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While the 3DS is near the end of its life cycle, that doesn't mean that there aren't any new games to play. Persona Q2, one of the last games for the console, is one last worthy addition to an RPG fan's library.
Like the previous game, the story involves the casts of Persona games being summoned to a location(in this case, a cinema with labyrinths for each movie) and being forced to work together, but this time, the cast of Persona 5 and the female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable come along, too. Each labyrinth has a fairly engaging story, but the overall story, particularly newcomer Hikari's character arc, is less interesting than the first game's. Without spoiling anything, one reason Hikari isn't as compelling is that she doesn't spend as much time around the party as Rei did, since she mostly stays out of the labyrinths, resulting in her having little presence during the early story. That said, it does effectively tie into Persona 5's major themes, much like the previous game's story combined Persona 3 and 4's themes.
As in the previous games, the interactions between the characters of different games is one of the main draws, particularly when very similar (or different) members of separate games' casts bond by going on sidequests together. Said sidequests are generally more enjoyable and less obtuse than those in the previous game, since they have fewer onerous conditions attached(such as requiring a certain party member that you might not use, or forcing you to defeat Shadows in a specific way). One part that's a bit of a letdown, though, is that there aren't any Strolls that let you see optional dialogue scenes between party members, which can be funny, insightful, touching, or all of the above.
The combat is basically similar to the previous game, but it features some noticeable improvements. Magic is more viable, since running out of SP is less of a worry. All-Out Attacks happen once all foes are knocked down, rather than randomly based on how many characters are boosted. Your characters' health and SP are restored for free upon leaving the labyrinth, cutting down on your overhead. These features remove some of the more tedious and frustrating parts of the game, without detracting from the challenge.
While dungeon exploration and normal battles are significantly easier, the bosses in this game are significantly more elaborate and challenging, often featuring multiple phases or special mechanics. As a result, they're also significantly more fun, although I found that this game's Final Boss was significantly easier than the first game's.
One unfortunate part is that this game does not have an English dub. Since I enjoyed the English performances in the previous Persona games, this is quite disappointing.
For the most part, though, Persona Q2 improves on the first game in many regards. All in all, if you still have your 3DS and enjoyed the first game, I'd recommend Persona Q2.
... until I find my 3DS, this is probably an academic question, but how bad is the grind compared to the last one? I remember the reason I never finished it was simply that not only were the fights ridiculously hard, they were deeply unrewarding, offering tiny miserly little bits of experience and currency that made keeping everyone properly leveled and equipped the worst kind of grinds chore.
Thanks for this review, but there are some stuff that you didn't elaborate/overlook on.
I've followed it up for you, it's a bit spoilery so watch out.
The grind isn\'t too bad. I had to do some grinding to defeat the bosses of the first and second labyrinths, but after that, I didn\'t really have to do any, since my party members were fairly well-leveled. Not only are there items that increase your experience gain, but also, if you finish with an All-Out Attack, you\'ll get more experience (how much more depends on when in the game you are). You can also use items to instantly level party members up to the \"Wild Level,\" which is roughly the level of your highest character, and determines which Personas you can make.
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