Persona 3 Reload – Game Review


Persona 3 Reload – Launched in 2006, Persona 3 really marks a huge turning point for ATLUS in particular and the Japanese RPG genre (JRPG) in general.

Persona 3 is the most obvious “intersection” of the theory that drives the plot and the linear and focused pacing of the series Shin Megami Tenseclassic i passed Persona 1 and 2, as well as a more open, bright and immersive approach to gaming with Persona 4 and 5.

Persona 3 It is also the “starting point” of many gamers with the brand Shin Megami Tensei Generals and versions Persona in particular. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most important game in ATLUS history. However, the reissue Persona 3 It is always a headache for the company.

Persona 3 There are two more versions: FES and Portable with additions and improvements over the original version, such as the sequel “The Answer” for the version FES and the protagonist’s storyline takes on the female gender in Portable. Putting these content packages together will be a headache for ATLUS, not to mention that efforts to bring these versions to new systems also encounter significant obstacles when the version Persona 3 Portable inherently too limited in nature and not intended for modern platforms, and the source code Persona 3 FES then… lost, according to ATLUS.

Because of the very “twisted” elements with such a very important game, ATLUS rolled up their sleeves to do something they never did after the version Kyuaku Megami Tensei: It’s “replaying” from the beginning of an old game, reworking from top to bottom in terms of graphics, gameplay, and even some narrative for Persona 3 with version Persona 3 Reload.

ATLUS promises that the Persona 3 Reload will be the best version of Persona 3, with a modern and close graphics style and gameplay approach Persona 5, but the plot retains the spirit of Persona 3 with a series of completely new interactions.

So has the attempt to bring a classic game to a modern platform been as successful as expected? Let’s MarkGame up the Evoker, climb hundreds of Tartarus floors and discover the true truth of the Dark Hour once again with: Persona 3 Reload.


Bright and Dark

Perhaps the most surprising point with Persona 3 Reload is the very special art direction of the game.

Persona 3 The original is a relatively dark game with an atmosphere almost thick by gloom and “blur”, but still portrays everyday school life somewhat gently and carefree. After all, the girls and boys of the SEES team, despite carrying immense human burdens, still have to behave like normal high school students.

Persona 3 Reload

So, the Persona 3 Reload Going for a bright, crisp graphic style and full of vivid details is a somewhat … relatively surprising to fans of the original game, but do not worry, ATLUS’s art design team once again asserts its firmness, when it seems that all the visual limitations of the Persona 3 The original has been thoroughly revised, and the points that the game does well have been remade even better.

With the original, the Tatsumi Island port area is somewhat simple, deserted, and disjointed, at least compared to the tightly connected Inaba of season four and the bustling Tokyo of season five. Leveraging modern technology, Persona 3 Reload has breathed life into these classic areas by adding a lot of small but vibrant details. Pawlonia shopping centers, Iwatodai station,… What used to be quiet is now crowded with people gathering, shopping, eating and talking.

The bright graphic approach also highlights posters, pieces of paper, small movements of passersby. The most surprising thing, however, comes from their clever juggling of gray-blue patches to exudes a beauty that, although bright and dynamic, is still a little gloomy and cold.

Persona 3 Reload

But when night falls and the 25th hour has passed, Tatsumi Island Port is engulfed in a strange phenomenon called “Dark Hour”, when all the living people turn into … a coffin full of darkness and strange creatures called Shadows begins to rage — and in the center rises a tower called Tartarus, twisting and deforming like a morbid thorn. The reason Persona 3 Being so memorable to so many people is because of those gruesome images, and with the version Persona 3 Reload, ATLUS now makes the above images leave an even stronger impression.

The gloomy and peculiar green color contrasts perfectly with the bright beauty of the world during the day, the clouds of black-and-red smoke that crept from the legs of the coffins create a calm atmosphere, and the blood streaks on the ground make the singularity of Dark Hour even more terrifying. But with players only able to explore the “rudimentary” Tatsumi Island port every time they go to kill bosses on the night of the full moon, the real star of the Dark Hour here is the deformed Tartarus Tower.

The camera no longer follows the player at an odd angle, but now allows players to rotate the camera 360 degrees to admire all the creative new details that ATLUS has put into Tartarus, such as the transformation passages in block 1, the fancy machines of block 4, etc and a picture feast full of… Dizzy-eyed in block 6 – Tartarus, despite lacking its own “own” quality with each storyline like the beautiful dungeons of parts 4 and 5, but becomes its own “star” through the visual improvements and upgrades that the ATLUS team has worked hard to reveal the true truth of this strange work.

The art style that characterizes each floor emphasizes the peculiar and malevolent nature of this place, such as reminding the player of the true fighting purpose of the characters, and why the Dark Hour phenomenon is a danger to humanity.

