Bargain Gaming – Persona 3 FES

Posted on Nov 01 2011

Welcome, my friends, to the Velvet Room.

My name is Igor, and I shall be your host for the duration of this review. Perhaps you are confused, coming here from Bargain Gamer’s top five list with the apprehension of finding him here once more. Unfortunately, he has found himself in a bit of a, shall we say, predicament. As such he has left this review in my capable hands until such a time as he is able to… escape from his troubles.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at one of the greatest games of all time and disect it piece by piece. Why is it so great, you ask? Not because I am in it, of course. I am not so vain as to attribute my presence, however grandiose, to being of worth to foolish mortals such as yourself. No, it is great for a bevy of other reasons as well, to the point where it is difficult to decide where to start. Hmm, decisions, decisions~!

Well, let us start with the root of any good form of media, the story. You quickly find yourself thrust into a mysterious situation, as the school you are attending and, indeed, perhaps the entire world, are being infested by shadowy creatures every evening. Yet only a small handful of people are even aware of this fact, as normal people are sealed into ominous coffins until the so-called Dark Hour has passed. Fortunately, you immediately run into a small group of classmates who are also aware of these transgressions. With their support you begin your exploration of the mysterious Tartarus, a gigantic Shadow infested tower that appears where your school is located, in a quest to find out what is happening in the world and, hopefully, stop the Shadows altogether. Forming the group known as SEES, you use the Evokers, strange pistol-esque tools, in order to shoot yourself and summon your Personas, the only force at your disposal that is strong enough to oppose these enigmatic enemies.

Intriguing, is it not? And yet we have not even begun to scratch the surface of this mystery, as I have been left strict instructions to avoid the use of spoilers at all costs. As if I needed to be reminded that I should not partake in such crude behavior~! Hmph. Regardless, there is one other aspect of the game’s story that I would like to touch on, although it is not really a proper part of the story, so to speak. I am referring, of course, to the game’s Social Link system, where through interaction with the other characters and progression through the story you unlock stronger Personas and abilities, as well as the ability to power up your teammates. But what’s really interesting about this system is the way that it develops your character’s relationship with others, creating a multitude of interweaving side stories that flow alongside yet at the same time independently from the main story. This adds a layer of depth to both the story and the world in my esteemed opinion, as it gives the player the sense that there is more to the world than just their individual struggle. It also provides a nice reprieve from the harder sections of the game, as one can relax amongst one’s peers and focus on social interaction for a while once they have grown weary of the endless battle through the depths of Tartarus.

And you will almost certainly fall into a fatigued sense of despair, as not even counting the side battles against the 12 main Shadows there are still over 250 floors of Tartarus to fight through before you can reach the game’s climactic final battle. And while the game’s combat mechanics are somewhat varied depending upon how you determine your Personas and who you incorporate into your party, the simple fact of the matter is that the tower is a bit of a grind. I find it rather poetic myself, as only those with the perseverance and determination to fight their way through to the end can achieve victory against the formidable powers of darkness. Though I am sure that you plebs find it much more droll than I. But fear not, as on top of the game’s extended dungeon crawling and fascinating social aspect it also possesses aspects of character growth, as the player can level up his three skills (academics, charm, and courage) in order to give the player access to special dialogue options and Social Links. Tie in some rather interesting boss battles and a bevy of side quests provided by yours truly’s assistant, and you have enough on your plate at any one time that you should never run out of things to do.

But now that we have plunged into the depths of this fantastic game, let us satisfy your simple, addled minds by focusing on something a bit more superficial, the overall look and sound of the game. Being the musical savants you are, I am sure that this game will brook no complaint from you in that department, as it is chock full of top notch music as is befitting of a Megaten game. From the individual character themes to the background music, there really isn’t anything for your ears to complain about, other than perhaps being a bit overindulged by said songs as you progress through the game. The visuals are also solid, with the character designs being unique and varied enough to render everyone memorable without resorting to drastic fashion choices. The game’s world is also rather interesting to look at, although I suppose that Tartarus could use a bit of color here and there. Tsk, I know it’s a lot to ask for, but you’d think the Shadows could at least have a bit of flair to them outside of the unique enemies as well. Yes, yes, I am aware that they are mostly mindless drones that don’t know any better, but I am the eternal optimist after all.

And on that note, I am also highly optimistic that all of you will go out and try out this game after reading my thoughtful and careful analysis of it. If nothing else it at least contains yours truly, and, really, what better reason could you have for buying a game? I know the Playstation Two is a console from the last generation, but a classic like this truly deserves to be appreci-

BG: Igor!

Igor: Ah, Gamer, my friend. How are you? I trust your accommodations were to your liking?

BG: You. Locked. Me. In. A. Freaking! COFFIN!

Igor: It was for your own good you know. Terrible things happen at this time of year. Terrible things that happen to people like you…

BG: People like what? Gamers?

Igor: ….Sure. Let us go with that.

BG: Whatever. The damage has already been done, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t kill you even if I wanted to. At least you managed to touch on most of the basics without rambling too much. But you should know that you don’t need to own a PS2 in order to play this game. It was rereleased for the PSP under the title Persona 3 Portable, complete with a new female silent protagonist that you could choose to play as.

Igor: Ah, splendid! Now even those wretched fools who’ve missed out on the glory of the might that is the Playstation Two can revel in my splendor.

BG: Indeed they can. But I believe that is enough rambling for one night. As much as it pains me to agree with this loon, I must recommend this game both to all true RPG fans and to gamers as a collective whole. It is a fantastic title worthy of your gaming dollars, and should be considered despite the fact that I placed it last in my top five list. Speaking of which, stop in tomorrow in order to check out my next review, where we’ll take a look at the world of Digital Devil Saga! Hopefully I’ll see all of you (and none of him) there!

Until then, this is Bargain Gamer logging off!

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  • nerdwerld November 1, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    You know I have never played any of the Persona games, but I have a friend who is over obsessive about the series.

    • Bargain Gamer November 1, 2011 at 11:24 PM

      It’s a fun game series, definitely worth it if you enjoy RPGs. If you’re looking for a good starting point I’d definitely recommend Persona 4, as it was my entry into the series as well as my personal favorite. ^ ^

  • Tempest Wind November 6, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    Y’know, I was so completely psyched about this game, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I eventually settled for P4, and now that I’ve played P4 and am starting on P3, I’ve found that I prefer P4. It’s strange. I love how dark P3 is, but I feel more fulfilled by P4 I think.

    • Bargain Gamer November 6, 2011 at 8:49 PM

      I find that while P3 had a darker, more interesting story, P4 blended all of the elements together better and as such was more enjoyable. Like you though I played P4 first, so that could have biased my opinion.

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