5 Ways Persona Q Is a Crossover Done Right

Crossovers, fanservice games, and other instance of well-known characters hopping into new genres doesn't always bode well. Atlus, however, seems to have struck the sweet spot with upcoming dungeon crawler Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. Here's why I think Persona fans, Etrian Odyssey fans, and of course, fans of both have something to look forward to when this game ships in November, based on the Japanese version, which has been out since June.


1) Not Phoned-in


It might be easy — as some developers have proven — to take popular characters from one game, stick them into another genre's template, record a few zippy lines of dialogue and call it a day. Then just watch those paychecks roll in as dedicated fans plunk down cash for the faces they recognize.


Atlus once again earns my respect for proving its dedication to the highest possible levels of quality. While not exactly pushing the boundaries of graphical glory, Persona Q has visibly high production value; evidence of hard work and careful dedication are everywhere.


2) Etrian Odyssey fans, say hello to Persona.


For anyone who has indulged in the long-running Etrian Odyssey series, exclusive to Nintendo handhelds, yet not jumped into Persona, you're in for a treat. While The Millenium Girl and The Knight of Fafnir (remakes of the first and second games, respectively) have been bringing more lively stories and characters to the Etrian Odyssey universe, they've got nothing on Persona. This game brings in the casts of Personas 3 and 4, easily the most widley recognized and most popular among Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei offshoot. This raises the ceiling for how much characterization can manifest, as these established, loved characters can walk in and start doing their thing without much need for introductions.


3) Persona fans, meet Etrian Odyssey


While logic would suggest that there are at least a few EO fans who've never played Persona, I think the reverse is probably the more likely. I'd bet there are quite a few Persona fans who've never taken the plunge into the first-person dungeons of Etrian Odyssey. Get ready for a treat, and beyond that, one that stands a dang good example of the gameplay that built the series.


This city? We built it on rock and roll. Etrian Odyssey? Atlus built it on nail-biting battles, high difficulty, and a true need for careful team-building. Persona Q's take Etrian Odyssey's dungeon crawl isn't just a skin-deep clone, it's actually a very good, seriously challenging implementation.


4) Together, they strengthen each other

There are Persona-brand additions to the combat system as well, with characters able to summon personas, as usual, gaining summon cards, and so on. Fans won't feel completely left in the dark by Q's gameplay, nor will they feel like they're just playing Etrian Odyssey with a different costume.

Surprisingly, these two games have blended really well.


5) And you OLD Persona fans? This'll take you back.

Navigation in the original Persona

Above: Navigation in the original Persona, for PSX.

While a lot of Persona fans are fairly new to the series, having jumped on board for either Persona 4 (PS2 in 2008, PSVita in 2012) or Persona 3 (two versions on PS2, then a PSP version), the very first Persona game, a PSX title from 1996, had players roaming hallways with a first-person view and minimap. This isn't exactly the same, but those who've been with Shin Megami Tensei and its brethren since before they were cool might appreciate the return of this style.

Above: Persona's PSP remake preserved its use of first-person perspective.

I'm not usually not into advertorials, but I had to write this because I ended up impressed by a game I didn't expect to care about. Atlus looks to deliver a well-crafted, challenging adventure to 3DS owners on November 25 (NA), 28 (EU), and December 4 (AUS).