However, the game environment is not the only point that has received a significant “facelift” in this remake. All the character portraits in the game, from members of SEES to the smallest minor characters are redrawn to make it sharper and more beautiful. Despite the lack of certain expressions such as Fuuka’s disappointed face or Fukari’s maid image, these changes make the character’s expressions in dialogue clearer, with small details revealing a lot of emotions.

ATLUS even added some completely new character portrayals compared to the original, as the Mayan character is no longer an invisible voice, but instead a Heroine character in Shin Megami Tensei I with Maya Amano’s hairstyle in Persona 2 – a small but valuable gratitude gift for “hard fans” of the brand, or Koromaru dog is also added a lot of extremely cute expressions.

The SEES squad is even more “favored” when given new uniforms with small details for them to “fight”, such as Yukari’s name bag or Junpei’s scabbard attached to his back, Fuuka’s small robe and headphones or Mitsuru’s waist-hugging armor. Even Kokomaru was given an adorable first aid kit on his back. SEES’s new costume is so beautiful and cool that the writer does not “change” the characters despite “unlocking” all the characters’ costumes through two playthroughs.

Persona 3 Reload

But the above significant changes are also shown through the 3D model of the character. No more fuzzy chibi characters of Persona 3 originally, now the character models are the same as in Persona 5 and Shin Megami Tensei 5 – Higher, more detailed and sharper.

The animations in combat are also meticulously cared for, so that the character’s specific skill sets or interactions in combat are now extremely spectacular and beautiful, especially the character’s animations when fighting critically, Theurgy skills or most especially when finishing enemies with an all-out attack.

With the special art style of Persona 3 such significant improvements and upgrades, Persona 3 Reload Recreate the classic moments of Persona 3 with characters and 3D environments… even more beautiful than the 2D cutscenes in the original.

In fact, Persona 3 Reload there are still 2D anime cutscenes, but they’re just simple simply “as a background” for the beautiful 3D environment of the game.

The sound is another significant highlight of Persona 3 Reload. Many characters are now replaced with voice actors in English and Japanese versions to more accurately express the characters’ emotions, especially the character Akihiko Sanada in the English version.

Extremely memorable soundtracks of Persona 3 Like “Want To Be Close”, “Mass Destruction” also enhanced sound quality, or even “remixed” in certain locations. The most obvious addition may be the emotional opening song “Full Moon – Full Life” featuring rapper Lotus Juice returning after a long absence from the franchise Persona.

Persona 3 Reload Recreate the classic moments of Persona 3 with characters and 3D environments… even more beautiful than the 2D cutscenes in the original

I am you, You are me

In terms of game structure, Persona 3 Reload Not too much has changed with its predecessor. After a relatively long opening stage, players will be free to play the role of a normal schoolboy during the day, study or go out to play at night or explore Tartarus. The player is free to explore the Tartarus building in the evening almost any day of the week, but due to plot reasons, some characters will not have the ability to explore on certain days and that will limit the player’s options when fighting in Tartarus.

In terms of combat mechanisms, the “Formula” Persona again well-groomed and improved compared to its predecessor Persona 5, on the platform of Persona 3 root. The game retains the skill sets of characters, enemies, and personas of both the main character and the SEES members (excluding DLC packs).

Other familiar mechanics with the series Persona also appear in the version Persona 3 Reload this time: hit weak points to get more turns through the 1 More mechanism, tweak skills through the Fusion mechanism – combine 2 Personas to create new Personas at will, and special powerful Personas can only be collected through Advanced Fusion of 3 or more Personas.

Through interaction with the rest of the members and translation of the storyline, players can “awaken” the potential of the rest of the SEES members and unlock an entirely new Persona for them, with upgraded stats.

Each “block” of Tartarus will be guarded by any number of tough bosses, and players will be rewarded with special equipment and costumes every time they kill bosses and climb to the treasure level.

Depth in the gameplay of Persona 3 It’s free, as the Tartarus fumbling experience is as engaging as ever, and the boss fights on each full moon night are generally of relatively consistent quality. But with the gameplay fighting in Persona 3 The original is a summary version of the versions Shin Megami Tensei earlier, and also the simplest in… All 5 titles Persona (Surely many veteran players are obsessed with Marakarm in Persona 2 capable of countering “standard” Almighty damage). But when the original “compensates” for its shortcomings with difficulty, the Persona 3 Reload “Compensate” with very interesting mechanisms.

First of all, Theurgy, these are powerful ultimate skills almost like Magatsuhi in Shin Megami Tensei V. These skills use not health or mana, but through “charging” Theurgy during the game by attacking or launching skills. For the main character, these Theurgy skills are a “rehash” of the powerful Fusion Spell mechanism in the original, but more freely and flexibly.

SEES members are also “granted” one (or two in Koromaru’s case) powerful Theurgy skills with beautiful visual effects, further reinforcing each member’s specific role.

