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Kazuya Rants: Wild Cards
Hello people, this was a meme at first, but I honestly want to put this one opinion out there cuz I'm bored. As a quick disclaimer I want to make clear I like Persona, it's how I initially got into Megaten and then into Shin Megami Tensei, which is my favorite part of the franchise. I have plenty of emotions and memories with this since I got into it back in 2012 - 13 with P4, and have played since SMT1 through 4, as well as most of Persona, except 1 which I will finish when Uni gives me the time to do so. Many of these I've played multiple times. In short, I really, really like the series and have fun with it, not at all bad if a bit overrated at times. That said, Wild Cards.
Just a fair warning, there are bound to be spoilers for past games, in case you don't wanna learn anything until you see it yourself or play it.
As you all are aware, be it through gameplays, anime or actual playthroughs, the Wild Card is the special power given to the Protagonist of the game since Persona 3, which basically allows them to change Arcana and hold many different Persona at once, which they can then change in the middle of battle at will. I won't claim to be an expert with this in regards to gameplay because it is fast-paced as SMT generally is, even before the Press Turn System introduced in SMT3 Nocturne, yes, before you could gain extra moves by hitting weaknesses, that only used to matter for total damage received. All I will say regarding this is that I do consider it to trivialize party members to a horrid degree once you know how to play, this is because you can fuse and prepare powerful Persona ready to take on anything thrown your way, but this is basically all JRPG, right? I just don't like it, I don't find fun to make your party members completely optional while you, the self-insert, are the one true powerhouse. It doesn't sit right with me, even if it works quite well. My true, actual gripe is why this is how it is, so... narrative it is.
I have a series of issues with Persona from 3 through 5 that became only increasingly notorious to me as I played through them, since there was plenty of repetition that made me desire something new and challenging. What I mean is that Persona, since 3, has this focus on making the player feel special and empowered, hell, Persona 3 makes you seal away the alien embodiment of death itself by using the power of your friends to create "The Universe" Arcana (Which is just The World irl), making you die for the world's sins (As a side note, P3 MC may be a good martyr but never as good as the franchise’s actual Jesus, which is SMT2's Aleph, the protagonist. I will die on this hill.) while also being forced to date every single chick in the game to finish their Social Links. Consider an abandoned piece of lore made it so Nyx was the reason humans have the Collective Unconscious, which would put her above Philemon and Nyarlathotep, the main "godly" figures of the series from 1 through both parts of 2. P3's MC could even use Fusion Spells on his own, meanwhile the rest of the party does whatever. If you ask me, this is a bit silly, and I'm glad they toned it down with P4 a bit because holy hell, that MC is the living, breathing representation of a self-insert Gary Stu, which you would say "That's the point", and I know, and I hate it, even more so considering the cast develops in a very believable way (Unlike the next two sets of casts that barely develop, and no, Social Links are not replacement for actual development, I will talk about this in time), it was jarring to have your overpowered, perfect self just there and then dying. I actually like P3 as movies more so than as a game for this very reason. I like the themes, but as a game I find it really dull in comparison to the next two.