Insert witty intro paragraph here. Do my job for me please. I’m too burnout from college. Welcome to Persona 2 Eternal Punishment.
Persona 2 Eternal Punishment is the last of the main titles in the Persona series that we need to cover on The Backlog. It has taken me a long time to do so since the game is much harder than the rest of the series in my opinion.
Basic rundown of the plot: This is the sequel to Innocent Sin, which was never released in the states until the Playstation Portable remake/port. You take control of Maya, one of the five party members in the previous game. You begin your “new” life in the Other Side until things start to shake up due to Joker. He’s back but he’s not quite the same as before. It’s time to figure out what is up with him and this “Other Side” he keeps talking again. Let’s mosey, folks!
Gameplay is pretty much the same as it is in Innocent Sin. The rumor mechanic is still in play. Saving anywhere is still a godsend (thank you Atlus!!!). And no first person view in dungeons. Battles still go the same but since this is the original PS1 version, no visual on the side of whose turn it is. On the bottom of the screen where your health and spell points are, either ACT, NEXT, or WAIT will appear above a character’s name to show you the turn order. You have complete control over each character but you have to remember that once you hit the Strategy command before the Battle command. Like in Innocent Sin, you have input your moves in the Strategy section before selecting Battle. Once you hit Battle, those are the moves you will be using until the fight is over. To stop this from happening, you can hit circle on the controller to back out and go back to the battle menu to select your next move. You can also do Fusion Spells with two or more party members. In order to learn a Fusion Spell, your party will do it automatically in battle without your permission. After learning the spell, it will be stored in your Fusion Spell list in the battle menu and either you can select it from the list or the characters will do it depending on the battle order with your permission.
During battle, you can commutate with enemies via the contact system. Once again, this is how you get tarot cards in order to fuse Personas. I delved more into the contact system more than I wanted to but I did it to beat the game with reasonably good Personas. There are four emotions of an enemy that you can trigger: Anger (red), Sad (blue), Happy (green), Excited (yellow with exclamation point). Angering an enemy will cause the enemy to go into the fury state, sad will make the enemy run away, excited will get you that enemy’s tarot card (the number of cards depends on the enemy’s level), and happy will bring up the contract. The contract will help you secure not only tarot cards but free tarot cards when you excite the enemy. But remember, you must be reasonably close in level with the enemy otherwise no contract.
Fusing personas work the same way as in Innocent Sin. You go into the Velvet Room and talk with our old buddy Igor. He never seems to leave… Do you think he ever goes on vacation? Summoning Personas require a certain number of tarot cards in the desired category (for example Emperor or World) and player level. You have be at least within five levels of your wanted Persona or it’s a no go. I mentioned free tarot cards in the last paragraph. Free tarot cards are blank tarots that can be used as regular tarot cards. You need to go to the Demon Artist in the Velvet Room and let him know which category and the number of cards you want and he’ll painted them up for you to use. You can only carry a certain amount of Personas with you at all times, although you can exchange Personas with Igor or let them go with the Return option. If you return a Persona, you may be get a material card or item in return depending on the Persona and their level. Oh, and anyone can switch Personas in the menu and even in battle. How neat!
Eternal Punishment has no difficulty setting which is why I found the game difficult. I have been playing the remake/ports of the earlier games and later releases in the series. Like with Persona 1, I had to restart the game a few times before I got the hang of it. The game, for a short bit, has two branching paths when you meet up with two characters from the first game. I went on Ellen’s (Eriko) path first which proved to be a tough challenge for me before I eventually restarted the game to go on Nate’s (Nanjo) path.
I spent the majority of the game grinding for tarot cards and levels that I didn’t make much attention to the soundtrack of the game which is a big shame. I bet it has some great tunes!
Overall I found Persona 2 Eternal Punishment to be the biggest challenge and hardest game in the Persona series. It definitely tested my gaming abilities and as frustrating as some battles were (I’m looking at you Was Sugawara boss… you piece of crap), I did enjoy the game. If you are a Persona fan and only played 3 and 4, you need to play this title along with the other earlier two titles.
Persona 2 Eternal Punishment
Look at us. We reviewed “all” the main titles in the Persona series. I won’t be able to finish Persona 3 FES & The Answer before the release of Persona 5 but I will most likely finish it before I get the new game. I don’t have the money. But I bet Erin will review it before I do.