GameTimeReview: Persona 5

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This review is long overdue, but here I am! Confession time, I love the Persona franchise as if it were the only thing that my existence depended on! Which is why I’m gonna try to keep this review as short, sweet, and concise as possible because otherwise I will lose focus, rant, and might unintentionally give away spoilers. Plus anyone who is even a little bit familiar with the series knows there is a LOT of gameplay elements to cover, Persona 5 makes no exception. So without further ado here it goes!

Intro: Persona 5 was publicly announced back in 2014. But then was met with one delay after another until it’s fated April 4th, 2017 release date. Everyone knew that the game was going to happen, but then was met with not only multiple delays, but one too many spin off games from previous Persona games (which we didn’t ask for Atlus, let’s be real. We could’ve done just fine without the dancing game!). After much anticipation and hype I’m happy to say that the wait was very much worth it.

Plot: Like many other JRPG franchises it is not necessary to play any of the previous Persona titles to know what’s going on here. Every title is complete with it’s own story, characters, and identity. You portray the Protagonist (who you are free to name. I went with Subaru Mikage) who has moved to Tokyo after running into some legal trouble. He is there for the duration of an entire year for which he will attend school and fulfill a probationary period. The Protagonist and his friends come across this other world called the Metaverse which they travel into in order to fight monsters known as Shadows. It’s within the Metaverse that the characters awaken to a power called Persona, which is the manifestation of their inner selves. The characters form a group called the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and decide that they will change society by stealing the hearts of rotten adults. For more explanation on that last part you’d really have to buckle down and just play the game yourself. It’s taking every fiber of willpower I have to not go into a fanboy rant…

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Gameplay: Persona gameplay is one-part social simulator and other part dungeon crawler. It requires that you balance life as a high school student and as a Persona user. When living life in Tokyo you can hang out with friends and form special bonds called “Confidants” (I refer to them as Social Links because that’s really all they are) or do other activities, either with friends or by yourself. However, everything you do outside of dungeons pays off in big ways. When you “rank up” your Confidants with someone you gain all sorts of benefits. Characters in your party will perform a follow up attack or cure you from a status ailment, get discounts from shops, score tons of healing items, etc. Also the higher your Ranks are with Confidants the more levels a Persona gains upon fusion. Finally dungeon crawling is where you act as a thief. You have to avoid enemy detection, evade enemy traps, solve puzzles, pick locks on treasure chests, and secure routes where you will fight the boss on another day.

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Combat in Persona games is one of the most rewarding things ever. Once you exploit an enemies weak point you gain another turn which gives you the chance to do more damage or heal a comrade whose badly hurt, it all depends on your style of gameplay. Of course the enemy can also do the same thing. So take care to learn skills that helps with building defense against weak points as well as making your characters stronger. It pays off and you do not want enemies to gain any advantage over you. It’s aggravating! Believe me! For some tips and tricks, keep reading and check the links below.

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You will also be spending a lot of time in the Velvet Room, which is where you will go to fuse Personas. Fusing and collecting Personas is a lot of like catching Pokemon. Except instead of catching cute little fuckers like Pikachu or Eevee you get all sorts of monsters, demons, gods, and mythological figures from all walks of life that come in different shapes and sizes. I mean just check out this fucking freak of nature….

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Gameplay is entirely up to you. If you want to experience dungeon crawling goodness, Persona 5 delivers. If you’re like me and love playing JRPGs for experiencing a great plot with compelling characters, this is your game. The game allows you to switch difficulty on the go whenever your are in dungeons and switch back whenever you feel like it. That is of course unless you play in Safety Mode which you cannot undo. (Safety mode is for babies!!!!) Also there is a fast forward button which helps speeds things along. Especially when you’re doing events with Confidants. I bring this up because even I, a dedicated gamer and lover or stories, got tired hanging out with people for Confidant rank ups. Sometimes you will not want to hear about someone’s petty problems and just scream out loud, “Shut up and give me my Rank Up!!” (I’m looking at you Mishima!! Don’t think I’ve forgotten you ditching me when I wanted you!! I hold a grudge Moon Boy!!)

