A Final Mystery: The End of Persona 3

What a week! Here in Kentucky we had a major ice storm last week. Several hundred thousand people were/are without power. Some won't even get power for a few more weeks. I was lucky, in that I only lost cable and Internet for a few days. Not such a big deal, when you consider that some people were unable to stay in their homes. But I'm back online now, and the city's slowly getting back to normal.

In gaming news, after returning LittleBigPlanet (bloody brilliant game!) I switched gears full forward into finishing off Persona 3. The lack of cable and Internet really helped quicken this goal. With no television, Internet, or ability to look for jobs, I had lots of free time to delve deeper into Tartarus. Mission accomplished! I beat Persona 3.

Ah, but I forgot to mention that I actually own Persona 3: FES, which is the special edition of the game, released several months after the original. What this means is that while the original, main storyline is the same (except for some added items and social links) there is an entirely new addition to the game. This mode is called The Answer (as contrasted with The Journey). It's supposed to expand upon the plot of the main game and explain what happened afterwards.

I have a couple of problems with this. First is that I just finished playing an 80 hour RPG. The last thing I want to do is now wade into a 25-30 hour extension of the game, which is largely a humongous dungeon crawl. Granted, the hearsay on the Internet seems to indicate that the story in The Answer is amazing and well worth the time. But I ask you this, Internet: is it amazing by universal narrative standards, or just amazing by the generally dull video game standards?

Second, what is the point of this extra chapter? I didn't feel like there were any loose ends left over at the conclusion of Persona 3. Maybe I missed something, but I now understand why Tartarus existed, where it and the Shadows came from, and why it had to be destroyed. I even think I have a tenuous grasp on the general theme of the game: Death. What is there left to add? One of my biggest pet peeves is when DVDs are released as unrated or with extra scenes added in. Except in very rare cases, I want to see the movie as it was originally released and intended to be seen. These additions rarely add anything, and usually detract from the overall worth of the film.

Does a similar concept hold true with video games? Admittedly, most video games are only released in one version. Very few receive updated releases. One notable example was Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, which added better, more fluid controls and an online component to the original game. But releasing an addition to the story is quite different to improving the controls or fixing some bugs. The new Prince of Persia is similar to Persona 3 in this regard in that they are planning to release some DLC that tweaks the difficulty and adds on some more story segments at the end of the main game. In general, I think these kinds of additions are completely unnecessary. If the story is understandable and 'complete', it doesn't need further explanation. It's redundant.

Specifically with Persona 3, I think the game is fine the way it stands. It doesn't need an extra story to plod through just for some added insights. There are no loose ends, and everything fits together pretty well. That being said, I would like to play through The Answer and see if it really is as interesting as everyone says it is. Just not right away, because I am extremely burned out on Persona 3 and long RPGs in general. Since my PS3 has been neglected for the past few months, other than LittleBigPlanet, I'm going to return to Half-Life 2. A fast-paced shooter will be a nice change of pace. I can't wait to get back to tossing things around with the good old gravity gun!


Daniel Primed said...

I don't like the idea of extended versions of games being released a few months after the original came out. Fortunately I've never fallen into this trap, but I know I'd be angry if I bought a game like MGS3 or Persona 3 only to have another, better verson be released shortly after.

DLC I guess remedies this as it provides you with the option to only pay for the new bits without essentially re-buying. But on the flipside, it also serves as an excuse to jimmy in more content for an inflated price. Something I also dislike. I think it all depends on if the content justifies itself in relation to game narrative, value and relevancy.

Demiath said...

Good job with Persona 3 and weathering out that storm (as if the economic disaster wasn't enough...). Judging by what I've read on other game-related blogs, most people who've just played through P3 have shown a similar (quite understandable) reluctance to embark on further time-consuming dungeon grinding in The Answer.

As for HL2, I played it when it was originally released on the PC and found it to be a slightly underwhelming experience combat-wise (there's just something mundane and strangely anemic about it). The relatively limited but effective interaction and "dialogue" with Alyx is nicely done and curiously affecting, though; especially in Episode One (I still haven't played Episode Two), and to me that was worth the price of admission alone.

Korey said...

@Daniel: I agree that the value and worth of the DLC totally depends not just on if the game justifies DLC, but also what the user is interested in. For example, I am in no way interested in buying costumes for Sackboy in LBP. That $2 can be better spent elsewhere. But I am very much interested in the Metal Gear levels that Media Molecule made.

@Demiath: I'm relatively inexperienced with FPS games. I think I've only played Perfect Dark, a little of Goldeneye, and Red Faction. So I'm trying to branch out a little bit in my game genres. I think the best way to do that is to try to play the biggest and best FPS' available. So the two that top my list next are Bioshock and Call of Duty IV. I'm still on the main game of Half-Life 2, and am looking forward to finishing it and playing the two episodes. My inexperience makes me think Half-Life 2 is exciting, stressful, and always surprising. I guess I know less about what to expect from these types of games.

Demiath said...

I do recommend both of the games you mentioned as future projects. Cod4 can be a bit unforgiving on higher difficulty levels and BioShock is fairly simplistic compared to its spiritual predecessor System Shock 2 (one of the best games ever if you ask me), but both games are a lot of fun to play through at least once.