RPGamer Preview: Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

Atlus' real-world RPG finds a sequel that continues the dark themes of the original.

CG-ish close-up

Japanese Title Screen

Blue and Red Spells Collide!

An early fight

An interesting attack

Poor Ghost...

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Platform: Sony PlayStation
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus (North America)

Atlus' Persona, released in 1996 for the PlayStation, was a rather unique RPG in a time where derivative RPGs appeared to be the norm. Rather than taking either a fantasy or sci-fi approach to the genre, Persona took place in a reality very similar to our own. The relationship between the player and his characters due to the modern-day setting, as well as the dark, occult themes that appeared throughout the game pushed the game toward a cult following. Now, it appears that Persona 2: Eternal Punishment will continue the unique style of the series while adding innovative new features which will make Persona 2: Eternal Punishment an RPG to watch this holiday season.

Persona was well known for its intelligent battle system, but in a rarely seen move, Atlus has completely revamped it for the sequel. The new battle system, called the "FREE" Battle system will allow the characters in a player's party to move freely around the battle arena, allowing the player to concentrate more on battle strategy and less on worrying where the characters are positioned. The "Contact" system from the first game has survived, allowing the player to obtain items and/or information from the enemies encountered in the game. In Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, up to three characters can speak with the enemy during an encounter. Also surviving the jump from the first game is the ability to summon spirits known as "Persona" to assist the party during battle. However, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment allows the player to combine these summons to create combos, thereby increasing the destructiveness of the spirits.

The final new system added is the "Rumor" system. This system will allow the player to spread rumors in their conversations with other characters, changing the story and "making the impossible happen." There will still be decisions that the player will make that will influence the outcome of the game, but the Rumor system will create many more decisions that will add tremendous replay value to the game.

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is scheduled for release on the PlayStation on November 15, 2000.
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