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So don’t feel bad if you’re impatient and just want to experience the actual main story or just want to go into combat. Use the fast forward button, it’s there for a reason. Take advantage of it. It’s a God send when doing replays. I call this the “Sweet Brown Approach”. Reasons because…

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Visuals: Persona 5 has other Persona games beaten as far as eye candy is concerned. The artwork is gorgeous, the characters look so great, and the surroundings…OMG!!!

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I was fully immersed into exploring every little bit of Tokyo that I could. I felt like I was really there. Take the time to explore Tokyo, not just to marvel at the surroundings, but also to engage in the activities like going to eat at Big Bang Burger, relax in the bathhouse, hit the batting cages, or even go fishing. These activities aren’t simply there to kill time, but also to help raise stats which you will need for ranking up Confidants. Also hanging out with Confidants will help unlock different parts of Tokyo for you to explore later. If you’re a Trophy collector you’ll want to invest in this because there is a trophy for unlocking every location on Tokyo’s map (which I’m working on myself). There’s also the art style that goes into every dungeon you explore and all the enemies you encounter. The Metaverse is a world where a person’s cognition and suppressed thoughts and emotions are given shape which happen to reflect things that are wrong with society. It’s not just good eye candy, but also hooks you in with symbolism and I like that shit! I like it like I love putting nutmeg and cayenne in my curry rice….

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Music: Persona is another one of those games that has the best OSTs out there. You will hear songs that will get stuck in your mind. You will look up lyrics so you can sing along. You will find yourself humming the theme from the Velvet Room or when exploring Tokyo. I bought the OST off iTunes as soon as I had the chance and I don’t regret it. I play this soundtrack when I’m cooking in the kitchen, when I’m writing, when I go to the market. It’s amazing!! Don’t simply take my word for it! Listen for yourself! Check the sample below…

Persona 5 is a complete package! The gameplay is addicting, the plot is immersive, the characters are well written and will connect with you, and the game demands replay. I’m on my fourth walkthrough already and I still haven’t experienced everything. The game also has multiple endings. During my first walkthrough which I did a blind play of I opted for the bad ending so I could get started on the second walkthrough so I had a better shot with Confidants and scoring missed items. Did I mention how amazing that fast forward button is? It helped a LOT. For trophy collectors you might not have to struggle too much to get the platinum on this one. It was well worth the long wait! But is it the perfect game? That’s up to you. I don’t believe in perfection. I think that’s entirely subjective. You can love something that the general public sees as complete garbage, but still love it like it is. There are some things that got to me while playing this game….

Here are pros and cons that will come included with some tips and tricks!

Pros of this Game
-All of the above points. I don’t want to repeat myself
-Confidants (S.Links) play a bigger role here and will make you want to invest in maximizing them to reap the full benefits.
-The fast forward button. Worth repeating.
-Being able to modify your Personas in the way that you want to.
-It’s good for long time fans of the Persona franchise and is good for first timers too.
-The Protagonist is not some cookie cutter Gary Stu-like character. He actually has sass and style. Look at his dialogue choices and you’ll see.
-Boss battles are more unique when you send a character off the battlefield to perform a specific task. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Send whoever you like btw. It could be someone whose low on health or even a character you just don’t like.
-All characters get to level up at once even when you’re not using them. This helps a lot. You don’t have to invest extra time in a dungeon just so everyone gets their share of action. But even so, invest in the Star Confidant so you’ll be able to switch your characters out during battle. It helps so much!

