I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed my time with Persona 3 Portable. At its core, P3P is a dungeon-crawling, relationship simulator with what I believe to be very minimal building elements and almost no real exploration. You couldn't describe role playing game RPG better suited to bore me to death. In simple terms P3P is a remake of the original Personal 3 on the Playstation 2. This enhanced edition allows you to play as a female lead; carries over battle mechanics from Persona 4 ie.
Other changes include soundtrack updates and semi-static anime cutscenes. Let's jump ino our gamer categories to flesh out the P3P experience Bookworms In P3P, you play as a no-name hero who experiences tragedy and is then joined by other adolescents with a power similar to yours. You all have the ability to perceive and remain conscious during the Dark Hour, or the hidden space between midnight and the next day. During the Dark Hour, all sorts of evil goes down. You and your group of friends also have the ability to summon a spirit or "Persona" to fight on your behalf to combat said evil.
These battles most often occur in a place called Tartarus, or the dungeon you'll spend the next hours crawling. Your team's goal is to stop the shadows, or the monsters from tartarus, from wreaking havok on the other humans who lack the ability to perceive the Dark Hour.
It's extremely rare when an RPG can keep me playing primarily because the story is compelling. P3P nailes the narritive and showcases it as its strongest feature. Thanks to the developers incorporating some of the better aspects of Persona 4's combat, battles are quick, intuitive and offer solid opportunities for you to get creative with tactics.
While your human party members can fight, the true heroes of war are the Personas you can summon to better dispatch your enemies. I usually hate when RPGs punish the player for bringing the "wrong" party members into a particular battle. Thankfully, there is almost always a viable tactic for winning a fight, even if you rparty's abilities do not counter a particular enemy very well.
Builders While P3P is limited in the options it affords players to build human party members, it gives you various interesting ways to build the main character's Personas. The most significant means of building your Personas lies with how you develop relationships with specific NPCs you'll encounter during the social portions of your playthrough. Like your Personas, each human NPC is tied to astrologica categoires, or tarot cards.
As your relationships grow, so grows your ability to create Personas in that category. Creating new Personas for your main character is where I enjoyed myself most as a consumate builder. While there is a solid amount of dungeon-crawling to do, you'll rarely feel the need to spend hours grinding out levels as your true strength comes from your relationships. This rings true until about the last quarter of the game more on that in a moment.
Explorers Other than a dreary dungeon and predetermined points on the various in-game maps, there is no real exploration in P3P. P3P is a straight up dungeon-crawler and relationship simulator. Also, while you won't really feel the need to level grind until the end of the game, if you're like me, you may find yourself wondering why the dungeon-crawling needed to be in the game in the first place. The social simulation and story-driven bossfights would have been more than adequate to satisfy my playstyle preferences read: And maybe I feel this way because so much of the game felt scripted.
P3P is broken down into bite-sized days where you can only choose to do so many activities before the next day dawns. While a good deal of the scripted material is very well executed, I couldn't help but constantly feel the game's leash at my neck.
Verdict In the end, I have to say I agree with most of the praise Persona 3 receives. Looking back, I'm still surprised that a game employing so many elements that I typically hate, still managed to keep me playing and enjoying for over 60 hours. Strangely, even though I enjoyed my time, I can honestly say I never want to play another Persona game in my life.
It's just a grind I don't feel like doing again. Spoiler Alert - Verdict Additional Info. I was really disappointed to discover that Persona 3 employed the old and tired method of trying to make you thing the game was ending and then yelling, "SIKE!!!!! Here's a few more hours of dungeon grinding you'll need to do if you expect to beat the real boss of the game!!!