Persona 3 Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Persona 3 RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network International Dog Day 2019: The Goodest Video Game Doggos That Ever Was https://www.gameskinny.com/myr2o/international-dog-day-2019-the-goodest-video-game-doggos-that-ever-was https://www.gameskinny.com/myr2o/international-dog-day-2019-the-goodest-video-game-doggos-that-ever-was Mon, 26 Aug 2019 13:27:19 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

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Your Dog — Harvest Moon

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You can’t find a video game dog more like a real dog outside of Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, and Stardew Valley.

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He or she has a lovely little dog house outside for those cool mornings and lazy evenings, and there’s always a place ready to snuggle down for the night inside your house. All that’s really needed to make them happy in life is a smile and a good head pat, though snacks are most welcome of course.

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You’ll frequently see your four-legged friend wandering about the farm, casting an eye over the crops and keeping the other animals in line, occasionally wandering over to make sure you’re okay.

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It’s getting your dog that really makes the farm first seem like home, too. Before that, you’re a newcomer to a strange place, with a massive farm to look after and a big, empty house to exist in. Add a dog, and just like in real life, you’ve got an instant home, a bright spark of life that makes the future seem good after all.

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Unlike your other animals, you technically don’t have to feed your dog either, so pointing to your canine caretaking abilities in Harvest Moon et al probably isn’t the best way to convince someone you can care for a real dog.

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Still, in those early days when times are tough, resources are scarce, and crops are slow to grow, it’s a great comfort knowing your dog is perfectly happy eating air.

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It's not really an exaggeration to say none of these games would be quite the same without their fabulous canines.

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No matter what your favorite video game dog is and why you love it so much, though, make sure to take some time today and every day to give your real dog some snuggles, snacks, and playtime.

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Oh, and if we had to make a list of honorable mentions, it would be: 

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  • General Pepper (Star Fox)
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  • Dog (Dragon Quest: Origins)
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  • Hewie (Haunting Ground)
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  • Poppy (Samurai Shodown)
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  • Caesar (Wargroove)
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  • Vigilance (Skyrim)
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  • Chop (Grand Theft Auto V)
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  • Riley (Call of Duty: Ghosts)
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Let us know which good doggos you would add by sounding off in the comments below! 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/k/a/okami-amaterasu-2335c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/o/k/a/okami-amaterasu-2335c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"201257","description":"

Amaterasu — Okami

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Most dogs in video games are your friends, your sidekicks, or your pets. But in Okami, you are the dog — or, more accurately, you are the white lupine representation of the sun goddess Amaterasu on the mortal plane.

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Okami is all about Amaterasu and her truly epic journey to preserve creation in the face of Orochi’s impending onslaught of darkness. It’s drawn straight from Japanese legends, though naturally, with some changes and embellishments for game purposes.

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Being an almost all-powerful goddess, Ammy, as her villagers call her, is able to change the world around her using a mechanic that makes the game shine as a unique experience almost as much as it is a unique game. You’ll use Ammy’s powers to solve puzzles, bring objects into creation, interact with and change the environment, and take on foes throughout the gorgeous watercolor world.

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Amaterasu’s story might be beautiful, but it isn’t always a happy one. She’s tested to the end of her abilities and faces defeat and despair more than once. At her weakest point, though, when all seems lost, she transforms into her true self and suppresses Orochi’s darkness for all time, before ascending to the Celestial Plain.

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Now, most dogs aren’t going to have lives quite that active, and hopefully, yours won’t have a face-off against the lord of darkness. But Amaterasu’s actions still embody the essence of being a dog — putting everything on the line for the ones that need them most and trying their hardest to make sure they don’t let anyone down.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/i/l/bill-grey-bf8f6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/b/i/l/bill-grey-bf8f6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"201268","description":"

Bill Grey — Star Fox

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Bill Grey is the quintessential guard dog. Data for Bill existed in the scrapped Star Fox 2 game for the SNES, but he didn’t make a proper debut until Star Fox 64. He’s one of Fox McCloud’s oldest friends, with the two having grown up and attended pilot school together.

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In 64, Bill takes charge of Corneria’s defensive squadrons, aptly called the Husky and Bulldog squads because duh. He also makes an appearance in the often-overlooked Star Fox Command, also on a defensive mission with Falco, and then he returns yet again to defend Katina once more in the ill-fated Star Fox Zero.

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No matter what he does, Bill is always looking to protect the things that mean the most to him.

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He might not be as visible in the series as General Pepper, but he’s certainly got something Pepper doesn’t. Where the General barks orders and maintains a definite distance from the rest of the squad, Bill is right there in the space-trenches alongside everyone else, sharing their burdens as one of the team.

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Unfortunately, Bill still manages to be the one left out of the big picture. He gets no special ending in Command and doesn’t have as much chance for character development as a certain frog, falcon, and donkey.

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While we hope, one day, Bill gets some more attention, maybe even part of a full-blown adventure like Star Fox Adventures, he serves as a good reminder to give credit where it's due to all the goodest watchdogs in our lives.

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Dogmeat — Fallout

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What’s the one thing you need if you’re struggling for survival in a post-apocalyptic world that's reeling from the effects of nuclear disaster? Food, radiation protection, and survival gear are all wrong answers because a dog is what you need.

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Fortunately for our Fallout hero, a dog is what they get in the form of Dogmeat.

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Dogmeat’s appearance isn’t uniform across the Fallout games. He’s sometimes a large black dog, a wolf-like dog, or a German Shepherd, but the basic gist remains the same across the series.

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At some point during your travels, you get the chance to find and recruit Dogmeat by helping him out and taking an interest in his wellbeing.

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Typically, his owner died sometime in the past, or he just didn’t have one. Though initially spending his days guarding his territory and terrorizing anyone who comes near, he eventually takes up with you and joins your journey for survival as a party member.

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Unlike other party members (and JRPG dogs), Dogmeat can’t equip gear or use weapons that you couldn’t normally fit on a dog, but he still holds his own in combat with no trouble, so long as you make sure to look after him.

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In return, Dogmeat looks after you, alerting you to the presence of enemies, helping you find items, dealing huge amounts of damage in combat, and generally just being your best friend, especially in Fallout 4.

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The world might be dark and deadly in Fallout, but Dogmeat is a good reminder that a loving dog by your side makes every day just a bit easier.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/e/r/persona-koromaru-d8dbd.webp","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/e/r/persona-koromaru-d8dbd.webp","type":"slide","id":"201265","description":"

Koromaru — Persona 3

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Koromaru is the Persona 3 version of the famous Greyfriars Bobby in Scotland. Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known throughout the city of Edinburgh during the late 1800s; after his owner died from tuberculosis, Bobby remained in the cemetery for 14 years, faithfully waiting to see his master again.

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Koromaru once lived at a shrine on Iwatodai Island with his owner; Shadows killed his owner, but Koromaru stayed at the shrine nonetheless, waiting faithfully, until the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (S.E.E.S.) comes along and adopts him.

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Unlike Bobby, though, Koromaru isn’t real. That key difference means his strength of heart lets him summon a Persona — Cerberus, of course — to take the fight to the Shadows.

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He’s one of the only party members with a natural defense against dark magic, has high speed, and lands critical hits often, which lets you get that sweet, sweet “One More” extra attack. Like Repede, Koromaru wields a knife in his mouth.

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But more importantly, he wears an unbelievably adorable pair of tiny wings and a T-shirt.

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His floofy cuteness actually plays an important role in the story as well. Koromaru keeps Shinji Aramaki from being the stereotypical gruff character with no depth, as he’s the only one Shinji opens up to and acts like a normal human around.

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That’s a very important point to note later on, before the very bad thing happens ,and you learn more about Shinji, Akihiko, and Ken’s intertwined past.

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He also helps you raise Social Link points with others by taking him for a walk at night. Truly, no one can resist Koro-chan’s charms.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/a/n/sandy-c450d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/s/a/n/sandy-c450d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"201259","description":"

Sandy — Dragon Quest XI

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Sandy doesn’t get much screen time in Dragon Quest XI, but what she does get makes her a top-notch canine companion.

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The first thing you have to do in the game is climb Cobblestone Tor for a ritual that proves you and your childhood friend Gemma have grown up. The problem with this particular tradition is that the Tor is crawling with monsters. Gemma, grown up though she may be, is no fighter. That leaves Hero to fend off the creatures alone.

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He’s not entirely alone, though. Good ol’ Sandy comes to the rescue and joins the party, with some powerful attacks to help see you safely through your trials.

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Doing a regular mode run, that might not seem like much of a big deal. This is the first dungeon, after all, a time for extended tutorials and enemies no tougher than pudding.

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Take on a Draconian Quest, and it’s a different matter entirely. Without Sandy, these early-game monsters would kick your rear right off the Tor with no effort at all.

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Sandy doesn’t play a direct role in the plot, but she’s still important. Hero grows up with Sandy, and like all good dogs, she’s part of everything in daily life — until that fateful day when their world changes.

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Thinking about Sandy and Cobblestone like that makes the first gut-punch hurt that much worse and sets a distinctly different tone for Hero’s adventures from that point on.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/z/e/i/zeit-78399.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/z/e/i/zeit-78399.jpg","type":"slide","id":"201266","description":"

Zeit — Trails from Zero, Trails of Azure

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You’d be hard pressed to find a dog or wolf that’s more of a contradiction than Zeit is in The Legend of Heroes: Trails from Zero and Trails of Azure.

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He’s at once massively important to the plot, themes, and backstory, but simultaneously doesn’t have a big role to play in the plot thanks to an exception in a certain contract he has. (Yes, a wolf has a contract. It’s a thing.)

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Zeit is a legendary divine wolf who watches over the land known as Crossbell. After one of the mafia groups from Crossbell City starts wreaking havoc in the countryside, the divine wolves get blamed until the Special Support Section of the Crossbell Police steps in to put things right.

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Despite being huge, divine, and legendary, he acts like a normal dog from then on, protecting the SSS headquarters, and generally letting the city’s kids do whatever they want with him.

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Outside some indirect combat support, it initially seems like that’s what Zeit’s role is — big, loveable pooch.

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As Azure gears up for its final chapter, though, that notion changes in a very big way as you learn about Zeit’s past and his connection with Crossbell. Among other things, you can take control of Zeit as a playable party member, and you quickly find out he can basically end the world with a swipe of his paw.

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Yet whether you’re worthy or not, and despite his own circumstances, he chooses to be your friend and help you when times get tough.

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It’s a subtle underscoring of the games’ “true bonds” theme — and pretty much what dogs do in our lives every day.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/a/l/tales-vesperia-repede-f17a6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/t/a/l/tales-vesperia-repede-f17a6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"201264","description":"

Repede — Tales of Vesperia

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Games in the Tales of franchise typically have some sort of animal sidekick. While Mieu in Tales of the Abyss is one of the better ones thanks to being a barometer measuring Luke fon Fabre’s character development, Mieu isn’t a dog.

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Repede from Tales of Vesperia is a dog — and one with impeccable style and presence. He carries a pipe in his mouth and swaps it out for weapons during combat, both of which make for a pretty hard act to beat.

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Repede doesn’t necessarily have much story significance in Vesperia, other than being a reminder of how difficult protagonist Yuri Lowell’s past has been. Beyond plot necessity, though, he's a genuine friend to the isolated Yuri, with all the loyalty and affection we'd expect from the best dogs — and all that in spite of what Yuri did in the past to Repede's father.

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Repede's also a true beast in combat.

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He’s one of the first party members you get, and also one of the rare examples of using a “pet” as a full-time party member — outside Breath of Fire III, at least.

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While he might not be much of a magic user, Repede is speedy and strong, with powerful technical Artes attacks and the ability to strike and retreat with haste. Add his theft ability on top of that, and he’s a character you’ll want to regularly keep on the field. 

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Repede is exactly what all good dogs are: invaluable and adorable.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/n/g/angelo-4a8b9.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/a/n/g/angelo-4a8b9.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"201267","description":"

Angelo — Final Fantasy VIII

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Angelo is the very definition of loyal. She’s Rinoa’s dog in Final Fantasy VIII and takes things a big step further than Interceptor. For one, she’s always by Rinoa’s side. Always. Whether it’s at school, in battle, or even after that spoilery thing happens and Rinoa is incapacitated for a while, Angelo is there, offering her support.

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Rinoa’s comment about learning so much from Angelo isn’t just cute dog talk either. Unlike Interceptor, Angelo plays a more defined role in combat.

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For one thing, she’s Rinoa’s Limit Break, which is obviously the series’ best Limit Break. Rinoa and Angelo start with four basic attacks, but she/you have to read dog magazines to learn new abilities as an improved dog trainer.

