The Persona franchise has come on leaps and bounds since it was soft-rebooted in 2006 with the release of Persona 3. This is thanks in part to its deep philosophical plotlines, a cast of relatable characters and addictive RPG mechanics combined with social networking side quests. The mainline series is now on it’s fifth main entry, with an updated version due to arrive in the west next year. Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is the long awaited follow up to Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, which we reviewed on its’ release back in 2014. Is it the sequel we have been waiting for, or a mere carbon copy of the original experience?
Persona Q2 once again combines the cast of multiple Persona games into one streamlined experience. This time around, we have every playable main character from the Phantom Thieves of Persona 5, the Investigation Team from Persona 4 and the S.E.E.S. team from Persona 3. One of the biggest surprise additions to the cast is the optional female protagonist from Persona 3 Portable, who has been mostly ignored by Atlus since her arrival in 2011. This leaves the player with a list of twenty-five playable characters when they are all obtained, all having their own strengths, weaknesses and a vibrant dialogue bank that stays true to their original personalities. Although the number may seem intimidating at first, they are gradually fed into your roster throughout the narrative, so you have time to build up each character without being spoilt for choice by an unwelcome protagonist overload.
After being transported into a mysterious cinema by unknown forces, the Phantom Thieves find that their only way to escape is Along the way, they encounter the Investigation Team and S.E.E.S, as well as the FeMC from P3P, and a mysterious white-haired girl named Hikari, who is being looked after by Nagi, the owner of the otherworldly multiplex. Along with a mysterious being named Doe, and the several residents of the ethereal Velvet Room, it is up to the various Persona users to go into each of the four movies to receive the keys that will allow them to return to their respective homes. The storyline of the game retains the balance of light hearted and dark tones that the original Persona Q portrayed, especially when dealing with Hikari’s identity and how perception of a situation can be paramount to your cognition of reality.