I’ve always been a huge fan of two specific types of video games: dungeon crawlers and life simulators. You can probably think of a few amazing games yourself that belong to either of these genres. But you probably can’t think of many games that are part of both genres. Surely a game developer would have to be crazy to make a game like that…right? Crazy or not, that’s exactly what video game studio Atlus did when creating the Character series. But the Character video games aren’t the supernatural abominations you might think they are – they’re amazing.
The Persona series in a nutshell
All Character installment has roughly the same structure. You play as an anonymous Japanese student and live a normal life of school, homework, and socializing with your peers. This side of the series obviously features the life simulation game genre – it allows the player to play out the hectic but mundane life of an average high school student. But hidden away in this typical student existence, you’ll soon find the Character fantastic dungeon crawling elements of the series.
Although the narrative setting of each game’s dungeon crawling system is different, it generally plays out the same way. At the start of each game, its main characters find themselves facing another dimension filled with dungeons, monsters, and demons. From now on, you can choose to explore this world and fight hordes of enemies whenever you want – and that’s great.
How the Persona Series Combines Game Genres
The Character makes the life simulation and crawler dungeon genres work together by doing two things: giving the player complete freedom and making its various gameplay elements complementary to each other.
My first Character the game was persona 4 golden on the PS Vita. To be honest, when I first started playing it, I fully intended to ignore its life simulation elements. I was more in the mood for a traditional JRPG back then, so I decided to spend my in-game days racking up experience points and cash in dungeons. I figured my protagonist wouldn’t have to worry about socializing or exams if he was at level 99! And what makes Character great games is that it is a perfectly valid option to play them. They’re structured in a way that lets you do whatever you want, and that freedom of choice is amazing.
By engaging with the Character However, you can enjoy a wide variety of benefits. Take your main battle group for example. If you hang out with them enough outside of the games dungeons, you can unlock bonuses for them. These often come in the form of new abilities that can really give you an edge in battle. Additionally, by improving your friendships with other characters in the games, you also get the ability to create stronger characters – the pokemon-esque creatures that your main character uses in battles. And if they get more powerful, you better believe you do too.
Intrigue in all genres
From an outsider’s perspective, it might look like the life simulator side of Character is something you have to endure to get stronger. But in reality this is not true at all.
The Character The series manages to make the variety of characters and subplots you can engage with outside of battle just as entertaining, if not more so, than their dungeon-crawling side. I started hanging out with the NPCs in personas 4 just so i can get stronger. But I quickly became engrossed in their characters and really excited to spend time with them. Plus, some mini-games and side activities you can do in the overworld are pretty fun! I found myself skipping the play days I had scheduled for grind levels so I could do things like hang out with the protagonist’s little sister, or just take some time off to relax in my local bath. The Character The series has a certain charm that will make its life simulator elements very hard to resist.
In short, believe me when I tell you that the Character The series probably offers one of the weirdest fusions of game genres in all of entertainment. But it does it so well that you’ll wonder why there aren’t more video games like them on the market. If anything I said here interested you, I have good news: recent announcements tell us that the Character The series is not only coming to Xbox consoles and its Game Pass, but also to Switch! Now might be the time to try these great games! Video games are an inherently creative art form and an innovative series like Character embodies what the medium is. I will be forever grateful to have been exposed to the series, and look forward to spending countless hours of my time in the Persona game that Atlus will create next.