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Depending on circumstances, Angelo can even help heal an ailing party member or perform a hard-hitting attack at just the right moment to turn the tide.

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She gets a biscuit for her troubles during battle, which is sweet. But the endgame is what serves as a perfect metaphor for how our relationships with our dogs usually go.

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After staying by Rinoa at all times, saving the party’s skin on countless occasions, and generally just being perfect, what does Angelo get? More biscuits? Head pats?

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No. She gets left behind while Rinoa has a moment with Squall.

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Whatever.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/g/mega-man-rush-960d7.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/e/g/mega-man-rush-960d7.jpg","type":"slide","id":"201258","description":"

Rush — Mega Man

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Rush is Mega Man’s loyal robo-dog friend in the Mega Man series and spinoffs, starting with Mega Man 3 and staying by the Blue Bomber’s side ever since.

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It’s not just one Rush, either. The robo-doggo takes on a wide variety of different forms as the situation calls for it.

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The most familiar one is probably spring-mode Rush, aka Rush Coil, where he transforms into a giant springboard and propels Mega Man to greater heights. It’s a lifesaver in certain situations and absolutely necessary if you’re playing spelunker and want to get everything a stage has to offer.

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But Rush’s trick repertoire doesn’t end there, and it’s arguable that as the mainline Mega Man games started to lose their luster, Rush himself started getting even better.

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Over the course of his long career, he’s mastered the art of turning into the Rush Marine submarine, carrying Mega Man through space as Rush Space, flying through the air as jet-powered Rush, and doing all the things you’d expect from a robotic dog with near-endless capabilities.

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Rush’s loyalty is a bit different from most dogs, though. It’s hard to say he had a choice in the matter of staying by Mega Man’s side, when his creator, Dr Light, programmed him to be (Mega) man’s best friend.

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But he goes above and beyond to fulfill his duties nonetheless, like the good boy he undoubtedly would be — y’know, if he could make his own choices.

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Interceptor — Final Fantasy VI

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Final Fantasy VI boasts one of the biggest casts of playable characters in the series, and though Interceptor the dog is just a sidekick to one of those characters, he plays an interesting role in and out of combat.

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Interceptor’s master is Shadow, the Ninja. Like all Ninjas in Final Fantasy, Shadow is actually pretty fragile, despite his relative strength. Even though he’s a master of stealth, enemies tend to target him rather often during combat.

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Fortunately, Interceptor randomly jumps in and, well, intercepts the attack; he blocks like shields do, only more often. He also randomly attacks an enemy for Shadow, though it’s more adorable than effective in most cases.

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Outside of combat, though,  is where Interceptor gets really interesting, and it’s possible to completely miss how his story unfolds. At a certain spot before the game’s halfway point, the party meets Relm, a precocious young artist with a strange affinity for Interceptor, a dog who usually just tolerates Shadow and can’t stand other people. Relm lives with her grandfather and never knew her parents.

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You can probably put two and two together from that information. But whether you see it play out in the game depends on a choice you make.

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If you’re heartless and leave the Floating Continent without Shadow, his story ends (because he dies, spoiler alert). If not, and you make sure to speak to him at specific points, you learn about his previous relationships and roles in life.

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And it’s all because of Interceptor, bringing people together like a good boy.

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Isabelle — Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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Being an animal-centric game, Animal Crossing: New Leaf naturally has lots of lovely doggos to choose from; if you want to be technical, Tom Nook is even a dog, thanks to the whole Tanooki = racoon-dog thing.

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Isabelle stands a cut above the rest for a few reasons, though. Apart from having a distinct personality separate from the rest of the villagers, she always says nice things and doesn’t try to get money from you. That last one alone is worthy of a top ranking.

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But it’s Isabelle’s unfailing positivity and optimism that really make her so loveable and charming. Isabelle is almost always happy — and happy to help.

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She helps you settle into your new village and pick a spot for your house, always organizes special events and attends big public works unveilings, and even shoulders your mayoral duties for years on end when you forget your village exists.

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Of course, that cheerfulness makes seeing Isabelle so capably beat the stuffing out of Pikachu in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate just a bit disconcerting, but it just helps underscore how amazing she really is.

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Whether she’s keeping an entire village running or sweeping up the competition, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more amazing dog than Isabelle.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/o/g/dog-day-header-52994.jpeg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/o/g/dog-day-header-52994.jpeg","type":"slide","id":"201256","description":"

Whether it's International Dog Day or just a regular afternoon of playing games with your pooch, the most pressing question we have any time a new game is revealed — or when a new trailer is shown  that also includes a dog is, "But can you pet the doggo?"

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It's a testament not just to how much we all love dogs, but to how often they show up in our favorite video games. Some, like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, are pretty much there just for show, keeping the world alive and digging up stuff for you if you feed them.

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These dogs are great and all, but they don't always play a substantial role; some of them can't even be pet, no matter how fluffy and oodgie-woodgie they look.

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Others play a much bigger part in a game or entire series, though, and some are even the backbone of entire plots.

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In honor of International Dog Day 2019, we're taking a look at those dogs playing a starring role in the world of video games.

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Whether they're helping you out on the farm, hurling you to new heights, or swatting your enemies away like so much annoying dust, these dogs are versatile, loving, loyal, and everything that makes dogs wonderful in real life.

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Face It: Persona 4 Is the Worst of the Trilogy https://www.gameskinny.com/2wtyw/face-it-persona-4-is-the-worst-of-the-trilogy https://www.gameskinny.com/2wtyw/face-it-persona-4-is-the-worst-of-the-trilogy Fri, 01 Sep 2017 11:45:49 -0400 Selandrile

Atlus's Persona series is among the most beloved franchises of all time. Well-known and with no shortage of fans, Persona games are almost a genre unto themselves. A very specific and successful formula is rigorously adhered to: live the life of a Japanese high schooler whilst battling representations of unconscious human thought during your free time.

As with any series, some entries in the Persona franchise have been better than others. And though different fans have different opinions about which one is best, Persona 5 is definitely a front-runner for that title. But which Persona game is the worst of the series? I'd have to say Persona 4.

The Beginning of Persona

Persona 1 and 2 are so removed from the last three main series games that they were not even born in this millennium. They are so different, in fact, that I personally don't consider them as really being part of the same series as the others. It would be like comparing games from different genres.

The PlayStation 2 saw the rebirth of the franchise with Persona 3 -- a game which would come to define what a Persona title was supposed to be. Simulating what it means to be a teenager, Persona 3 has the player balance their high school life, friendships, and story-related drama all within a set amount of time. Take too long, and it's game over. Waste time or be inefficient, and expect to miss out on content and be weaker for it.

While sometimes brutal, the time-management and life/story balance were monumental in the Persona series' game design. In fact, these elements proved so popular they continue to form the core of the series to this day. The latest in the series, Persona 5, has become a global phenomenon -- catapulting the Persona series from somewhat-niche into mainstream acceptance. This near-perfect game refined what worked, removed what didn't, and introduced new, exciting elements that both fit and enhanced the entire experience.

So when you consider these factors, what makes its immediate predecessor, Persona 4, the weak link in the chain? 

The Weakest Link

With Persona 3 being so groundbreaking and Persona 5 being so excellent, only Persona 4 remains -- making it the worst of the series. It's important to note that "worst of the Persona series" is hardly an insult. Even 4, with its many problems, is an excellent game in its own right. But I believe it's the true weak link for mainly one reason.

It cannot be denied Persona 4 took the successful formula of 3, yet completely abandoned its tone. Persona 3 remains among the darkest of games I have ever played 00 topped only by a few BioWare and FromSoftware titles. The dark visuals, suffocating atmosphere, and apocalyptic plot all contributed to Persona 3 being such a unique and wonderful experience. In this third iteration, the player witnesses an hour of time frozen where humans transform into coffins, tempted to emerge to their deaths. Each midnight, this horror unfolds. Blood rains from the sky and the city twists into a monstrosity reaching for the sky. And it's hard to forget that ending -- perhaps the most bleak of any game ever. The central theme of Death is quite apparent.

Persona 5, the newest title, is also dark and quite possibly the most mature of the franchise. Clearly 5 was made with an older audience in mind, as there is an abundance of swearing, criminal, and controversial elements, as well as complex psychological themes.

Characters each have their own lives, all filled with very real-world problems. Women are held back by an oppressive traditional society. Outcasts are shuttered away, never to be acknowledged. And everywhere the game's central theme, Betrayal, permeates. Authority figures abuse their power for their own gain and the strong feed off the weak. If you remove the supernatural elements Persona 5 would play more like a real-world documentary of the worst parts of our society.

Persona 4 stands in contrast to these, as it's sort of built on fluff. That's really how the game feels -- like light-hearted fluff. It's a bit contradictory when you consider 4's main plot is about finding a murderer. Any seriousness brought by the plot is utterly ruined by the presentation. Light comedy lurks around every corner. Characters bumble through their lives with wacky issues that need solving. Very rarely do serious elements get addressed -- and when they do, it's hardly an accomplishment.

One pertinent example is Kanji -- the thug whose sensitive and caring side is held back by society's need for men to be traditionally masculine. This is a wonderful character premise, but the game Kanji's characteristics as a lead-in to a "joke" about him being gay. It ruins the spirit of the message.

Bitter Beginnings and Dull Combat

Perhaps one of the most telling aspects of Persona 4 are the protagonist's backgrounds.

In Persona 5, the sharp and snazzy Joker is the victim of an enormous injustice. Framed for assault after stopping a man from attempting to sexually assault a woman, Joker's life is destroyed and he is forced to leave the region for one last hope at education.

Persona 3 has its blue-haired protagonist witness his parents burn to death in front of him -- forever traumatizing him and desensitizing him so much to death that he almost welcomes it.

But in contrast to these rich stories, Persona 4's blandly-drawn hero moves to the countryside to live with his normal uncle and niece because his parents are working overseas. And....that's it. Keep in mind this tonal difference is before the game even starts -- and nothing ever happens in the plot to complicate this premise or bring the game in line tonally with others in the series. 

This trend carries over into nearly every facet. Persona 4's characters in general seem weaker than the rest of the series. Contrast 3's Misato to 4's Teddy and 5's Morgana. Only one is a bundle of slapstick chibi humor.

The main plot is hardly as engaging or deep, either. Discover the mysteries of the midnight hour and the horrors within Persona 3. Fight society's corruption by forcing criminals in positions of power to admit their own crimes while working to rebuild your shattered life and explore another world in Persona 5. Or finally investigate who is throwing some people into a TV in Persona 4. When you hold these plots up against each other, the comparisons speak for themselves. 

As if that's not enough, combat in Persona 4 is a literal copy of its predecessor with no improvements. You'll see the same randomized levels, the same enemy types, the same attacks, the same "weapons", etc. While you could finally choose your party member's attacks, it never was as important as the desperate flailing to hit the enemy first before battle.

And I swear, if I ever have to hear Persona 4's battle music again I may self-induce deafness. It's chirpy, joyous, pop-esque battle theme really hammers home that this is a lighter game.

I admit that enjoyment is subjective, and there are those that do not want a dark Persona game. If that's the case for you, then 4 is the only game that you've probably enjoyed because the Persona series is by its nature a dark, dark series.

I don't have anything but respect for those that enjoy lighter games. Gaming should always strive to be more inclusive, because a larger audience means a healthier industry and more quality products. 

Persona 4 diverged from the usual Persona path and 5 pulled it back on. But during that detour, it was still a great experience. That's why I'm happy to say that while Persona 4 may be the worst in the series, it's still very good indeed.

]]>
9 Best Video Game Comics Currently in Circulation https://www.gameskinny.com/cqhis/9-best-video-game-comics-currently-in-circulation https://www.gameskinny.com/cqhis/9-best-video-game-comics-currently-in-circulation Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:27:47 -0400 Ty Arthur

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Besides these currently running comics, there's an absolute treasure trove of back issues and collected hardcovers just waiting for gaming fans.

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Gears Of War, The Last Of Us, Dead Space, Sonic The Hedgehog...you name it and it probably has a comic adaptation released over the years. There are also plenty of comics that gamers will love which aren't directly based on a specific game, like the tongue-in-cheek fantasy romp Skullkickers.

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Dive in, have fun, and let us know what you're reading at your local comic store this week! 

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/r/o/providence-35649.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/r/o/providence-35649.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162336","description":"

Providence

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Get Started Here

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With a whole new Call Of Cthulhu game coming soon and old school horror RPG Stygian: Reign Of The Old Ones on the horizon, this is a fitting series to dive into this summer.

