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Persona Q

Persona Q contest photo
Three copies up for grabs
[Update: Contest over! Winners are desert dragon, Pixielated, Tiael, and Vivendel!] Destructoid has once again partnered with our good friends at Atlus to give away three copies of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Wild Card...

Review: Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

Nov 24 // Kyle MacGregor
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: AtlusPublisher: AtlusReleased: November 25, 2014MRSP: $49.99 Persona Q begins with a choice, giving players the option to begin the journey as either Persona 3's Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad or the Persona 4 Investigation Team. The crews will eventually link up and cross paths with a pair of mysterious new faces, Zen and Rei, rendering the decision of slight importance beyond the title's primary dungeon. Regardless of which fork you wander down, the title sees a band of familiar persona-users trapped in an alternate version of P4's Yasogami High School. The story takes place in media res for both parties, carefully allowing Atlus to walk a line where devout fans get plenty of nods without spoiling anything major for series newcomers. Upon discovering they're trapped within the school's walls, the students begin to explore the campus and discover a series of dungeons housed within the classrooms. Each area has a unique motif, taking thematic cues from the school's ongoing culture festival, with one based on Alice in Wonderland and another firmly rooted in Japanese horror. It quickly becomes clear you'll need to explore these labyrinths and defeat the Shadows within to have any hope of escaping this strange prison. [embed]283288:56432:0[/embed] That's where the Etrian Odyssey elements come into play. Persona Q is an old-school first-person dungeon crawler, eschewing randomly generated dungeons in favor of elaborate mazes teeming with puzzles. In some ways, this proved to be my largest obstacle to falling in love with the experience, as wasting hours backtracking in search of an elusive key or solution to a particularly tricky puzzle just isn't what I look for in a Persona game. That grievance aside, other facets of the Etrian-style experience really grabbed me. The mapping, for example, is such an alluring mechanic. Sketching out a dungeon's winding paths and jotting down notes is such a joy, and can be incredibly rewarding when all goes to plan. The battle system is perhaps the most impressive part of the experience, blending influences so wonderfully that it's difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. You'll field up to five combatants at a time split between two rows, allowing close combat bruisers to shield ranged support from the brunt of the attack. And, of course, Etrian's cut, stab, and bash rock-paper-scissor mechanic features prominently. Otherwise, combat feels very much like a Persona game, albeit with some slight changes. With the exception of Zen and Rei, who fight sans-persona, the rest of characters have the power of the Wild Card this time around, allowing them to equip a sub-persona in addition to their main. What does this mean? Well, each character has the potential to wield a far more diverse skill set than ever before. Sub-personas also pass on moves when fused back at the Velvet Room, meaning a single character could possess the ability to deal out a smattering of fire, wind, electrical, ice, and healing moves. Given how tough some of the enemies are, you'll want to take advantage of their elemental weaknesses at every available opportunity. Oh right, this game is tough. While Persona Q has five difficulty settings, even "easy" mode is no cakewalk. Poorly tooled or ill-equipped parties can be taken down fairly quickly, especially if you try to go toe to toe with FOEs, hulking minibosses pinched from Etrian Odyssey that are so imposing they are best avoided altogether. If you're struggling, chances are going back to the Velvet Room or Workshop for new personas and better equipment is your best bet. Or just grinding. Grinding never hurts. Two of the game's difficulty settings are particularly noteworthy. The "safety" setting eliminates the death penalty, giving you the ability to continue a battle without losing progress even if your entire party falls. There's also "risky," which seems near impossible, and, unlike other settings, prevents you from switching freely between difficulties. Between dungeon crawls you can always head back to school and "stroll," Persona Q's stand-in for social links. It's here where much of the characterization occurs, and you get to see the casts of P3 and P4 interact in all sorts of bizarre and lighthearted situations. Witnessing personalities like the robotic Aigis and perpetually horny Teddie bounce off one another is a large part of what makes Persona Q great. That, and watching Rei pull hot dogs and donuts out of thin air. Yes, in contrast with the arduous challenge, this is a more playful and humorous take on Persona. It's overflowing with personality and in-jokes, juxtaposing the casts and presenting them in a new light. Sometimes the whole thing seems like one big excuse for Atlus to poke fun at itself and blatantly wink at the fans. Which is fantastic. How could I draw this to a close without at least one mention of Shogi Meguro, whose indescribable mix of rock, electronica, jazz, and hip hop permeates the whole affair. The soundtrack is stellar, encompassing familiar tunes from P3 and P4 along with some new songs that are now among my favorites in the series. I'm still not tired of the battle theme, even after hours upon hours of repeated listening. Persona Q can be grind. It can be frustrating, and, at times, it made me want to fling my 3DS across the room. It's also a heartwarming love letter to Persona fans, and an engrossing role-playing game, among the best the 3DS has to offer. Let go and enjoy the ride. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
 Persona Q reviewed photo
Welcome to this wild maze!
Some concoctions will leave you feeling sick to your stomach. You need look no further than Yukiko Amagi's culinary misadventures for proof of that. Other pairings seem to work far better than they probably should, like Atlus...


Persona Q Edition of Nintendo 3DS coming to U.S.

