Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is a spin-off game from both Persona 3 and Persona 4 games. The timeline of the game setting is before the ending of Persona 3, while the characters are exploring Tartarus.
The majority of game revolves around exploring the labyrinth during the Yasogami Cultuire Festival and a rumor about the clock tower. The rumor goes that whoever hears the bell will die. Fortunately, when the P3 characters heard the chime, they were just transported somewhere out of reach. Surprisingly, Igor is nowhere to be found but Theodore, Elizabeth, Marie and eventually Margaret will appear to help you solve the rumor.
At first, you will be able to play using the characters of Persona 3 then as the going gets tough, the other group led by Margaret will appear to help you out.
There will be new characters in the game, Zen and Rei, who wears Yasogami High uniforms, the same uniforms as the P3 characters but have lost their memories. As you explore deeper and deeper in the labyrinth, memories of both Zen and Rei starts to unlock and you get to see that everything is not what it seems.
The gameplay is very similar with Etrian Odyssey wherein players need to explore each floor of a dungeon and try to create a map using tools present on the bottom half of the screen. While exploring the floors, puzzles are present to make it hard for players to complete floors. And yes, it get’s harder exploring floor after floor. I do recommend that you don’t stop playing this game or you will lost track of what you were supposed to do in the first place.
There are also a shop that is operated by Theodore (while wearing a pink and hearts apron designed by Elizabeth). Items, weapons and armors can be bought in the shop. Materials that you have collected while exploring the labyrinth can be sold to Theodore for him to produce more items to be sold.
A clinic is also set up in place by Elizabeth but beware that healing is not cheap when she is concerned. Every time you try to heal, her prices goes up a notch and eventually it will be too expensive to ask for a heal. Also, requests by other individuals are also gathered by Elizabeth for you to solve.
In the velvet room, Margaret will assist you on fusion and registration of personas to be used. There are different kinds of fusion methods can be used and unused personas can be used by others to purely leveling up.
When entering the velvet room, Marie will be by the side, writing poems about her pathos, and a big door with four locks will be present. Each time a boss is killed while exploring the labyrinth, a lock is automatically removed. All throughout the game, it is assumed that removing all the locks will return them back to their own timeline.
The music is a classic Shoji Meguro composition which is preppy and vibrant, perfect for the scenarios the characters experience. Despite changing the graphics style to a more cuter version of themselves, they still retain the same personality in their franchise games. It also helped that there are a lot of light and funny conversations in the group that makes them all as endearing.
If you have loved the Etrian Odyssey games, then you will be able to enjoy this game as it boasts the same gameplay. If you have been a Persona series fan and never tried the Etrian Odyssey franchise, you might be overwhelmed with all the details that you need to do especially when recreating the map for your own personal use. This is clearly a challenge to all persona fans out there to try out new gameplay systems built by ATLUS and maybe you can enjoy it as well.