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** Contains some spoilers for Persona 3 Reload **

I finally arrived at the end. We people who spend a lot of time playing video games are familiar with the feeling of emptiness after finishing a long game. In my case it was a mix of emptiness, satisfaction, loss, and bliss. Spending more than 90 hours immersed in a crumbling world on a mission to save it alongside my character-friends was exhausting but very, very rewarding in the end. I admit, it wasn’t easy to move on, and I still haven’t, but no immersion lasts forever and the idea of replaying the game right after the first playthrough is not feasible for now. I want to, but I prefer to let this feeling last. I started playing Persona 3 Portable in the meantime, but I don’t see myself able to complete it yet. As I wrote in my last post, even I am on a mission to play a good portion of games this year and we only have so much time to indulge in this hobby many see as a waste of time.

Now, let’s talk about Elizabeth. To those who have played the game countless times, the fact that she’s a secret boss comes as no surprise. I was perfectly convinced that her 100th request – to kill the Reaper – was the last one. I gathered a team with many buffs and debuffs, nothing fancy, just the usual decrease enemy attack/defense/accuracy/evasion and increase those very same elements for my team before performing strong magical and physical attacks. Aigis was, as usual, a godsend, but every team member had something to contribute to the fight. In the end I had to use them all to level up anyway. The first time I killed the Reaper I was overcome with a feeling of immense satisfaction. It wasn’t an easy fight, and I was one-shot a couple of times. With the right items I raised them from the dead and managed to have my team in great condition.

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When I went back to Elizabeth to reap my reward, she came up with another request – to take out the ultimate adversary. At first, I thought she meant Nyx. He’s the ultimate adversary, no? No, no, no, what is this? The last Monad door had a locked door at the end of the stairs. The request specifically told me to come alone and try that door. So I went, with some very strong Personas up my sleeve, completely clueless about what I would find. To my amazement it was Elizabeth herself! She wanted to dance with me. I could think about many things we could do together, but not this, this face-to-face, this duel of titans, except there was only one titan and the other was a rabbit. I performed quite well on my first try. I may have been able to do about 650 damage. No. I managed to survive some turns. I died. Then I was asked if I wanted to change to Peaceful difficulty so I could raise from the dead and try the fight from where I lost. What a good idea, of course! Then, the unthinkable happened. Elizabeth summoned a Pixie and unleashed Megidolaon on me for a modicum of 9999 damage! Do you want to retry? Yes, of course. I attacked her – Megidolaon. I decreased her attack and accuracy – Megidolaon. I increased my evasion – Megidolaon. I guarded – Megidolaon. I knew there was no point, it was an Almighty attack, but I was desperate! I went on YouTube.

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The fight follows a very specific script and involves a lot of preparations and very specific Personas with very specific skills that can only be unleashed at specific times, and the use of a calculator can be very helpful to know when to unleash a specific ultimate attack and defeat her for good. To be perfectly honest I don’t need this. In a different context, were I more knowledgeable about the game and experienced almost every aspect of it, yes, I would’ve accepted the challenge. As I am today, I don’t think I would get much satisfaction from preparing for the fight and from spending more hours at the Velvet Room than those I’ve already spent so far. I decided to leave Elizabeth at the Monad door, and maybe someday, I’ll defeat her. By the way, there’s an achievement to create a Pixie with Megidolaon in Soul Hackers 2. Funny, right?

I decided to continue with the story, and in the last two in-game weeks, I finished Aigis social link and didn’t manage to finish Fuuka’s. I know why this happened. In order to max out other social links I’d already started, I left Fuuka hanging and then this happened. Some mistakes were made in early game when I spend too much time in other activities that didn’t involve the right social links. I honestly don’t know what I’m talking about or where I failed, but since it’s possible to max out all social links in one playthrough I must have done something wrong somewhere. I just didn’t feel the need to use a guide because using one is exhausting and completely destroys the immersion. I know it from experience. I don’t regret having prioritized Aigis over Fuuka on my first playthrough. Aigis is my protector, she’s canon, she’s the holy knight, for her sword are guns, her body eternal, her memories untouched. I watched her friend route and her lover route. Since I was already taken, I decided to be with her as a friend, although at the end of the game something more seemed to be going on and I gladly accepted the outcome. It was meant to be.