No way
Sep 10
// Dale North
We get some of the limited edition 3DS systems but we miss out on the better ones in USA. But this one makes up for it all. Nintendo will release the Persona Q 3DS XL here, exclusively at GameStop. $199 will get you this Velv...

You already know you want it but here's a Persona Q preview anyway

Sep 09 // Dale North
Persona Q is adorable. That was my first impression, and that's really the one that sticks the most. Seeing your favorite cast members from Persona 3 and Persona 4 with big heads and little bodies is a delight, but seeing them move and hearing them talk takes it over the top. Watching Rise's eyes bug out or hearing Chie rant about meat products won me over before I ever entered my first dungeon. Teddie is still horny, but now cute. And Nanako? You're not ready. It's fan service by the boatload. They pulled out all the stops -- the music, voicing, art, menus, and more are all dialed up to thrill. There's no way a fan of either Persona 3 or Persona 4 should miss this. There's plenty of new gameplay to go with the fan service. I only played for about an hour but I could already tell that Persona Q is going to be a meaty, satisfying dungeon crawler. Jumping into a brand new game session, I saw that Persona Q has five difficulty levels. All but the very last one, called Risky, lets you bounce around between levels. For Risky, you're locked in for good. But even on Normal, don't expect a walk in the park; Persona Q pulled more from its Etrian Odyssey roots when it comes to difficulty. [embed]280940:55590:0[/embed] There are a bunch of new sub-systems for this spin-off, pulling from both franchises. New from the Persona side of things are sub-Personas, a secondary choice that acts as a status buff. Equipping a sub instantly adds hit and skill points to a character, to be used in battle. These bonus extra HP and SP gains recover for each battle, too. Etrian Odyssey roots show in a trio of specific attack types. Characters will have either cut, stab, or bash attack types that have to be factored into the attack plans as the rock/paper/scissors rules come into play with these. I didn't see this play out early on, but knowing Atlus we'll end up in battles where you'll have to be sure to be set up just right to win. I did some dungeon crawling right off, making my way down corridors that would have any Etrian Odyssey fan feeling right at home, and then jumping into battles that would have any Persona fan feeling right at home. And it all looks great: the corridors look better than even the latest Etrian Odyssey game, with sharper textures and more detail. The character models in battles are PS2-level, holding up to the latest Persona.  For dungeon crawling, there's auto-mapping to help you make your way through the maze, and a new Boost system to help you through the fights. Boost isn't quite Press-Turn, though it still does have you working to exploit enemy weaknesses for a battle advantage. Getting in the right kind of hit will eventually earn you this Boost, which has the attacking character's skills zeroed out for the next turn. Free skill attacks are always welcome! Continued exploits let you continue to Boost, though getting hit will knock you out of Boost status.  All of the dungeons of Persona Q have their own theme. The earliest is Alice themed, and has the gang visiting a messed up version of Wonderland. I don't want to spoil too much, but the last battle of the stage has you fighting exactly who you think you would. My fight had my team going up against this boss' minions, barely making it out alive. Right when the big boss moves in to take over from the minions, the other half of the cast appeared to save the day. Get ready for a really great entrance scene. Oh, baby. Even in the short time I played I could tell that there's way more under the hood to be discovered. New skills, spells, team attacks, and more teased from the menus. And that's not even touching the loot and what you can do with it. I only got the smallest taste. I'd also like to avoid spoiling the story, so we'll go light on those details. It's safe to say that you'll start out by picking which cast you'd like to start with (I started with the P4 crew). Each has their own story start, but the two casts come together in the first hour of play, with a Yasogami High school festival serving as the backdrop for this event. The P4 group finds that school feels weird on festival day; the P3 gang finds themselves at a strange school suddenly. You'll see. It's not long before your party ends up in a mysterious place that leads to a freaky dungeon, and things really get going from there. I don't have much to say about the new kids on the block, Rei and Zen, either. That's mostly because I glossed over their bits in my playtime as I want to enjoy my first real play through, and I don't want to spoil the story for you. I got to see the first hints of their story, which involves lost memories. Their missing memories seem to be tied to the manifestation of the dungeon, and beating the boss of the dungeon reveals a clue to their pasts. So far, all I can really say is that Rei is super cute. And you'll recognize her voice. Though Atlus wouldn't exactly confirm the voice actor's identity, it seems we were on the right track earlier.  Persona Q is a bit different, but you're going to like it. You knew that already, though. Etrian Odyssey loving people are going to like it -- that's a no-brainer. Persona fans will too, especially if they're into the casts of the last two games. This new spin-off might be missing some of the Social Link hooks, but it's got new gameplay, a huge cast, and tons of personality to make up for that.
Persona Q preview photo
First hands-on in English
It was almost surreal to be playing Persona Q in English for the first time this past week. It came out of nowhere late last year, a fantasy game mixing Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters in a new 3DS game that uses Etri...

