Rant and Rave: Persona 3 Portable

Image courtesy of Atlus Co., Ltd

In the world of video gaming, no other role-playing videogame does it better than Atlus’ Persona series.

This Playstation Portable version of the critically-acclaimed Shin MegamiTensei: Persona 3 (P3) is more than just a mere rehash of the original Playstation 2 version. Persona 3 Portable (P3P) is a refreshing experience and a blast to play.

P3P’s plot, which is quite like its Playstation version, revolves around the mysterious Dark Hour—a hidden time between one day and the next. During this period, most ordinary people turn into coffins. Even more sinister about this alternate reality is that dark creatures known as Shadows roam the city and attack those unlucky to wander into this ungodly hour.

Enter SEES—the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad. Students of Gekkoukan High by day, they seek to ultimately stem the Shadow threat with their power of Persona—physical manifestations of their inner selves.

While the original P3 for the Playstation 2 only allows players to play as a male protagonist, P3P also adds the option to play as a female one. The female perspective alters the way other characters converse with her, hence even those who played the original P3 could find something new. For instance, the female protagonist has some Social Links—bonds formed with other characters to strengthen Personae.

The battle system has been improved from its original Playstation 2 version. The original version only allowed the player to control the protagonist while the rest of their teammates were AI-controlled. P3P allows manual control of the entire party.

Audio in P3P is remarkable. Composed by Shoji Meguro, the trip-hop track from P3 was carried over to P3P. The most notable additions to P3P’s soundtrack are songs specifically tailored for the female protagonist. Also worth noting is the topnotch voice acting for each character; it almost feels like a dubbed anime.

One point of criticism can be raised in Atlus’ decision to forego the original third-person navigation for a more menu-based cursor selection. While this downplays the simulation feel at times, an option to go to a room at the press of a button proves to be much handier than having to walk all the way.

Other than this, P3P is a polished gem of a game highly recommended to any Playstation Portable owner.

By Lyle Adriano

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