Con of this Game
-Sometimes the camera is your bigger enemy when trying to sneak up on enemies. It’s great when it works and it’s a real bitch when it doesn’t work when you want it to. Be patient when trying to sneak attack your enemy. Stay in your hiding spot and wait for the time to make your move.
-The stat requirements for Confidants can be a real buzzkill. There’s a good chance that you won’t maximize Confidants on your first walkthrough. Certain conditions have to be met first. For example, if you find yourself unable to get the Hierophant Confidant past Rank 4 it’s because you need to get past a certain part of the game and recruit a specific character for upcoming scenes. #WasteMyTimein2017 for not knowing until it was too late.
-SP recovery items are hard to come by early on in the game. SP is what you need to perform elemental and healing spells. This is early on in the game. Try to use your moves sparingly. And back to the Hierophant link, you will want to spend time making coffee and curry, lots of it. And the Empress Confidant also adds to this when you start it up.
-Non stop text messages constantly flooding your phone. Sometimes you can’t get out of bed without your characters addressing the situation. For the love of God Ryuji STFU!!! I will get to it when I get to it!! I just want to make curry and coffee!! This is another example where fast forward is your friend.
-Waifu Wars. It’s intense!! They’ve made it really difficult to pick just one great female character into a love interest. I would also love it if it were possible to have same-sex romance because Yusuke Kitagawa is a sexy smurf haired samurai. Just saying! Btw you can romance all the girls you want, but FYI don’t expect that you can get away with it on Valentine’s Day.
-There’s a lot of DLC and it costs money. If I weren’t such a costume slut or had more money than Donald Trump this wouldn’t be an issue. Atlus knows how to push a fanbase’s buttons and it works….
-I expect a lot of spin offs after this. And even longer more grueling waiting period for Persona 6.

Final Score: 9.5/10

By the way remember when I complained about a certain problem when reviewing Nier Automata? Turns out the problem isn’t in the game itself, but my controller. The left analog stick is messed up somehow and acts up. Don’t know if I want to invest in a new controller cause those cost good money, but that’s what the deal is.

P.S.
I recommend these following guides in case you want a shot at ranking up all Confidants to the maximum level. These will help a lot. The first one is spoiler free, promise.

https://www.gamefaqs.com/ps4/835628-persona-5/faqs/74549
http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2017/04/04/persona-5-confidant-guide/252919/

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Later days!!

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GameTimeReview: Nier Automata

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Hi everyone. I present to you my first game review! I’m starting off with a title that I’ve recently beaten and currently replaying. Here’s my honest opinion about the game.

Intro: Nier Automata was recently released last month. It is the sequel to Nier Gestalt/Replicant which came out for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Playstation Portable exclusively in Japan (Which may have been the better version of the game, let’s be real.) Nier is also a spin off title that’s connected to a Sony exclusive game series, Drakengard (Drag-on Dragoon for all you weebs that love being technical y tan fancy). Both Drakengard and Nier are created by Yoko Taro, who is known for having an unconventional approach to making video games. What makes Nier Automata different is the collaboration done with Platinum Games which has been a tremendous help!

Plot: First off, it’s not necessary to play the earlier games to play Nier Automata or understand everything going on. The games are connected to one another, yes, but this title is its own game. The connections between Automata and the original Nier are minimal at best. Nier Automata takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where Machines have taken over the planet while Humanity has taken residence on the Moon. The Humans, in an attempt to reclaim the planet as their own, created their own Androids, the Yorha Series, to fight back against the Machines. The characters you control in this game are Yorha Series 2B, 9S, and A2.

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As the Machine War wages on secrets about the world are slowly exposed. Ooooo I managed to do all that spoiler free! *Pats himself on the back*

Gameplay: One of Nier Automata’s bigger strengths is the combat and that is all thanks to Platinum Studios who are known for making great action games with addictive combat, like Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising. There’s a lot more flexibility here than there is in previous Nier and Drakengard games. The previous games gained a cult following for the storylines, but never quite stood out because of the gameplay. A lot of people will complain about repetition (people love to throw that word around like a boomerang), but I think the issue is how “stiff” it felt. The combined efforts from both Yoko Taro’s story telling and Platinum’s combat controls is a fresh breath of air and works perfectly!

