Hey… I have a gun and a monster is about to attack me! I Know! I’ll shoot myself in the head!
Ah, the Persona series. The very reason that I haven’t been making any new blog entries. I actually played this game about two years ago, when it first came out, but I’m going to talk about now… to prepare people for the MASSIVE FREAKING PERSONA 4 Review that I’m going to write. Until that time though, I’m so freaking addicted to Persona 4 that it’s ridiculous.
Persona 3 is a very… unique game. It’s part dating sim, and part dark RPG. ….yeah, those two we’re definitely meant to go together. This weird combination creates a wonderful gaming experience that is relatively unforgettable, although it comes with some flaws…. Some expected, some aren’t.
First thing I like is the gameplay. In many games you get to be a super powered-person, but you don’t really get to control what that person does in everyday life. This one let’s you cover every aspect of your character’s identity. It’s not as open ended as say, Morrowind, but for a Japanese RPG, there is little competition. The other part, the combat, is also pretty interesting. It’s very deadly, where a single mistake could send you back to the title screen. Hence, you are always thinking on your toes. Unfortunately, this means if you get hit by a Death attack, you will lose a few hours of playing. Also, it has an intense combo system that enemies will employ against you. Every time you or an enemy uses an attack that the target is weak against, you get a free attack. Some enemies are merciless about this. Worse yet, you get a game over if the main character dies, regardless of whether or not the rest of the party is still standing. You can employ these tactics against your enemies though, making this one of the most hard-core RPG’s I’ve ever played.
The Persona system: I’m not going to discuss shooting yourself in the head to cast spells here. By the end game, it becomes about as significant as any other spellcasting animation. What’s more interesting is your ability to gather several different monsters known as “Personas” and fuse them into other monsters. Combining these allows you to create versions of monsters with all kinds of weird abilities. It’s fun, and will keep you busy for a while.
The S-Links: The dating sim part of this game is known as S-Lnks…. Or the people your character is friends with. By building relationships with people, you can get various bonuses, mostly in the form of EXP while fusing personas.Some of the people are pretty interesting, others are less so. If you build a strong enough relation with somebody, you can create even MORE powerful Personas. Yes, this game has mechanical benefits for using the power of friendship.
The characters: Best overall cast ever. At least on the hero’s side. You work with an entire team of characters who are likable, developed, and interesting. And it gets better! You know how in RPG’s they railroad the main character into a relationship? This game doesn’t do that? Go ahead; date one of the NPC girls for all it cares! This game may not have any character that sticks out as the best, but the cast is well rounded enough that together, they compete with the party in Xenosaga. Well, most of the cast…. Koramaru doesn’t count.
The problem with having a great cast of heroes is that you need a cast of villains to match them. These villains are not present. There’s a few guys who try to match you, but they sort of start sucking towards the end. Then…. Ugh… don’t get me started on the last boss. Every bit as exiting as wet cardboard…. She has a nice theme song, but she does NOTHING to earn it. At the end it’s all like “uh yeah, we need a main villain, so this big mean thing is bringing the apocalypse.” OH NOES…. *sigh* C’mon, these guys needed the Joker or something, not what was given.
Should you buy this game? Heck yeah, since it’s pretty unique and interesting. If you want an RPG that leaves the Final Fantasy mold, by all means try this one. It started at 40$ and has only gotten cheaper. It may drag for a few parts, but it does give you your money’s worth, and it is a really refreshing experience.
Now, I’m going back to play Persona 4. Imagine everything good about Persona 3, but MORE of the good stuff. Expect the fanboy infused report soon.