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Yes, the 12 issue arc for this Lovecraftian nightmare did end in April... but the full hardcover collecting all issues isn't out yet. So as far as I'm concerned, it's still ongoing!

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Providence is Alan Moore's (yep, the Watchmen guy!) follow-up to the Neonomicon, and if you read that series, you know to expect some disturbing things. This isn't one to let the kids pick up unless you want to answer some very awkward questions about what the naked woman is doing with the fish person.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/u/a/guardian-3def6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/g/u/a/guardian-3def6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162335","description":"

Guardians Of The Galaxy: A Telltale Series

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Read About It Here

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Things get a little recursive here as we have a comic, based on a game, based on a movie, which was based on a comic.

\n

Marvel is heading up a five-issue prequel series starting next month (July 2017) based around Telltale's rendition of Guardians Of The Galaxy, which is based on the movie version but clearly meant to be its own universe.

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Specific details are sketchy, but we know the prequel comics will revolve around the Guardians undertaking a rescue mission from the gladiatorial pits of Sakaar that leads to some sort of big heist.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/e/r/persona3-c9cc1.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/e/r/persona3-c9cc1.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162333","description":"

Persona 3

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Get Started Here

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You'd think this would be Persona 5, right? Well, yes, there is a series for that... in Japanese mostly. For those of us on the other side of the world, there's still new Persona manga arriving, but it's based around older titles.

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I'm okay with that, since P3 is among my favorite games in the franchise. These manga entries from Udon Publishing have been releasing to North American audiences throughout the year.

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The story centers around the S.E.E.S. organization of teenage heroes battling against an extremist group trying to take advantage of the Dark Hour for their own nefarious purposes.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/5/9/459444033cf32c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/4/5/9/459444033cf32c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162332","description":"

Dungeons & Dragons: Frost Giant's Fury

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Get Started Here

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There have been a staggering number of D&D spin-offs and comics over the years, and the latest is Frost Giant's Fury -- featuring a troupe of heroes who just left behind Ravenloft to come to the frozen north of the Forgotten Realms.

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IDW Publishing is handling this series that kicked off in January and features such fan favorites as Minsc and his miniature giant space hamster from Baldur's Gate.

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As expected from the title and locale, there's frost giants, glaciers, and angry white dragons aplenty for the heroes to defeat with sword and spell. A single volume collecting all current issues will drop in July.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/l/a/plants-42318.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/l/a/plants-42318.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162330","description":"

Plants Vs. Zombies Battle ExtraVagonzo

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Get Started Here

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It may not have hit Angry Birds level of public consciousness -- but for a silly time wasting tower defense game, Plants Vs. Zombies sure has carved out its own little empire.

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Comics and hardcover books for kids have been coming out steadily over the last few years, giving the bumbling zombies some silly personalities as they battle with kids (and plants of course) to take over the town.

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The latest to see release this summer is Battle ExtraVagonzo, featuring the return of Zomboss duking it out with Crazy Dave as they both try to take over the same factory at the center of Neighborville.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/t/pathfinder-33176.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/t/pathfinder-33176.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162328","description":"

Pathfinder

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Get Started Here

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Alright, so this one isn't technically "currently running" since the latest story arc ended a few months ago. But considering that there has consistently been a Pathfinder comic series in production since 2013, it's a good bet something new is coming in the not-too-distant future. 

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Paizo has teamed up with Dynamite for five base series so far, as well as two spin-offs covering the much-loved goblins and an origins story about the iconic classes.

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Personally I'm not a huge fan of the art style, as they don't really look anything like how the iconic characters are depicted from the tabletop RPG books -- but the stories are worth it for Pathfinder fans.

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With latest series Hollow Mountain having wrapped up after its sixth issue, I'm seriously hoping for something set in the upcoming Starfinder sci-fi spin coming next.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/e/d/redwood-8f0c8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/r/e/d/redwood-8f0c8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162326","description":"

Sons Of Anarchy: Redwood Original

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Get Started Here

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For those wondering -- yes, the beloved Kurt Sutter T.V. show did in fact have a video game adaptation. It got a ton of hype (Sutter's NSFW tweets on the subject indicated he was... ahem.. excited about it). But much like his one-season show The Bastard Executioner, it would ultimately be ill-fated.

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A single episode of a 10 part episodic game was released... and then was promptly abandoned. Seriously Telltale, get on picking this one up already and give us a proper release!

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Thankfully, most who bought the season pass ahead of time got a refund. For those who haven't played it yet, the Lost And The Damned expansion for Grand Theft Auto 4 was also essentially an episode of SOA.

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There have been several graphic novel collections in the past that all absolutely nailed the personality and lingo of the various Sons characters, even covering storyline arcs like Bobby losing his cut while performing as Elvis in Vegas.

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The Redwood Original arc from Boom Studios takes us back in time to an 18 year old Jax Teller first pledging to his dad's MC. The final issue of the 12-part run will drop next month, so there's time to binge the whole thing before it ends!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-b2ac0.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/m/a/s/mass-effect-b2ac0.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162322","description":"

Mass Effect Discovery

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Get Started Here

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If my math is right and I'm not missing anything, between all the online comic entries, mini-series, and major releases, I think we've had a whopping nine previous Mass Effect comic arcs now? Clearly people are enjoying this space-age RPG's transition to the page.

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Capitalizing on the hype of Mass Effect: Andromeda -- which admittedly has cooled quite a bit since release -- this new Dark Horse series follows Turian military recruit Tiran Kandro investigating the mystery of the Andromeda Initiative.

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Another ongoing collection that just started, the second issue of Discovery drops at the end of the month, so now's a good time to get started if you want to see more of the Mass Effect universe from a different angle.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/n/i/knighterrant-5177c.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/k/n/i/knighterrant-5177c.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162319","description":"

Dragon Age: Knight Errant

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Get Started Here

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Dragon Age has been host to several different comic and graphic novel adaptations over the years -- from the main IDW series to the Inquisition-focused Dragon Age: Magekiller from Dark Horse.

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This new entry about the beloved BioWare RPG franchise just started this year, with issue #2 dropping June 14th through Dark Horse Comics.

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While Dragon Age II is typically thought of as the worst in the series, Kirkwall was an interesting place -- and now you get to see it from the perspective of a city elf thief named Vaea. Get ready for heists and double crosses all around!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/m/comicscov-2223d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/c/o/m/comicscov-2223d.jpg","type":"slide","id":"162337","description":"

When big events like E3 or Comic Con come around, its becomes clear just how interconnected all geeky fandoms really are. 

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There's comics that have inspired games, games that have inspired comics, and either of the above inspiring movies which spawns a subsequent game or comic spin off...

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Video games and comics have a long history together that won't be slowing down anytime soon.  This year's Free Comic Book Day festivities even included a Twilight Princess issue.

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If you're looking for more game-based comic series to dive into, you've come to the right place. Rather than a best-of retrospective however, we're going to look at those series that are currently going on now so you can jump in and get started reading.

"}]]]>
Ranking the Persona Franchise From Best to Worst https://www.gameskinny.com/3el6m/ranking-the-persona-franchise-from-best-to-worst https://www.gameskinny.com/3el6m/ranking-the-persona-franchise-from-best-to-worst Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur

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Across a whole lot of genres and console generations, we just can't get enough of this oddball series that loves to fuse dating sims, monster raising, real life high school simulations, and JPRG combat.

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With all these titles, you could lose yourself in Persona for countless hours before even diving into the other spin-off series!

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What did you think of our listing, and how would you rank your favorite Persona games from best to worst?

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/r/parena-512c8.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/a/r/parena-512c8.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155685","description":"

Worst: Persona 4 Arena

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Like the previously mentioned Ultimax, this is a fighting game spin-off, but it's not quite as polished or interesting as its sequel. It is notable for more of a heavy rock soundtrack than the other games in the series, whoever.

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Frankly, other than the bigger focus on story and the presence of Persona characters, this isn't really ground breaking as a fighting game and can probably be safely skipped.

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if you don't want to play a fighting game but want to know how this tale fits into the Persona universe, you can easily find all the story segments strung together at YouTube.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/1/5/9158ee8f075fec6.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/9/1/5/9158ee8f075fec6.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155686","description":"

Persona Q

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Persona goes chibi on this lone DS entry (for a look that I'm not crazy about) where the series managed to break away from Playstation to hit a Nintendo handheld for no apparent reason.

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It also fuses characters from P3 and P4 into an alternate dimension taking place between those games, offering a new take on those familiar storylines and NPCs. How much you are going to dig this one depends on how much you like the handheld RPGs, as this is very much Etrian Odyssey meets Persona

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Personally, it felt a little too familiar for me, and I'd have rather seen a completely different game with totally new characters, but if you can't get enough of the Persona 3 / 4 crews, then this may be worth it for you.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/n/dance-a3a74.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/d/a/n/dance-a3a74.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155684","description":"

Persona 4: Dancing All Night

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Wait, what the hell, there's a dancing rhythm game spin-off as well? Eh, after the fighting game, I guess why not just go with it?

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Like with Arena and Ultimax, the bizarre PS Vita entry Dancing All Night has way more story than you'd expect from something in the same category as Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution.

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This one takes a minor character from Persona 4 and spins off in a new direction, taking the series into the world of J-Pop. Its more fun than you'd expect, but honestly I have a hard time taking this one seriously.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/8/5/8858ee8bac0dbd3.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/8/8/5/8858ee8bac0dbd3.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155681","description":"

Revelations: Persona

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I fully came into this list expecting to put this entry all the way at the top, having very fond memories of playing this as a kid. The totally different setting from your typical fantasy RPG set Persona drastically apart from the pack.

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This was also definitely the first game I played where negotiating with demons before fighting was an option, with violence completely avoidable in many random battles.

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Between the game starting with a bunch of kids messing around with summoning demons, and one character's fondness for explaining the flaws in Western religion's theology, I had to play this one on the down low when my religious parents were around -- which of course just increased its mystique.

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While ranking these games I went back to the original PS1 edition and a sad realization dawned on me: this game has not aged well.

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Though groundbreaking at the time, It's kind of difficult to play at this point due to the clunky controls, and some of the graphics (particularly when navigating outside or through the labyrinthine hallways of high school dungeons) are sort of spectacularly bad.

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Some of those kinks are worked out with the '09 PSP port, although going that route also loses some of the charm of the original sounds and cut scenes.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/l/t/ultimax-c6172.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/u/l/t/ultimax-c6172.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155683","description":"

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

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Wait a minute, this is... a fighting game? Unlike the super ill-fated D&D fighting game spin off, this one is actually worth playing for beat 'em up fans, although maybe less so for the Persona die hards who prefer a JRPG experience.

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Oddly enough, this is actually the SECOND fighting game in the series, following the previous Persona 4 Arena. What sets Ultimax apart from anything else in the genre is that there's a whole lot more story going on here than you'd expect from a Street Fighter style game.

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That could be good or bad depending -- good for Persona fans who want to see these characters, but probably bad for fighting game fans who don't want to read screen after screen of text.

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This one's better than its predecessor, but at the end of the day anyone playing is going to have to  ask themselves: just who is the target audience here?

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/2/5/5258ee8b6f2765f.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/5/2/5/5258ee8b6f2765f.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155680","description":"

Persona 2: Eternal Punishment

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This forgotten classic of the series was released at the very tail end of the PS1's life cycle as the PS2 was coming to dominance, so Eternal Punishment didn't make as big an impact as it could have were it released earlier in prime PS1 RPG time.

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Eternal Punishment was still figuring out its various systems and hadn't perfected them yet, but was a big jump up from the original game. Its also interesting to note that it wasn't actually the second Persona game -- it was the third.

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Previous game Innocent Sin didn't make it to the U.S. on the PS1 at all and in fact didn't arrive for North American audiences until 2011 on the PSP. Obviously, the story of Eternal Punishment could be confusing at times, since none of us had ever played its predecessor.

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While it may have been a bit baffling at points, it was also incredibly dark (like Rule Of Rose dark) and will always remain with those who played through as kids and had no idea what they were in for. Horror fans will particularly note elements taken from the Cthulhu mythos, like a character named Nyarlathotep.

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"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/4/5/7458ee8af41fa99.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/7/4/5/7458ee8af41fa99.jpg","type":"slide","id":"155678","description":"

Persona 4

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The position this game takes is really a matter of personal preference, and I suspect may have something to do with which game you played first and where you started in the series.

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Some fans will fight to the death over their preference of Persona 4 to Persona 3 -- and vice versa. I'm more in that second camp that prefers the earlier game. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with this entry (note its high ranking in this list), but the characters, music, and style of 3 just edge this one out.

