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Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 19 - 2019

Could this be the last big 3DS release?

 
As the 3DS faces retirement and the twilight years of its life, it wants to go out on a high point, with the release of Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth. Of course, there could still be further big name games launched for the ageing handheld, but there doesn’t appear to be anything planned, and if Atlus’ Etrian Persona crossover does prove to be the last big release, it’s all good.

 
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With the Persona series growing massively in popularity in recent years, the release of Persona Q2 on 3DS will get a lot of attention from new series fans. For those not in the know, or who have come to Persona since the release of Persona Q some five years ago, Persona Q2 is a spin off title that takes a lot of what makes the Persona games great, specifically the strong narrative and likeable characters, and combines it with another popular, but very different, JRPG in the form of Etrian Odyssey. Fans of the Etrian Odyssey games will at once recognise the first-person dungeon crawling and the chance to draw their very own maps of the dungeons on the 3DS’ lower screen.

 
The magic in Persona Q2 is how the aspects from the two different games are combined into something that works, and works really well. Of course, the most likely reason for players to pick up this game is for the fan service and the familiarity of the cast. Focussing mostly on cast members from Persona 5, any long time Persona players will be pleased to see appearances from other characters from the series. For the uninitiated, we are talking about students that also happen to fight the supernatural, like you do.

 
The story for Persona Q2 is perhaps narrower than the usual Persona games, but no less involved when it comes to the great cast of characters. The good news is that those who are new to the Persona games will only miss out on the fan service in Q2, with the main story being perfectly understandable without any of that back knowledge.

 
So, what’s going on? Well, the team are going about their business when they find themselves trapped in a cinema of all things. Of course, this is no ordinary cinema and the movies showing on the screens are actually dungeons to explore, containing not only the means to escape the cinema, but also friends and other characters that will need the teams help. It’s a great little story that is given variety by offering different genres of movie for the player to explore, presenting their own takes on the likes of sci-fi or super hero movies. It’s a lot of fun, and the characters, as always, are absolutely excellent.

 
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When it comes to the gameplay, this is far more about the Etrian Odyssey style of play. The dungeons are presented from a first-person viewpoint, and laid out as a grid. This means that each step the player takes will move the team onto the next grid point. This is important because when the player is not moving, neither are any of the enemies in the game. The dungeons are filled will all sorts of puzzles and traps, and a lot of these make use of this type of movement. For example, while most normal encounters are almost random, albeit based on a countdown, occasionally the player will come across a massive enemy that is simply far too powerful for the player to face, at least at this point. However, using the staggered movement and working out the route that the enemy walks, the player will in most instances be able to simply avoid the enemy with a little planning.

 
Cartography. As is common with the Etrian Odyssey games, in Q2 the player is encouraged to create their own maps of the dungeon on the lower 3DS screen. The tools available are quite expansive, allowing the player to make everything from treasure to short cuts. Obviously the maps come in very handy as the dungeons are labyrinthine in nature. Creating these maps are a highlight of the game for many, but for those who simply don’t want to, the game is able to auto-map and do all of the hard work for them.

 
The combat is turn-based and takes inspiration from both titles, with the members of the team forming two rows and being able to use Personas to add extra flavour. The complexity of the battle system is not too high, but there are plenty of things to keep in mind, such as link attacks, all-out attacks and boost. The game does a good job of introducing the player to everything they need to know, and much of it will come naturally to players of the Persona games anyway. It’s a good system that will give players plenty of options as to how they face combat encounters.

 
There is a lot going on in Persona Q2, from hopping out of the movie dungeon to sell all of the spoils the player has gathered, or equipping new gear and weapons to become more powerful, to unlocking loads of new characters to add to the team, and even heading back into dungeons to take on special side quests. The best thing is that it all looks absolutely great on the 3DS screen, with the chibi characters and the movie themed environments that even carry through to found gear. The soundtrack is no slouch either, offering up some very memorable tunes for player to enjoy.

 
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Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is a successful combination of two popular JRPGs. The game may come across as slightly simple to fans of either original series, but it still manages to have the essence of both games and present it in a way that can appeal to almost any player. It’s a great story, looks brilliant and plays really well. If it does turn out that this is the final big 3DS game, my 3DS can retire happy. Give your 3DS the send off it deserves and pick up Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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