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Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Review

With a seemingly never ending supply of sequels and sub-stories all branching off one another the Persona series has little signs of slowing down, especially since this is the first opportunity for Nintendo players to get their hands on a Persona game with Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth.

Set up as yet another breakaway story from the main Megami Tensei games, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth takes the many strong elements of the Persona titles and once again mashes them up into new gameplay mechanics and I must say, it really works with this time the game playing very similarly to the great Etrain Odyssey series that has already left impressive marks on the 3DS.

With Persona Q: Shadows of the Labyrinth the team at Atlus have taken a rather novel approach to storytelling, essentially splitting the game into two parts and even though the gameplay is essentially the same the ability to play as two very different groups of people offers a different perspective to the proceedings, with the stars of Persona 3 and Persona 4 having been transported to another reality, an approximate copy of Yasogami High School just before festival celebrations, however all is not right, with the pupils acting strangely and the Velvet Room being effected in some strange ways.

At the very start of the game you are able to pick which groups to play as, your character being the protagonist from each original game, surrounded by familiar faces from each game like Yukari or the Aigis the android from Persona 3 and karate skilled Chie and Teddie from Persona 4. With each story starting off independently, once the mysterious bells start to ring the two worlds again are transported into what at first looks like Yasogami High School but scratch the surface and it turns out to be nightmare crammed with monstrous Shadows. Independently of each other the teams discover a strange stall at the festival, transporting them to the maddening labyrinth beneath where they meet up with two strange characters, Zen and Rei, who have no recollection how or why they are here, their memories stolen by an unseen force. Desperate to get out, the teams begin to wander through the seemingly infinite corridors in search of a way out whilst battling the Shadows that lurk.

Though this is the first Persona game for the Nintendo 3DS the style of game it has more in common with is Etrain Odyssey, a series of titles that have had great success over the past few years and the new gameplay focus will please the many fans of both games with Persona Q managing to capture the spirit of both titles.

Played like a classic dungeon crawler, you take your team through strange lands, wandering blindly into battles as you slowly create a map on the bottom screen, noting places of interest and shortcuts as you go deeper and deeper into the labyrinth. The world itself is inhabited by two types of enemies, the regulars that will pop up for a battle whenever they appear on the radar, just generally attracted to your presence, these fights are well balanced, hard enough to sweat it and offering a decent challenge; the other enemies though are the FOE’s, these huge monsters are visible in the game world and patrol set routes, so taking care to avoid them is vital early on or at least until you have levelled up enough to try your skills on them.

The actual fighting is a turn based affair with you creating the formation of your team, classically ranged at the back and close quarters and heavy armour up front and then you pick from an ever growing list of commands from regular attacks to using each players Persona. Worth a note is that due to the strange world you are now in each character is now able to carry two Personas, allowing you to customise your favourite characters with even more devastating set of moves. 

Another large change to the games mechanics are in the elemental effects, with each enemy being weak to certain attacks it is in your tactical interest to learn what these are as with every correct attack, the following special will cost you nothing in terms of SP or HP, really changing the usual grind of waiting around or chugging elixirs to recharge and allowing a better offence, which is vital as the game can get really challenging. This new mechanic is really interesting and really forces you to think carefully before you charge in with your most powerful move.

Worth a note is the overall presentation, with the art direction taking a more cuter anime approach to the characters appearance, they still resemble the characters we are all familiar with and though this may sound off-putting to some, the choice works, especially when it comes to the 3D effects, which look great, especially when wandering around the labyrinth, all manner of monsters and environments adding depth to the visual experience.

The idea of two different groups of teams to play as is an entertaining one and whilst many elements are the same, the interactions between each other are very different, granting almost two stories. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth has already likely been added to the want list of many gamers and for those that have never even heard of it before, even though it is a spin off the storytelling and gameplay is easy to pick up and enjoyable throughout.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: 3DS)


+ A rare occasion to turn the 3DS options on
+ Addictive and deep gameplay


- Very challenging later on

Edited On 02 Dec, 2014

( 3 )
Turniplord's avatar
Turniplord 2 years ago
Bought Persona 4 on the Vita in the sale on PSN last week - really enjoying it. Will be buying Persona Q once I've finished that as well
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
Persona Q: A spinoff of a spinoff of a spinoff of a spinoff
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 2 years ago
Sadly I can't buy this till it's cheaper since Nisa published it in Europe

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