I started playing a game a few weeks ago on Playstation 2, called Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 which [CM] owns. A few weeks into playing it, I decided it was a good enough game that I’d want it on the PSP, so I got the remake, P3P : Persona 3 Portabl. Turns out it was a pretty good buy.
If I think about some of the really good role-playing games that I’ve played over the past few years, there are a few– but there aren’t any that really felt great in terms of character development and such. Perhaps it’s because recent developments in 3D acceleration have made it such that we get a lot improovement (at least graphically) in games, and that’s more often showcased in FPS style games or something. I just find it hard nowadays to find a game with any story to it. Graphics are nice, of course, but what really helps induces the emotion to the game is the character development, dialogue, and music, which are some of the most overlooked aspects of modern games in my opinion.
Here are a few overlooked games from the past few years that I think do pretty well in terms of offering a great, comprehensive overal game that scores well in all areas.
Prince of Persia
Not much replay value to this game, as in, you play it once and that’s that. But the story to this one is great, and the character development is phenomenal. This is one game that’s at once serious and dark, while silly and playful at the same time. There are pretty much only two speaking roles, but you really see a progression of both characters growing– and it’s simply magic to watch the main characters navigating about the world. Plot builds really well too.
The World Ends with You
To be honest, this is the best game I’ve played on the whole on the Nintendo DS. Say what you want, but in general, my feeling is that quality RPGs on Nintendo DS are all crap. Don’t give me any bull about the rereleased ChronoTrigger or Final Fantasy games– a company wanting to make money by reselling old titles in a new box is not what I call enhancing the tradition, it’s clinging to a past (albeit an honorable one) that should be further honored by innovation. Much like the way I see religion.
On one hand, TWEWY is highly story driven, in the good way. But it also has a lot of other perks– amazing soundtrack, an electic art style and a battle engine is, quite frankly, in a class of it’s own. You can even play the game like a pokemon collector, and grow and collect a whole bunch of skills. The game is just an awesome amalgamation of the best of RPG memes, fused with a whole lot of originality. It doesn’t skimp on character development or plot either.
P3P: Persona 3 Portable
This one, this one is different in a good way. For one thing, despite that the game was pretty interesting on PS2 (before the port), I felt that the interface was kinda clunky. It had an ugly Final Fantasy VII feel to it, which shouldn’t happen from a game that came significantly after. The PSP remake though answered a lot of those problems– it made the navigation of maps a lot simpler (no more running around just to say hello to this or that person). They cut out FMVs unfortunately, but the music got better, the gameplay is much smoother, and even some parts of the battle system have been improoved. And that’s just the gameplay.
The story itself is as simple or as complicated as you want it to be– but this game has tons of sidequesting to do. The interesting part is that the sidequests aren’t just one time deals– most of them have to do with building relationships with other boys and girls at the school, and gradually getting to know their individual stories.