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This one had a bit of a different tone than the previous games, being more of a murder mystery. It's also notable for taking the social link system from the previous game and expanding it even further.

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While Persona 4 originally came out for the PS2 all the way back in '08, a remake titled Persona 4 Golden was released on the PS Vita in 2012, bringing the series back to the forefront in the long, long wait for Persona 5.

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Persona 3 FES

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This entry is when the North American audiences really started to take notice of the series, which had a cult following prior but really wasn't on the same level as anything like Final Fantasy.

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Persona 3 is where the series hit its stride with managing relationships to increase rankings in various abilities and in splitting your time between monster raising, battling enemies, and being a high school student in the day. While more accessible than the earlier PS1 entries, Persona 3 is also notable for being quite difficult if you were trying to do everything.

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Some of those requests from Elizabeth were incredibly hard, and there were a few boss fights that could easily wipe you out if you weren't holding a guidebook in your hands letting you know which specific Persona to be fusing ahead of time.

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What always strikes me most about this entry is the incredibly memorable music that bucked the trend of what you'd hear in a typical JPRG. From the "baby, baby, baby, baby" of the combat music to the operatic take on the Velvet Room, you won't ever forget these tunes. Even the high school hallway theme had an electronic beat you can't get out of your head.

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It wasn't all sunshine and gumdrops when Persona 3 was first released however, as the title caused some controversy. Characters point a gun at their foreheads and pull the trigger in a representation of the death of self to release a secondary inner persona. Needless to say, parents weren't stoked about imagery of teenagers repeatedly shooting themselves.

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Best: Persona 5

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The latest (and many are saying greatest) entry in the series was bestowed on Western fans a full half year after the Japanese market got ahold of it. It's been a tense six months for those of us longing for more Persona, but now that it's here, the wait was worth it.

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We've covered the game extensively, and for good reason: Persona 5 takes everything that made the earlier games memorable and fun to play and cranked that all up to the next level.

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This entry is incredibly stylized, and every single element of the game - from conversation to crafting to battles -- just constantly keeps that style front and center, with the themes of the story constantly woven into absolutely everything the protagonist does.

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Part 5 is also easily the best instance of the time management aspect of the series, where you are trying to both be a successful student with interpersonal relationships, jobs, study time, etc. and a Phantom Thief hero battling Shadows at night. Blessedly, the game also doesn't take 40 hours to give you a story like Persona 3.

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For those not familiar, Persona is a totally different beast altogether than other prominent JRPG series like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest.

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Frequently focusing on high schoolers on Earth rather than knights in fantasy worlds, the series is known for button-pushing dark themes and stories that delve into the metaphysical and the philosophical. Throw in monster raising and some light dating sim elements, and you've got the Persona franchise.

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Here we're going to cover all the games from best to worst to let you know which titles are worth your time and which can be played later after getting to the good stuff first. "Worst" may be a bit of a misnomer however, as there really aren't any actively bad Persona games, even if some are clearly better than others.

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We're trying to be as complete as possible in this list, but a few spin offs are getting left out, like the defunct browser game or several Japanese-only mobile titles. Although they are closely connected, we're covering exclusively Persona branded games here and not any of the Shin Megami Tensei or Devil Summoner titles.

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If you go all the way back to the series beginning in the late '80s on the Famicom, there are just way, way, way too many to cover, and many of them never got English translations. For those who ever played them though, please feel free to comment with your favorites!

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Four Most Useless Party Members in Beloved JRPGs https://www.gameskinny.com/g5n3h/four-most-useless-party-members-in-beloved-jrpgs https://www.gameskinny.com/g5n3h/four-most-useless-party-members-in-beloved-jrpgs Sat, 14 Jan 2017 04:00:01 -0500 Zach Long

One of the great things about JRPGs is that they tend to be pretty well balanced when you have to manage a party. There are some games, though, that fail to live up to this expectation. Whether they say less-than-helpful things, make bad decisions, or simply don't do anything at all....they're not the best companions to have on a dangerous adventure.

But which ones are the worst of the worst in the genre? These five.

Cait Sith

Final Fantasy VII

You know a character is bad when you completely forget that he(?) exists. When I played through FF7 I did everything in my power to not use this party member. For the few instances where I was forced to use Cait Sith, I let him die and carried on with the rest of my crew.

It also doesn't help that he's basically the Jar Jar Binks of Final Fantasy lore.

Amanda Ken

Persona 3

As the only child in your party, Ken is not the most useful of party members. This could be simply because, being a child, he's not really made for fighting. Just play pretend with any ten-year old and you know you can easily overpower them.

And while that might be a good reason to be useless in real life, it's not really good enough in a game where you are fighting things that don't exist in the real world anyway. In a fantasy world, why can't a child be just as powerful as a full-grown adult/teenager? I don't know....but this one definitely isn't. 

Low-Level Companion X

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

I realize that this isn't necessarily a single companion, but I think it still counts as each one does have a name. In a game where you can choose the role of your companions, though some are limited, once you find a few characters that can switch into any role you could possibly need, they become your primary six. But that doesn't stop you from recruiting more and more as the game goes on and your guild grows larger. Any party member beyond those are just redundant. You can try and bring a few along on low-level bounties or send them on missions outside of the game-map, but that doesn't really help you much in the long-run. Thus, they seek to fill the roster with quantity and not quality.

Aerith Gainsborough

Final Fantasy VII

While not entirely useless, she does (spoiler alert) die. After spending several hours leveling her up to be a useful companion to mostly just keep Cloud and company alive, she goes and gets run through outside of battle.

Being dead late-game is rather frustrating. If you had known that the first time around, you probably would have swapped her out with another healer as soon as possible. This makes you have to stock up on more potions and defend more often while you level up her successor for your final fight.

These are just a few of the most useless. Who do you find to be a useless companion in your favorite JRPGs?

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10 of the Greatest RPG Normal Battle Themes https://www.gameskinny.com/m2htk/10-of-the-greatest-rpg-normal-battle-themes https://www.gameskinny.com/m2htk/10-of-the-greatest-rpg-normal-battle-themes Mon, 12 Sep 2016 05:01:17 -0400 Patrick Cottingham

The RPG is a genre in which you spend a lot of time battling enemies as you adventure through some of the most fantastic worlds and inspiring stories. One way to make a battle more intense and more dynamic is to pump up your player with a great tune to get them into the fighting spirit. Many games are praised for their soundtracks, and often times we lift up the composers who came up with the musical beats we're listening to throughout our journeys. Below are just a few of the greatest examples of RPG normal battle themes, the songs that play during the majority of mundane encounters with monsters and minions alike.

The Man With the Machine Gun

Final Fantasy VIII

Uploaded by Cloud183

Final Fantasy VIII is one of the least popular entries in the series when you discuss gameplay and story. No one seems to enjoy the Draw system -- which had you spending hours in combat repeatedly using the same command to steal magic spells from enemies -- but there are two things players seem to agree Final Fantasy VIII did right: card games, and Nobuo Uematsu's music.

"Man with the Machine Gun" is the battle theme for the duration of the time which you play as Laguna, a secondary protagonist of sorts. It's upbeat and energetic, it matches well with the eternal optimist that Laguna tends to be. I remember spending hours battling enemies in the caves of the Centra Excavation Site just so I could listen to this fantastic battle theme.

The War Bell Tolls

Bravely Second: End Layer

Uploaded by EightGiratina

Random encounters are generally a lackluster event in an RPG, typically lasting no more than a minute late into the game. However, in Bravely Second you'll find that with this battle anthem at your back, you're going to want to spend a lot more time in battle. The quick tempo, wailing guitar, and operatic vocals give every battle a feeling of urgency and heroism. 

Spending time grinding EXP for your favorite jobs, or hunting for specific items is much less tedious when you have something great to listen to, and this song delivers. A small nod must be made to the amazing way the song will fade back in after using special attacks, which will cause a temporary song to play based on which character performed the attack. You may have the option to turn off Bravely Second's random encounters, but you might not want to if you really enjoy this song.

Battle! (Team Plasma)

Pokemon Black & White

Uploaded by RadiantMiku

Pokemon games have a ton of different battle themes spanning generations of games. One of the best is when you encounter a Team Plasma Grunt in Pokemon Black or Pokemon White. The electronic style, the hyped up intro, and the sinister tone of the song all give battles with Team Plasma a very villainous feeling.

From the moment you encounter a Grunt and that pulse pounding intro begins, you'll be in it to win it against the enthusiastic yet misguided Pokemon Rights group who are attempting to "liberate" your Pokemon from you. I even used this song as my ringtone for a year or so, it was just that good. Next time you're adventuring in Black or White's Unova region crank up the volume and enjoy the music when you encounter Team Plasma.

Mass Destruction

Persona 3

Uploaded by Bosquez88

Baby baby baby baby! Persona 3's battle theme is sort of meme status among the fandom. The rock pop tune that plays whenever you enter battle against generic shadows is one of the most enthusiastic and positive things in the game. The blaring horns and the driving vocals, particularly during the chorus and bridge, are memorable and after a few fights you'll find yourself singing along and humming this tune for hours after it gets stuck in your head.

Series composer Shoji Meguro is well known for his thematic soundtracks, which are strikingly different with each game and constantly changing musical genres. This jazzy song just feels like it belongs in Persona 3 and quickly became one of the greatest and most well known battle themes in RPG history.

The Arrow Was Shot

Tales of the Abyss

Uploaded by terribletomato

In a game which has a lot to do with Hymns and music, this tune is an upbeat and inspirational romp as you battle your way through countless enemies. While the Tales series features a ton of great music from series composer Motoi Sakuraba, this one stands out a bit above the others.

The combination of electronic harmony over the rhythmic drums and low guitar gives it a very heroic feeling. Even listening to this I can hear the sounds of battle in the back of my head as the heroes perform their various Strike Artes and Magic Artes, calling out names and shouting one liners. It's a particularly catchy tune that'll have you tapping your toes the entire time.

Normal Battle

Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne

Uploaded by Merhawk102

Despite having a simple name, this battle theme from Nocturne really has a strangely eerie vibe to it. It really does a great job of emphasizing the unusual and unnatural situation the protagonist is in, wandering a demon infested version of his home, Tokyo. 

The strange lyrical chanting over the looped electronic buzzing in the song adds to the creepiness, but in contrast the guitar and drums really pump you up for what is most certainly going to be a tough battle, considering the difficulty of the game. Get ready to engage in some odd conversations with the demonic entities you come across and bargain with them to join you or just leave you alone.

Fight Against Monsters

Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

Uploaded by GilvaSunner

Mario has a long line of RPGs to pick from now, between the Paper Mario series or his adventures on handhelds with his brother in the Mario & Luigi series. However, back in the Super Nintendo era the first Super Mario game to feature the mustached plumber in turn based combat was aptly titled Super Mario RPG. It was an instant classic, and this battle theme was born from it. It oozes that Mario vibe, from the drum roll at the beginning to the horns and melodic bridge. Each beat of this tune just feels right at home in the Mario series of games, and it has only gotten more iconic as time goes by.

Battle! (Isaac)

Golden Sun

Uploaded by Magnus619666

Another example of a battle theme that really makes you feel heroic as you battle your way through the various monsters and baddies you encounter. Golden Sun really hits the mark with this song, the instant a battle begins and you hear that build up at the beginning of the song you're nodding along to the beat and eager to unleash your favorite attacks on whatever unsuspecting creature has challenged you.

Fluctuating from amped up synth instruments over the drums to beautiful flute melody into low synth tones and finally mixing it up string instruments really gives this song variety and makes it memorable. Isaac's battle theme is easily one of the greatest in the series, and the entire RPG genre.

Battle 1

Chrono Trigger

Uploaded by TheOSTcorner

This is another one of those songs with an unimaginative title, but are we really going to question Yasunori Mitsuda? If you're a fan of the game it's easy to see the mental image of Crono and the others bouncing in their combat stances to the smooth beat of the drums and bass in this song. 

The quick beat is sure to get you bouncing your head to the rhythm in seconds as you're selecting the various Tech commands in whatever age you might be adventuring through at the time. The timeless tune -- pun very much intended -- really accentuates the style of the game, feeling right at home no matter what kind of monsters you're fighting or what visual setting the game throws at you. Thanks for this gem, Yasunori Mitsuda.

Deep in Coma ~ Battle in Japan

Shadow Hearts: Covenant

Uploaded by TheOstFan

Like many of the other songs I've shared with you, Shadow Hearts: Covenant's "Deep in Coma" is a perfect example of thematic tune. The eerie chanting over the guttural bass guitar and hectic drums really gets you unnerved in this horror RPG.

