Staff Picks: Persona 3 Portable

User Rating: 8.9

Welcome to the first in our new series, Staff Picks: Retrospectives. 

The games that should be mentioned and our main sources of gameplay granting us hours of inspiration and satisfaction.

In our first category, we are looking at the Megami Tensei series and primarily focused on the games released and currently available on the Nintendo Switch containing all the elements that made these games so well-loved and popular. Those titles stuck to the roots of the JRPG genre.

Persona 3 originally released on 13th July 2006, on the PlayStation 2 and the PSP in 2009 as Persona 3 Portable. Both titles are considered one of the best entries in the series by its fans.

In 2007, Playstation 2 owners received a new and updated version titled Persona 3 FES containing a new epilogue section, bonus material, enhancements and gameplay tweaks on a special extra disc included with the main game.

Whilst FES is quite rightly considered the definitive edition of the game available. Most contention and dismay are centred on why Atlus has decided to release Persona 3 Portable. The base version that was released on the PSP and not FES.

There’s a good portion of players that have played this game on the first release or played other titles in the Persona series so ill keep the story recap and gameplay brief.

In this story, you can select a male or female character, name them and set out on a storyline that sees you joining a dormitory, attending school, and fusing relationships with other characters to obtain social links.

You are soon befriended by a team of individuals in your dormitory and inducted into team SEES.

A group assigned to fight shadows that appear at midnight, by summoning personas. 

These highly powered beings are attached to the hidden traits of each character’s personality and strengthened through battles and experience.

Players have a huge amount to do. Forge social links with a variety of different characters with different traits in the daytime. Then at midnight, ascend the hundreds of floors in the Tartarus tower, battling shadows, and bosses and fusing and creating more personas and gaining huge amounts of abilities to rid the region of the darkness.

The whole experience for most parts is a joy to play. The story makes up a good part of the general interest and immersion with events changing just in time to prevent any element of stagnancy. 

There’s generally a great deal in character investment, building relationships and times and events filled with some genuinely funny moments aside from the storyline of impending doom and darkness.

So from that little extra mystery regarding the developers’ decision, the big question remains today. 

Is this release version worth your time and money? 

Well, after 30+ hours with this game and being unable to put it aside and play something else, I can answer and give this release a resounding YES!

Persona 3 Portable on the Nintendo Switch may have some misgivings with the version that is released, and yet it still carries most of the elements that made it such a much-loved and respected title in the first place.

Switch gets it's earliest Persona title in the series so far. Whilst it's not the definitive version around, this Persona 3 title still has plenty to deliver at a great price.
  • Good clean crisp graphics for most parts
  • Good English voice acting and background tunes that can be changed at random
  • Wealth of replayability and difficulty options
  • Extra character, difficulty levels, NG+
  • A game that contains all the elements of an engaging and immersive experience
  • Great story with plot twists, humour and social relationship aspects
  • Bosses require strategic thinking
  • Character models looking sub standard in certain battle segments
  • It's not the FES version, so it's lacking the extras.
  • Can only control one character with reliance on the team down to luck due to patchy AI
  • Dungeon floors lack variety
  • Constant repetition using the same tactics for the same enemies will eventually grate
Graphics - 8
Sound - 8.5
Presentation - 9.5
Gameplay - 8.5
Value - 10

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