Episode One — TUTORIALS : SO FUN, YOU JUST HAVE TO DO IT TWICE.
When I was a kid, one of the first games to scare me shitless was Persona 2. I swear, that Joker is NOT nice man, and I’m not talking about the pansy with make-up that likes to screw with Gotham City. When I heard that there was going to be an MMORPG within the Megami Tensei universe, I knew that it was time for me to get back into the free online gaming scene. The only drawback I could see was the cash item system, but we’ll get back to that later on when I start feeling the effects of being a high level without a wallet.
Sadly, this was as close as I could get to making my character look male.
The game started off with a awesome looking cut-scene where I’m fed a futuristic looking transmission of the current SITREP. Apparently, Home II (some kind of underground community, my guess is that nuclear fallout has made the surface unpleasant) has been having mysterious problems which always means monsters and everybody being dead. I’m sent there with my instructor to kick some ass. This game is story-driven and split into episodes, this one being titled “Episode 0 : The Sin of Weakness.” Armed with a machete, I’m thrown into combat when the elevator is found to not be functioning. I’m basically sent into hell while my instructor dicks around while yelling at the intercom telling me what to do. Jackass.
If you squint real hard, she’s saying “Where should we start?” I thought SHE was the fucking instructor.
I’m quickly treated to a satisfying combat system, that feels awfully familiar. You press attack for each strike, 3 hits knock the enemy back, use either block or counter, rinse and repeat. If any of you have played Mabinogi before, IT’S THE SAME CONCEPT. Wow, what the hell. I think a game is completely unique in combat system, and now I find another game with the exact same concept. I would be pissed, but I love Persona, so I trudge on after dispatching some cliched slime monsters. At this point Mikoto sends me an IM, and I minimize the game to reply. To my horror, the game crashes. What the fuck is up with that, the game crashes if you alt+tab the son of a bitch. Lesson learned, I put my Away Message up and reload the game. Stupid technical difficulties, I bet the game can’t multi-thread either.
I now find myself enduring the patch loading bar again. Wait, that’s no patch. A good chunk of the game files are temporary files! Isn’t that a dick, each time you play the game you have to re-patch apparently. It might also be a file validation, but either way, it’s a mild pain somewhere around the ass. Upon logging in and busting up some more demons I fight my way to a switch that opens a locked the door. I backtrack to said locked door and find…MY INSTRUCTOR AND HER DEMON THERE?! Wow, thanks a lot McAsshole. You decided to let me go KILL EVERYTHING AND OPEN THE ANNOYING ASS DOOR SO YOU COULD JUST COME IN AFTER IT’S ALL DONE?!
Wasn’t that kind of her to come in at the last second. We go through the door and encounter an enormous demon that looks some kind of fucked up version of Shiva. I’m treated to a cut-scene where the camera gives us close-ups of the ugly freak and then zooms out and gives us another close-up. Recycling animation at its greatest. My instructor just kind of stands there shooting at it with her rifle as if it’s going to help. The ugly freak of nature then turns to me and charges at me. The obvious happens, and my instructor dives in front of the monster and it kills her. She screams RUN, the screen fades to black, and I wake up somewhere else somehow surviving it all this. To make matters worse, the man that I wake up to looks like he probably raped me sometime during my recovery.
But wait, it gets worse. This Snakeman (who reminds me of Naked Snake after his eye gets shot out) decides to put me through the tutorial AGAIN. This time in a virtual box of a room, where the monsters don’t even fight back! The beginning of the game was harder, when the monsters would hit you back if you stay still after swinging! This is abosolute bullshit, he says the exact same things are the instructor, with the only new advice being how to add points to your attributes. Gee thanks buddy, I needed help with that one.
TL;DR Version : Combat is extremely similar to Mabinogi. Tutorial is useful the first time around, not so much the second time around. Snakeman looks like he raped me.