Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is finally on its way to other regions, and it might feel like the end of an era. After all, this is likely one of the last Nintendo 3DS games in general and Atlus’ last confirmed release for the system worldwide. We went over it quite a bit here at Siliconera, back when the Japanese version was released. One of the best things about it is how inviting it is for newcomers who might love the Persona series, but not be as adept at managing Etrian Odyssey outings. Now that the time for everyone to play is drawing near, it’s a good opportunity to go over things people may want to know to ensure they do well.
The first thing you want to do in Persona Q2 is something you should try to attempt in any Etrian Odyssey-style dungeon crawler. You should try to map every area of every floor in a dungeon. These kinds of games are known for hiding secrets in spaces or offering shortcuts that could be both time and lifesavers. (You’ll find some sort of shortcut on almost every floor, allowing you to more quickly get from one set of stairs to another.) While it may seem tedious, turning the auto-mapping function on and investigating everything will be a huge help. You’ll know where everything is, get in the practice of placing symbols that mark points of interest, and also earn a lot of extra experience from all the random battles you encounter while you do.
For your next step, you should ensure your party is well-rounded. Every character has their default Persona that they are known for, in addition to a supplemental Persona that can also be equipped to round out their moveset. Your goal is to make sure every element is represented in the party. Having people who could attack at range with their standard physical attacks in the back row, like Persona 4′s Naoto, is a good plan. But, it is wiser to instead do something like have Persona 5‘s Ann or Yusuke in your party for a while, because you know Ann will have the Agi (fire) and Yusuke will have the Bufu (ice) skills you need to exploit Shadows’ weaknesses, knock them off guard, and eventually have all opponents downed so you can trigger an All Out Attack that could eliminate all threats completely. Considering some enemies also have a guard up that must be whittled away before you can even start exploiting their weaknesses, having a well-rounded party is critical.
Speaking of Ann, there is a good reason to have her, Persona 3‘s Yukari, or Persona 4‘s Teddie in your Persona Q2 party. Having a healer on hand is critical. You never know when a Shadow could surprise your party and exploit a weakness, dealing major damage to a person’s health and temporarily downing them in the process. The bosses and F.O.E.s (boss-like enemies you can see stalking dungeons) can have tricks up their sleeves with attacks and hit harder than you would expect. Buying recovery items is expensive, and it is better to just have at least one person in your group that can take care of everyone.
Finally, you have to make sure you manage your rewards. Make sure you sell the items enemies drop to Theodore. New equipment and items become available when you sell certain amounts of acquired items to him at his theater booth. You aren’t going to get the better weapons and armor you will desperately need unless you check in with him from time to time. Plus, you’ll need that money and space. (And could find it beneficial to have one or two items that let you immediately escape a dungeon in your inventory at all times.) Never ignore our popcorn costume-wearing friend.
Persona Q2 may have all the Etrian Odyssey mechanics, but it is far from intimidating. It is very easy to get into the game’s flow and figure out how to succeed. All it takes is being a little patient, exercising caution, and maintaining a sense of balance. If you have the right skills represented in your party, map as much of a floor as you can, and keep up with Theodore, you will find yourself solving the game’s cinematic mysteries in no time.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth is immediately available on the Nintendo 3DS in Japan. It will arrive in other regions on June 4, 2019.