I am so sick of hearing the comment "P3 needs a way to directly control my allies! I keep dying because I can't control my allies!" that I decided to make this quick and easy guide to doing just that in Persona 3. Because you can, and it's very easy to do.
On Minato's turn, select the Tactics chamber on the battle menu. Press X. You will see a list of possible commands. What follows are their names and effects;
Act Freely: This is the default option. Each character will act according to their own set values and will try to take the best possible advantage of their inherent skillset. Most of the time, this option is sufficient.
Heal/Support: The ally will prioritize healing and support spells over any kind of offensive maneuver. If anyone on your team is even slightly hurt and the character under this command has a healing spell, they will use it. If everyone is sufficiently healthy, the character will attempt to use spells like Tarukaja and Sukunda to buff/debuff yours or your enemies' stats. If all support spells are active and everyone is healed to full, the character will prioritize normal attacks over other spells.
Note that this can force certain characters to do things that aren't normally possible/probable for them under Act Freely. Characters like Junpei and Koromaru who have no healing spells will attempt to use Medicine if you are hurt and their support spells have been cast.
Assign Target: The ally will prioritize attacks that will deal the most damage possible to the selected target. Generally, this means they will cast their strongest spell or ability on the selected target. Note that a character will generally not use skills that are known to repel, absorb, resist, or null unless all of their attack types do one of the above, in which case they will attack with whatever style of attack will cause the least personal harm.
Example: You Assign Target Ken to attack an enemy who is resistant to Pierce and Repels Lightning. Ken will always attempt to attack with his spear or will Vile Assault. If the targeted enemy Nulls Pierce, he will do the same thing, he will not Pass his turn under this condition.
Also note that when the targeted enemy dies, the ally will revert to Act Freely.
Conserve SP: Probably the most useless tactic, especially given that you have to earn it by beating the Priestess boss, the ally will prioritize skills that use HP and normal attacks over any kind of SP-using skill. This will force item-using characters to use them in lieu of spells of the same nature(Yukari will Anti-Charm instead of Charmdi, Aigis will use Medicine instead of Diarahan if she has it), and will force characters with both spells and HP abilities to always use their HP-Abilities. SP flows like water in P3, even on hard mode, and stopping the use of SP is often signing your death warrant, as normal attacks rarely win battles by themselves. Stay away from this.
Knock Down: Earned after defeating the Emperor and Empress, this tactic instructs allies to attack enemy weaknesses and to try to get critical hits to knock enemies down. This is probably the single most useful tactic in the game along with Heal/Support. Under most normal circumstances, allies will prioritize hitting knocked down enemies because it's a guaranteed hit and the enemy's defenses are lowered in that state. However, this means that your allies will rarely earn you All-Out attacks, which are the key to surviving for very long periods of time inside Tartarus. This tactic fixes that. Allies will use single-target spells to snipe individual enemies that are weak to the given spell being cast, in an attempt to knock them down and score extra turns. In the case of Kormaru and Ken, if an enemy is weak to Mudo or Hama they will simply attempt to outright kill all enemies weak to their element. If no enemies present are weak to the character's element, they will attempt a normal attack or HP ability with the highest critical hit chance in order to try to score a crit and knock down an enemy. If all enemies present are immune to criticals or to the character's attack type, they will pass their turn. If all enemies are already knocked down and for some reason you didn't make an all-out attack, the ally under this tactic will pass their turn.
Full Assault: This tactic is learned after defeating Heirophant and Lovers during the story. This tactic will cause the selected ally to simply choose the spell that will cause the most damage to the enemy group, and they will cast it. Under no circumstances will the character do anything other than attack. Even if an enemy Repels all their attack types, the character will continue their assault(And they will probably get killed too). However, if the enemy party contains a mix of resistances, the ally will refrain from doing things that will hurt them until the only option is an attack that will hurt them.
Example: Koromaru is under Full Assault. There is one enemy who is weak to Fire and another who Repels Fire, Slash, and Mudo(Koro's three elements). Even though technically Maragidyne would do the most possible damage, since it would hit two targets, it would hurt Koro, so he instead casts Agidyne on the first enemy. On the next turn, if the first enemy is dead, Koro will make a physical attack on the enemy, who will then repel the attack and hurt him. You should have changed the tactic!
Please note: The game operates under the assumption that status ailments are powerful spells. So if under this command, characters like Mitsuru might forgo casting spells like Bufudyne if an enemy resists Ice, and instead will attempt Marin Karin or Tantarafoo. This also happens under act freely, since the game assumes that an enemy under a status ailment is the same as a dead enemy.
Same Target: This tactic becomes available after you defeat Justice and Chariot. This command is essentially the same as Assign Target, except the ally will attack the exact same target that Minato attacks. If Minato attacks all enemies, the ally will attempt to do so as well. If the ally CANNOT do so, he will attack as if he were under the Act Freely command. This command does not end if the enemy attacked by Minato dies, the ally will simply Act Freely until Minato attacks a new target.
