I've been gaming since I was three... I think (I have a horrible memory :P) And the first console I ever played was an NES. From there I have owned all the Nintendo consoles that have come out. Right now I currently have my PS3, Wii, and my laptop available for gaming (My 360 croaked recently). I am a very big fighting game fan, but I like alot of other types of games too like FPS types; just don't expect me to be too good at all of them. I also like writing/typing about a lot of things which of course include video games.
If you played Persona 3, enjoyed it, and haven't played Persona 4 yet; stop reading and get this game now. Persona 4 mostly keeps the same level of quality as the previous game and sometimes even surpasses it in some aspects. With that said, onto my review.
Persona 4 is at its core is a JRPG that consists of mainly two parts. These two parts are the dungeon crawling portion, and the social interaction part. The dungeon crawling part involves your party going through various dungeons basically beating the crap out of shadows, the main enemies of this game. The battles are typical Shin Megami Tensei fanfare, turn based combat that rewards exploiting enemies' weaknesses with extra turns and attacks. The combat is pretty much as streamlined as turn based combat can be. One improvement that Persona 4 made over Persona 3 is the ability to directly control everybody aside from the main character. While this does make the battles longer than they were in Persona 3; it beats HOPING the character AI will do what you want them to do.
Keeping true with the series, personas make triumphant return here. Personas are the avatars that the playable characters use to cast magic and personas also dictate their strengths and weaknesses. The main character also has the ability to switch between multiple personas that you can catch and fuse. The fusion system can be used to essentially make custom personas and a player that really invests themselves to this system will be rewarded with Personas that are built for their play style.
The big thing that separates the recent Persona entries from every other JRPG out there is the social interactions in game. While there are NPCs in every RPG that you play that you can talk to, in the recent Persona games they actually affect how powerful the personas you create are. These social interactions with these characters also help deepen the story by providing subplots outside the main plot. One neat thing that occurs with these interactions is the manner in which they intertwine with the story. This has a very immersive quality as everything connects to another within the story. The story plays out like a murder mystery within the confines of a small Japanese town with some dangerous TV dimension thrown in for good measure. The story also does not require the player to have any knowledge of what happened in Persona 3, though there are nice cameos and easter eggs for those that have played Persona 3.
Personally, I preferred the Persona 3 story. While Persona 4 is certainly more palatable with its story, it just didn't have the trademark Shin Megami Tensei atmosphere of being constantly messed up. That was what really drew me to Persona 3 and the Shin Megami Tensei series in general, and was a little bit disappointed with the mostly light-hearted atmosphere. This is a fairly minor gripe though and really didn't take away from the great story in the grand scheme of things. That and Persona 4 is quite simply mechanically better than Persona 3 was
All of these make Persona 4 an excellent place to start for people new to the Persona series. Persona 4 is more than likely the best JRPG of 2008 and should be an instant buy for fans of the genre, and a game to check out for those people that haven't played many JRPGs to sample the best the genre can offer.
Time for the long overdue impressions that I promised you guys. Right Now I am past the sixth dungeon and I think I am fairly far into the game. With a game like Persona 4 though, I don't think that I am too close at beating the game yet. Here are the impressions I have from the game so far.
I really like how Persona 4 streamlined so many things that Persona 3 did. Traveling in town is much faster, you have access to many more social links at the get go, the story is more approachable, you control all characters in battle, the list can keep on going if I really wanted to. That and all the stuff that I really liked from Persona 3 is here, examples being social links and the turn based combat.
The social links are about as good as they were in Persona 3 with the exception of two in particular. All the social links focus on a particular moral dilemma that a person can really think about and maybe apply it to real life. Some of the social links actually hit really close to home for me at times, I grew up in a very small neighborhood so some of the issues really resonated with me.
I don't like the fact that SP is now what dictates how long you stay in dungeons. As long as you keep the SP high, you can spend an indefinite amount of time in the dungeon. This is quite possible if you play your cards right, literally speaking; and if you strengthen a particular social link. It got to the point where I beat the last dungeon I was in with only one trip.
The story, up to the point I am playing at least, seems pretty good. It actually plays around with the Persona name and focuses on the facades people put on in front of others. That being said, I still prefer the Persona 3 story for some reason. Probably because the sense of urgency Persona 3 throughout the game and the fact that you can only do so many things in one time in that game added so much too the mood. Though Persona 4 could totally pull the rug from under me since some of the game's big mysteries don't seem even close to being solved.
So far from what I have seen though Persona 4 does the name proud though since it is easily again one of the better RPGs I have played in awhile. Whether or not it is better than Persona 3 at this point depends where the Persona 4 story goes from here.
