Persona 5 Fills a Niche Not Often Reached in America

Persona 5 was easily one of my most anticipated games of 2017 and hearing the news that Atlus was bringing it to PS4 as well as the PS3 made me jump for joy (since I no longer needed to re-set up my ps3).

While this may be the 5th title in the series do not let that scare you off, much like Final Fantasy each game is its own story with only gaming elements or themes carrying over.  In other words P5 is as good a place to jump in as any, and boy what a great jump in spot.

 What is Persona 5?

Set in “modern” Japan you take the roll of a young High school student who, with a recent brush with the law, is sent to live with an estranged family friend for a year.  It is during this year you learn of the Metaverse and discover the power to change people hearts by altering their internal Psyche via the palaces in their hearts.  Sound confusing? How about.. You are fighting the physical manifestations of people’s internal demons, and defeating said demons makes people RETURN TO NORMAL… got it? good!

While Persona 5 is linear in the amount of time you have to complete “palaces” or raise your levels, it is predominantly up to you how you spend your days as a high school student with magical powers.

  • Feel like spending the Afternoon leveling up and fighting shadows in the Metaverse?  Go Ahead!
  • Waste a Sunday playing video games and reading manga?   You Got it!
  • Want to spend all your time doing menial tasks at a part-time job?  Ummm… ok.

The point is, while the core story is completely linear, how you spend your time and build your relationships with your friends is totally up to you.  While this may sound strange this is also the charm of what makes a Persona game so fun, you live the life of your character, build bonds, help friends, and work part time jobs.

Gameplay.

Aside from being a slice of life anime simulator the rest of the game plays out as a turn based dungeon crawler RPG.  You yourself do not actually have any magical abilities, the only thing you can do is call forth your “Persona” or part of your heart to fight for you (think like Pokemon but ghost demons “shadows”).  These Persona then have a wide range of magical powers, abilities, strengths and weaknesses and it is your job to make sure to call forth the best Persona for the job….again like Pokemon.  What sets you apart as the main character is your ability allows you to call upon multiple Persona while your teammates are only allowed to have one based on their internal persona, ie their own true heart (awww the power of friendship).   Keep in mind that any actual fighting and “levels” only make up about 30-40% of this game, so most of the focus is on the drama of your daily life and how your actions in the metaverse effect the real world.

 

Graphics.

While graphically it looks like a fantastic PS3 game, which shouldn’t be a shocker as it was initially announced as a PS3 only game, once you get over the initial shortcomings the game really does shine and present itself well.  Since Persona 5 is stylized like an anime what limitations there are, are covered up in an artistic or hand drawn way especially when it comes to draw distance or detail…. but all of that takes a back seat to the best UI and menu system I have ever seen in a video game.  Like seriously, the flipping battle menus are intuitive and everything just oozes cool, “I never saw it coming” (players inside joke).  Just look at the stupid memes revolving around the style of the menus haha. If there is anything I will remember fondly its this sick as hell menu system.

Gripes:

  • Perhaps I am just getting old as a gamer but I just could not connect with this cast of characters as I did with previous Persona titles.  Don’t get me wrong each character has a thoughtful and rewarding story line of their own but I just didn’t have any “gasp” or shocker moments for me as they did in others, P4 especially.  Because of this, my dating path was more of a “guess I should” rather than a “I really want to know more” process.
  • Despite all the beautiful art and flair, graphics are an issue, it took a long time to get used to the framed screen during cut scenes.  If this is your first Persona title I hope you like reading because  all dialog is via old school avatar popups as the 3D character face models are basic at best.  I could argue that is part of the charm, but lets be honest its 2017.
  • While the voice acting is stellar (in both English and Japanese)  some of the catch phrases or flavor texts can get crazy repetitive, LOOKING COOL, JOKER!!
  • The overall story line dragged on a bit longer than it needed to and the shocking twist at the end was predictable at best, even the “bad ending” pitfall is almost impossible to get without trying.  It feels they tried to make the game more “good ending” friendly or too easy this time.

This article was reposted with permission from IBeatItFirst.com

E3 2017 – GameTruck Approved Games

GameTruck was on hand at E3 2017.

As with previous years we handed out GameTruck Approved awards to those games that promote what we hold near and dear to our hearts; Couch Co-Op games.  With the constant gearing towards online multiplayer, the simple aspect of having your friends over for hours of gaming has started to fall to the wayside. As the millions of our event-goers know, GameTruck is all about playing together with your friends, not over the internet but face to face. While online gaming is fun, it just doesn’t give you the same feeling of camaraderie that you get while sharing a screen/couch with a friend. Without further ado, the E3 2017 GameTruck Approved games are:

Dragon Ball Fighter Z

After many years, the Dragon Ball series has finally made it’s return to the fighting game arena. Boasting 1v1 battles with teams of 3, Dragon Ball Fighter Z delivers a fast paced fighting game that stays true to it’s roots. Look for Dragon Ball Fighter Z early 2018 on PS4 and XBox One.

FIFA 2018 for Nintendo Switch

While this award could go to the FIFA series as a whole, the true essence of playing together is found most in the version made for the Nintendo Switch. Allowing players to wirelessly connect consoles together via Ad-hoc is something that has been missing from the franchise. Not to mention that now you can play a round of FIFA while waiting for a Soccer game to start. Look for FIFA to drop on all major consoles September 2017.

Knack 2

The original Knack struck a cord with many gamers but multiplayer was only available on Easy Mode. It seems Sony took some of the criticism to heart and made a full fledged multiplayer game. Knack 2 has all of the crazy growing and shrinking of the first game, but now you and a friend can beat the game together on any skill level. Look for Knack 2 on PS4 this September 2017.

