Persona! There we go. I was going to try not to mention it at all but I realised that would be impossible so thought I’d just come straight out with it. Yes indeed: Tokyo Xanadu is very Persona. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed it so much.
So, stop me when you’ve heard this one before. Some school children who ordinarily wouldn’t mix with each other because one is really shy and one is perceived to be a bully and one is overly peppy and one is a nerd and one is fierce and unapproachable and one is secretly some sort of ninja, are all thrown together when another, evil, world starts to bleed into their own and they go through portals which only they can see to defeat them. All while still trying to live normal lives and go to school and have relationships and do part time jobs and one of them is a famous idol so there’s that going on too. Persona, right?
And I’m perfectly fine with that. It isn’t exactly Persona, with less emphasis on building bonds between characters (although the game does touch on that a bit) and the combat is all real-time and not turn-based, but the format and the feel of the game is just the same. The combat is fast and controls well in terms of pulling off combos and special moves, swapping characters for different elemental attacks. There’s loads of customisation you can delve into for the weapons too, with each having a number of slots to which you can apply effects and upgrade those effects. I didn’t get too deep into that but I’d imagine it’s essential on the harder difficulty settings.
One downside is that the bits of platforming in some of the “dungeons” is clunky in that way that Japanese games which aren’t platformers but have platforming sections tend to be. Imprecise and wonky. Thankfully, there’s not a lot of it although one of the final dungeons uses it a lot. You don’t die by falling off, but you do waste so much time doing it over and over.
Speaking of final dungeons, Tokyo Xanado eX+ (perhaps specifically the eX+ release, as it has more content) has multiple endings, just like Persona. There’s the normal ending, but there’s the true ending after that, and then the real_true_final_ending_(2)_FINAL_use this one.docx ending. The road to the proper real good final one actually adds about 5-6 hours to the story, which was a sizable 65-70 hours already. It’s a big game! Like Persona.
Is it as good as Persona (4 Golden specifically), though? Well, in some ways. It’s faster paced, and has better graphics. It doesn’t have the incredibly stylish UI though, and the characters in Persona 4, perhaps because you get to know them more intimately, are mostly much more memorable. There’s less of a fear that by doing the wrong thing or by missing some conversation that you’re going to lock off the best ending in Tokyo Xanadu, although I suspect that’s possible, it just seems harder to miss if you just follow everything rather than try to do specific things at specific times like in Persona.
No, that didn’t answer the question, did it. I enjoyed both games a lot. I’ll bung Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE into the mix as well, as that was my first Persona (even though it wasn’t really Persona but sort of was a spin off of a different branch of the same series as Persona). They’re all great, and they’re all similar, but the differences don’t make any one notably better than the others. Buy them all, eh? Why not.