The combat is similar to Bayonetta. You can equip and fight with multiple weapons and switch them out in combat with the touch of a button. Instead of guarding, you evade enemy attacks which requires you to play close attention to the battlefield and anticipate the movements of your enemies. As a throwback to the original Nier game you will also have a backup weapon in the form of a little robot assistant, a Pod, which you can equip with different types of attacks and functions when you find or purchase certain equitable items. The Pod can fire blasts at your enemy as long as your finger is on the shoulder button. And you’re gonna be using it a lot. You get to control different characters in this game and each of their fighting styles are different. 2B is built for combat and she is not going to take too much time to adjust to. 9S, however, is very different because he is not built for combat, but made for support. The interesting thing about how 9S fights is his ability to hack into enemies. When you engage in a hack it suddenly becomes a mini-game that’s like a bullet hell type of game. When you play as 9S you’re gonna be doing this a LOT because it’s really the best thing he can do to inflict big damage.

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The character A2 more or less fights in the same way as 2B, but she possesses a Berserk mode which you can use to make her attacks stronger at the cost of her health (and it’s a BIG cost). By the way, I freaking love A2’s character. Her taunting game is seriously on point.

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Like any other Japanese Role Playing game you level up and get stronger from combat. Also there are side-quests which you can take to gain some extra EXP and items. They range from your garden variety fetch quests to “go exterminate this pesky enemy way over there”. It’s one way to help with level grinding, but not all that necessary because you can change the difficulty level while on the go. Even when you are in the middle of battle! I’m not kidding! If a battle is ever too difficult you can change it to easy mode, be done with it, and then change it back whenever you feel like it. Also the gameplay will shift gears on you. There will be sections where you have to go into battle in a flying mech suit and you have to shoot down enemy ships like it’s a space invaders game. And there are quite of few of these. It’s actually the first piece of action you’ll get in the game. I didn’t mind it so much, but I have to admit it got a little tedious. I honestly prefer taking down my enemies with swords and acrobatics, but hey that’s just me.

Visuals: Normally I’m not someone who cares too much for environments and level designs and I hate it when people talk about how a certain character isn’t designed to look realistically or because the water in a river isn’t the right shade of blue or how tree branches don’t produce a shadow. Not everyone who enjoys video games and anime have an expert eye for art. I play certain games for gameplay and plot. But the environmental design in Nier Automata is very nice. When you travel through places like the City Ruins you really do get the feeling that you’re in a forlorn world laid to waste. It’s a destroyed world, but there is actual beauty in the destruction itself. Collapsed bridges that you can walk up like a tiny hill, apartment buildings submerged in desert sands, crucified corpses of Android bodies put up on display, etc. It’s an open world type of environment so you are more than free to go a round and explore the place and see things for yourself which I highly advise because you’re not going to take time to admire the scenery when you’re in the middle of battle. The designs of the enemies are interesting as well, especially the boss battles.

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Music: This is another big plus for the title. Even when people had their complaints about the previous Nier’s gameplay they always praised the soundtracks. The compositions is done by Keiichi Okabe with vocals provided by Emi Evans and J’Nique Nichole. If you are a lover of gaming OSTs, but haven’t listened to the music of Nier itself you are in for a real treat. The music adds to the atmosphere of the game and will invoke emotions during certain scenes and battles within the game. Evans vocal tracks are known for being beautiful and mesmerizing because she is singing in a fictional language. So if you ever feel the need to sing along, you totally can. You can mess up on the lyrics and it won’t matter at all! I like to listen to the music whenever I’m writing my fictional stuff and this music does get the creative juices flowing for me so I highly recommend giving the OST a shot whether you are a gamer or an aspiring writer. Here’s a sample below.

Nier Automata is definitely a great game to add to the collection. If you’ve been a Drakengard/Nier fan, you’ll love it. It really is a vast improvement to previous games and currently stands out as the best of Taro’s work. If you’ve never played the Drakengard/Nier game, don’t worry about it. You can still play the game and enjoy it for yourself. If you’re just in it for the gameplay you won’t be disappointed. The connections between Automata and past titles are there for gamers like me who are lore buffs. I wish I could get into the lore, but it’s loooooong and incredibly convoluted. As mentioned before you will get to play three different characters, but you don’t get to pick and choose the characters in the order you’d like to play. Instead you complete a walkthrough with one character, unlock another walkthrough, and then change characters. You will play as 2B first then 9S in the second walkthrough. With the third walkthrough you will get to play A2, but you will also switch back and forth between her and 9S. Mercifully the walkthroughs won’t take too long to complete. You can finish a walkthrough in a day, tops. I did, but I didn’t take the time to do everything that there is in the game. I just played to unlock the main story and there is still a lot that I haven’t experienced for myself.

