hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Persona 3: FES

Destructoid Review: Persona 3: FES

5:38 PM on 04.30.2008 // Dale North

More than half a year ago, Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 was released, and its intriguing story and characters, high production values, and gun-to-head action had gamers dusting off their PlayStation 2s. We played it and loved it. Not too long after, it seemed like everyone was scrambling to find their own copy of the game, and the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series and Atlus enjoyed the spotlight.

It wasn't long before word got out that Japanese gamers were enjoying a sort of "director's cut" called Persona 3: FES, which contained a new 30-hour chapter called Episode Aegis. American fans looked to Atlus with puppy dog eyes, and in late February, after a bit of teasing, Persona 3: FES was announced for the US. They decided to include the original game and the side story on one disc, and released it as a "thank you" to fans for the price of $29.99.

We take a look at this new package in our review. Is this disc worth a purchase for those that already own Persona 3? Should new fans start with FES? And, what the hell does FES stand for anyway?

Hit the jump to find out. 

[Note: As we have already reviewed Persona 3, please refer to our original review for details on the story and gameplay. This review focuses on the additional content added in FES.] 

Persona 3: FES (PS2)
Developed by Atlus
Published by Atlus
Released on April 22
, 2008

Atlus says that FES stands for "festival," and Persona 3: FES is like a festival of gaming value. Not only are you getting the somewhat hard to find Persona 3 in its entireity, but you're also getting the second standalone game, Episode Aegis. On top of that, FES is a sort of expansion pack for the original game, which adds more quests, events, costumes, several more Persona, and a "hard" [Ed's note: Wasn't it already hard enough?] difficulty mode.

The original story, Episode Yourself, and this new addition, Episode Aegis, have been renamed The Journey and The Answer respectively. Those with a save file from Persona 3 have the option of loading this file when starting the The Journey. This allows you to play through the original story with the added benefit of keeping some of the hard work you put into the 70+ hour RPG. You won't with everything, but those registered Persona and maxed social links will still be there.

The Journey isn't exactly the same as Persona 3. There's new character interactions throughout, and they move around quite a bit more than they used to. If you're revisiting the world of Persona, do yourself a favor and forget about where you used to find in-game characters; they're probably not there anymore. The dialogue and questions have also changed. Overall, you're still getting the same story as the original game, but the new items, costumes, and small changes keep things lively for repeat players. Wait until you see Yukari's "high-cut armor!"

In The Answer, you play as Aigis, the increasingly human android developed by the Kirijo Group. Aigis somehow gains the same ability the main character had in The Journey, and can now summon multiple types of Persona. It seems that the whole cast of Persona 3 is stuck back in the dorm, unable to leave. They somehow have become caught in a time loop, forcing them to live out one very long March 31st. They're guided by Metis, an android sister that Aigis never knew she had. She tells them that a distortion called the Abyss of Time has appeared underneath the dorm. The SEES team sets out to uncover its secrets as well as find a way out of the time loop.

Gameplay remains similar to the original title in The Answer. You'll still guide your team of four Persona users through very Tartarus-like dungeons in the Abyss of Time. In them, you'll still battle and summon Persona against Shadows, eventually making your way to epic (and long) boss battles. 

The main difference is that the difficulty has been increased overall. Battles are a bit tougher this time around, and healing and replenishment items are much harder to come by. If you learned anything in the original game, it's that a bit of grinding is required before boss battles. There are fewer boss encounters in The Answer, but level grinding is that much more important to conquer each of them.  And there is no Persona Compendium in The Answer. You can still mix and match Persona to your heart's content, but don't expect any do-overs; no option is provided. 

As far as the battle system goes, there are several improvements. There's new weapons that can be formed from Persona, new items, and even a customizable music playlist for your dungeon crawling pleasure.

Just as in Persona 3, you give general commands to the rest of your party, and it's ultimately up to them on which specific actions they'll take. It used to be that sometimes your own party would leave you up a creek with bad "choices," but it seems that they've made your team a bit smarter since then. For example, if you learn that a certain enemy will fall to ice magic, your team will now be smart enough to use ice magic every time, opting to knock down your characters right off the bat. They'll also be more attentive to your healing needs this time around. Granted, your team (and the AI) will still occasionally throw out the unhelpful command. 

Persona 3: FES still looks and sounds as great as the original did. The battle and map graphics are sharp and detailed, and the same classy and hip design sense makes it back into this title. The designs for the new Persona are as messed up as ever, and the new characters, like Metis, look great. And wait until you see the last boss -- talk about weird! On top of all of this, The Answer sports several anime sequences, including a fantastic finale. All of this is set to several new tunes and couple of nifty remixes of familiar old ones.   

Almost nothing could be said about The Answer's story that wouldn't spoil it for anyone reading this review. Just know that you'll fight most of the time, with very little character interaction. This time around, there's no school to attend to, as you're stuck in the dorm. The story unfolds in pieces after each major battle, and you'll be hit with a couple of unexpected plot twists before it all ends. In the end, The Answer does a wonderful job of tying up loose ends from the original game.

Persona 3: FES manages to take one of last year's best RPGs and make it even better, trumping the original with loads of gameplay and fantastic value.  For newcomers, a mere $30 buys them easily over 100 hours of impossibly engaging role-playing action, giving them an incredible price on what is probably the best RPGs for the PlayStation 2. And fans of Persona 3 will definitely want to pick this up to witness the satisfying conclusion to the story, as well as all of the stellar new content. Do not miss this game.

Score: 10.0 (Incredible. As close to perfection as we've yet seen in in the genre or gaming on the whole. A polished, unparalleled experience. )



Persona 3: FES - Reviewed by Dale North
Editor's Choice Award - Is it legal to marry a videogame? Because I want to be with this game every day for the rest of my life. It completes me. It is my soul mate.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DaleNorth Tips
I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

nanashi avatarnanashi
Wanna ask a question for tomorrow's PStoid? You still have time! While you're at it don't forget to ask one for Riobux too!!
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I caught a reflective mumbling about MGSV's open structure and how it doesn't sit well with me, to be published whenever I litter it with images.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, an article today got me thinking about this so without further ado, whats your favorite pokemon? This is mine:
Clarence Sheridan avatarClarence Sheridan
Winter is Coming and so is the new mobile game: “Frosty The Assassin” New Mobile Game coming soon... [img][/img]
SkarKrow avatarSkarKrow
I cast my little worm in to the pond for a topic to try to make a blog about today. I fish fish fish but nothing bites bites bites.
Perro avatarPerro
I cracked and bought Final Fantasy Dimensions on Android last night. Half off sounded like just the right price, though I wish this came out on 3DS or even the Vita but at least it gives me something to do on the porcelain throne!
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Coming soon in Mortal Kombat XXX DLC - HUMILITALITY [youtube][/youtube]
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Those N64-era THQ wrestling games have actually held up really well over the years. Take that, nostalgia!
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
Underhero a 2d side scrolling rpg on indie gogo
extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Persona 3: FES

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -