Persona 2: Eternal Punishment is the second half of Persona 2. The first half, Persona 2: Innocent Sin did not get a North American release.
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment puts players in the shoes of Maya, a reporter for Coolest, a teen magazine. She is sent to investigate rumors surrounding some sort of "Joker." Problem is, in Sumaru City, rumors are more than they appear. Given enough time and patience, rumors planted in the right ears can become reality. This is the basis for much of the story, as well as a continuing investigation which leads Maya to be forced into a struggle to save the city.
The plot is overall very well done. The characters are likable and their dialogue is done much better, with more believable conversations than in the first game. As it stands, Persona 2's localization quality is pretty top-notch. Instead of modifying the game to fit supposed North American tastes, the game was simply brought over as is, with few modifications. The story shows it, and the impact is readily seen. The darker themes and mystery that continue throughout the game pull players in and do not let go.
|The overall feel of battles is much sleeker.
The battle system of Persona 2 moves very smoothly, though a good amount of menu navigation is required in order to get through a battle. The contact system exists in this game just as in the first one. Players must negotiate with enemies in order to try to get the cards needed from them to create more Persona, which they can then use in battle. Other than that, the battles are pretty straightforward. Use of Persona essentially takes the place of the "magic" menu slot in most RPGs. They're basically powerhouses used to destroy enemies and then get sent back to their domain.
Dungeon exploration is no longer first person, but has a standard three-quarters view. As in the first game, whether this is good or bad is simply a matter of player preference.
The Rumor System is perhaps the most unique and innovative part of Persona 2. Essentially, players, when given the chance, can plant a rumor with someone they are talking to, and, given enough time, the rumor will become reality. It is an extremely fun system to see in action, as players watch their rumors grow and work their way into tangibility.
|The game harshly condemns drug use.
The music for the game is fairly good. Nothing really worth listening to outside of the game, but it's respectable. The sound effects are varied and suitable, nothing glaringly bad.
Graphically, Persona 2 shines in the 2D department. The sprites are very well done, if a bit stiff, and the gorgeous pseudoanime-CG cut scenes are a great pleasure to watch, though there aren't very many of them. More varied backgrounds would have been nice to see, and not having the characters appear as though they are rulers with limbs as they walk would have improved the look more, but for its time the game looked good, and a lot of the charm of the art style shines through today.
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment improves on the original Persona game in nearly every way. There are even more things to do, it moves much faster, the graphics improved, and the story, despite being continued from a game that was not released stateside, is more mature and enjoyable. It would be hard not to recommend Persona 2 to any fan of the RPG genre.