Back in 2008, I was a happy teenager who just had gotten himself a PlayStation 2 and saw a lot of games to be played in the system. I was happy, or so I thought. My oldest brother began playing this game called Persona 3, which at the time I found to be a little silly and guess what? He stopped playing it only for me to give it a chance and falling in love with the game, with its series and with the RPG genre in general. Persona 3 meant a lot to me yesteryear and after playing this Remake, Demake, Port of Persona 3 for the PSP, Persona 3 still means a lot to me.
Following the staple of the series of having a silent protagonist that finds himself or herself into situations of life and death, demons and whatnot, P3P is but a ported yet improved and enhanced version of the original P3 experience, this time around featuring the chance to play as a female protagonist, changing the social links mostly and other things with it. After one or two hours of gameplay, you will find yourself into a story filled with mystery and suspense that only gets better the more you play it. But is this the definitive version of Persona 3? No. Is it a remake or a demake or port or enhanced version? Let's find out.
OK, first things first. As a PSP title, the porting process was bound to bring some changes to how the game will look, and it did. One notable change at first glance is the absence of cut scenes after the opening one. Next is the visual novel style which, thanks to the gameplay that Persona 3 introduced in itself, does not look like a visual novel at all. Now, everything is in 2D outside exploring dungeons and when facing enemies in battle. The 2D sections were already covered and they do a nice job. As for the 3D, it also does its job right. I am still amazed by how the final boss managed to hold up on the handheld system.
This is where the doubt of whether this game is the definitive version or not, and it isn't. P3P mixes the best from Persona 3 FES and from Persona 4, yeah, a sequel. Don't get me wrong, all these implementations help P3P feel more dynamic to play on the go, but the balance between what's new and what needed to be cut just does not feel right. I guess that is why Persona 4 Golden never made to the PSP, not to have cut content but rather, more content. Back to P3P, its major inclusion is the ability to play as a female protagonist. Ever wanted to have husbandos in a Persona game? This is your chance and one that does not shy away. I wasted no time and quickly became Akihiko's girlfriend, plus having him in my party and controlling him and the other really felt amazing.
I am not really sure how many new tracks were added to this version, but I know that the new ones are really good. The cast is back for the new story elements (if you play as the female protagonist, mostly) and that more than encourages you to have a husbando this time around. P3P looks and listens to incredible well, and the battle theme Wiping All Out will be stuck in your head in no time. In the end, the exclusion of cut scenes hurts, but the team managed to have the original cast going by the script in visual novel style, and that's admirable.
I have played every Persona game except for the dancing ones, and when it comes to remakes or enhanced ports within the series, this has been my first one. P3P feels more like an original port for the PSP rather than anything else, and while that can be seen as something negative, it clearly isn't. I knew the series thanks to this game and since then I have been recommending newcomers to start with Persona 3 FES, but now that I have played this version, I can recommend both. By doing this, newcomers will experience a little bit of what Persona 4 has in store for them, and that's a good thing. Persona 4 is my favorite game, by the way.
P3P was a trip down memory lane as well as a return to form for me. I can't wait to play Persona 4 Golden now.
4 out of 5
Next time in Exber's blog: Retro Review - Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy
Thanks for reading.