The unusual rhythm and tribal beat are fitting for a game where you can transform into a demon at any given moment. Despite this however, "Deep in Coma" does a great job of making battles feel exciting and breaks the norm at the same time, making it a very memorable song. As I wrote this article I couldn't help but want to pop Shadow Hearts into my PlayStation 2.

These are just ten examples of great RPG battle music. There are plenty of other amazing tunes out there to discover and listen to. Did your favorite make the list? Share your favorites in the comments.

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What's the difference? Persona 3 Movies vs Persona 3 Games Part 1 https://www.gameskinny.com/atf7d/whats-the-difference-persona-3-movies-vs-persona-3-games-part-1 https://www.gameskinny.com/atf7d/whats-the-difference-persona-3-movies-vs-persona-3-games-part-1 Tue, 16 Aug 2016 13:40:37 -0400 Patrick Cottingham

Persona 3 is the third entry in a popular series developed by Atlus for the PlayStation console. The series, which was originally a spin off title from Shin Megami Tensei, found a cult following almost immediately. Releasing on July 13, 2006 in Japan, the third entry on the PlayStation 2 had solidified Persona as a staple in the RPG genre next to names like Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and even its predecessor, Megami Tensei. While the entire world anticipates the release of Persona 5, lets take a moment to reflect on an entry in the series which just released recently on Blu-Ray, Persona 3 the Movie #4: Winter of Rebirth.

Introduction

The Persona 3 the Movie series is a retelling of the events that occur in the game Persona 3. The story follows a Japanese teenager and his friends, including a robot and a dog, fighting to save the world in a mysterious 25th hour of the day known as the Dark Hour. Using the power to summon spiritual representations of themselves known as Persona, the group fights dark entities attempting to devour mankind -- known as Shadows. If these terms sound familiar you might be familiar with Jungian psychology, on which the series is heavily influenced. Persona 3 has enjoyed several console releases each one adding or changing features in the game, these include: Persona 3 (PlayStation 2), Persona 3 FES (PlayStation 2), and Persona 3 Portable (PlayStation Portable). Persona 3 the Movie has also been released in multiple parts: Persona 3 the Movie #1: Spring of BirthPersona 3 the Movie #2: Midsummer Knight's DreamPersona 3 the Movie #3: Falling DownPersona 3 the Movie #4: Winter of Rebirth. Below we'll take a look at what makes each movie different from the games. Fair warning, there will be unmarked spoilers ahead, continue at your own risk.

Persona 3 the Movie #1: Spring of Birth

"Time never waits. It delivers all equally to the same end." The movie begins in the same manner the game does, setting an eerie tone with a few cryptic words scrawled across the screen. However it is not long before we are introduced to the primary protagonist, Makoto Yuki.

Makoto Yuki as he appears in Persona 3 the Movie

Makoto Yuki is a quiet, practically apathetic, young man who seems oblivious to the world around him. His character eventually matures and grows into a blooming personality that is more befitting of a hero, but in the games his personality is all implied through dialogue options that you select as a player. Speaking of selections, the most recently released version of Persona 3Persona 3 Portable, allows the player to select their gender upon beginning the game. This drastically changes the events of the game, characters react differently to the female protagonist, you befriend different side characters, known as Social Links, in the game.

The female protagonist of Persona 3 Portable

This character simply does not exist in Persona 3 the Movie. She is never mentioned, nor is it ever implied that she has ever existed. This is because her role in Persona 3 Portable is completely identical to the male protagonist. She cannot exist in the story if he does without a serious restructuring of the story. This is quite unfortunate for fans of the game who did not play as the male protagonist, however, her influence is still visible within the movies. Social Links that are only available to the female protagonist appear as small cameos throughout the movies. This is small consolation for her absence but at least fans can enjoy seeing familiar faces from time to time represented in the beautifully animated films.

Social Links, a key part of the game which help you build up the power of your Personas, are also mysteriously absent. You are encouraged throughout the game to interact with the secondary cast members placed throughout the game world. These characters can become friends with you as you learn about their problems and hear their stories, you form relationships and even fall in love with them. These aspects of the game are also absent from the movie. However, it is understandable, the Persona 3 movie series was already forced to be cut into four parts, adding Social Links to the mix most certainly would have inflated this number even further and stressed the budget as well as the writers and animators.

With all these things that the movie cut, what did they keep? The movie follows the story closely, rarely cutting any details. Beginning from the moment our hero steps off his train and into the town of Iwatodai the movie faithfully recreates almost every scene of the game's primary plot up to the days following the defeat of the game's second major boss encounter, The Empress and The Emperor. Our heroes are tasked with defeating large named shadows themed after major arcana from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, which appear every month on the full moon. In the game this means you play through just under a year's worth of time, deciding what actions you'll do during the morning, afternoon and night. The movies glance over this, often skipping weeks at a time in order to progress the plot. There are also many added scenes to elaborate on characters motivations and interests, things that are hardly touched upon early in the game.

Persona 3 the Movie #2: Midsummer Knight's Dream

The second movie begins roughly a month after the moment the previous movie ended, opening on a racy scene of female party member, Yukari Takeba, in the shower while our hero, Makoto, begins undressing sitting on a bed. While this event does occur in the game, it takes place after defeating the game's third major boss, The Hierophant. When the player attempts to find the next boss, which is hidden somewhere in the same building, the characters are trapped in a hypnotic state and forced to contemplate their desires and actions. This is never fully explained in the movie, only briefly hinted at. Additionally, The Hierophant is defeated after the shower scene in the movie, in direct contradiction to the order of events of the game. This is an early warning sign of things to come in this movie.

Strega as they appear in Midsummer Knight's Dream

Midsummer Knight's Dream covers the plot of the game beginning with the defeat of the third major boss up to the death of a major character and defeat of the game's seventh major boss, The Wheel of Fortune and The Strength. This includes the introduction of the game's secondary antagonists, a group of Persona users called Strega, who directly oppose the desires of our heroes, known as the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad, or SEES. An important primary character who is featured heavily in this movie is Shinjiro Aragaki, a former member of SEES who left after an accident which resulted in the death of a young boys mother.

This is what the majority of the movie focuses on -- Shiji's interactions with the members of SEES, mostly his former teammate and friend Akihiko Sanada and the boy of the deceased woman, Ken Amada. SEES travels to Yakushima for summer vacation where they learn from a video recording of Yukari's deceased father that defeating all the giant shadows will end the Dark Hour and save the world. Shortly after this revelation the group is introduced to Aegis, or Aigis as she is known in the English localizations of the game, a robotic humanoid girl designed to destroy Shadows. Shortly after returning to Iwatodai our heroes are introduced to two more characters who eventually join up with SEES, the aforementioned Ken Amada, and Koromaru, an albino shiba inu.

This is when the movie begins to stray from the plot of the game. Shinji's story takes center stage, something that is only briefly glossed over in the games. We are treated to scenes of Shinji spending time with Koromaru, Ken Amada, and Akihiko Sanada quite frequently. We are also introduced to the concept that a Persona can go berserk and try to kill anything it wants, including its own master. This topic is only briefly discussed in the game, and is offered up as an explanation for why Shinjiro left SEES originally and why he takes dangerous drugs in an attempt to suppress his Persona. The movie runs wild with this idea, even going so far as to show us Shinjiro's Persona attacking him and stomping its victims violently into pulp. It's graphic and a far cry from what fans of the game would likely be expecting. This development is not unwelcome however, as it adds depth to an otherwise dull character. Fans of Persona 3 Portable will also enjoy this as many of the core concepts of Shinjiro's character development were pulled from a Social Link in the female protagonist's version of the game.

Shinjiro as he appears in Midsummer Knight's Dream

The climax of this movie comes during a pivotal scene where Shinjiro confronts Ken about his mother's death, revealing it was him that couldn't stop his Persona during a violent rampage that led to Ken's mother being killed. During the confrontation the leader of Strega, known as Takaya steps out of the shadows and guns down Shinjiro in cold blood. This scene is when the reality and gravity of the situation impresses itself on the players. This is more than just a story about heroes saving the world from demon like creatures. Persona 3 doesn't pull punches, and the movie accurately portrays this in a very emotional finale. During the following scenes in which Akihiko mourns the loss of his friend Shinjiro, his Persona evolves into a more powerful form. This evolution, which is a representation of Akihiko's growth as a character, never happens in the movie. Some fans may be left somewhat confused by its exclusion.

Join me next week for Persona 3 the Movie #3: Falling Down and the finale Persona 3 the Movie #4: Winter of RebirthPersona 3 the Movie #1: Spring of Birth and Persona 3 the Movie #2: Midsummer Knight's Dream are both available now as imports with Japanese audio with English subtitles only on DVD and Blu-ray from Aniplex.

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Why the Funny Pervert Stereotype Needs to Go https://www.gameskinny.com/phcec/why-the-funny-pervert-stereotype-needs-to-go https://www.gameskinny.com/phcec/why-the-funny-pervert-stereotype-needs-to-go Tue, 12 Jul 2016 08:28:17 -0400 cactusjudy

You know the "funny pervert" type. The teenage boy who can't stop hitting on every girl he sees. The old man who attempts to grope any woman under the age of 30 without fail. The troupe of boys who peep through the sliding door of the bathhouse to ogle their female friends' developing bodies.

The funny pervert is a character archetype in the media -- the (typically male) character who takes their sex drive to the extreme and whose lustful antics towards every female in sight are played off as humorous. He is not every boy or man who expresses interest towards the opposite sex or tries their darndest to get laid; rather, he is the one whose intense objectification of women and verbal or physical actions crosses the line into harassment.

Unfortunately, the funny pervert is still a staple in many video games -- particularly Japanese imports. Sometimes he is even the hero of the game, though more often than not he is the funny sidekick (think Yosuke from Persona 4 or Sunohara from Clannad). The problem with this character is not simply in his existence, but that, despite his icky behavior, he is still presented as an overall "good guy." 

 

This presentation should be concerning for all gamers, male and female alike, for three main reasons: it normalizes sexual harassment, codes reactive violence against men as humorous, and establishes an antagonistic relationship between the sexes. The consequences of such representations are harmful and far-reaching -- and as such, both consumers and producers of games need to be made more aware of the real-world issues that the funny pervert character represents, interacts with, and promotes. So, without further ado, here are the three biggest reasons why the pervert archetype needs to go the way of the dinosaurs.

1. It normalizes sexual harassment


The fact that this quiz exists speaks volumes

When sexual harassment is presented as funny, people are less likely to consider it a serious problem. Victims feel too embarrassed to report a situation they've been conditioned to laugh at, and perpetrators don't understand that what they're doing is wrong and punishable by the law. I'm sure the boys who spent middle school stalking and harassing my friends and I thought it was one big joke, until they got in trouble with the school authorities. 

The situation is made even worse when the character in question is presented as a "good guy" who, despite his gross behavior, is really a heroic person who is willing to sacrifice himself for the common good. For example, protagonist Sigma in Virtue's Last Reward spends the game making sexually explicit comments towards all of his female companions -- especially the ones who are too young/ignorant to know what's he's talking about.

Yet, he's still presented as the self-sacrificial hero of the game who truly cares about all of the women he's harassing.

In reality, the guy who tells you to bend over in a sexually explicit way is probably not someone who genuinely cares about you as a person, and not the person you want to be trapped in a warehouse with. Even if he is an all-around decent guy, that still doesn't excuse his bad behavior or mean that he shouldn't be called out on it. 

Sexual harassment, whether verbal or physical in nature, isn't a joke -- and treating it as such doesn't do anyone any good. In the real world, people get disciplined, fired, and arrested for aggressively lewd comments, groping, and stalking. Victims feel upset, angry, scared, and violated. Sexual harassment isn't normal or funny, and the media should stop treating it as such.

2. It codes violence against men as humorous

In the media, the reaction to voyeurism or lewd comments, whether deliberate or accidental, is almost always violence. The new boy at the magical school accidentally falls onto and gropes the princess, and in return she punches him in the face. In both Persona 3 and 4, the protagonist and his male companions accidentally walk in on their female friends bathing, and the girls' response is to violently attack them. 

These instances aren't meant to be seen as dangerous violence or domestic abuse; they're meant to be funny. Violence against men is coded as humorous and justified, and this becomes a problem when it spills over into the real world.

Take this video, for example. When passersby witness an instance of domestic abuse against a woman, they intervene and angrily call out the man on his behavior. When the roles are switched and the woman abuses the man in public, people laugh. No one is worried about the man getting pushed against the fence and put in a headlock; they assume that he either could fight back if he wanted, or he's getting what he deserved. 


Brock didn't deserve Misty's abuse, and neither do you.

