Persona 4

Atlus website may have spread virus

"Malicious code" embedded by hackers.

US publisher Atlus had its website hacked last week, and the naughty "third-party entity" responsible may have used it to launch malicious software onto visitors' PCs.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4

If you're familiar with Persona, all you need to know about the latest instalment is a brief checklist of changes and improvements: direct control over team-mates in battle, a range of themed dungeons replacing Tartarus, Persona 3's single tower, and a welcome shift in setting from the city to the countryside.

If you don't know Persona, things are a little more complex: this is Harvest Moon through a glass darkly, or Animal Crossing with sex crimes - a foppish blend of dungeon-crawling RPG and convoluted social sim, dressed up in David Bowie's mid-seventies wardrobe and set to the tune of some radiantly bizarre pop-jazz hybrids. If that sounds a little too much to take in, don't panic: despite the daunting concept, now is just about the perfect time to hop on this particular school bus, as Persona 4 is stylish, clever, and surprisingly approachable.

Newcomers will find plenty of wilful surprises, not least the game's opening two hours, which give you little to do but plod through reams of text as the story shuttles you from one cut-scene to another, occasionally flinging in thirty seconds of anime, while painstakingly piecing together a large cast and simple mystery one atom at a time. Your only duties during this period, besides pressing the circle button to inch events forward by a single sentence, lie with occasionally trying out an attack move, or, when directly questioned, selecting one of three interchangeable platitudes as a response, most of which have no effect on how things unfold.

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Persona 4 dated for early March

Stylised and original RPG for PS2.

Square Enix plans to release PS2 role-playing game Persona 4 here on 13th March. And the PAL box will include a special soundtrack CD with 24 songs on.