Persona 3 is a very engaging RPG that will sure open the eyes of many hardcore and casual fans a like. The previous Persona series were very niche titles and hard to get through even for the seasoned RPG fans which made them unsuccessful in western cultures, but Persona 3 has some how captured the perfect mixture of what made the older entries so great and add something new that will finally bring in the bigger audience it deserves.
Many great RPG’s from Japan go through a very bad transition to other cultures. The game might not be bad, but the dialogue gets toned down, less mature, difficult leveled down, and things get lost in translation. Not with Persona 3. Everything makes sense and the voice acting makes you feel like you are watching a great anime with the best voice actors. The game takes place in today’s time in Japan so the characters talk like anyone else at that age today. Almost every RPG today is either a copy of Final Fantasy or Lord of the Rings. Not with Persona 3. Everything feels fresh and mature. Although there are plenty of funny moments, the game is very serious and dark which sets it apart from most RPG’s in recent years.
The graphics add to the mature illusion. Even though Persona 3 now is in 3D, it still manages to have a 2D anime look to everything which matches the tone of the game. The soundtrack has a very J-pop influence which sure to please some fans. The menu’s have a great pop art anime mix to them that really fleshes out the whole presentation.
The battle system is turn based but has a twist. Instead of imputing every character’s action, you only pick your own. This speeds up battles and really gives the feeling that the other characters in your party are really their own character. The downside is sometimes they don’t do what you want. Even though rarely, sometimes they will use a attack that will could heal the enemy or cast a protect spell when really you want them to do something else. There are tactic settings you can use to help solve this problem, but it could put some people off. There are tons of spells and personas to use, however most of them have obscure names and you never know what they will do unless you use them in battle first. The most frustrating part of the game is that since you are the main character if you die in battle even if your whole party has full hp, you’re out of luck game over. Its real easy in the later levels to be building up waiting to get to floor where you can save and the enemy hits you with a critical or connects with an instant death move and you lost everything.
Persona 3 is a RPG no fan of the genre can pass up. There are plenty of things to do to help your quest outside when you get tired of fighting. The story is very original, great character development and personalities, and playing a game very mature, they shoot themselves in the head to summon their personas for heavens sake, breaths fresh air in the J-RPG genre. If you buy one more game for your PS2 make sure it’s this one.