Persona 3

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Persona 3

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Persona-3-FES.jpg

Persona-3-Portable.jpg

"No one can escape time. It delivers us all to the same end..." ー Pharos
Protagonist: Minato Arisato (Male)
Aigis (The Answer)
Kotone "Hamuko" Shiomi (Female) (PSP only)
Genre: Role-Playing
Platforms: PlayStation 2
PlayStation Portable
Release Date: PlayStation 2
JP: July 13, 2006
KO: December 21, 2006
NA: August 14, 2007
EU: February 29, 2008
AU: March 6, 2008

FES
JP: April 19, 2007
KO: August 17, 2007
NA: April 22, 2008
EU: October 17, 2008
AU: November 13, 2008

PlayStation Portable
JP: November 1, 2009
KO: February 12, 2010
NA: July 6, 2010
EU: April 28, 2011
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: JP/KO: Atlus
KO: Sony Computer Entertainment (PS2)
NA: Atlus USA
EU: Koei (PS2)
AU: THQ (PS2)
EU: Ghostlight (PSP)
Made in: Japan
Franchise: Megami Tensei (main)
Persona (sub-series)
Previous Game: Persona 2
Next Game: Persona 4


Persona 3 (ペルソナ3Perusona Surī) is a role-playing video game developed and published by Atlus. It is chronologically the fourth installment in the Persona sub-series of the Megami Tensei franchise. It was released initially on July 13, 2006 for the PlayStation 2 in Japan.

Plot

The game is set in the years of 2009 and 2010, in the fictional city of Iwatodai. An unnamed protagonist moves to the said place because of his parents' decease. He starts to live in the city's dorm (something like an orphanage) and enrolls at Gekkoukan High School.

But what he doesn't know, is that the Gekkoukan High School hides a giant tower called Tartarus, the causer of the Apathy Syndrome. The tower appears during the Dark Hour, a time hidden between the end of today and the beginning of tomorrow. If the dark hour finishes, everything returns to normal.

Starting from the 1st Full Moon Operation, the protagonist teams up with the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES for short), a group of other Persona users, also living in Iwatodai's dorm. The SEES' objective is to terminate at once the "root" cause of the Apathy Syndrome, the Dark Hour, the shadows, and the Tartarus tower.

During this Journey, the protagonist will have some knowledge about all the happening and also make some friends at school and some people all over Iwatodai.

