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Persona 2: Innocent Sin (PS1)

Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Tsumi PSX
Genre: Role-Playing (RPG)
Perspective: 3rd-person
Pacing: Turn-based
Visual: Isometric
Art: Anime / Manga
Published by: Atlus Co.
Developed by: Atlus Co.
Released: 1999
Platform: PlayStation (PSX, PS1)

In what certainly you can not blame Persona 2: Innocent Sin, so this is in the absence of originality. The same can be said about the entire series of Shin Megami Tensei, which includes IS - except for some not too successful experiments with fantasy (Last Bible, I'm talking to you).

The story told in IS is also not taken from the collection of "100 most jaded plots of jRPG" - it lacks unexpected turns, and colorful characters who have a full variety of skeletons in the closet, in addition, there is virtually no scourge jRPG - globalization, which is expressed by the salvation of the world (a kind of similarity is present here, but this is not what you can expect), and an indispensable visit to the heroes of all the corners of the game world (the entire universe of Innocent Sin is limited to one of the only fictional Japanese city of Sumaru City). Not everything is good, which is original, but IS is not a clear example of this rule. How to know, maybe it was the entourage of the game that served as the reason - the story about the madman, who does not understand why the power hunger for the world, would look like in the context of the modern world, like a saddle on a cow. For some reason, I remember Devil May Cry 2 - there they molded this story without hesitation. But that action, him, so be it, you can. For role-playing the same - a bad tone. And here, thank God, he did not have a place.

So, you ask, no, then, a teenager with a sword, personifying the protagonist? No, such a teenager is here, his name is Tatsuya Suou, a sword is attached. In addition, he, like most of the protagonists jRPG, almost does not know how to speak (Tatsuya's voice only gives in some important plot points, where you need to choose one of several replicas, except for fighting cries), preferring instead, during the dialogues, to thinkfully turn in hands his lighter. All this, of course, is bad. Well, another - apart from these two unpleasant moments, the heroes of the game will not undermine from any side.

The adequacy of the characters is generally not the case, and the absence of inhibition in the dialogues (presumably, the painful place of jRPG (and not only), when the character does not get anything from the first time, and he constantly has to ask again: "I welcome you in our underground city "- Underground city?"; "In you is hidden a great power ... - Great power?" "Listen, is it good to brake already, and?" "To brake?" And so on ...) - and at all something out of the ordinary, worthy of sincere praise and restrained applause, but to the heroes of Innocent Sin it is applicable to the full. If you try to describe the qualities that characterize all the characters in the game, in a nutshell, it would be - adequacy and humanity. Plus, of course, the personal cockroaches of each of them, with which you will face as you pass, and even talk about them and all the sin.

And it all begins with the fact that Tatsuya, along with her school friend Lisa Silverman, goes to the "secret place" of the gang of the incurable narcissist Eikichi Misin named "Michelle" in order to rescue the local damsel in distress Miyabi, who allegedly took him hostage. Upon arrival, it turns out that there was no mention of any capture, and the whole performance was arranged only for Michel, together with Tatsui and the others, to put together a musical group. Since his mind was not different from the mind, the best excuse to drag Tatsuy into the collective than "kidnapping" could not be invented. Eventually, a scuffle ensued, in which it was discovered that all three had the ability to invoke a kind of "familiarity", called in the game Persona.

No sooner had they digested this information, as a new surprise followed - right from the scene of the fight they were transferred to an unknown dimension, where a mysterious man named Philemon explained to them that they were the same Persona. After that, the heroes, returning back to their world, decided to try their luck again and summoned the Joker, a mysterious person who supposedly fulfilled any desire of the one who dialed a certain number on the phone. The joker arrives, but ... from the surprise ("He really exists!"), Michel's chants could not come up with anything intelligible, and the Joker, instead of fulfilling his desires, is getting rid of them. After which he leaves, after promising to take revenge on Tatsue, but he does not understand why. Shocked by this fact, the Joker disappears, and the characters return to school, but it turns out that ...

Talk about the plot of Innocent Sin, while avoiding spoilers, is almost impossible, so it's better not to continue. It remains to add that all this translates into a remarkable storyline, with a bunch of non-trivial solutions and unexpected forfeatures, thrown out by the script. Not to mention the fact that until the very last moment it is not clear who will be the final bastard, and this is a rather big achievement. Separately pleased the team of villains, especially the fact that ... but this is already a fat spoiler, but I will say that I have not seen anything like this in any jRPG, and I do not remember something in cRPG. A little hint: we are talking, let's say, about their insecurity and vulnerability, which manifests itself NOT ONLY when meeting the company of the protagonist.

Against the backdrop of storyline, the gameplay itself is much more prosaic. We run around the dungeons to the accompaniment of a good techno soundtrack, we destroy monsters, from time to time we launch a proprietary system of contact with demons that has undergone some changes since Shin Megami Tensei. Now you can not attach monsters to the team, you can only shake off the money, items and tarot cards with which you can call in the Velvet Room to help yourself new people. As before, in SMT, you can not attach the Person whose level exceeds yours (the exception is the so-called "storyline" Persons who will join you in any case at some point in the game). Different people require different tarot cards, and not all of them can be knocked out of demons. For such cases special "clean" cards are prepared, which you can convert to any other ones, including those that can not be obtained in the usual way.

Themselves Persons, like heroes, can be pumped, but instead of levels they have ranks, from 1 to 8th. The higher the rank, the more spells available. In order to increase the rank, it is often necessary to use the Person in combat. In general, the game favors lovers to use spells - when Personnel gain 8 rank, using them in the vast majority of cases becomes more profitable than weapons - at least because of spells with a massive defeat. And to increase the spirit to 8 rank, it is necessary, again, more often to prove to enemies their wrongfulness by means of spells. Even more shifting focus in the direction of magic is the natural regeneration of mana, thanks to which the first half of the game absolutely does not feel the need for potions that replenish it.

From the above, you can make an erroneous conclusion that Innocent Sin - a simple game. But already during a skirmish with the first boss this impression is dissipated, and you have to maneuver, use different tactics in battle, not to see the Game Over screen ahead of time. At first the bosses are the only real challenge to the player, but towards the end of the game, the developers change their sense of proportion a little, and the dungeons are transformed into intricate, multilevel labyrinths, the random encounter occurs almost every 5-6 steps. To blame developers for undisguised sadism does not give only automatic restoration of the dead members of the detachment after each battle, and an abundance of medicines and healing spells. In occasion of the very battle with the final boss, I want to give one piece of advice: it's better to pump properly, otherwise it will be difficult.

The technical side of the game, in my opinion, leaves thanks to the urban setting, and very, very detailed depictions of the interiors of buildings. With the mazes, everything is not so smooth, but then they are labyrinths - when once again you'll get lost in the dark, the walls are the least likely to look at the walls. All you want to see in such cases is a detailed map of the area, and the ability to save at any time - and then, and then in the game is there. Also pleasing is the stylish design of the characters, both portraits and game models.

Having looked through the final credits accompanied by a pleasant vocal track, I'd like to thank Atlus for the wonderful and unexpected ending, which simultaneously places all the dots over the "i" and at the same time leaves a reserve for the continuation of the story, while not being a sugary happy end. Well, who would have thought that the story of Innocent Sin could end that way?