Men hardly ever report instances of domestic abuse because they don't think they'll be taken seriously, and they're often right. Our media conditions us to see women as weak and incapable of any real harm, and men as horny idiots who deserve to be slapped every now and then. But unless someone is physically attacking you, responding with violence is a crime. Just like with sexual harassment, the media's coding of female-on-male violence as humorous causes problems for real people, justifying female perpetrators and silencing male victims.

3. It establishes an antagonistic relationship between the sexes

A man makes a lewd comment, so a woman slaps him. This is the situation played over and over again by the media, establishing men as "pervy horndogs" always on the make and women as prudish, emotional jerks. Women and men are presented as opposites, with neither side capable of understanding or meeting the needs of the other. 

In reality, there is more difference within genders than between them; science has proven again and again that men and women aren't as different as many think. Yet, gender essentialist beliefs still persist and feed harmful stereotypes of both men and women, and the media does little to refute them. 

Men and women don't automatically exist in an antagonistic relationship with one another; they are perfectly capable of respecting, befriending, and loving one another. These positive relationships are what should be encouraged by the media that we consume, instead of antiquated ideas about "the battle between the sexes." Only then can we work through issues of sexual harassment and violence against men, and start to regard people as individuals instead of gender stereotypes. 


Of course, some may counter that gaming experiences do not correlate with lived experience, and that individuals are smart enough to know that groping women and punching men in the real world isn't right. This belief, and the attitudes that go along with it, are simply not true; the media we consume affects how we perceive and interact with the world around us. 

Multiple studies have confirmed this; for example, playing violent video games has been shown to at least temporarily increase levels of aggression, and watching movies with sexually violent content leads to greater acceptance of violence against women in men. 

These correlations do not mean that we should ban all problematic or disturbing content in media; my purpose in this article is not to demand that all gaming developers unanimously end their use of the pervert archetype. Rather, it is important that consumers and producers alike recognize the affects that their media have on real people and systems of inequality and violence. 

The funny pervert is, quite simply, not funny at all.

He (or, in rare cases, she) encourages people to view sexual harassment and violence against men as normal, and constructs a relationship between men and women as inherently antagonistic, he supports systems of inequality that justifies the sexual oppression of women and violent actions against men, and he makes us laugh at and ignore situations that are truly serious in nature, and cause physical and emotional harm to many. And in a world already rife with conflict and violence, we don't need another voice telling us to ignore the suffering of others. 

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8 PS2 games that need the PS4 upgrade treatment https://www.gameskinny.com/oub5o/8-ps2-games-that-need-the-ps4-upgrade-treatment https://www.gameskinny.com/oub5o/8-ps2-games-that-need-the-ps4-upgrade-treatment Mon, 20 Jun 2016 23:46:39 -0400 Anthony Pelone

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That's our top picks! As the PlayStation 4's PS2 library grows, we hope it will include most, if not all, of these classic titles. With the PlayStation 2 library being so massive, you may be able to forgive Sony for taking so long.

Did we leave out your favorite PS2 game? Let us know in the comments below!

"},{"image":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_360,q_80,w_640/v1/gameskinnyc/o/k/a/okami-cover-e85f4.jpg","thumb":"http://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,e_sharpen:150,f_auto,fl_lossy,h_85,q_80,w_97/v1/gameskinnyc/o/k/a/okami-cover-e85f4.jpg","type":"slide","id":"122895","description":"
8. Okami
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Our last game is Clover Studio's final hurrah for Capcom. In what's perhaps the PS2's stylized title, Okami blends cel-shaded graphics with Japanese mythology, producing a stunning world that still awes today. Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess who takes the form of a wolf, must utilize her Celestial Brush to rejuvenate the world and take on the forces of Orochi.

\n

Okami was rereleased in HD for PS3, but has yet to be ported for PS4. Another HD update could go a long way in rendering this beautiful title even more gorgeous. Also while we're at it, why don't we let Kamiya make Okami 2?

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7. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
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This unexpected sleeper hit took the JRPG world by storm in 2008. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (or just Persona 3 for short) revolves around unlocking the secrets of the Dark Hour, a time period that begins before one day ends and another begins. To prevent its shadows from feasting on human minds, local high-schoolers (including the silent protagonist named by the player) must summon Personas, or manifestations of their spirits, to combat them.  Since this is high school, you can also expect some platonic/romantic hijinks.

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There has yet to be any HD updates of Persona 3 or its sequel, Persona 4. Perhaps Atlus would be kind enough to bundle the Persona 3 FES, which was something of a director's cut.

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6. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
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The mind-bending story of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty may have been too much for someone, but everyone loves Snake Eater. The journey of Naked Snake (who's not really naked) as he sneaks through the jungles and mountains of the Soviet Union is perhaps the PS2's most dynamic, as he forages for food, utilizes camouflage, fights an elderly sniper who's on death's door, and encounters betrayal after betrayal. It also has crotch-grabbing.

\n

Snake Eater was featured on the PS3's Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, and we'd love to see them again on PS4. I mean, who still doesn't tear up after that ending?

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5. Katamari Damacy
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From the whimsical mind of Keita Takahashi comes PS2's quirkiest game. After the King of all Cosmos destroys the night stars in a drunken frenzy, the Prince is tasked with rolling a katamari, a sticky ball that glues everyone and everything onto its surface. He uses this katamari to roll up the planet Earth, much to the dismay of humans, cows and thunder gods alike while Japanese pop songs play in the background. Meanwhile, a Japanese boy watches this unfold on the news, having absolutely nothing to do with the story until the hilarious twist ending.

\n

Katamari Damacy and its sequel, We Love Katamari, are perhaps the secret masterpieces of PlayStation 2, yet have never been upgraded to HD. Namco, could you please look inside your inner katamari and introduce the Que Sera Sera song to a new generation? We want to wad them up into our lives, you see.

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4. Tales of the Abyss
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Tales of Symphonia may be the Western Tales favorite, but this PS2 classic shouldn't be overlooked. Tales of the Abyss' meaty story is perhaps the series' grimmest, forcing the bratty Luke fon Fabre to engage in a genuinely heartfelt coming-of-age arc. The fact that it builds upon the addictive combo-based battle system ain't half-bad, either.

\n

We'd love to see an HD remaster for PS4, as the game can be difficult to find and hardly matches the graphical prowess of other games on this list. Let's not get ahead of ourselves however, Namco's Symphonia remasters for PS3 and PC were more than a little sloppy. Then there's the matter of how Namco's struggled to transition the series into HD (not to mention their stagnant mediocrity, but that's another topic). We'll keep our fingers crossed for a proper HD port, but you may want to grab the 3DS version if the PS2 used copies are too expensive for you.

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3. Dynasty Warriors 2
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Warriors games--or Musou, depending on your preferred terminology--are still going strong, so why not reintroduce the one that started it all? Dynasty Warriors 2 wasn't just a PS2 launch title; it forged a new series (perhaps even genre?) featuring 3D crowd combat, hack n' slash combat and capturing bases. Don't be fooled by the "2" numbering: the original Dynasty Warriors was a simple one-on-one fighter.

\n

Dynasty Warriors 2 was released on PS3's PSN back in 2012...but only in Japan. Perhaps that renders a Western rerelease all the more unlikely, but that it launched a popular franchise (which inspired spin-offs based off Zelda, Gundam, Dragon Quest and One Piece) means it deserves an HD uplifting.

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2. Kingdom Hearts
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Square-Enix's bizarre JRPG crossover with Disney has enchanted millions of hearts around the globe, as the anticipation for Kingdom Hearts 3 has been circulating for a decade now. But as amusing as the peppy sugar rush of Kingdom Hearts 2 is, there's just something special about the original title. Before the series dived into a convoluted mess of clones, data worlds and confusing name titles, it was simply a soul-searching journey of anime children interacting with the likes of Donald Duck, Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh. And Cloud Strife.

Like Devil May Cry, the Kingdom Hearts series received an ample HD uplift on PS3, albeit split into two separate collections: the 1.5 and 2.5 ReMIXes. Director Tetsuya Nomura has repeatedly teased their arrival on PS4, but there's no explicit confirmation. For now, we'll just have to settle for winter's Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (seriously, who comes up with these names?)

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1. Devil May Cry
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The game that launched director Hideki Kamiya into action-game stardom. What started out as a Resident Evil title grew into one of the most innovative, influential games of the sixth generation; with its stylish action and brutal difficulty. Be it the appeal of pulling off combos or its unique spin on Dante's Inferno (not the least of which is the main character himself, a bad boy who alternates between dual pistols and swords), it kept players coming back for more.

\n

While all three Devil May Cry games on PS2 received an HD collection on PS3, the PS4 is, sadly, not backwards compatible. We'd love to see the original return alongside 3: Dante's Awakening for PS4, although perhaps Devil May Cry 2 is better left forgotten.

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Let's step back for a moment and look over the list of downloadable PlayStation 2 games on PlayStation 4. As Sony only just got around to the service last December, it's not a terrible line-up, but we're missing quite a number of classics on the service. Let's be real though, even if the service took too long, updating PS2 games into HD, adding trophy support and including Remote Play isn't as simple as flicking a switch. We may as well deal with waiting, although Japan has yet to receive a single PS2 game on the service.

In the meantime, we can't help but wonder: what are the PS2 games that should be next in line? For this list, I've selected 8 classics that deserve the HD treatment.

\n

 

"}]]]>
Getting started: Shin Megami Tensei https://www.gameskinny.com/7n3fh/getting-started-shin-megami-tensei https://www.gameskinny.com/7n3fh/getting-started-shin-megami-tensei Sun, 29 Nov 2015 12:53:29 -0500 John Adamczyk

JRPGs come in every shape and size these days, but none quite match the fascinating style and concepts behind the Shin Megami Tensei series, which has exploded in popularity with the advent of Persona 3 and 4; with a highly anticipated fifth game due next year.

Being able to team up with Satan, Thor, and Jack the Ripper, among hundreds of other cultural figures you'll grow to love and hate is a unique and satisfying experience you won't find in any other series. And while a decade or two ago, the phrase "Satanic Pokemon" might have made people nervous, nowadays most would consider it synonymous with "awesome," which it is.

However, getting started with the series can be a little daunting, considering the spinoffs and spinoffs of spinoffs the game spawns. In case you forgot, we're even getting a Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem crossover for the Wii U. 

With so many games to choose from, it can be difficult to find a starting point; and that can keep people from partaking in one of the most fascinating series of JRPGs around today.

One of the best parts of the Shin Megami Tensei series, however, is the fact that most of the stories are self-contained. If you haven't played the first game (which nobody would blame you for, it came out in 1987), you could still play the second game without being confused. Same goes for every game thereafter, with only a few rare exceptions. So really, when it comes to starting with the series, it's all about personal preference.

Here, I'll be walking you through some of the easiest games to get started with, and while some of the games here might be a little old, that's good news. If you can't find them in stores, go ahead and look up some emulators, because most of these games can be run pretty smoothly on older hardware.

Getting Started: Persona 4

Where to play it: PS2, PS3, PSP

 

Chances are, if you're reading this, this is the one SMT (spinoff) game you've probably played, and now you want more. If you haven't, well, you might as well start where most of us have: Persona 4 is a charming game, but it's a huge departure from Shin Megami Tensei as a whole. The mechanics are still there, but you'll probably be left scratching your head a little when you make the move to the SMT series itself.

If you aren't quite done with Persona and need that fix of social links and personas, backtracking to Persona 3 can also prove to be a good start, and it's also available on the same consoles. Persona 3 is also a great choice if you want to start the SMT series with a Persona game, but aren't sold on 4's happy-go-lucky style.

If you're ready to go for some real SMT mainline games beyond the Persona series, or if you want some good old-fashioned demon summoning action, here are the games I'm going to recommend that are truer to the core series.

Getting Started: Shin Megami Tensei IV

Where to play it: Nintendo 3DS

If you want to get right into SMT without all the frills, this is where you start, hands-down. With one of the most compelling stories in an SMT mainline game, contemporary anti-frustration mechanics that make it the tiniest bit easier than earlier installments (but not too easy), and an intuitive tutorial, this is the perfect place to start.

Team up with demons, buy their loyalty, splice their souls together to create stronger, more powerful demons, and explore a setting that I just can't spoil for you. SMT IV is probably the most solid place to start.

Of course, there are quirkier alternatives for those of you who want something a little different to ease you into the series.

Getting Started: Devil Survivor

Where to play it: Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo DS

If you're new to the series and you've got experience in grid-based combat games like Final Fantasy Tactics, this might be the best place for you to start. A fascinating blend of turn-based Tactics-styled navigation within turn-based combat, the game's base demon mechanics are pretty much the same as every other SMT game, with the crucial twist of combat taking place on an overworld grid. 

