Review by msea

Reviewed: 11/09/09

Persona 3 Portable, something worth playing again.

Have you played Persona 3 on the PS2 before? If so, there's not much introductions needed for this. But if you have yet to, I'll really suggest playing it on the PS2 prior to playing the port. Persona 3 Portable contains much more when compared to the original, even if it pales in comparison to the expanded Persona 3 Fes edition.

Taking some ideas here and there, the producers gave the player the choice to pick their protagonist's gender, either male or female. Heck, thats pretty new under the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series. It doesn't end at that, if the user picks the female path, they'll be offered a chance to change certain outcomes, and given the chance to experience certain events from another point of view! Plus, there's quite a few different S-Links for the female protagonist (e.g. going out with Akihiko, hanging out with Junpei and playing sports with Rio!) to juggle with instead of those of the male protagonist.

Although the male protagonist isn't too far off, with added in features and events here and there, you might find it great to play through once more just to find the differences.

Graphics
Can't really expect alot from the graphics here. The producers really had to work with the restraints of the PSP hardware in mind as well as the idea of UMD's space constraints in mind too. Thus, resorting to a much simplified 2D overview system seen in Persona Portable and a Dating simulation like system in terms of character interaction. However, for those that's worried about whether dungeon crawling is still in 3D, rest assured, it's still a 3D environment in the dungeon.

System
Similar to Persona 3, except this time, with the expanded features seen in Persona 4 in terms of combat and S-link/Commu. Such as the manual commands to be issued to allies in combat, refined "one more" system where allies will get up in the same turn instead of wasting one more turn just to get up and the S-link/Commu system, where the level of your S-link/Commu with your allies affect their actions in battle (e.g. helping you get up when you get knocked down).

Secondly, they've simplified the S-link/Commu leveling up notification to that of Persona 4. So now you don't need to wait for those long and boring messages to finish upon leveling up your S-Link/Commu. It's much faster and easier now.

Controls
Also another similarity to Persona 3, not much differences from the original. Even in terms of Dungeon controls, it's still the same old controls. Circle to Attack, Analog directions to move around. Although with the added effect of the Square button similar to P4 so as to quickly move about from once place to another in the area (E.g. Classroom to World Map).

Gameplay
Hmm, P3P's gameplay is a mix of P3 and P4, compensating for each other's flaws. Although this time round, S-Link/Commu do play a somewhat bigger role. That will affect the outcomes of some events when you're playing the female route.

Story
As of the original, you play as an average transfer student, experiencing what they called as the dark hour, thus unlocking the ability to call upon the power of Persona. Eventually you'll join a team that specializes in taking out these monsters called Shadows as well as their "Bosses" while climbing a Tower called Tartarus that appears during the Dark Hour. Eventually they'll bump into new allies and enemies (While losing some on the way) and fight the Final Boss called Nyx on top of the Tower.

Well, with the female protagonist, the events and the attitudes of certain characters differ. What Persona 3 on the PS2 did was, to give us the male protagonist's point of view. With the events on how he first summoned his persona, how he spent his time with the people around him, and how each and every events helped shaped him to who he is. I'm not saying the female protagonist has a totally different end or storyline, but, she too had a slightly different story to tell us. And how she managed to divert certain events off it's original intended course.

Thus inorder to get a full experience of the game, I'll suggest having to play both genders just to get a full understanding of what's going on. I won't spoil you there, but "It takes two hands to clap".

Overall
For those who've played the original on PS2, this is an expanded port, less the fancy graphics. It's still worth the time, especially if you want to see things from a different perspective. Besides, playing as a male protagonist in the original only nets you half the fun, why not experience the other half when you can play as a female protagonist too?

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Persona 3 Portable (JP, 11/01/09)

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