After the release of person 5, Atlus she got on the radar of many fans as a developer to watch out for. Due to the success achieved with the subsequent revisions such as Persona 5 Royal and the edition for PS5 and Xbox Series, the developer also announced the release of remasters of persona 3 portable Y Persona 4 Golden.
Now we have to review Person 3 Portable, which should be noted that it is not the version that came out for PS2, but the one for PlayStation Portable. This revision has some very marked differences in terms of gameplay. For me, who played the PS2 version, I was surprised to learn that the game in question had such a different version on PSP. And since I played both titles, I can give my opinions about it.
a dark hour
The interesting thing about the stories that the Persona series tells us is the vision of modern times. Persona 3 Portable is located in a modern Japan of the year 2006 where foldable cell phones proliferate, electropop music and everyone goes their own way. They knew how to capture very well what the society of those years was like, and this is part of what we love.
The story tells how a transfer student enters Gekkoukan High School, in the city of Iwatodai. On the way to the school inn, he is attacked by a series of strange beings known as Shades, creatures that feed on the emotions of their victims and practically leave them hollow during a phenomenon known as “The Dark Hour”. This fact awakens in our protagonist his Person called Orpheus, and who later discovers that there is a secret society that confronts them, the organization known as SEES.
Basically, at the narrative level, it is the same game as its older sister, except for a well-marked difference, being able to choose the gender of the protagonist. This affects the way we relate to other characters, for example, the male player’s love interests become just friends with the female character. Additionally, both new dialogue lines and situations were rewritten to fit the genre.
Another change is that more social links have been added than in the original version, so contrary to what one might think, P3P is not a cut game, at least at the narrative level. In fact, important events were modified to fit the gender change. It is so like that, that you can come to feel that the female character was more developed, to the detriment of the male.
Between school and dungeons
The Persona series has been characterized by dividing its gameplay into two aspects. On the one hand being a school simulator and RPG dungeon explorer, the same thing happens in Persona 3 Portable. We have a school calendar, in which we must divide how to carry out our activities between attending classes, belonging to school clubs, going out with friends and having love dates. That on the one hand, since on the other, we must visit the dungeons in the Tartarus in the Dark Hour whose construction changes every time we enter.
However, the biggest difference from the original game, aside from the female character, is the exploration mechanic at the school that literally happens to be a visual novel. This entails witnessing static scenes and some sections of Point & Click that simplify the gameplay a lot, in fact it even increases the speed of the story. Instead of having polygonal characters moving around the stages, we will have stationary pre-rendered images where we will move a cursor to select people and objects to interact with. Many will miss the old format.
When it comes to exploring Tartarus, the game resumes its 3D exploration settings and we can now move like any other traditional RPG. The exploration consists of climbing the Tartarus tower with the aim of gaining experience to face greater challenges. Each character are helped by their People and along the way we will recruit others People or, failing that, merge them. It’s basically the same system used in Persona 5.
We have use of commands such as attack, skills, items and escape. Here the Press Turn or One More System (Saint and Password of Shin Megami Tensei) was introduced, but more simplified. We will have side missions, and depending on the level of Social Link that we have developed in our relationships, we will have certain advantages in combat. Pure and hard person.
Being a remaster of a reissue of the original, it obviously needs to come with certain implementations and quality of life improvements. Starting with the visual improvements that we will detail in their corresponding section, but in general the textures were softened. Another change is the much less clunky controls than the original version.
At the playable level, in addition to the save points, you can make a Quick Save that will be deleted once we start the game, keeping the manual save. Four difficulty levels have been added ranging from Very Easy to Very Hard, available from the start of the game and can be changed at any time.
Ported to current consoles
While it is true that Persona 3 Portable looks great on modern consoles, we cannot fail to mention that it was obviously a simplified game even in terms of graphics. The game was adjusted to 16:9 screen formats. and the images have that soft touch in the textures. However, the characters bring their polygons as is from PSP, even the PS2 version were better handled.
The great soundtrack of Persona 3 stands out again, which is composed by Shoji Meguro. With themes of the genre Soul, Electropop, Rock, among others. New themes were added for the female version of the main character. And even though the game is more like a visual novel, it keeps all of its dialogue lines and sound effects.
Persona 3 Portable is a JRPG from the series of the same name that can carry its name high, even though it is a simplified version. However, it was an odd choice as the PSP version was chosen over PS2’s Persona 3 FES. But it keeps its story intact with some additions if we choose to be the main female character. At the playable level it is a more agile version, but some will not look favorably on the Graphic Novel sessions. Even with everything, it is a recommended game for lovers of the genre and the series.
Note: This review was made on the PS5 version and the code was provided thanks to Atlus.