’t obtain on your own while playing the game, but some people are impatient I guess, so for them, the option to buy additional “summons” to summon new devils exists.

Overall Score: 77% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

Gameplay: There are multiple areas when it comes to the gameplay. First there is the story mode, where chapters unlock as you level up in the main game, the story is fairly solid (see story for more details there), then there’s the arena, where you can engage in pvp battles with other players.

Battles in this game are all done automatically, you don’t have any control over what happens. In the arena, you pay your fee with silver for entry, and then wait 15 minutes to see the results. Not very exciting lol. But you can win rare cards here. Every month (roughly) they will have a new “arena season” with a new devil to obtain that’s only available for a limited amount of time. You typically have to participate in the arena 150-200 times to obtain this reward. There are other smaller rewards like health potions and summoning tickets and experience cards as well.

Then there’s the “main” game. Here you are free to explore various maps in the game world, each offering various rewards and level requirements to enter. You explore these worlds by clicking on one of three cards that appear at the bottom of your screen. I like to think of it as coming to a fork in the road, you can keep going straight (middle), or turn left or right. Each map has a finite amount of steps, and when you reach 100%, you engage in a boss battle. Boss fights allow you to take up to 2 of your friends’ “leader cards” into battle with you. This is a big help for new or low level players, as some of the boss fights can be very tough. Also, just because you CAN go into a zone (are high enough level to enter), doesn’t mean you SHOULD go in there. I’m level 37 and consistently get my butt whooped by NON-boss battles in the areas with a level requirement of level 35 or even level 32. (My cards are around level 32 on average, rank 6 through 4).

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I guess I’ll talk about that next, cards have various ranks represented by stars across the top of the card, the more stars a card has, the more powerful it is and the more likely you are to want to place it in your party. You have 6 slots you can fill in your party, and you also have a battle cost on each card, and a battle “limit” meter that increases with each level up. Sometimes you might not be able to fit all of your best cards because of this limit. So have to put some thought into the members of your party.

Secondly, cards have a level, and they do NOT gain experience in battle – only you gain experience in battle. Confused yet? lol. The cards level up by sacrificing other cards at the shrine screen. You can sacrifice up to 30 cards at once. The higher the rank, level, and rarity of the cards you sacrifice, the more experience you will gain. Also, the higher the rank, level, and rarity of the card you are trying to level, the more experience it will take to level that card up. You can find “sealed devil cards” in the “theme park” and “fallen darkness” zones. The only use I’ve found for these is to level up your cards.

You can also find “material” cards like otherworldly and celestially armor, etc. You have 2 options for these cards, you can sacrifice them to get a tremendous boost in experience, or use them to transform certain cards at the shrine. When you transform a card, it will go up by one rarity level. The art work will change slightly, and it’s skills and abilities may also improve.

The other thing you can do in this game is fight against the “core”. Cores are discovered by you or your friends as they explore in the main game. If you discover the core, you get a free card, totally random, can be crap, or be really valuable. A core will stay active for 30 minutes OR until it is killed, whichever comes first. You may fight each core once every two minutes. Your friends will also receive a notice that a new core of darkness has been discovered and will hopefully help you defeat it. Each time you fight the core you get a decent amount of experience and a small amount of silver (currency used for things like sacrificing cards at the shrine or entering the arena). If you deal the final blow to the core, you get about ten times the experience awards as a regular “defeat” against the core. If no one defeats the core, it disappears after the time is up. If you OR one of your friends defeats the core, everyone who fought at least ONE battle will receive a card, once again totally random, there are also 2 very powerful cards that can ONLY be found by fighting the core. I’m not sure if they change or not. since I’ve been playing it’s been Amon (rank 5) and Samuel (rank 6). They drop pretty frequently, with Amon dropping about twice as frequently as Samuel.

Lastly, back at the shrine you can also “recontract” a devil. Devils also have a letter grade S through D. It goes (from best rank to worst) S, A, B, C, D. Altering a devil’s rank will alter it’s AP (I assume these are attack points), HP (self explanatory), and DP (maybe defense points? or darkness points? not sure). It may also gain new skills and abilities. It’s “battle cost” however will remain the same. You will need a “recontacting ticket”. You can find them playing the main game, or purchase for real money from the cash shop. So that’s a basic overview on the game play.

While exploring the zones you will find one of 4-5 different “encounters” at each “step” (each time you select a card at the bottom.) They are pink hearts (heal 20-30% of every party member’s HP), Shortcuts (advance further into the dungeon by skipping some steps), Devil (a battle, where you get a random card if you win), Powerful devil (a harder battle where you get a better card if you win, but still random), Boss (sometimes you find bosses before the final boss) you can take 2 friends’ leader cards, and have a small chance to get the boss card that you fight, they almost never drop though, they are super rare and annoying lol. You also can find cores (explained above), sealed devil and equipment cards (explained above), silver, and “empty spaces” where you might encounter new friends to add to your buddy list. Some maps also have celestial, underworld, or other worldly energy cards which deal OR heal damage based on your corresponding devil types (there’s weaknesses and strengths, but I’ve not figured them all out yet.).