Characters adjacent to demons can engage them in combat and vise versa to begin a turn-based back and forth in traditional Shin Megami Tensei fashion, and with different objectives and story routes, you can end up with totally different challenges and endgame content that makes the NG+ mechanics very rewarding. 

Getting Started: Strange Journey

Where to play it: Nintendo DS

If you aren't totally sold on the mainline games...why are you here? Kidding, there's something for you, too. The mechanics of Strange Journey are still the same, but the game feels so wildly different from the rest of the series. 

With an emphasis on atmosphere and isolation, the story takes place in an anomalous void that has emerged in Antarctica. You're part of a special task force sent by the United Nations to explore this bizarre activity. The game has inspiration rooted in some of the best sci-fi horror films around, think The Thing and Event Horizon.

Another reason you might like Strange Journey is if you like dungeon crawls

You'll be navigating corridors and slaughtering demons while you progress through the story. Of course, if you like dungeon delves, you know that part of the fun is facing soul-crushing defeat again and again, and chances are, with Strange Journey, that's going to happen. A lot. But it's definitely something different for the series, and while it's clearly a Shin Megami Tensei game, there isn't another game in the series quite like it.

Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne

Where to play it: PlayStation 2 and 3

 

If you like a challenge, here's the start for you. A bit dated graphically, but this is probably one of the best games for RPG players who want to sit down and figure out how to survive on their own. Boss fights, especially early on, will feel like puzzles, where you'll need to determine how to take advantage of enemy weaknesses (and cover up the weaknesses of your own demons), while surviving increasingly ridiculous attacks and abilities.

If you want the SMT experience without the brakes, this is the best possible start. You'll learn how to optimize your party, embrace the fusion mechanic, and prey on enemy weakness, or you'll perish.

Just don't ragequit when you reach this guy.

Any game on this list will offer you hours of gameplay, and a head-first dive into the Shin Megami Tensei series. 

The best part of starting with a series so vast is the fact that, not only do you have so many games to choose from, but once you're hooked, you'll have plenty of other options waiting for you that will sate your newfound Satanic Pokemon addiction.

From Persona to Devil Survivor to the core Shin Megami Tensei games, each title has something new to bring to the table. Even after you've completed one of these games, I'd still highly recommend playing through any and all of them.

Enjoy, and good luck.

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Video Game soundtracks for studying and motivation https://www.gameskinny.com/xjpa3/video-game-soundtracks-for-studying-and-motivation https://www.gameskinny.com/xjpa3/video-game-soundtracks-for-studying-and-motivation Sat, 05 Sep 2015 17:30:01 -0400 Dalton White I

When doing work, studying for exams, and writing proposals or essays, it can be hard to find motivation or inspiration. Video game soundtracks offer music that can help, since they usually don’t have lyrics that can distract you. The five following soundtracks feature songs that can help you focus, give you peace of mind and, most importantly, psych you up to get your work done.

Journey 

Austion Wintory

Journey’s soundtrack is a whirlwind of emotions, some scary and others enchanting, from start to finish. The chilling use of string instruments to their fullest potential is an awe-inspiring experience. My favorite track of the album is "The Road of Trials". It has this source of energy and movement that makes my mind race, and it naturally reminds me of the fun and gorgeous sand-surfing section of Journey.

Ori and the Blind Forest

Gareth Coker

Like Journey, Ori is an indie game that features beautiful visuals and an equally enchanting soundtrack. Ori has its own style of music that mixes vocals with a variety of percussion and stringed instruments. Usually I’m distracted when a song has a singer or lyrics, but Ori’s soundtrack has some gorgeous singing that seems to get me focused or inspires me to keep on working. As for a favorite song from the album, it would be a close call - but I would go with “Ori, Lost in the Storm”. There is just something bewitching about it that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Okami

Masami Ueda, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Rei Kondoh, Akari Groves

I recently finished playing Okami HD on my PS3. Its dungeons, the characters, the beautifully unique visual technique, and (of course) the music were nothing short of spectacular. The music in Okami was inspired by classical Japanese works, which only adds to the unique style of the game. The plethora of music that make up Okami’s soundtrack covers a large spectrum of emotions, from fear to wonder. One of my favorite tracks is "Kushi’s Ride". It surrounds me with a sense of urgency and power.

Persona 3 and 4

Shouji Meguro and Atsushi Kitajoh (Persona 4)

The Persona series is one of a kind; it combines serious deep messages with wacky characters, amazing battles, and the unique experience of Social Links. And its music is pretty amazing, too! I tried and failed to decide if Persona 3 or 4 had a better soundtrack. Both of them have songs that add a special ambience to simple mundane activities like studying for exams and the more fantastical aspects of Persona like dungeon crawling. My favorite track for Persona 3 has to be “The Battle for Everyone’s Souls” while Persona 4 features an awesome battle theme: "I’ll Face Myself-Battle-" However my current top Persona track would be the theme used in Persona 5’s trailer - it has this epic beat that just kicks my ass into gear.

Distant Worlds: Music From FINAL FANTASY

Nobuo Uematsu

So this could be seen as cheating, but Nobuo Uematsu himself creates all these arrangements for Distant Worlds. It would be so difficult to select just one of the countless Final Fantasy games to suggest, so I found a compromise. Distant Worlds has the best of the best, the tunes that are the top-tier tracks from a variety of Final Fantasy games. The orchestra versions feel like they are giving the classic songs new life, but keeping to the original formula at the same time. At the moment, I believe there are three volumes, each featuring songs from the original Final Fantasy to its fourteenth installment. I couldn’t decide which one was my favorite so I checked to see which song I had played most on my iPod. That song was “Terra’s Theme” from Final Fantasy VI. It is a fantastic song to just walk to, and it has an invigorating beat to it.

Hopefully now you have some tracks in mind to help you slog through the essays, papers, and presentations of the future.

Did I miss any favorite soundtracks? Are there other video games whose musical scores get your adrenaline pumping? Leave a comment and add to the list!

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A Game Narrative: The Terrible to The Terrific https://www.gameskinny.com/6ms8b/a-game-narrative-the-terrible-to-the-terrific https://www.gameskinny.com/6ms8b/a-game-narrative-the-terrible-to-the-terrific Sat, 13 Dec 2014 08:28:23 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

A game's narrative is a fancy word for a game's story. This means if you ever see a game which is narrative-driven, or story-driven they are the same thing. A few of the best narrative-driven games are:

  • Portal (as well as great puzzle game).
  • Persona 3 and 4
  • The Walking Dead (Seasons 1 and 2)
  • The Wolf Among Us
  • Fahrenheit (or Indigo Prophecy)
  • Heavy Rain

Let's go on a journey through what makes or breaks a game's narrative, bearing in mind this has nothing to do with gameplay. You can have a terrible narrative, but terrific gameplay.

(Warning contains spoilers for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Far Cry 3 and an early choice for Telltale's The Walking Dead: Season 1)

What Makes a Narrative...

...Terrible?
A terrible story specifically reminds you that you are in a video game...

A terrible narrative can simply be caused by bad writing, or a thin plot, but something that can really cause a narrative to fall apart is incoherence. When the narrative threads jump around with no real relevance to each other can cause you to lose interest, and confusion. You stop caring or simply don't know about what is going to happen, and any cut scenes will be boring. A terrible story specifically reminds you that you are in a video game, and that if there is a man in front of you as you must shoot them, because you must. Why? To advance the story silly.

This is often used in FPS games, specifically Call of Duty: Ghosts. There was no real coherence between actions you perform, the place you are in and the characters behaviours. The locations and set pieces influenced the story instead of both being built around each other. Another example is in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, there is one mission, called Throttle, where you are randomly in a rail shooter, flying a jet through canyons then back on your feet without knowing what had happened.

A screenshot of the mission 'Throttle' in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

A cliché is a pretty terrible to use, especially when linked with the handling of motivations for any characters. One specific example is the strong male hero character has their weak female wife or girlfriend taken or killed. It's overused and really boring, you don't get invested into the characters because they are just always angry or sad, especially when the death of the wife happens before the game even starts.

...Bad?
One thing that really bugs me about Call of Duty recently is the amount of near death experiences.

A bad narrative does not break the narrative of the game overall, it simply reminds you that you are playing a game for a split second, after that you then drawn back in. One thing that really bugs me about Call of Duty recently is the amount of near death experiences. It was a novel thing to start with, however it did get tiresome after the rehash of the same ideas in every game. Most of them are so unrealistic, they take you out of the game. In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, during the finale, you get stabbed through the chest. However your character appears not to care, simply pulling the knife out, casually spinning it in his hand, and throwing it with the accuracy and strength of a perfectly healthy man, the knife flies through the air and kills General Shepherd hitting him square in the left eye. It is just simply to far out of reality, and the games fiction. You can take 100s of bullets during gameplay, but one stab or gun shot during a cutscene instantly stops you doing anything until the vital moment.

A perfect throw after pulling a knife out of your chest? I think not.

The story is going so well...suspense and adrenaline are running high then...

The story is getting better, everything is advancing at the perfect pace, the writing is on point, you love all the characters on your side and hate but respect the ones you are fighting. The story is going so well, you feel it reaching the mid section crescendo and you look for the plot twist. Thinking back through each characters backstory trying to spot who will do something stupid or turn on you. The game then reaches the exciting mid section crescendo, suspense and adrenaline are running high then...

Everyone is dead and you win.

Don't you just hate that?

...Good?

I find a good story often has plot twists which do something the wrong way round, they remove interesting and complex characters, and replace them with less interesting and more simplistic characters. Neither character is badly written or voice acted, and both are understandable or relatable. However due to the first character just being so good it leaves the second feeling bland. This happened in Far Cry 3, with Vaas being replaced by Hoyt Volker. If Far Cry 3 had done this the other way round, it would be under the next heading.

Vaas on the left, Hoyt on the right.

Another really good trick that writers use on you is the old bait and switch. You get really invested into one specific character who is your friend, you trust them and they are privy to sensitive information. Then suddenly they turn on you, turns out the whole time they were lying, of course the best writing leaves clues about their intentions, but does not explicitly tell you they are secretly working against you untill a pivotal moment.

...Terrific?
Decision making like this is what games...are pefect for...

Let's now look at the very best narrative games can offer. Not only can games give you the ability to meet engaging characters, who are not just black and white but morally grey. Games can allow you to become this character, to take on the hard decisions they will have to face, Telltale's The Walking Dead is a perfect example of this. Every decision you make you dread, you know that neither is 'good' or 'bad'. They are snap decisions which will always have bad consequences. Decision making like this is what games are best at doing, they are perfect for it and with writing as strong as in The Walking Dead you can really see why.

Who lives and who dies? You pick. Not easy right?

...when wielded well it can create some amazing and powerful moments.

Empathy, the ability to understand or share the emotion someone else is experiencing. It's powerful stuff, when you can make a character the player can empathise with, the feeling of loss, betrayal, anger, sympathy or compassion can then all be projected onto the player, sometimes all at once. Making you, as the player, care about a character will get you invested into the story, then if that character dies (if they take a supporting role) you will feel loss, and maybe anger, then want avenge your fallen comrade. It can also be used on the player character in much the same way. Empathy is a powerful tool, and when wielded well it can create some amazing and powerful moments.

Have you every wondered what makes or breaks a game's narrative? Let me know your thoughts in the comments bellow.

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Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Receives New Story Trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/xlojr/persona-q-shadow-of-the-labyrinth-receives-new-story-trailer https://www.gameskinny.com/xlojr/persona-q-shadow-of-the-labyrinth-receives-new-story-trailer Sat, 20 Sep 2014 11:28:37 -0400 Brian Spaen

A story trailer has been released for Nintendo's first installment of Persona on any of their hardware.

Click on the video above to watch the short trailer that explains what exactly Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is about.

Essentially, Persona Q is a spinoff of the original Persona series. It has a mix of Persona 3 and Persona 4 characters. Both groups find themselves trapped inside Yasogami High School and eventually find a labyrinth underneath the school. Depending on who the player selects, they will use their characters to battle enemies and restore the memories of two new characters in the franchise.

Persona spreads into the Nintendo market

Persona Q is an old-school dungeon-crawler RPG that's already received much praise in Japan, where it was released earlier this summer. The game is being both developed and published by Atlus (NIS America for the PAL version) and will be exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS. This is the first time that a Nintendo console or handheld system has received a Persona game -- all the others have been Sony PlayStation hardware.

The game is scheduled to be released on November 25th in North America. Do you plan on picking up the game on Nintendo's handheld?

