PERSONA Q: SHADOW OF THE LABYRINTH
I am a big big PERSONA fan, I love the games and have played all of them - So I was avidly looking forward to PERSONA Q: SHADOW OF THE LABYRINTH.
PERSONA Q crosses over elements and characters from PERSONA 3 and PERSONA 4 it has some differences to the previous adventures, in the fact that it concentrates a lot on the dungeon exploration more so in some cases than the story itself.
PERSONA Q: SHADOW OF THE LABYRINTH is also split into 2 campaigns (One campaign focuses on the characters of PERSONA 4 and the other campaign focuses on the characters of PERSONA 3) also PERSONA Q has DLC available.
PERSONA Q doesn't grab you as instantly from the start of the game like PERSONA 3 and PERSONA 4 do, the graphics are nice for a 3DS title and they are big and beautiful, very much in keeping with the anime style - however rather than have the characters in 3rd Person perspective exploring the settings, PERSONA Q simply has a menu that instantly takes you to the main locations (Velvet Room, Workshop etc).
The in-game animation is also lovely - I particularly like the battle sequence animations of the characters such as Yosuki when he does a Persona spell - He does this great martial arts dance movement before releasing the spell on a foe which looks quite cute.
The sound is awesome in this game as with the PERSONA 4 GOLDEN I loved listening to the tunes, and character voices and sound effects are at a very high quality level of next gen console games.
All your favourite PERSONA characters from the last 2 big episodes in the series are here: Mitruru, Yosuki, Kanji, Teddie etc It is one of the best crossover games ever, because it works as a game in it's own right and not just a money-making showcase of popular game characters.
I have been playing this game using the PERSONA 4 campaign setting and while it is highly difficult even at its most easiest game setting, the battle sequences and fighting the FOEs can be very enjoyable experience.
The only fault I can find in this, is that it is not as epic in scale of production as it should be, there is no excuse for this not being as epic as PERSONA 4 GOLDEN on VITA - The 3DS has the capabilities to be just as good as the competing machine and I would have loved to have been able to walk around the high school and chat with characters like I did in PERSONA 4 and PERSONA 3. Why didn't they do this?
I didn't like the First Person View of the dungeon exploration, it is nowhere near as atmospheric as the 3rd Person View dungeon exploration of PERSONA 4. Even with the intense difficulty level PERSONA Q could have reached 90%+ scores but I have to rate this at 89% because of what I have mentioned in the previous paragraph.
The difficulty level is extreme in some cases - The first dungeons are a grind-fest and can take ages if you are not patient enough - However when you do complete the first of the 4 big sections (The first WONDERLAND section is made up of 3 dungeons.) it is very rewarding in terms of the story, characters and gameplay which open up into something bigger.
PERSONA Q is a fantastic 3DS RPG game, it just doesn't feel as perfect as PERSONA 4 GOLDEN is on VITA (But then it's a different game and doesn't attempt to be anything like Persona 4.), and it could have been quite easily extended to be as good as that in terms of it's exploration and scale.
PERSONA Q: SHADOW OF THE LABYRINTH is a one of those hardcore games that audiences on both sides of the RPG fence (Western RPG and Japanese RPG gamers) will love. It is a must buy for PERSONA fans and RPG fans, just don't expect a repeat of the handheld epic gameplay that we received with PERSONA 4 GOLDEN on VITA.
Overall Score: 89%