Game Overview: MLB Power Pros 2?, Shin Megami Tensei Persona 3: FES, Metal Gear Solid
April 11th, 2008 by Dan

Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.

About two weeks ago baseball season began and I dusted off my copy of MLB Power Pros to enjoy what was probably my favorite Nintendo release of last year. For those of you who don’t know, MLB Power Pros is the first US localization of the Japanese Jikkyō Powerful Pro Yakyū series that has been releasing since 1994 on the Super Famicom. Why hasn’t this game showed up stateside until September of last year? Take a look at this video:This super deformed style of person (called a Powapuro-kun in Japan) and the create-a-player mode (essentially a Japanese dating sim style game) combined to make this game “too Japanese,” even once the series began getting MLB licensing and stopped featuring only Nipponese Professional Baseball League players and teams.

So this game finally showed up on this side of the Pacific and it was amazing, but the fan-community, myself included, worried incessantly about whether or not the sales would be enough to carry the game to a sequel. Then a miracle happened. Amazon dropped the price by some indeterminate amount, baseball season started, MLB 2k8 for Wii and PS2 was mediocre, and MLB PP managed to land near the top of the sales charts at the end of March or early April. I decided to check out the official 2k Games forums and saw the usual “Will there be a sequel thread,” but this thread had an forum administrator telling us that more info would be forthcoming. Not too long ago, news on that thread hit that 2k Games was looking at a July release date. All I can say is: I can’t wait. They can count 100% on a purchase from me.

Unless you’re a hardcore Japanophile JRPG consumer, chances are you’ve never heard of the Shin Megami Tensei series. It’s no Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy, but the game does have prominence in the Japanese market as a super complex and morally intense RPG series with incredibly deep storytelling.

One of the many spin-off series, Persona, has been appearing in America since its inception, but in heavily edited forms. Persona 1 had character ethnicities changed, stupid translation, etc. Persona 2 came out in two games, but only one made it stateside. Speculation as to why ranges from a homosexual character to the fact that one of the enemies is a resurrected Hitler with his unholy battalion.

Then Persona 3 hit Japan with the force of a bullet to the brain. No, seriously. The way to execute summons in this game, the source of the main characters powers, can only be achieved only by shooting yourself in the head with what appears to be a handgun (they’re called evokers). This comprises the dungeon crawling part of the game, but the rest is essentially a Japanese high school/dating sim (wow, two in one post!). Naturally, US Shin Megami Tensei fans were immediately skeptical about a US localization. Somehow, we did get a version in the states with decently high review scores, but the sales were low because a special edition came out in Japan and US buyers didn’t want to get nickeled and dimed buying the same game twice.

Meet Persona 3: FES. It’s the full special edition of Persona 3, complete with an extra 30 hour long epilogue (that’s almost a completely new game) for only $29.99 on the PS2. It’s got sweet anime cutscenes (see above), a quick, innovative, but hard battle system, and a killer story worth experiencing. I’m absolutely picking this up 22 April.

Last, and I know I’m way late to the game, but given the proximity of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and my buddy Lee’s recommendations, I picked up Metal Gear Solid: The Essential Collection. I’m still on the first game, Metal Gear Solid, and I have to say I’m really enjoying it. Hideo Kojima weaves a great tale complete with tons of great 4th wall breaking humor and a crass, smoking, womanizing protagonist who is just plain great to play as. This doesn’t even begin to account for the supporting characters, which consist of a Chinese woman who spouts proverbs, an otaku scientist, villains who do awesome things like read your memory card mid-battle to prove they’re psychic, and many more great characters. If you’ve lived under a rock as I have for all these years and you have either a backwards compatible PS3, PS2, or at least both a PS2 (non-backwards compatible) and PSX, go back and play this game. It’s way dated, but it’s awesome.

9 Responses  
  • Eric writes:
    April 11th, 20089:53at

    Only the Japanese gaming market could mix a dating sim with Baseball or with shooting yourself in the head….

  • Hawk writes:
    April 14th, 20082:22at

    LOLWUT? The original SMT games were basically western rpg’s with a Japanese style.

  • Dan writes:
    April 14th, 20087:18at

    Yes and no. The first-person view was very Western, but the story and themes were very Japanese. None of the stories they wrote would even be allowed release in the States because of the strong religious censorship by Nintendo.

    Even though some of the gameplay may be Western, what I know and have played of the SMT games still feels very Japanese.

  • Eric Mesa writes:
    April 14th, 200823:05at

    The religious censorship has also gotten to weird levels like yin Final Fantasy 3 (6) where they made some weird choices about things like Black Mages, etc

  • Eric writes:
    April 15th, 20089:56at

    Looks like a lot of people like both baseball and shooting themselves in the head with how quickly this post has entered the top 100 (on the server’s stats) vs your other posts.

  • Dan writes:
    April 15th, 200817:08at

    Who doesn’t love baseball and shooting yourself in the head with a handgun?

  • Eric writes:
    April 16th, 200810:10at

    Good point!

  • Eric Mesa writes:
    February 25th, 201010:18at

    Oh, the old comment style before there was threaded commenting.

    • Dan writes:
      February 25th, 201010:21at

      I still need to lend you P3 and P4 and you still need to play them.

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