There’s also a weekly “challenge” where you try to approach the core of darkness – basically it’s an endless dungeon with infinite steps, you can keep fighting until you have no party members remaining, you get various rewards for how far you make it. You encounter all the other things you encounter in a normal dungeon too. You can enter once a week for free, and then each time you enter, rather you resume (by paying 50,000 silver), or start over (from the beginning), will cost you light points.

Light points refill every few minutes and each dungeon costs a set number of light points to enter. There are light potions you can buy or find to refill your meter, and also when you level up, this meter, and all of your devils’ hp are restored, and dead devils are revived. If a devil dies while exploring you can use a revive potion to restore them to full health.

The gameplay is fun, but it loses some points from me for not having any control in battles, I can’t use items (like health potions) in battle, I can’t select which skills my devils use, or which devils they attack. All I can do is sit and watch or “skip” the battle to speed it up. I’d also like to see a way to trade cards with other players. Therefore, removing 3 points (2 for no control in battle, and 1 point for no trade feature). Final score 7/10

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Story: The story in story mode is very good. Without revealing too much here is a brief hopefully non-spoilerly synopsis :). You are a contractor, one who can make deals with devils. The devils lend you their power in exchange for “favors” that only a human contractor can perform. When a devil and contractor merge their powers the devils’ full potential is released.

Also a devil can enter areas of light if it is bound to a contractor. Conversely, a devil who puts darkness into a human, or a contractor of “darkness”, can enter darkness that most normal humans would not be able to.

There was a fight many years ago against a very strong devil named Oracha. After this fight, a great area of darkness, known as S1 was created. The government controls S1, the people who lived there before the fight, remain, but most people are prohibited from traveling in or out of the area. S1 is infested with demons and highly dangerous. The people living there live in darkness, despair, strife, etc. Sometimes contractors of light help these people, bringing them food and medicine from outside.

You can’t remember much about your past, but a devil named Yuki tells you that you used to have a contract with her master and that she needs your help to find her master again. You think that she might know more about your past than what she lets on, so you agree to help her in exchange to hopefully regain your lost memories. As the story progresses you begin to realize that you were directly involved in the events which created S1, but no one will tell you exactly how you were related to what happened there.

Oracha is about to re-awaken and is organizing an all out war, demons, against humans, and the newly found “contractors of darkness” mean that now there are humans fighting on the side of the ultimate evil, making him even stronger than the last time you battled him. You must find a way to prevent Oracha and his army from advancing their plans any further. Still, since the story takes a backseat to the main game and other features, and because it doesn’t feel terribly original, giving it a medium score of 6/10

Concept: The concept of summoning devils and making contracts is almost like playing Persona on my ipad. While the game play is VASTLY different, the concept is almost identical. Not very original, but then again I like Persona’s theme/concept. I also like that every card can be obtained for free with hard work, and the cash shop items are 100% optional. I also like that my max card size is very large AND it increases as I play the game. I play a similar game called Valkyrie Crusade and it’s cash shop is almost essential to increase your max card size which never increases, so that’s a big plus in Devil Maker’s favor. I think I have to also remove a point though for not having a landscape format, having to hold my ipad all the time instead of using it’s stand is super annoying. No reason why they should not have landscape view!! Overall concept loses 2 points, one for originality, and one for lack of landscape, BUT it gains 1 point for it’s non-essential cash shop, and nice max-card hand size. Making concept 9/10

Artwork: The artwork reminds me tremendously of Persona. the character designs and environment are very similar, and very nicely drawn. There are some cards which were designed (I assume) by players which palmple has allowed them to autograph the artwork on the cards, which ruins it in my opinion. After many months of play, I gained a red riding hood card which is highly rare. In the middle of the artwork, not even in an inconspicuous place, in huge letters it says artwork by blahblah blah, whatever her name is, a western sounding name, oddly, so that’s why i think maybe it was drawn by a player. None of my other cards have this garish writing on them. I really dislike that about this card, and I worked super hard to get it. orz… But other than that one small point, I think the artwork is beautiful. Some of the artwork does get recycled – a common card and uncommon card are identical except for a hue/color shift, and a rare vs uncommon has a colorshift and sometimes a lineart edit. So I have to ding the artwork 2 points total, making it 8/10.

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Music: I love the music in this game, it’s very catchy. Completely original, and fits the mood of the game. It is perhaps the best music score I’ve heard in a mobile game. 10/10

Voiceacting: Not voiced, no score given.

Characters: The characters in story mode are interesting enough, but take up such a small portion of the game that I can’t really rank them too highly, story is secondary in this game afterall. Character development therefore gets a medium score of 6/10.

Final Scores:

Gameplay: 7/10

Story: 6/10

Concept: 9/10

Artwork: 8/10

Music: 10/10

Characters: 6/10

Overall: 77% C+ “Good Game For Girls”

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