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On the 31st of January we would enter Tartarus and would only be able to leave after finishing all battles therein. It was the end. The remaining of the Strega were guarding Nyx, so they had to be defeated as well. It came to Junpei’s knowledge that Chidori was alive and well. The white flowers worked out well in the end! We were able to witness a nice convo between the two at the hospital, however things weren’t exactly the same as the last time they were together. Even confronted with these major changes, Junpei was happy, and it was a good conclusion to his love story. Jin and Takaya were still clinging to their nihilistic ways with pure fervor – Jin for Takaya and Takaya for the end of times – maybe as some sort of revenge for the injustice brought upon them. After all, how much would they last, their worldview already shattered?

You know that in all jrpgs there’s the power of friendship, that if we stick together, we can overcome anything, even the end of the world. I hope the same goes for climate change or war. We aren’t together actually, are we? But video games continue doing the work with diligence. It’s the little things. Finally, we stand before Nyx, everybody a bit surprised by the familiar figure. I wasn’t surprised at all. I was eager to kill him and very curious about what he had to say. Technically, Nyx was pretty much indestructible by normal means. He himself was a creation of shattered hopes, fears, shortcomings, anxieties, frustrations, the devastation of everything that holds together the very fabric of a living, thriving human being with meaningful connections to others. My Lucifer was brimming with desire from inside my sleeve. “Oh yes,” he said, “this I can feed from.” I told him to calm down, for we still had to defeat the twelve Arcana summoned by the winged beast Nyx, his mask holding a faint smile, the surrender of any will to live. The Fallen Angel retreated for a bit, still entertaining the thought of annihilating the beast that would dethrone him from his station, one only threatened by one adversary, the one waning for ages now. “This is not what’s happening right now,” I said, and proceeded with the fight. “Everyone knows that God doesn’t have many friends,” Lucifer stubbornly answered. Messiah shrugged.

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The fight that followed was much more beautiful and creative than what I’d imagined. Yes, there are many other excellent final boss fights in many games, but there’s something special about finishing a long game as this, where the entire 90+ hours are not filled with banter, where the story is heavy, mature, dark, and oppressive, and where many questions about life, death, future, fear, are explored and dissected at the sound of first-class music. During this time there’s attachment to extremely well written characters, all of them with their unique stories and all of them visibly maturing while using their powers to fight an unknown entity, ready to give their lives for any chance at a future.

After defeating the twelve summoned Arcana and surviving Nyx’s attacks, it was finally time to defeat Nyx as a regular boss. I had another little trick up my sleeve, something I’ve learned with Elizabeth, an ultimate to end all ultimates. I could either fight Nyx normally and prolong the fight with my tanking capabilities and many items at hand or I could wait for my Theurgy to charge and unleash my true power over the Death God. I did the later, a cheat code much in the likeness of the one that was used against me inside that Monad door. 9999. Done. The Universe as we knew it was no more. The power of my social links gleaming in the minds of those who loved me and to whom their thoughts were aimed at a moment of need, just like a prayer.

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“Blessings to the believer.” It worked. Nyx was sealed, as were our memories. After ending the Dark Hour slowly but steadily we started to forget everything prior to acquiring the power of our Personas. Everyone but Aigis, the protector, the record keeper, the one keeping our memories alive even after our passing, the one who will not know death, only reboot. Even our romantic interest wasn’t able to forget our still young love story, making plans to include us in her life and to introduce us to her family. Yukari asked for help with her mother, showing that our friendship would go a long way in the future. The boys were a bit forgetful but still wondering about our connection. Until something triggered their memories, at least what was left of them still lingering in their hearts, and we were able to meet again, to fulfill a promise.

https://swordofseiros.wordpress.com/2024/02/25/the-sins-of-others-part-3/

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