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Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4
When it comes to the Shin Megami Tensei series, many of us in the West aren't quite familiar with them. Although some are becoming more familiar because of the new Aeria MMO, MegaTen Imagine, and falling in love with the story line and the game so we are starting to see the great story here. The third installment of the Shin Megami saga was brought to the US after seven years to help stir up the love of this story line and bring a whole new generation of gamers into the MegaTen world. With that being such a success, it quickly gained a sequel, Persona 4, that is rocking right along. Here are the basics of this fun game that you will want to be sure to have in your collection.
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The Story Line
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 starts off with your toon (that you get to name) being sent to live with your uncle. It takes you some time to get settled into his village of Inaba, and school is not going well for you. But, you make some quick friends with several local kids in the area: Yosuke, Yukkio, and Chie. Just when things start to look up for you, a fog sets into the village and ends up leaving behind a body in it's wake. Now, the police are trying to solve this case, yet stumble at every turn, while you suddenly discover that you might just be the one who can stop these killings in your new home.
You can do this by traveling into the "Midnight Channel" which is actually a tv show that is supposed to reveal your toon's soul mate, yet it only ends up trapping people. If you can free them in time, you stop the killer. In this tv show, you are to align yourself with one of the main areas of the tarot deck and use your talents to beat the monster that roam in the show. But, you aren't alone here - you have your trusty friends from back home to help you.
The beauty of this game is that the dungeons in it are randomly generated meaning that you can't plan to do one dungeon one day, and a different one the next. You will never quite know where you'll end up in the many different floors of the game world. You are also racing against the weather here - as when the fog rolls in, it will trap a villager in the show, and if you can't rescue them, you will have to restart the game.
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The overall game play in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 is a bit different than the previous games in the series. While there are some similarities, the differences will be obvious to those that have played any others. First, you will find that the mix up of the floors and dungeons on a random basis can get frustrating, yet add a great replay ability to the game overall as well.
Combat is started by either running into or attacking a shadow in the area that you are in. Each shadow will have special abilities that either you or one of your friends are weakend to, and it is up to you to all find the shadow's weakness and kill it quickly. But, you will have the ability to keep track of the weaknesses that you've already found to help with other fights. One other major difference in this game is that you can also control the other members of your group without having to rely on what the game makers have programmed them to do.
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Well, here the game has good and bad points. While the graphics themselves are more anime style, they are detailed and bright, which makes the game fun. As you can see from the screenshots below, it's easy to see your toon, see where you're going, and read the interface of the game when you need to. But, the camera angles can make the game a headache and make the dungeons a pain to navigate.
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Overall, I really liked this game as there really isn't much bad about it. With the great replay value it has and the new upgrades to the old story line, you really can't go wrong here. And, if you like this one, you can always check out MegaTen Imagine (the MMO version). To find out more about MegaTen Imagine, the publishers, Aeria Games, has done a great Q&A about the game and why they feel that it is one every gamer should try out as well. So, make sure that you do your homework on this game if you really enjoy it and play some of the other versions out there.