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3DS: Persona Q

Welcome back, fellow 3DS gamers!

I very recently gave in to temptation and sacrificed my wallet, resulting in my very own copy of Persona Q! I've been waiting to get my itchy mitts on it for very long, but the prices have kept the game on my wishlist until I finally found someone selling it at a price I could afford.

I met the seller, bought the game, went home, and did not sleep for two days. Okay fine, I exaggerate. I did sleep for a few hours, but my panda circles are now at full opacity.

I've played Persona 3 Portable beforehand on the PSP, and I've been utterly hooked ever since. There has been the release of Persona 4 and Golden, but I skipped those and went straight to PQ, since PQ has the playthrough of both the P3MC and the P4MC, and their teams as well.

PQ has it's own storyline, with the introduction of two new characters: Rei and Zen. They're playable characters, and while Rei is focused more on buffs, Zen is an attacker. They're super handy in the early game as Zen learns almost all the elemental skills, and several of them are multi-hit skills. Rei has a party heal, which helps a lot while trying to grind levels. Not to mention their SP recovers after every battle, and still recovers while walking through the labyrinth!! 

Compared with P3, the gameplay is slightly different, but not so much so that it's unrecognisable as a Persona game.

For example, in PQ, you now have to map out the labyrinth as you explore through, which is honestly so much more fun in my opinion. The floors are automatically colored in as you walk on them, but you'll have to fill in the walls, doors, and other misc yourself. As such, it really does feel like I'm exploring uncharted territory with my party members. Of course, for those who find mapping a tedious process, there's also an automap feature where the floors and walls are automatically filled as you walk through the labyrinth. Doors and other misc such as the enemies will still have to be drawn in by you.

There is also quite a fair amount of icons and color variations available, which is really nice, considering the fact that I like to map every singe little thing, and having different icons + colors makes it easier for me to keep track of things.

I try to finish about one labyrinth every night, so I'm only about 3/4 through the game, but I'm enjoying every moment so far. Well, not every moment, and you'll know why in a bit.

PQ has four labyrinths, each with a theme that one will be able to experience in a typical school cultural festival. After completing all four there is a final boss dungeon where all secrets and mysteries will finally be revealed!

The first labyrinth follows the Alice in Wonderland theme, which is really cute, being all pink and flowery. As with the theme, the mini bosses are Card Soldiers. The final boss was the Queen of Hearts.

The second labyrinth was a Group Date Cafe, which was hilarious, with the mini bosses being Cupids. No problems there too, everything so far is really adorable. The labyrinth boss was a Merciful Clergyman, and it gave me a minor scare when it turned around. I wasn't expecting it to look so creepy, + the accompanying voice certainly did amp up the creepy factor.

The third labyrinth gave me a heart attack, and almost made me fling my 3DS against the wall. The theme is Haunted House/ Haunted Hospital, aka please kill me now. When I first entered the dungeon it was already in the wee hours of the morning, where everyone was asleep and all was still and my music was creeping me out.

Still, I trudged on admist all that gloomy flickering lights and dripping blood and scary porcelain dolls and dismembered arms, slowly mapping out my process when all of a bloody sudden a CREEPY RED DOLL POPPED OUT OF NOWHERE, GIGGLING AND SHUDDERING LIKE YOUR USUAL CREEPY DOLL. If not for the fact that I was more afraid of waking my family up, I would have screamed. As it turns out, I did squeal and almost flung my 3DS across the room in horror.

I. Was. Terrified.

After the first scare I proceeded to walk backwards so nothing could pop up on screen. I could still hear the giggles, but that's nothing compared to the jump scare when playing alone in the dark. The don't move from their spots though, so it's easy to pass them by. I thought the red doll mini bosses was the scariest but no, there was something worse lurking in the depths of the dungeon.

If you play the P4MC route, there will be a scene where a party member urgently needs to do the number 1, and while he's in the bathroom, another creepy doll will make an appearance. This one is special because it comes with its own cutscene, and will actively seek you out. Not to mention it moves two spaces against your one. When the cutscene triggered and I heard the manic giggle, I couldn't take it anymore and had to stop playing. I continued the next day in broad daylight with the presence of my entire family and I was still terrified. It's definitely not for the faint hearted. In comparison, the dungeon Doctor boss and his two Nurses are really mild. Total no kick after experiencing the hell of the labyrinth itself.

I'm on to the fourth labyrinth now, and it's a festival theme, like those summer festivals with the side stalls and goldfish scooping. The mini bosses are hilariously terrifying because while they look like the typical over steroidal bodybuilders, they're incredibly strong. I have completely no idea about the dungeon boss though. I hope he'd be hilarious too.

I've always been biased, picking my favourite characters to form a team, and leaving the rest to rot. I kid, I don't leave them there to rot, but I don't actively train them either. I do have this need to have my side characters at the same levels, so I usually grab an external exp item, and dump it on every character I don't use.

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I picked the P4MC route, so leaving him out of my party is impossible. The fixed portion of my party consists of P3MC (because I can't have one without the other), and Naoto. Naoto is incredibly OP, but I had already picked her for the main team before I found that fact out, so I felt it was no point taking her off. The other two of my team usually alternates between the ReiZen combo, Akihiko, Misturi, Ken, and very occasionally Shinji, and Konomaru. 

ugh my nerds!!! <3
I usually only look at strength and weaknesses, so it's relatively simple to pair up my characters' personas to sub personas which even out or null their weakness. Although I think I should start looking at charts to prep for the final stage.

There are different types of combos to go for when dealing with the mob, and since I personally love Naoto, I equipped her with Impure Reach and have her one hit kill all the labyrinth mob. It makes battles end in literally one turn, and even if her turn does miss, I usually have a couple of other characters equipped with the same skill set.

Of course, it might not be very challenging  with such an OP move, but I'm more about the story than anything else, so it all works out for me. In all honesty, if they had an option to entirely turn off random encounters while I map the labyrinth, I would instantly give the game a 10.

Boss battles wise, I usually have P4MC with Impure Reach and a Poison skill, which makes for incredibly quick progress in depleting their HP levels. I usually have the others simply use the Bosses' weakness, with at least a healer in each row.

With us being able to utilise both teams, you can now choose either Rise or Fuuka to be your Battle Navigator, and the other will be your Field Navigator.  I personally prefer Fuuka as the Battle Nav as she can consistently heal up my party.

It's so fun to be able to utilize members from both parties! Overall, PQ is definitely a game I'll recommend, especially if you've played the previous versions.

I'm going back to complete my festival now, nerd out!

Written by: ninetylives

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