For the first time, Persona Q has an installment on the 3DS, called Shadow of the Labyrinth. There are prior games to this one on Sony’s Playstation and Sony’s handheld systems, the first one appearing in 2009. They were officially called Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, and are a spinoff from the original Shin Megami Tensei series.
Now the Shin Megami Tensei series (literally translates as True Godess Reincarnation) appeared for the first time as a Super Famicom game in 1992, and it was the first of many titles released by Atlus. The characteristic of this RPG is that the hero collects demons during battles to help him in his next battle. Once the demons are acquired they are stored in the party’s portable computer. The demons help in battle with their magic abilities, and fusing two demons can result in a stronger one with different spells.
Spin off series
As I said, Persona is a spinoff from the Shin Megami Tensei series, and as such it has the same element of having demons (called Personas) to help you in battle. And through fusion in the Velvet Room you can acquire personas that are stronger or have a better skill set. This latest game, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is the first one to be released on the 3DS, and it’s my first encounter with this series. Still, aside from seeing familiar elements from Shin Megami Tensei, that I’ve played before, I see another familiar set of gameplay elements, those of Etrian Oddyssey. Not surprising then, that I really like this game!
Lets take a look at Persona Q
Your party is a group of high school students that gets stranded in the strange world of Yasogami High, where they find weird labyrinths to explore and to battle shadows in. There are normal Shadows, and there are FOE’s: stronger enemies that you can’t beat at first, but that move around the dungeon in a certain pattern, so that you can avoid them with some planning.
The first labyrinth is that of Alice in Wonderland, and everything you would expect makes an appearance. Card soldiers that are painting the roses red, little doors that you can only pass through drinking a mysterious potion. Like in Etrian Odyssey you have to map the dungeon precisely on the bottom screen of your 3DS to be able to find things again later in the game. Part of the fun for me. Making sure you have a well balanced party in battle, equipping the right persona and using your stamina wisely is fun to do too. I’ve just fused my first new persona, but I’ve got to read up some more to get the most out of them yet.
Back in in the main part of the school is where you can buy your equipment, items for healing and such and armor, and if you are in need of help, you can get healed too. Be careful in battle to not let your party be wiped out: it’s happened to me, and I didn’t expect to be thrown back to my last save, losing hours of gameplay. There’s no saving in the dungeon, but you can do a quick save and go back to that point later if you want to. I had an option to play the game earlier in the year in Japanese, but I’m glad I didnt: I would have missed too much of the funny dialogue in the game!
Conclusion for me
This is a good RPG, it even got me thinking of perhaps owning a PS Vita in future, if only to see the originial Persona 3 and 4. From what I’ve seen of it, it doesn’t use the grid like Persona Q does, but still, turn based battle, which I always prefer. But for now, I’m going to do some studying to learn about Personas, the best way to fuse them and about their skill sets.
I’ve found some useful guides on the Internet, maybe you will want to check them out too: http://www.gamefaqs.com/3ds/739685-persona-q-shadow-of-the-labyrinth/faqs/70843