That name represents wasted money and crap products to this day to many a gamer out there. MadCatz know this so their PR people are actually trying disprove that, now that accessories are in vogue like guitars and joysticks. Too bad that they still can not make a good controller for the life of them. I made the decision to buy the fight pad form them. And at first all was great actually, the controller did make a difference for the better in my playing. Of course all this is true until the buttons decided to crap out and activate at times when I didn't even press them. Thanks to some connections I had with the store I was able to return the controller and just pay the difference on an arcade stick, made by motherf^%$in MadCatz of all companies.
Its MadCatz I know, but I can actually get this modded if needs be to be a better joystick relatively easily. That and I always wanted a joystick. "Now that I have a joystick, I will be able to just demolish even more people!" I thought.
I went from a state of being in absolute complacency with the level of control I had in fighting games, to feeling the white hot rage that comes from not being able pull a Shoryuken motion consistently. Several years of complacency like that makes your pride hurt real bad when you can't do a special attack. That feeling of helplessness that comes from knowing what you have to do but can't is the worst. "I want to actually pull off my Soul Throw Dammit!" ran through my mind countless times. This was also when I realized I did actually care for my BP in Street Fighter. I went from 2100 BP to a lowly 1500 BP quickly because I refused to use a PS3 controller. Eventually I got mad enough where I started using a controller for the rest of the ranked matches and switched to the arcade stick during arcade mode. "I am better than this!" I thought. I was angry at myself for essentially being back in square one.
The night after it clicked.
I was in a place where I haven't been since I started playing the original Street Fighter Alpha. I was actually learning to play fighting games all over again in a sense. This realization filled me with nostalgia about the days where I could care less about technique and winning and just having fun again. So what if I can't do a Shoryuken? I improvised back when I was playing alpha, I'll just have to improvise once more. I was in essence re-learning how to play fighting games.
"I'll get there eventually. I'll master Shoryukens again someday. I'll become a competent fighter again" were the thoughts that ran through my head. It was then that I realized that because of my retained experience and determination, that I was not in square one in terms of fighting games. All of this was familiar yet new at the same time. I realized I was in the New Game + of fighting games. My BP right now is about 1400 and will probably fall more, but thatís ok now. I'm new to Fighting games in sense. I'll just have to get back on the square I was at, one Shoryuken at a time.
Street Fighter 4 is quite arguably the most anticipated fighting game to have come out in a while. Capcom hasn't come out with a main branch Street Fighter since Third Strike, and that has been out for quite a while now. I was optimistic about this fighter though I wouldn't be surprised if it was a complete disaster given that something as cool sounding as Capcom Fighting Evolution turned out to be garbage. Thank goodness it wasn't close to being a disaster.
As a fighting game fan, I really like this game. I think that this game is worthy of being a main branch Street Fighter game. While I would have preferred the combo system to be a tad tighter in this game, SF4 doesn't get too loose to the point where its actually detracts from the playing experience. The revenge gauge is also a nice touch, always having that "great equalizer" effect on a lot of matches and can really provide a player of lesser skill too actually make a comeback. The revenge gauge is also not as broken as the Guilty Gear Instant Kills are, but not as irrelevant as Soul Calibur's. The Focus Attacks are also a pretty cool addition since you can treat them as unblockables or as parries given the situation.
Street Fighter 4 also has the prerequisite modes every fighter should have by now: Arcade, Versus, Online, and Training. It also comes with challenge mode which is basically just a mission mode that has time attack, survival, and trial mode which just has you making combos. While it also has Gallery mode, the amount of modes is kind of disappointing and they really could have done some really interesting with challenge mode (like showing you how to use focus attacks to parry more than one attack). While the developer wanted to go back to the simplicity of Street Fighter 2, this is not that much more inviting of newcomers to fighting games than Street Fighter 3 was.
Online isÖboth good and bad at the same time. The actual online fighting is pretty much good. Most matches are lag free to my knowledge but you of course run into the few people that lag like crazy and make you wanna punch a puppy. There are a few questionable decisions made with online, like making online lobbies limited to two people and being able to see who you fight in ranked matches; but if youíre here for just the fight, these shouldn't bother you too much. Aside from online, there is also a tad bit of replayability left with some unlockables. While unlockable characters are always a plus with most people, your mileage with unlockable titles and tiles may vary.
Overall, I was satisfied with Street Fighter 4. SF4 by no means astounded me though. Then again, I don't think a fighter has done that since the original Guilty Gear X2 for PS2. It is by all means still a fun fighting game that shouldn't be missed by Street Fighter fans, or fans of the genre for that matter.
I also want to issue an open challenge to the fine people here. Tired of fighting the endless legion of Ken users online? I'm taking on all challengers. I have a somewhat competent Rose and a BP of about 2100 if that matters much to you. Just send me an invite on PSN. And with that I leave you with an image of my SF4 stuff.
1.) I took 3 months of a Mixed Martial Arts class.