Attack Fallen: Another fairly useless tactic, and the last one you earn. You get it after defeating Hermit. Under this tactic, allies will attempt to hit enemies that have been knocked down, and will always use whatever will deal the absolute maximum damage to them. Honestly, this isn't much different then act freely, as most allies prioritize hitting knocked down enemies anyway, which is honestly something you don't want to do. Ignore this command.
Stand By: The humblest of orders, this command an ally to do pass his or her turn, performing no actions whatsoever. This is a lot more useful than it sounds. Utilized with other tactics, you can perform complex maneuvers, like having one ally knock an enemy down, and the following ally pass their turn, thereby forcing the knocked-down enemy to waste his turn getting up. You can also do this to prevent allies from doing things that would hurt them, like attacking an enemy who has cast Tetrakarn.
And last, but not least, the tactic that isn't really a tactic but kinda is:
Auto-Battle: By hitting Triangle at any point during battle, you can automatically set every single character to make a normal attack. By clicking Triangle again, you can cancel it to revert everybody back to their chosen commands. This can be a life-saver. If an enemy casts Tetrakarn, and you have one ally moving before Minato's turn, you can quickly press Triangle twice to force your ally to attack and get hit, nulling the Tetrakarn, then cancel the Auto-battle so that Minato can make an attack. You can also use this to force allies to stop casting spells, to force an ally who is Heal/Supporting to make an attack that would kill a final enemy, and any number of other useful tactics. Master the use of this.
Ken used tactics to wipe the floor with this shadow. If you use them to, you can do the same!
And there you have it. By using the Tactics chamber to set your allies actions for the turn, you can 100% predict every action that your allies take in battle, allowing you full control over every minute part of combat in Persona 3. Used in conjunction with Auto-Battle and the turn order viewer, you should never die against random shadows, not even on hard mode.
Alright, alright. Everybody is excited about a third edition of Persona 3 coming out. Everyone is ecstatic to spend more money on what is essentially the same exact game they've probably already bought twice. Whatever. That's not what this blog is about. As a person who played both releases of the game extensively, and as somebody who loves the games mostly for the ideas and symbology contained within the game, P3P worries me. A lot of the changes being made (And a lot of the "expectations" of the fans) are affecting this part of the game, arguably the very things that made P3 so special in the first place, and nobody cares because OMG THERE MIGHT BE LESBIANS. I just want to get some of my feelings on the matter out into the open. So here we go.
Also, it should go without saying that this is going to contain VERY heavy spoilers for P3, so don't read ahead if you're still playing through.
Now, my major beef with P3P stems from one rather drastic change, and it's the one that's getting the most talk around the internet. It's the one that's getting advertised the most as well. If you haven't guessed, the change I'm talking about is the ability to play through the game as a female character.
IT'S HER FAULT!
Now before you start calling me a filthy sexist, let me say that objectively I have no problem with a girl protagonist. I played P2, and Maya was awesome. I respect that some people would rather play as a girl instead of a guy. In fact, on the surface level I'm intrigued by how they plan to implement a girl into the game as it stands, and in fact I hope I'm jumping the gun on this and everything is going to work out fine with her.
If they can make it work.
That's the part I'm a little worried about. A lot of the major themes presented in Persona 3 require the main character to be male to make their impact. Even without delving deeply into the background themes present in the game, a lot of characters and a lot of scenes are going to need to receive massive overhauls for them to even make sense. Pharos and Ryoji as characters can't exist as they are in the game anymore. They were designed the way they are because Minato had held them inside his body for 10 years, and their physical shadow bodies had adapted pieces of his humanity, which is why they look like Minato and why they're male. Removing Minato and putting a girl in his place would change their entire characters, and not just physically. We have to remember that the mother of the shadows, Nyx, is a female. And the role reversal of a Male carrying a female around inside him for 10 years and then "birthing" her as a male child has implications that don't exist when you reverse the roles. Nyx's entire design changes, and a large part of the meaning behind the battle changes too.
These three were designed with each other in mind. It doesn't work when you remove any one of them!
And let's not even start with how so much of the story hinges on how the SEES team interacts with Minato. As a retelling of the Fool's tale interpretation of the Tarot deck, changing the male lead for a female lead destroys most of the themes that were so masterfully woven into the original script, not to mention all the events that hinge on the guys vs. the girls or simply how the characters react to one another as friends and classmates. I can't go into every single instance used in the game, because that would take about 100 blogs more then I have time to write, but a good example that jumps to mind is the scene of meeting Aigis on the beach. A lot of people have suggested that, oh, well instead of going on operation Babe hunt, as a female protag you would simply go on the nature walk with the girls instead. Which is fine, but it means that ultimately she wouldn't even MEET Aigis, because it was through going to the beach that day that Aigis even sensed Minstao's presence. The scene would have to be changed dramatically for the event to take place, and it wouldn't be nearly as powerful as it was in the original script. In fact, the interactions with Aigis in general would be much more strange and forced unless they were completely revamped, but as I said before, I don't even begin to ahve enough time to delve into all THAT.
With Junpei and Akihiko as the only guys, this scene would have never taken place. Remember, it was Minato who ultimately got Akihiko involved.