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Persona 3 Film to Arrive in Japan https://www.gameskinny.com/5hmqi/persona-3-film-to-arrive-in-japan https://www.gameskinny.com/5hmqi/persona-3-film-to-arrive-in-japan Tue, 23 Jul 2013 22:55:04 -0400 Raymond W

A film adaptation of Persona 3 is hitting Japanese theaters on November 23.

The movie, titled Persona 3 #1: Spring of Birth, is expected to be the first entry in an animated film series, according to its official website. Its production is being handled by the animation company Anime International Company A.S.T.A., which also produced the anime television series Persona 4: The Animation

A new movie poster bears the ominous phrase "Mement Mori –– Remember you will die," which might be a familiar theme to fans of the PS2 game or its PSP remake. Also featured on the poster are the main male protagonist and his accompanying SEES cast of Yukari, Junpei, Mitsuru, Akihiko, and Fuuka. The movie trailer, above, reveals the return of some of the franchise's more iconic Personas, including Orpheus and Thanatos.

No information yet about possible localization, but considering the recent localization of Persona 4: The Animation, there may be sufficient reason to be optimistic about the movie hitting theaters near you.

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+10 to Baking: Geeky Cakes & How to Make Them https://www.gameskinny.com/8kkdw/10-to-baking-geeky-cakes-how-to-make-them https://www.gameskinny.com/8kkdw/10-to-baking-geeky-cakes-how-to-make-them Mon, 08 Jul 2013 14:47:21 -0400 Amy White

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Steps that Save Time (and Heartache)

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Make a plan
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Even if you deviate along the way, a plan helps you figure out what you want the end result to be, make a materials list, and generally makes you think your way though the cake up front. It's a good thing. Below was my Bioshock cake plan next to the in-progress cake itself:

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Consider Structural Integrity
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Will this cake be traveling? Does it need to fit in a freezer until it's go-time? If your cake must fit in a certain space, travel to a different place, or be displayed on a special cake base, think about that in the planning phase. I nearly had a Snoopy cake collapse once because I failed to account for the 2 hour sunny car trip it would be taking. 

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It looks pretty okay here, but trust me, it's a flattering angle. Don't wait 'til you've assembled and decorated to move you cake to it's final base, either. That's asking for gravity to do unspeakable things to your creation. If AT ALL POSSIBLE, build your cake from base to finish on the platter or serving surface that will be the final one. 

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Make a Materials List
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Once you have a plan that has accounted for the design and engineering of your cake, be sure you buy all the things you'll need and have them on hand. It stinks to be 3 hours into the baking process and realize you need magenta food coloring you can only get from a store that closed 30 minutes ago. Be warned that these types of cakes aren't cheap, between the basic cake ingredients and the decorations, you can spend between $30 and $50 dollars easily, especially if you need to invest in baking sheets and other equipment.

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Leave Yourself Plenty of Time
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I usually give myself 3-4 nights worth of cake time. Because I was doing this in my spare time after work at night, I had at max 7 hours or so, and cakes take time to bake, cool, crumb layer and decorate. I aimed to have the baking done one evening, basic assembly and crumb layer done night 2, and the finishing touches on night 3. Night 4 was for emergencies. I often created cakes on a shorter timeline, and it always worked out, but especially at the start give yourself time so you don't stress out.

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/77171c046d7687dfbdfe59a434d06545.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_77171c046d7687dfbdfe59a434d06545.jpg","type":"slide","id":"11634","description":"

Peachy Keen

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I pondered going with the good old fashioned barbie cake on this one. 

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I just couldn't.

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I wanted to keep the cartoon-yness of Princess Peach's design, and succeeded a bit more than I intended to with a big old bobble-headed gal. But it was a huge victory to make it ALL edible.

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Her is made of cake. Her torso and shoulders are formed of rice krispy treats to give her some structure. The head is an oval of rice krispy treat. The arms are rolled fondant. 

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The rest is MAGIC.

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(Also fondant and gel coloring.)

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Cake on Easy Mode

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While we're on Persona themed cakes, here's that easier cake I promised back on the Jade from Tales of the Abyss slide. This Mitsuru Kirijo character cake was fairly simple. Here's some of the things that make this a good type of cake for a beginner:

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Limited color pallet: You only need to mix 4 colors for this - dark red for hair, bright red for eyes, bow and lips, black for line details, and skin tone. Fondant comes in white, so you're off the hook there.

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Single eye: Mitsuru is one of many characters with asymmetrical bangs. This is a godsend for people creating fan art on paper or on cakes because getting eyes to look right when there are two of them to coordinate is WAY harder than when the character sports the half blind hair look or a fancy eyepatch.

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Simple lines: Far less linework than the Jade cake, though I did fancy it up a bit making fondant shirt pleats and buttons.  

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You'll note that even while fairly simple I managed to get the hair color pretty off. In trying to differentiate the color of her hair from the color of her red bow, I made her look more brunette than redheaded. Ah well. They can't all be winners.

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Baking 'Til the Dark Hour

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This one was pretty simple. Teddie from Persona 4 made from 2 cupcakes smooshed together on a round cake that was shaped like the entrance to a tower level. 

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Dawww, look at his wittle blue fondant ears. 

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I didn't even try to put his legs in there. That would have been madness. His arms were made of pie crust though,. Yummy, crunchy arms. 

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Pixel Cake: Not for the short of attention span

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This cake featured Ashton from Star Ocean Second Story and his snarky dragons in full pixelated glory. 

I essentially iced a 13" x 9" single layer cake with a sky blue icing, then carefully placed either chocolate, white chocolate or peanut butter chips point down on the cake to represent black, white, to-be-colored, or brown pixels. I painted the white chips with the appropriate color gels, cut out white world bubbles from fondant and put in the text using a mix of tube gel frosting and painted gel color. 

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Hard? No.

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Tedious? Very much.

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Pretty cool looking on the table? 2 of 2 dragons say yes.

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Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

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The Katamari cake was the cake that started the madness. I had baked one other cake in my life, a German chocolate cake for German class in high school that fell in on itself well before it made it to the 3rd period potluck.

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What made me think a ROUND cake would be a great idea 3 years later? No idea. But think I did. And work it did. And then I had just enough confidence to embark on a 24 month baking odyssey.

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Like how we were serving from the washer? That's how recent college grads roll. (See what I did there?)

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How to Bake a Round Cake

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I made 2 circular (usually referred to as 'round' but as this cake shows, that isn't quite accurate) slab cakes and baked some extra batter in the bottom of a metal bowl. Then I frosted between the layers, put bamboo skewers through it every which way, and stuck it in the freezer. When it was good and frozen, I took it out and iced it. Then repeated the freezing and one more icing layer. 

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Tales of the Pain-In-The-Butt Fondant

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Oh Tales of. With your lines. And your precision. And your wonderful damn characters. 

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These cartoon style fondant character cakes aren't usually very challenging (see the Mitsuru Persona Cake in a later slide as a good example) but when there are this many details, colors and layers, even a cut and dry posed character becomes a challenge. And wire frame glasses?

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OF COURSE. SURE. WHY NOT?

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You've only painstakingly colored, cut, and layered tons of fondant to reach the 99% done point and now you have to HAND PAINT TINY THIN LINES ON JADE'S FACE. No biggie. You mess up, you just have to take everything apart, make a new face, put it all together and try again.

Get some more coffee. Calm your nerves, and find a thin brush with some black gel icing. And for the love of all things sugar, try it on a scrap piece first. 

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A Critical Tip For Flat Character Cakes

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When doing one of these style cakes, I STRONGLY suggest drawing a reference or printing one out, then cutting out all the shapes you'll need, noting what color they should each be, then tracing around them to cut the fondant. To achieve depth, pay special attention to what sits on top of what, don't just butt fondant layers up against one another like puzzle pieces, layer those suckers. 

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PChan is Made of Bacon

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Well, not exactly. Unlike the Meat Cake that actually WAS made with meat, potatoes and bacon but LOOKED like cake, this PChan cake was made of cake that looked like bacon. 

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Because I'm tasteful like that. 

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Allow me to explain.

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The Making of PChan

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PChan had some challenges. Some were presented by the design: Impossibly thin ears, protruding nose parts, tiny hooves, and a hugely expressive expression. Others, like wanting his interior cake-parts to look like bacon when he was served, were brought about by my own personal form of late night sugar haze hysteria. 

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Here's how PChan came together:

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I created a 4 layer round cake out of layers of red velvet and strawberry cake batter swirled together, with white frosting layers to give it the appearance of meat marbling and carved to shape, like so:

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Brownie bites were used to form the nose and hoof parts. In part because they were the right shape (always be looking for yummy foods that are unusual shapes) and in part because I liked eating the leftovers.

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I rolled out pie crust and cut the shape for the ears, as well as a curly tail bit I wrapped baked around a dowel rod.

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Why pie crust? Because on the Bioshock Cake I discovered that sugar cookie dough RISES and distorts your shape. If that's what your going for, go with cookies. For more precise control, go with pie crust. The Little Sister sugar cookie was practically sanded down into shape.

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The tail was dipped in melted frosting, then both the tail and ears were squished firmly (can you squish something firmly? I suppose) into the waiting PChan cake body. A thorough frosting followed. 

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The eyes were rolled out white fondant cut to size and dotted with black gel icing. The neckerchief was tinted fondant painted with black gel icing. A good paint brush is also helpful for fondant coloring, some details you will want to just paint on.

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Ready for an action shot? 

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I just love how concerned he looks.

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Don't worry, yummy cake piggy. You'll be eaten soon enough.

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The Cake isn't a Lie... (This Time)

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This cake was less challenging than most because it featured flat colors and a shape that was non-gravity defying. What was a bit of a challenge was that the recipient was on a strict vegan diet. I did my best to do justice to the recipe I found, but I'm afraid this one came out tasting a bit like sweet cornbread. 

The cake was a 3 tier square layer cake iced with custom tinted fondant.

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A Word About Fondant Coloring

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If you plan to do a lot of custom fondant coloring, invest in gel food coloring and a good exacto knife. Also some wax paper to cut on. And rubber gloves, if you don't like dyeing your hands exciting colors.

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(Did you know that black gel dye will wash out green with soap, leaving your hands a fetching shade of fuscia? It's true!)

"},{"image":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/e80f927a5caf3399951d1f3b3c797b96.jpg","thumb":"http://images.gameskinny.com/gameskinny/tiny_e80f927a5caf3399951d1f3b3c797b96.jpg","type":"slide","id":"11626","description":"

I went through a crazy baking phase. For about 2 years, I was the go-to cake lady in my circle of friends, which lead to some late nights, fun ideas and huge stashes of food coloring. 

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Now that I am back to buying my cakes from the store like a sane person, I wanted to take a quick tour of some of the cakes I made during my mad baking phase, and share a few things I learned bleary-eyed and coffee-sustained at 2AM whilst cursing at powdered sugar.

I'll explain high level how to's below, with a general tips post at the end that includes a synopsis of tricks and unusual ingredients (which are usually very common things you just might not think of putting on a cake).

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My biggest goal for each cake was to stay true to reference while making the entire thing edible if at all possible.

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The Little Sister Cake

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This cake was for a friend who really loved Bioshock 2. It was released around her birthday, and nothing says happy birthday like a terrifying cake that haunts your dreams with its delicious yellow eyes. 

Based off a standard 3 layer round cake, I cut the center of the top tier to create the 'pipe' for our cake star to crawl out of.

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The Little Sister was formed from sugar cookie that was then covered with custom tinted fondant and brushed with cocoa powder to give the impression of creepy dirt (as one might obtain whist pipe crawling).

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Post-Cocoa

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The biggest challenge aside of color matching was getting the 3D white chocolate present box assembled. I melted down white chocolate chips flat on a baking sheet, trimmed squares, then melted and reattached the parts. 

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I have to say, this is one of my favorites. Everything turned out well, and it only took 3 nights to complete from baking to decorating. 

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Persona 3 Movie #1: Spring of Birth Trailer and Release Date https://www.gameskinny.com/7wxbq/persona-3-movie-1-spring-of-birth-trailer-and-release-date https://www.gameskinny.com/7wxbq/persona-3-movie-1-spring-of-birth-trailer-and-release-date Wed, 27 Mar 2013 13:56:00 -0400 Ashley Shankle

The first Persona 3 movie is on its way! Persona 3 the Move: #1 Spring of Birth is set to release in Japanese theaters this fall. The main character gets a new name in the movie release: Makoto Yuki.

Studio AIC ASTA is handling the animation, with Noriaki Akitaya directing the film. Check out the trailer below.

(Via Siliconera)

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