Pros of this Game
-Intriguing story that will tug at the heart strings.
-Engaging combat system that will make you want to go out, collect weapons, and upgrade them. (FYI, even the weapons in this game franchise have a lore behind them. It’s nuts.)
– Characters 2B and 9S really play off one another real well. A2 stands out for being sassy and tough. Other characters like Emil, Pascal, as well as Devola and Popola add to the story and will get to you.
-The soundtrack will give your ears an orgasm.
-Great replay value if you’re a lore buff, trophy hunter, and a completionist. There are multiple endings. Five main endings and LOT of joke endings. Main endings being A through E. All the others cover the rest of the alphabet. Leave it to Yoko Taro to cover the whole freakin’ alphabet.
-2B’s butt. It’s a thing of booty…I mean beauty. (Self-destruct 2B just to ditch the skirt. Do it!)

Cons of this Game
-I’ve run into this weird problem with controls. For some reason my characters stagger or come to a sudden stop when I’m trying to run from place to place. I have no idea why it’s happening. It’s only now happening. Looking into exactly what might be the the cause, but nonetheless it’s annoying.
-Yoko Taro can be a real troll. Anyone who has played any Drakengard game will know what I’m talking about.
-I really wish you had the option to change characters in each walkthrough instead of having to wait and unlock them. Reason why is because of the numerous locked chests you will come across in your first play through, but cannot access unless you’re playing as 9S because of his hacking abilities. That really got on my nerves.
-The hacking game gets tired. If you want save yourself frustration here’s a tip. Set the game’s difficulty to Easy mode, turn the Auto-Chip on, and then go to town. This will shave off time in walkthroughs if you’re only in into this game for the lore or are in a hurry to get to a certain point in the game during replay or if you just have stuff to do in real life….
-Oh yeah this one section of the game that happens during your third walkthrough. Not gonna go into details. Just know the keywords: 2B+Infection. If you have trouble getting through it there is a guide on Youtube to help get through it. Link will be provided below….For real, this part pissed me off. (this guide will spare you frustration, trust me.)

Score: 8.0
I want to give it a higher score because it has what I’m always looking for in a game; great OSTs, plot, and replay value. Those are my key interests. But that’s not always the case with the average gamer. But is it for everybody? That’s subjective. Is it the best game ever? It’s best game Yoko Taro has made, yes. Does it have other titles beat? No, no game is that good. Another reason I’m not giving it a higher score is because I haven’t experienced every little thing this title has to offer. I haven’t even completed half of the side quests nor did I take time to upgrade weapons to their max potential. But I’m replaying the game now from scratch. Once I’ve felt like I’ve gotten the whole package I may come back and give it an updated review (much shorter too). Until then it is what it is. Hope this review helps. Later days!

Reviews Incoming!

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Earlier I said the I would go back to blogging reviews on certain things. I’m feeling that the first batch of reviews will be on video games.

Here’s how reviews will work. The rules will follow for all subjects.

1) I will do my best to keep things spoiler free. No promises though.
2) Scores will be given on a scale of 1 to 10.
3) Pros and cons will be pointed out.
4) I will be as objective as I possibly can. No promises though.
5) Certain points of the subjects will be open for critique. Like games will be judged for replay value, game controls, music, plot, characters. While movies will be critiqued for directing, acting, casting, plot, etc.

These reviews will be based on my opinion and my opinion alone. If I happen to like something you hate or hate something you like, don’t freak out. Drop a comment or hit me up so we can discuss it like mature adults. Or as close as we may get to it…. (Because weebs are some opinionated motherfuckers)

Good day everyone!