Splatoon 2

Splatoon was a fun game that had a lot of things going for it. It was fun, vibrant, and full of crazy characters. While it found a great home with online multiplayer, it was severally lacking on the local play front. Enter Splatoon 2, a game that’s built from the ground up to allow large local play. Heck, they’ve even built in many mechanics for it to branch into a major eSports contender. Splatoon 2 hits the Nintendo Switch on 7/21/2017.

ARMS

Nintendo wanted to make a new fighting game to compliment it’s current behemoth Super Smash Bros. While Super Smash Bros has ruled the roost for fighting games on Nintendo Consoles, allowing furious paced 8 player battle royales, ARMS sticks to a more traditional 1v1 platform. Allowing a myriad of different play mechanics, players are sure to find a mode that fits any situation. ARMS dropped onto the Nintendo Switch the day after E3 2017 ended, so grab a copy today.

NASCAR Heat 2

With so many racing titles out there trying to push the envelope of resolution and detail, it’s very easy to lose site of couch multiplayer. While yes NASCAR Heat 2 will support a whopping 40 person online race, it will also support 2 player split-screen as well. If you’re a NASCAR fan, or just a regular race game fan, this is the game for you. Look for NASCAR Heat 2 to hit the PS4 and XBone One September 2017.

PlayLink for PS4

PlayLink is a very obscure gaming platform for the PS4 that did not get much fanfare around it. However, everything that it’s trying to achieve is exactly what GameTruck is looking for. PlayLink is a means of getting everyone in the room to interact together through game, utilizing what everyone these days seems to have as their means of control, a smart phone. There is so much going on with PlayLink that it’s best if you watch the video below.

The Metronomicon

The E3 Indiecade section usually has 1 or 2 bright gems in it each year and this year was no different. The Metronomicon is a very interesting type of game, part RPG and part rythm game, that allow up to 4 players to play simultaneously. If nothing else, they deserve an honorable mention for giving us a use for those darned gaming guitars. Look for The Metronomicon on PS4 and XBox One Q3 2017.

Lego Marvel Superheroes 2

Do you like Lego? Do you like Marvel? Well, this game should be a no brainer then. With the most extensive list of super heroes yet, Lego Marven Superheroes 2 is easily a must buy. Need more to entice you? Then I have 3 words for you… I AM GROOT!  Lego Marvel Superheroes 2 drops on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and XBox One 11/14/2017.

Honorable Mention

Super Mario Odyssey

While yes they haven’t shown any multiplayer capabilities, Super Mario Odyssey was easily one of the best games we played at E3 2017. From Mario becoming almost anyone, so seamless 3D-2D-3D transitions, this game amazed us all! Heck, there is even a mode that let’s you play co-op, with the second player controlling Cappy.  Look for Super Mario Odyssey on Nintendo Switch 10/27/2017.

Zelda & Link Retain Their Console Reign

For many generations, Zelda has been a must have for any Nintendo console release; some might say release Zelda + release console = print money. How does The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild fair? Let’s find out.

Pros

When I first started Breath of the Wild, the only word I could think of was “WOW”. Visually it’s breathtaking. With a mixture of the more realistic feeling modeling of Skyward Sword and the the cell shaded coloring of Wind Waker, Breath of the Wild has seems to have the best combination to keep all sides happy. When we played the demo at E3 2016 there was discernible draw and pop-up issues on the Wii U hardware. Those issues are almost completely gone on the Nintendo Switch version, more than likely attributed to it’s increase in processing power. The sound effects and music used in the game help in providing an immersive atmosphere as well.  Jason would chime in to complain about the lack of voice acting throughout the entire game, rather than just cut scenes, but I don’t care and we’ll just let him have his ragefest in the comments below.

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The controls in the game work extremely well, no matter which of the three play configurations you put the console in. However, despite how much I liked using the Wii motion controls during Twilight Princess I quickly turned them off. While motion controls may have worked well, since I no longer HAD to use two separate controllers I opted for a more traditional controller.

MAJOR Pro

In addition to this being the largest Zelda game ever, it has to be the deepest and richest story done yet. The narrative of the story and use of flashbacks increases your attachment to the characters and is a major standout. In most previous games, Nintendo focused more on fleshing out the narrative of what you needed to do to complete the mission and less on the character back stories. In BotW they added every conceivable back story you can find: father issues, love triangles, inability to live up to destiny, loss of parental figures and friends, you name it.

Zelda this is it

Cons

There are only a couple of cons that can be found in the game. The first con is the issues with weapon and shield durability. While they did make major strides in the game by making bombs a form of magic, rather than a consumable good, I and many people on the internet have a gripe with weapon durability. Weapons break way too easily and you’re essentially way underpowered for the first half of the game. While there may be a ton of weapons to pick up all over the place, most of the time they’re horrible garbage that will very easily break.

rustybroadsword zelda

The only other con that I have is the Gerudo village. Let me start by saying that I’ve played enough JRPG’s to have absolutely no problem with a character needing to crossdress in game. The issue that I have is that the need to cross dress NEVER GOES AWAY. At one point you are called a hero to all Gerudo and a savior of the city, but are still not allowed in to the city without wearing women’s garbs. This would not be a big problem except that the women’s garbs have almost no defense, necessitate you to change out whenever you leave the village and then change again anytime that you want to get a sweet deal on arrows. If they either lifted the ban after I became their hero, or made the garbs have a better armor rating, this would be a moot point; alas neither of those happened though.

Gerudo-Set-Zelda

All-in-all BotW was the best, most engaging Zelda game that I have ever played and is definitely worth the purchase. The ability to play both on the go and lounging around makes the Switch the best platform to play it on.

This article was reposted with permission from IBeatItFirst.comhttp://ibeatitfirst.com/the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-review/