Why It Rocks

Overall

  1. Persona 3 is a hybrid of a social simulator and a role-playing game. With the called Social Links, you can interact and make friends with people whose personalities and traits are based on one of the Tarot's Major Arcanas.
    • If an Arcana's Social Link has an establishment (with a maximum level of 10), if you fuse the Persona resulted with the same said arcana in the social link will gain extra experience.
  2. Over 200 Personas to the wild cards collect and register into the compendium! Obviously, most of them (including the strongest ones) are locked behind Social Link ranks, protagonist's level cap, and Elizabeth's Quests.
  3. The SEES' method of summoning a Persona is mostly based on a metaphor of a self-shooting suicide. This is part of the game's dark tone behavior, and part of the Megami Tensei franchise's proposal of talking about serious/controversial themes.
  4. The SEES' Personas (and the very first Personas of the "wild cards") are based on Greco-Roman mythology. This is part of the game's plot and thematic, with Tartarus and Apathy Syndrome.
  5. Just like every Megami Tensei game, the settings are based on the contemporaneous age. This gives a difference over most JRPGs, in which the settings are mostly based on medieval or steampunk.
  6. Speaking of "contemporaneous age", the plot is mostly focused on the school. This means that you play as a high school student and you must go through a whole academic year. This helps in making the setting feel more lively and the characters more relatable, as opposed to the previous two Persona games.
    • Japan has one of the world's best education systems and PISA rankings. It is a good idea to take a look how the Japanese teachers are like.
  7. The cutscenes have tons of text. But it's very important to read and understand, so you cannot get lost while you're playing. However, if you don't want to read, you can simply press and hold Δ. The texts will be on "fast forward" mode.
  8. There are lots of things to see and do if you have free time outside school.
    • You can make new, or level up already existing, Social Links (Social Links are optional, but are very important to raise your strength).
    • There are 4 stores: the Police Station where Officer Kurosawa works (weapons and armor), the Aohige Pharmacy (healing goods), the Be Blue V (accessories for battle) and Shinshoudo Antiques (very useful dungeon-crawling items and persona + weapon fusions)
    • There are various activities (paid or not) that will raise either your Academics, Charm or Courage. Such as Game Panic (random/varies), Mandragora Karaoke and Wild-Duck Burger (courage), Chagall Café and Hagakure (charm) and the Wakatsu Restaurant (academics)
  9. For the very first time in Megami Tensei, the enemies (shadows) appears on the field, rather than simple and annoying random encounters.
    • And also, just like Mother 2 and 3, you can get an advantage by hitting the shadow's back, making it immobilized for one turn. The inverse can also happen.
    • If you're strong enough, the shadows will try to stay away from you. In other words, you will repel them!
  10. The shadows' vulnerabilities to an element (Strike, Slash, Pierce, Fire, Ice, Wind, Electricity, Light, Darkness) are totally random and the effects are more varied (Weak, Strong, Null, Drain, Repel). This gives a difference to Pokémon, which the effects are restricted to type and ability.
    • The game's combat incorporates the Press Turn feature from Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, which is renamed "One More" system: hitting an enemy's vulnerability will grant an extra turn which can be used by a character to perform any other action (though only one extra turn can be obtained at a time, and passing your action doesn't give you an extra turn, unlike mainline Shin Megami Tensei games)
      • If you want to know the shadow's vulnerabilities, you just need to ask for Analysis.
    • Perform a huge ball of violence against the shadows with all your party members! You must knock down all the shadows (by hitting their weakness or performing a critical) and have at least two people in the party.
  11. The カッ effect. That's all.
    • The sexy and stylish glare effect. that really defines the style of the Persona series and influences a fair amount of fan-made tribute works and memes, of either media related to Megaten or not.
  12. Fusion Spells, undoubtedly the strongest spells in the game! You need two specific Personas to perform some of those, and only the wild cards can do. Click here to see a list of fusion spells.
  13. Both 3D graphics and anime FMVs are pretty simple, but aren't ugly. The same applies for the interfaces and even the game's logo.
  14. Awesome and catchy soundtrack; composed by Shouji Meguro and sung by Lotus Juice & Yumi Kawamura.
  15. Many memorable quotes that like "The arcana is the means by which all is revealed.", Akihiko Sanada's "I've been waiting for this!" and Aigis' "I need your HELP!".
    • Yet some derogations like "Yuka-tan" (for Yukari Takeba) and "Stupei Ace Defective" (for Junpei Iori)
  16. The first-ever Persona game released in the PAL regions (despite being only in English). The numeration is unchanged and previous games would be released later.
    • And also the first Persona game to be localized to South Korea, being the first-ever Persona game to not be limited only to Japanese and English.
  17. 100% uncut for all region locks.
  18. Characters from Revelations: Persona and 2 are mentioned by watching the television in the dorm at night, thus confirming that the game takes place in the same continuity as the previous games. The in-universe game "Innocent Sin Online" (present in the Hermit S.Link) is a fictional MMO version of Persona 2: Innocent Sin (Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei in the Japanese version), and the characters' in-game avatars are accordingly named Tatsuya and Maya.
  19. The English dub is as good as the Japanese original.
  20. While Persona 4 and 5 had there funny and epic moments, here, there are actually some moments in the story, that not even Persona 4, or Persona 5 would go this far.

Persona 3 FES

  1. New characters, a new story called The Answer (which happens after the events of the called The Journey) and a new epilogue as well.
    • Aigis becomes the main protagonist of the said chapter, where she tries to cope with the death of the protagonist, meets her long lost sister named Metis, and find the reason for the protagonist's death.
  2. More Personas were added.
  3. Secret videos of the protagonist's dorm mates have been added, which are funny and embarrassing at the same time! You can see them in the monitoring room where Shuji Ikutsuki usually stays.
  4. Speaking of funny situations, the SEES can now wear unusual clothes to go to Tartarus. However, this would be unuseful if you want the best defense/evasion values for your party members.
  5. Koromaru can now be taken on walks. You may receive very valuable items, which may be either useful for battle or in the city's exploring.
  6. Several of the Social Links have been modified slightly, such as Tanaka (XV "Devil" Arcana) being available at Night/Evening.
  7. Several New Elizabeth's Quests were added.
  8. A hard mode is included.
  9. If you think the music that plays during Tartarus is repetitive, you can now select 4 totally different soundtracks. But only if you have Fuuka in your party.