Besides finding Tartarus and fighting bosses, the main character can also do Elizabeth’s quest to unlock certain rewards such as healing items, skill cards or even clothes and equipment.

Sometimes, players can also unlock special powerful equipment and costumes through doing quests for Elizabeth such as finding items, combining Persona or sidequests that are quite long and interesting.

One more addition of Persona 3 Reload is the replacement of the Monad Block with the wings of the mystical Monad Door, with each sub-boss guarding special treasures used to make weapons. Occasionally, players will also encounter Monad Passages that contain extremely impressive treasures such as costumes, equipment and materials for weapon making, but with especially difficult bosses.

It doesn’t stop there, Persona 3 Reload also brings special improvements that make the gameplay experience even more “deep” and “already” such as Persona Gift, Combat Characteristics, the application of the Baton Pass mechanism in Persona 5,…

These additions and improvements alone will make killing the Shadow in Persona 3 Reload becomes extremely smooth and attractive, but ATLUS’s team of artists continues to “launch” in this part, with a stylish and beautiful combat interface.

Explosive and creative art choices such as the silhouette of the character switch to 2D as they choose skills, emphasizing the animation with the gun to the head, the confident and fluent animations when they “exchange” with each other, the beautiful “finish” interfaces clearly express the personality of each character. ATLUS once again “outdid itself” by making such an incredibly smooth and beautiful turn-based immersive experience through a harmonious and accentuated combination of character animation and interface.

When the original “compensates” for its shortcomings by difficulty, then the Persona 3 Reload “Compensate” with very interesting mechanisms

The interface makes the combat mechanics more beautiful, simple menus (menus) such as saving the game, checking the character status, checking the relationship status are also beautiful, making the writer “lost” forever in them without getting bored.

Persona 3 Reload

Full moon, full life

A mysterious disaster occurred 10 years ago in the port of Tatsumi Island, claiming the lives of the protagonist’s parents. The boy has now become a 16-year-old boy, and returned to the tragic site to attend Gekkoukan High School. The port of Tatsumi Island is haunted by a strange phenomenon called Dark Hour, and its victims are “captivated” by strange creatures called Shadows, turning them into “emotionless symptoms”.

The protagonist joins Fuuka, Mitsuru, Akihiko, Yukari, Junpei, Ken, Koromaru, Shinjiro and Ikutsuki Sensei – in the name of the SEES squad – working together to stop the Shadows, find out the truth of the Dark Hour and put an end to this evil phenomenon forever.

Persona 3 Reload

Besides the main storyline, players can explore side stories by meeting and interacting with Social Links scattered throughout the game at certain times of the day. Not only do they carry unique stories, these social links also correspond to an Arcana in a Tarot deck, and completing a milestone in Social Link also gives players more experience when creating new personas corresponding to that Arcana.

Version Persona 3 Reload also add certain interactions with SEES members. These interactions not only “unlock” important skills for the respective members, but also tell the player more about each character, creating a bigger and deeper picture for these characters.

Persona 3 Reload

But the brightest point of the game’s story has always been the main plot.

The main plot of Persona 3 The original is almost preserved in the original Persona 3 Reload, with certain episodes expanded or streamlined for a smoother narrative experience.

These changes may not be significant, but it’s important to experience the story of excellence again. Persona 3 with a more beautiful graphics background, with detailed 3D cutscenes.

Persona 3 Reload

Persona 3 Reload Tell that story with better, more modern tools, so that the emotions of each year are now even deeper

Certain plot details are also cleverly told with creative interfaces and perspectives to deepen the many emotional moments that the game brings.

Persona 3 tells a poignant and emotional story from 20 years ago, and the version Persona 3 Reload Tell that story with better, more modern tools, so that the emotions of each year are now even deeper.

Excluding “The Answer” of Persona 3 FES or the storyline of the heroine in Persona 3 Portable, then version Persona 3 Reload is the best version for players to experience “The Journey” at the moment.


Persona 3 Reload

The last grains of grit…

Naturally Persona 3 Reload There are still little “grains” that eventually need to be improved to make the playing experience more complete.

With the third part being the first part of the social link mechanism to be applied, a lot of social links are of relative quality… especially Social Link by Suemitsu and Tanaka. ATLUS has shown that they are not too rigid in telling their story Persona 3 with additions and changes in the original storyline, as well as the correction of outdated elements such as transphobic jokes. But the game’s “worst” social links remain unchanged at all, which is a somewhat significant omission.

Persona 3 Reload

The second minus point is that not all ATLUS changes will make the game better. Like turning a dormitory into a place… too pure to make the location somewhat too artificial, or the way some bosses are arranged diminishes their scariness like the Lovers boss.

the game’s “worst” social links remain unchanged at all, which is a somewhat significant omission

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