And while we're on the subject, most of the S.Links don't make sense if Minato isn't present. The most obvious change is in the romances, which really don't make sense with a female lead. And I know, I know, HURF DURF THEY CAN MAKE HER LESBIAN, but again, what kind of effect would that have on the outcome of things or the very characters themselves? That kind of change would have drastic effects on how the characters would have to act, as well as on the references made to the Fool's Journey. A lot of people have also suggested that they could just "switch the S.Links around", which again doesn't work! Junpei can't become a datable character because a HUGE part of his story is the fact that he falls in love with Chidori. And besides, he's the Magician link, which Kenji already fills. Akihiko's spot is already covered by Hidoshi(Besides there not being enough extra story to cover him on an S.Link path), Ken is covered by Chihiro(See Akihiko), and a Koromaru S.Link would just be silly(Despite how awesome and amazing Koromaru is). Besides that, the current roster of S.Links already makes sense in terms of the Fool's Journey; altering them in any way would destroy that part of the meaning behind the experience. Even if nothing is swapped around or altered, we're also presented with impossible situations, like the Chariot S.Link which involves the -BOYS- sports teams. Kazushi can no longer be the Chariot, Mamoru can't be the Star, Kenji isn't interested in girls his own age, Nozomi's using you to emotionally replace his dead younger brother doesn't work, Chihiro can't overcome her fear of boys if she's hanging out with a girl, and so much more. In fact, nly a small handful of S.Links actually still work properly with a girl MC. The entire system would be turned on it's ear and wouldn't make sense.
Anyway, I've rambled on for long enough, and I think I've made my point. I know it sounds awful, I really do, but unless Atlus plans to load two completely different scripts and event trees onto that tiny UMD, inserting a girl MC option into the game is going to damage what the game stands for, and a good part of what made the game special. I love Atlus, and I love P3, and if they somehow manage to pull this off, I'll eat my words. But until I see otherwise, I have a problem with this version of the game.
Oh, and while I have everybody's attention, I'd really wish people would stop complaining about not being able to control your party members in P3. You have perfectly solid control over them, it's called the commands tab. When you set a command, you prioritize your character's AI settings, and for everybody but Mitsuru this means that they 90% prioritize a single specific spell. If you don't want Akihiko to use debuffs, set him to All-Out attack and he'll spam Zio spells or Phys attacks. Alternately, if you want him to debuff or use healing spells, set him to Heal/Support. The ONLY character that is difficult to control is Mitsuru because the game prioritizes Tentarafoo as a powerful spell(which it was in all the previous games where enemies could be weak to Nerve), so you can only guarantee her to use Bufu spells if you set her to Knock Down, which is a strategy you have to unlock through the game.
If you use the command tab properly, you can get every character to do exactly what you want every single time. In before somebody responds with "But I hate setting commands, I'd rather just select the spells myself" without realizing that both take exactly the same amount of button presses to do.
Looks like XSeed has struck again, this time picking up Media.Vision's DS game "RIZ-ZOAWD" under the name "The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road." As a fan of Media.Vision's other work (aka: Wild ARMS) and of pretty much anything related to the Wizard of OZ, this announcement has made me very excited. With this, Fragile, Avalon Code, Retro Game Challenge, Ragnarok Online, Flower, Sun, and Rain, and Ju-On all getting stateside releases thanks to them, XSeed is quickly making a rush for my favorite publisher, even above Atlus.
The look of this game has had me enchanted since I first laid eyes on it, and it was soul-crushing to know that it was likely never going to come out in the states and at the same time was far too text heavy to enjoy in Japanese. AND NOW IT'S BEING RELEASED I LOVE YOU XSEED. <3 <3 <3
I came. I love this game to pieces. I want to hug it and squeeze it and love it and call it George.
The remake looks to keep everything I liked about the old version but with a beautiful new coat of paint. Everything looks absolutely stunning; the scene near the opening where the party is running through what appears to be a giant stone aqueduct was breathtaking (especially given that this is a DS game!), and the new character models look just amazing in-game. I love the designs too, and it looks like you might be able to edit some of the appearances? I see at least two different iterations of the Male human, a Blue and Blonde haired one, and they both look pretty different. I guess that would make sense, so that you can tell your characters apart if you have multiples of the same class. I wonder if it's just set things or if you can actually edit the appearances.
And do I see skills? The battle clips show a Male human making multiple kinds of attacks with what looks like just a collection of swords; I have to wonder if they added a console-SaGa-style skill system or if that's just preset animations to the kazillion different weapons that were in the original game. One screen also shows what appears to be a SaGa combo? Color me excited.
A couple questions I have about the video though. Where is Dad? Dad was one of the best parts in the original game, and I'd think he would get showcased at least once in the video. Or at least Mask would, since Ashura shows up about halfway through and Mask was the entire reason you could beat him.
Also, what's with this whole "3 Goddesses that look suspiciously like the Moire sisters" thing? The original game only had two goddesses, Isis and Venus. I'm definitely intrigued by this development.
I've seen numerous blog and front-page posts about "THE US ISN'T GETTING FATAL FRAME 4" over the last few days, and I'm statrted to get sick of typing the sasme reply over and over, so I'm making this blog to hopefully shut everyone up.