Persona 3 Portable

  1. Despite being somewhat a bit inferior due the PSP's hardware limitations, the PSP version is a unique take on the game.
  2. Now you can play with a female protagonist. Often nicknamed Hamuko by fans, her social links, plot details, and soundtrack are different from the male variant.
  3. This version features most of (if not all) the updated mechanics from Persona 4. For example:
    • Now you can control your party members! Just go to Tactics and select Direct Commands for all of them.
    • You can now Defend, instead of simply Wait (do nothing). This is a very good change, because you can reduce the damage you'll take and avoid being knocked down.
    • Your party members will take damage for you, to avoid your death. Please note that this doesn't work for multi-target moves and repelling-effect damage.
    • Follow-up attacks: Every time you knock down (hit a weakness or hit by critical) a shadow, one of your party members may want to knock down a shadow too. By performing a unique attack.
    • You can now equip your party members and ask for healing in any way, any form, and any position, rather than strictly having to talk with them to do something.
  4. The interface is more organized and better looking.
  5. Instead of walking, you just need to move a cursor and navigate at the place you are, which is more practical and faster. And even better, you can also press Square to have a shortcut to go somewhere!
  6. This version somehow manages to include Persona 4 content like the Inaba city and Yukiko Amagi (for Hamuko role only), and Margaret. As Persona 3 is set 2 years before, you'll see them younger.
    • And also the de facto debut of Vincent Brooks, the protagonist of Catherine.
  7. You can now choose 5 difficulties instead of only one in the original, or two (Normal or Hard) in FES.

Bad Qualities

Overall

  1. If the protagonist dies, it's game over. Regardless of your party members being alive.
  2. Fuuka Yamagishi's voice acting is abysmal. To make matters worse, she's your Navigation/Mission Control throughout the whole game starting from the 3rd Full Moon Operation's Bosses, meaning you have to listen to her constantly state the obvious.
  3. Repetitive grinding and environment designs.
  4. Unlike Persona 4 and 5 where you can befriend or romance your female Social Links with the male protagonist, you can’t befriend any of them. Meaning as you continue to max out their Social Links, it’s an automatic romance for all of them and you can’t avoid it. (The female protagonist is however, is free to both befriend and romance the male social links though.)
  5. There is a shadow hidden in Tartarus called The Reaper, that will appear if certain conditions are met. It is stronger than the final bosses of the game. Fuuka (or "Mitsuru Kirijo") of course will give you advice and tell you to not fight with him.
    • He can be fought at the very beginning of the game, rather than being restricted to New Game Plus.
  6. With the exception of your party members Social Links, some Social Links (aside from your party members) can be bland and/or uninteresting to delve into depending on your view, such as the Moon Arcana Social Link: Nozomi Suemitsu or the Hierophant Arcana Social Link: Bunkichi & Mitsuko.
  7. The SEES' backstories aren't varied too much. They either have a dead loved one, or will get a dead loved one later on in the story.
  8. Depending on your view, Yukari Takeba can be rude, unlikable, detestable and somewhat of a Mary-Sue at some points. Especially in the chapter, The Answer.
  9. Your personality stats (Academics, Charm, and Courage) must be completely maxed out in order to start a Social Link with your party members.
  10. While the animation and art style in the cutscenes are still great, most of the colors hadn't aged well since they've looked more washed out.

PlayStation 2

  1. You cannot control your party members. This is problematic because their AI isn't perfect and sometimes they make wrong choices during critical situations. Although there is a patch for that you can apply to the PS2 version of the game that allows you to control the party. Just try not to do fusion spells or change personas as another party member or the game will crash.
    • The worst offender is Mitsuru Kirijo (she will enter the battle party after Fuuka take her place of Navigation/Mission Control), since she tends to cast the spell Marin Karin (an ailment inflicting move, which the effect is totally luck-based) frequently.
  2. The overall bad quality #1 is worse on the PlayStation 2 versions, because only in Persona 3 Portable that the party members can protect the protagonist from dying by taking damage of an enemy's move in place. Said feature does not exist on the PlayStation 2 versions.
  3. To change your party members' weapons/armors, you must talk with them physically, and only inside Tartarus. While this is "more logical", it can be pretty boring and confusing at the same time.
  4. The OSTs that play during Tartarus have little to no variation, and (depending on the point of view) will end up being very repetitive.
  5. When one of your party members levels up, you cannot see their new moves and stats upgrades. You cannot even choose which move you want to make them forget if they learn a new one (a Persona can know only up to 8 moves).
  6. The Answer has the party act completely out of character and get into an avoidable brawl and turn against each other.

