What’s that? You thought the Nintendo 3DS wasn’t getting any new games? Well, clearly you don’t follow Atlus’ trend of releasing titles well into the life of the next big system. Remember, Persona 5 was released on the PlayStation 3 in 2017. So it’s only fitting that Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth, a Persona 5 crossover title, would be coming out in 2019, exclusive to the handheld platform.
Persona Q2 was developed largely by the team behind the Etrian Odyssey games, so it’s not a total surprise to see the game developed for the 3DS. This development team is known for its unique dungeon crawlers and features standout gameplay systems for both battles and exploration. By utilizing the system’s top screen for gameplay, the lower screen is left for dedicated mapmaking, which allows players to mark down doors, chests, corridors, shortcuts, etc. in the dungeons. So with the subtitle, “New Cinema Labyrinth”, expect no shortage of these systems.
As stated earlier, Persona Q2 is a crossover title, however, unlike its predecessor, you don’t choose which cast you want to start with. Instead, the game opens with Persona 5’s Phantom Thieves, who on a routine mission, are sucked into a bizarre cinema screen and find themselves locked in a mysterious movie theatre. The key to escaping is to explore the films contained within the theater’s screens and resolve the stories contained within. Along the way, the Phantom Thieves will meet the casts of Persona 4 and Persona 3, including their much requested Female protagonist who was absent in the previous title.
To clear these labyrinths, players will get to make a team of up to five characters from across these games and kit them out with various pieces of equipment as well as the titular personas, manifestations of one’s inner personalities, so you can beat the living daylights out of any monster or ‘shadow’ you come across in beautiful turn-based combat.
Playing through the first two dungeons of the game, this is turning out to be a stand out feature. Persona Q2 stays true to what players expect from the series as it expects you to plan ahead and adapt on your feet to work out the most efficient way of defeating all who stand before you. Otherwise, you’re going to be seeing that game over screen a lot.
So far, I am having an immense amount of fun right now with this title. Hopefully, the game’s balance holds up and the structure stays consistently entertaining in the later dungeons. This is a must because, with over 20 playable characters to choose from, I would like to it to be possible to build a strong and capable party of some of my favorite characters from the series.
Other features that have stood out to me in the early parts of the game include the soundtrack, that seems to keep pumping out the jams. The visual design of the game is taking some strong influences from Persona 5’s cool aesthetic and blends it with a fantastic old-cinema look. It’s coming together rather well, so if you don’t mind, I’ll continue my trek through the dungeons to see how well this title holds up in the later dungeons.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is set to release worldwide on June 4 for Nintendo 3DS, stay tuned for our full review.
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