I present to you, the best RPGs for the PS2:
That's right, the Shin Megami Tensei (Megaten) series. With its inauguration more than 16 years ago for the SNES, the series has spawned multiple spin-offs and sequels. The first SMT game released in the States under the "Megaten" name was Nocturne for the PS2, but that was the third game in the Megaten series (Well technically the fourth in the series since Persona 2 was split into two games). The first two were released for the PlayStation under the 'Persona' title (Persona 2 was divided into two games, Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment; though the former never saw the light of day in North America).
Mostly preoccupied with the FF series in my youth, I stuck with the tried-and-true (i.e. what everyone else was playing). As a result, I missed many sleeper hits - of which Persona 1 and 2 were no exception. After 2003, due to the fact that most around me no longer a) care for RPGs and/or b) care for video games in general, I had to turn to the web for recommendations. But thanks to that, I have been able to stay on top of upcoming RPG titles.
And that's how I came upon Persona 3.
Released August 14 of 2007, this was the only game I purchased between April 2007 and September 2007 (Well technically it should be extended until November 2008 since I only bought Persona 3 derivative games during this period). The point is, during the peak of my obsession with garage kits (last year), Persona 3 was the only game I really cared about. As those of you who've been following my blog since the beginning should know, I gave up all my hobbies for the sake of buying more GKs, so this should be an indication to you that Persona 3 pretty damn great.
Well, great enough to play for 200+ hours anyways. I ended up selling Persona 3 to pay off my GK debt. After learning about Persona 3: Fes (short for 'Festival') which was exclusive to Japan (at the time anyways), I felt both guilty for selling the original game and happy for the chance to redeem myself. I bought it in the hopes that I'll one day get around to playing it (After learning Japanese & getting myself a Japanese PS2/PS3).
The cover for the Japanese version kicks ass, by the way.
And merely a month after I purchased the Japanese P3 Fes from Play-Asia, the voice actor for Takaya in the NA version of Persona 3 leaks out news that localization for the expansion was underway (Which he got in shit for I believe, since Atlus didn't announce it officially until February 18 of 2008, roughly 4 months after the 'leak'). I was happy to hear it, but truthfully I was a little peeved and ruffled as well.
Persona 3: Fes was released April 22, 2008.
At $29.99, this game was a total steal so I bought 2 copies in the hopes that I'll turn it around and make a buck or two (Since I sold my original at a markup of $40). History has not repeated itself sadly and I'm still stuck with both copies (Check Amazon to see what I mean). Damn you Atlus for finally making enough copies of a game!
Another 8 months of zero video game purchases passed by until Persona 4 came into the picture (Pun intended). Determined to be overly-optimistic, I once again pre-ordered 2 copies for resale value. After merely 4 hours into the game, I can whole-heartedly recommend this RPG to anyone. Even my old friend who's gotten tired of RPGs (after 10+ years of playing them) was intrigued by the story and flow of the game and asked me to bring it over again later today.
In the veins of what I call the "Megaten curse", I have something else to gripe about this time:
- I didn't get my two 90-page art books that came with each pre-order
- Every EB Games that I called got shafted in terms of the number of art books they received (i.e. a store would have 16 pre-orders and only get 4 art books)
- Not studying for Microeconomics came back to bite me (I was still busy cramming for the final on the morning of the release date so I wasn't able to visit my local EB Games until way later in the afternoon, way after all the art books were gone). Moral of the story? There is none.
- I still haven't gotten my art books
Now, on to garage kits.
Due to acclaim for the series, it's no surprise Persona 3 GKs are plentiful. Plentiful, perhaps; but awesomeness-wise, these two are the cream of the crop (Dear Naysayers - eat shit):
Sculptor: 齊藤 史樹 (Saito Shiki)
Dealer: SPICE ONINGYO han
Series: Persona 3
Character Name: Aigis
Price: 8,000 yen (paid 10,500 yen for her)
First Appearance: WF2008 Winter
Comments: Aegis is an android you meet several months into the game (The game is a year long). She's "the last surviving model of the experimental anti-Shadow weapon" and she joins your party soon afterwards. Persona 3: Fes is divided into "Episode Yourself (The Journey)" and "Episode Aegis (The Answer)", so you can tell she's important.
Aegis is your token robot learning how to be more human, but I like how the game doesn't make her completely dense just because she's a robot (I mean, she should have a shitload of human behavioral-data in her database already). The only thing Aegis struggles with is expressing human emotions, so watching her progress through this vein and then succeeding at it is quite memorable and fufilling.
This is a really cute GK of her, as much as I hate using the adjective. I can't remember how she disguised her feet at school though.
Dealer: HEAVY GAUGE
Series: Persona 3
Character Name: Aegis
Price: 10,000 yen (paid 21,000 yen for her though)
Scale: non-scale (approximately 28cm)
First Appearance: WF2008 Winter
Comments: Some people will say that this Aegis looks "off" (be it the face or the body) and isn't faithful to the original design, but I think this interpretation of her is very sexy. Seeing as how Aegis is built to resemble a young high schooler and how she'll never 'grow up', it's a refreshing mature look that we probably would've never seen had it not been for this skilled sculptor's vision.
Oddly enough, I find the unpainted version more appealing. Maybe it's because I saw that version first? Or is it the potential that I saw in her unpainted version that made me like it so much?
Regardless, this sculpt is great. 15 kits will be re-sold at the upcoming Hobby Complex 06 Tokyo (12/21/2008), so expect to see at least one or two show up on YJA soon after.