Persona 3 Portable

  1. Due to the PSP's hardware limitations:
    • All FMVs (except for the openings) were removed. All cutscenes in the game were reduced to mere visual novels.
    • The Answer is missing.
    • The 3D geometry's polygons were reduced and movement animations are stiffer. This makes everyone look like robots.
  2. Returning to the very first floor of the tower will not fully restore your party. Instead, you have to pay a fee to restore all your SP (like the "Kitsune" Fox does in P4).
  3. Arcana Chance!! does not exist here. That was a very good mechanic in P4.
  4. While the addition of direct commands is by no means a bad thing, the game wasn't rebalanced to compensate for this change, and for this reason, some players deem this version easier than the original.

Tips

  • The Social Links will level up faster when the Arcana of one of your Personas you have is the same.
  • Contrary to popular belief, skill changing isn't random: upon leveling up, a Persona's skill will always change to one of a higher "tier" based on the skill's base power (i.e.: if your persona has Zionga, it can turn into Ziodyne). However, passive skills are on a lower "tier" compared to command skills, meaning that if a passive skill changes, it may become a command skill, which can alter your Persona's build and thus rendering it useless.
  • When set on Act Freely or Full Assault, party members will relentlessly attack with their damage-dealing spells. To avoid them striking an enemy's resistance, be sure to scan enemies in advance. Even if the scan gives no results, party members will no longer attack the enemy with elements it resists.
  • There is a clever way to defeat The Reaper, but some skill and patience is required. If you don't want to do this, then it is highly recommended to get Orpheus Telos (the most powerful Persona) and use it to defeat said shadow.
    • To get Orpheus Telos, you must max out all the social links the game has. Doing this in a single playthrough (without a New Game Plus) with everything done from scratch is practically impossible without assistance from a guide.

Reception

Persona 3 received positive reviews upon its release, earning a Metacritic score of 86 (89 for both FES and Portable). 1UP.com called the game a "refreshingly new take on the MegaTen Megami Tensei concept", and "the best RPG hitting the PS2 this year (2007) and praised the "excellent" AI created to direct the actions of party members during battle.

GameTrailers gave the game a score of 9.0, calling it "a rare supernatural delicacy" stating it's an RPG that fans of the genre shouldn't miss out on. GameSpy's Patrick Joynt praised the social elements of Persona 3, calling the game's Social Links "almost universally fascinating."

On Metacritic, Persona 3 is considered the 2nd best PlayStation 2 game of 2007 (just losing to God of War 2). Persona 3 FES is also considered 2nd best PlayStation 2 game of 2008 (just losing to Persona 4).

Comments


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TheAnimeLover

5 months ago
Score 1
Ironically, this game is rated 12+ in Japan but rated M(17+) in America.
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Danirabbid

3 months ago
Score 0
That's really weird for a game that is extremely melancholic and gloomy.
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Danirabbid

3 months ago
Score 0
Although PEGI also rated the game for 12-year-olds. Yeah, I don't get it.
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Trevor807

3 months ago
Score 1
Sometimes the ratings are out of whack.
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YukariWayne

3 months ago
Score 1

Japan has different standards when it comes to age ratings.

for example, Silent Hill 3 was rated 15+ in Japan, there are some Shonen manga which contain a lot of blood and violence, this is not a joke!
avatar

Yūki

11 days ago
Score 0
The best Persona installment ever made. Period.
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SuperStreetKombat

11 days ago
Score 0
I'm thinking of getting the FES version of this game on the PS2 at some point, since I hear that's the best version of it.
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Yūki

10 days ago
Score 0
@SuperStreetKombat You still have a working PS2?
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SuperStreetKombat

9 days ago
Score 0
Why, yes, I do.
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Yūki

9 days ago
Score 0
Is it like in almost perfect condition?
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SuperStreetKombat

9 days ago
Score 0
Yeah, I've had it since I was a little kid, and I still use it to play not only PS2 games, but also, PS1 games.
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EdEddandEddyFan

9 days ago
Score 0
Which model is it?
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SuperStreetKombat

9 days ago
Score 0
First.
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SonicLover5

4 days ago
Score 0
5 is still a better Persona, but fuck man this game rules.

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