Persona Q photo
Persona Q

Atlus shares first look the Persona Q localization

Don't speak... Don't tell me cause it hurts
Sep 04
// Kyle MacGregor
It's always strange hearing a historically silent protagonist speak for the first time, and things are doubly weird for us here today thanks to these English trailers for Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. Boy, is it unsettling hearing those guys talk! Persona Q launches in North America and Europe this November.
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth minifigs are on their way

As if I needed to spend any more money
Jul 28
// Brittany Vincent
According to eagle-eyed Twitter user @Bo_deWindt, there's a Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth mini figure set on the horizon. Unfortunately, there aren't any real details regarding which figures we can expect to see or prici...
Persona Q photo
This carousssseeeeellllll
Persona Q, the chibi 3DS amalgam of Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters, has a North American release date: November 25. The opening is still amazing. The premium edition is pretty nice, too. Shadow of the Labyrinth has won me over since its announcement -- or maybe it's just the dearth of Persona -- so I'm pretty ready.

Persona Q photo
Persona Q

HAWP star Ashly Burch has a role in Persona Q

No word on which character she'll be voicing just yet
Jul 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Our old friend Ashly Burch is lending her vocal talents to Atlus USA's localization of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. Congrats, Ash! The Hey Ash Whatcha Playin'? co-creator has voiced characters in several titles in...
Japanese software charts photo
Japanese software charts

Persona Q tops charts in Japanese debut

Mario Kart 8 and Yo-Kai Watch trail behind
Jun 11
// Kyle MacGregor
Persona Q was the best-selling game in Japan last week, according to numbers obtained by the sales trackers at Media Create. The Atlus dungeon crawler sold 186,000 boxed copies in its first few days on the market, lifting Nin...

Persona Q 'The Wild Cards' Premium Edition announced

Too soon!
Jun 10
// Dale North
I would never let you forget that Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is coming to 3DS later this year. I'll tie today's reminder to the announcement of a premium edition release for the title in North America. For $79.99 you'...
Persona Q footage photo
Persona Q footage

Watch the first 40 minutes of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth

3DSing all night
Jun 04
// Steven Hansen
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is out. In Japan. There is a lot of text to be translated before we get it this fall, as you can see for yourself. So the game opens with a decision. Great. Not paralyzing at all. To go the...

Watch this Persona Q opening with me like 50 times

And help me decode these lyrics
Jun 04
// Dale North
There's almost nothing better than a Persona game opening. It's right up there with eating heaping cups of froyo, or finding money on the ground, or being under a dog pile of corgis. Atlus has outdone themselves with the ope...

Persona Q: 'I never felt like; dun dun dun dun doooow'

They pistol whipped me
Jun 02
// Dale North
This new video of Persona Q's school nurse's office shows off the game's recovery and quests (yay!) systems. Cutest nurse's office ever, right? I think it's called Elizabeth's Room, and I know she must be a Jack Frost fan fr...

New Persona Q TV ad makes me beary happy

May 30
// Dale North
Japan gets 3DS RPG Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth in just a few days. We have to hang out a bit. But that's not going to stop me from loving the new Japanese television commercial Atlus released this week. It shows ...

New Persona Q trailers show school, map system, and FOEs

That music!
May 28
// Dale North
Atlus has shared new trailers for upcoming 3DS game Persona Q, just days before its Japanese release.  We all love the school side of Persona games, right? The above video shows off school life and lets us hear the obli...

Persona Q systems, world, map making and more shown

New trailer also features Margaret and Elizabeth
May 02
// Dale North
First off, how cute are the Velvet Room girls in Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth? Especially Margaret! Oh, and that Velvet Room theme song remix is fun. Atlus Japan released a nice, long trailer for Persona Q today. It sh...

Persona Q: New battle system videos show Boost system

Apr 18
// Dale North
It's gotten to the point to where I'm checking my YouTube subscriptions first thing in the morning to see if there are any more videos from Atlus on their upcoming wares. Today we're in luck as a couple of new videos on Pers...
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

Go on, take a peek at Persona Q's battle system

You know you want to
Apr 05
// Kyle MacGregor
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth and it's autumn release are still a ways off, which means there's still plenty of time to do things like watch gameplay trailers. And as luck would have it, Atlus has shared some  tantalizing footage of the dungeon crawler's old-school battle system. Just a few more months...

Persona Q: Watch Koromaru summon his own Persona

Mar 28
// Dale North
Two new Persona Q trailers have been released by Atlus Japan today. They feature characters Kanji and Koromaru. In the latter you'll see the handsome little red eyed Shiba battle and even summon his own persona. He's so cute. Barooooo! The Kanji trailer is good, but it's not nearly as cute. You'll find his below. [Thanks to pepsimangb for the subtitles]

Japan gets a limited-edition Persona Q 3DS XL

Here's what it looks like
Mar 14
// Dale North
I almost bought a Japanese 3DS last week while in Kyoto for BitSummit. That pretty mint/white one. But now that I've seen the design of the limited-edition Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, I'm glad I waited. To be honest, ...
Persona Q confirmed photo
Persona Q confirmed

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth coming Fall 2014

Confirmed for North America
Feb 25
// Dale North
I screamed. I screamed loudly. It's not like we didn't know that 3DS RPG Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth was coming eventually. But to finally know that it's in the works and will be in stores this Fall is exciting. Thril...

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