It was really fun and I would really go back into training again if only I had the time (and not as many games to beat). I can say with a straight face that I can actually hold my own in a one on one fight :P
2.) I like my coffee with ABSOLUTELY nothing in it.
I drink coffee, not coffee flavored sugar and milk. I also like it really strong.
3.) I used my PS2 for absolutely nothing but DDR MAX 2 for 3 months straight.
I got DDR MAX 2 with the mat for Christmas about 6 years ago (man does that make me feel old for some reason) and was so hooked on it thatís all I played. Now that I think about, it that is probably the leanest I have ever been too.
4.) I actually enjoy watching the occasional sports game.
It doesn't matter what sport it is really (American Football, REAL Football, Tennis, Etc.) I'll watch it if it catches my interest and is a close game. And yes I did watch the Super Bowl even though its kinda taboo here in Destrucoid.
5.) I like singing in Rock Band.
I never got into karaoke before hand and I just like singing in Rock Band. This likely due to the fact that I can go into my insane/obnoxious theatrics a lot better when I am singing than with any other instruments. This is also probably why I don't like playing the drums much either.
6.) A magician made me disappear in a car on the eve of my ninth birthday.
And I don't mean the cheap magician that you hire for a kids birthday party. It was freakin' Lance Burton on one of his shows in the Monte Carlo (I dunno if he is still popular or not but that is one of my most cherished memories). To this day, I have only told two people (My Grandpa, and a good friend) the exact way on how he pulled off this trick. Man that was seriously cool.
7.) I think that my manner of writing/speaking is a little too pretentious.
I use way too many big words when I speak or write. I sometimes think that it gives me that aura of "that pompous d-bag". Sometimes I need to remind myself to use more words that are common.
8.) My screen name actually came in two parts.
The first time I ever joined a community I used the overly long "Crashes to Crushes" as my screen name. After some time everyone there just shortened it to C2C and it just stuck to everything else online I did. I used Shiro on all the games that allowed me to name the characters for a while (Not anymore though I just name them off of whatever comes to my head). I just combined the two and thatís been my handle for many things now.
9.) Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have bought a PS3 when I did.
Don't get me wrong, I like my 60GB PS3; but when I bought it, I was under the illusion that certain games would remain console exclusive (Tekken and Final Fantasy are the big ones that come to mind). There are only a couple of PS3 exclusive games that prevent me from selling my PS3 right now.
10.) My favorite movie as a kid was Little Nemo.
Back in the day I could recite the whole "hajamapajama" line by memory. Sadly, I never played the NES game though I plan to fix that sooner or later. Man after posting this Iím actually going to watch that movie again for nostalgiaís sake.
The PSP is kinda notorious now for not really having too many great games .To be quite frank, I would have to agree since I know I would've sold my PSP a while back had it not been for one series of games. That series is the DJ Max series
The DJ max series of games are basically Beatmania clones with a couple of tweaks. Notes scroll down in with the music and you must hit the right button at the appropriate time. What separates DJ Max from Beatmania is the fact that you can change the scrolling speed at anytime to make some notes much easier to hit. Also, in DJ Max you can you can switch the appearance of some of the notes and even the HUD, which they call the gear for some reason. The DJ Max series had its start on PC and is now branching out to PSP and Arcade. The first entry to the PSP is DJ Max portable.
The song list in this game offers a good variety of genres and songs to choose from, albeit with a bias towards more dance songs , it is a rhythm game after all. Depending on your skill level, the game offers different note charts that require fewer/more buttons. These note charts are 4 buttons, 6 buttons, and 8 buttons; you do however have to unlock 8 button mode (though if you are new to the series it'll be a while before you are able to stand your own with 8 buttons).
Speaking of unlockables, there are a TON of unlockables in DJ Max portable. . Unlockables range from hidden songs, gears, notes, and some extra stuff like movies and images that you can't even use in the game itself. This is really great for people who want replayability and like to unlock stuff (I know I do). The two ways you unlock stuff is by playing songs and getting a certain amount of combos. While playing a certain amount of songs is somewhat standard for these kind of games, unlocking stuff by combos is more tedious than it should be. The reason for this is because you can only unlock one thing via combo per play through; the sheer amount of unlockables makes this the longest and most annoying stuff to get.
Another problem with this game is that the note charts don't seem to accommodate the fact that you are using the PSP. Since you are basically limited to your thumbs, and in some cases your index fingers, you can't really pull of some of the stuff that you can on PC. DJ Max portable also really isn't very friendly to new players because of this. Depending on which version of this game you get, the original or international version, you may also not get the option to change the menus to English. In the games defense though there isn't many menus in the original version that will trip up the non-Korean speaker.
Although a little rough around the edges, the first DJ Max for the PSP is still a good game for DJ Max veterans. For everyone else though, there are better DJ Max game on the PSP at this point and is only really worth checking out after you've had ample time with the series.