Date: 8/16 1:00 AM
Game Time: 12 hours
My PSP is charging for the fourth time since I started Persona 1, so I guess I'm around 12 hours into it. Usually, I prefer to start out with an impression on the front page before I open a review blog, but I don't feel like messing with the html template right now. I'd much rather do that at work on Monday while getting paid to do other things.
I will say this though: my first impression - my immediate impression - of Persona was that the soundtrack is fantastic. In all fairness, I am a big fan of Meguro's work, but even given that, the music in this game is outstanding. It's gotten to the point where I am going to start rethinking how I score the "Music and Sound" subscore in future reviews. Lately, so many RPGs have had great music that I feel the need to raise my standards for what I call "average." Also, I would highly recommend pre-ordering this game if you are considering buying it anyway and you enjoy listening to video game soundtracks. This is the first PSP game that I've played this long without muting it. Excluding Patapon, naturally.
As for the game itself... it's very SMT. Interesting characters, weird plot involving demons and potentially the end of the world, awesome music, and meh graphics. Aside from the soundtrack, the other thing that's surprised me about the game is how fresh the battle system feels. SMT spinoffs have been recycling Nocturne's battle system for 5 years, and Persona 1 - since it pre-dates that - works in a very unique manner. You can talk to enemies to convince them not to attack you. Best of all, you can do this at any time. I've already avoided a few game overs by frantically convincing demons to leave me alone when they were a turn away from finishing me off.
Date:8/18 4:30 PM
Game Time: 18 hours
So a random thing I noticed today: I was listening to the soundtrack while working, and the song that plays during battle came up. And it's in English. Poor, ridiculous English. English so un-Englishy, I thought the song was entirely in Japanese the hundreds of times I heard it play during the game. The clarity on the soundtrack must be sharper than what is on the UMD, or my PC plays it clearer than the PSP does, because I can make out many poorly pronounced English words (that form sentences that make no sense at all) when the CD plays on my computer.
One other random thought. Someone at Atlus USA has excellent grammar. "Alright" is not a word. It should always be two separate words "all right." During battle, Persona PSP prompts you to confirm if everything is "all right." It's one of those grammar errors that I am so used to seeing, it catches me off guard to see the correct spelling every time I read it.
Date: 8/22 8:45 AM
Game Time: 23 hours
Oops. I finished the game last night. I was going to write more here before completing it, but because I procrastinated on the impression for a couple of days, and I really just played the game in four or five separate sessions, that didn't happen. I got the bad ending. Oops again. I checked out a walkthrough to see where I went wrong, and it looks like the good ending is quite a bit longer than the bad one, so don't freak out at the low game time. My current plan is to restart and take the Snow Queen path at the start.
For those who don't know, if you do a certain sequence of actions near the start of a new game, the world freezes over -- or something, I didn't read spoilers -- and the entire plot of Persona doesn't happen. Instead, you play out an entirely different quest. This "Snow Queen" sequence was cut out of the original US release on the PlayStation, but is included now in the PSP version.
From the little bit I've read, it sounds like the Snow Queen events are harder than the normal game, but much shorter. Later today I'll bust out a walkthrough to see what exactly I have to do to trigger it, and I'll write about it here for however long I keep playing it.
The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.