Known as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, the original game was released in 2008, it’s been a while. It received an extension sometime later, before finally having a first remake on PSP. Each version has its own little novelties, but they all offer the same thing at the core. Then comes the announcement of Persona 3 Reload, the ultimate remake that aims to bring it up to the same level as the fifth episode, while allowing a wider audience to fully enjoy it. The result is more than convincing, but not totally. A well-deserved remake Making something new with something old is the big trend. We are served with remasters and remakes in all directions, sometimes for the better, but also for the worse. Fortunately, Persona 3 aims high. In reality, it even reaches it easily. The original material was certainly solid. Colorful characters, a dark and engaging plot, and abundant meta-reflection… If there is a game that deserved a remake, it’s this one. At the time, it was a masterclass and today, it still works just as well, even if Persona 5 set the bar very high. There’s no point beating around the bush, the student will never reach the rank of the master. Persona 5 soars high and P3 Reload just can’t measure up. Nevertheless, it sticks pretty close to it. The reason for this is that the staging feels outdated. As a remake, EVERYTHING has been completely reviewed. Gone are the fixed camera angles and point-and-click style of the school days, now, as in P5, you can move freely. The camera takes its time and you can explore the world of Persona 3 from new angles that were previously inaccessible. That’s really cool and it totally changes the game. We explore, and we indulge in these new fine and successful graphics. The downside is that the narrative staging hasn’t changed (with a few exceptions). As a result, the writing seems much less refined than Persona 5, which is openly a model for this remake, let’s be clear. If they were going to start from scratch, a polish on the narration, details, and the way events unfold wouldn’t have hurt. Here, Persona 3 shows its age, even though the reinvigoration offered by this Reload version is undeniable. Not to mention that some surprises await and will enrich the whole experience, but I won’t spoil you on that. A gentle start High school student by day… As in the original, we will have to juggle between school life, friends, romances, classes, exams… and nocturnal monster hunting. The daytime phase is purely narrative gameplay. We explore various locations (shopping center, high school, shopping street…) and we will build connections with other people, both main characters and others. The goal here is to improve our social statistics, which will have a direct impact on our psyche and therefore, our Persona. By chatting with classmates, working at the restaurant in the evening, going to karaoke, or following our classes, we improve at all levels, reinforcing our ties and abilities. Atlus has also added a few new activities to do with our classmates (gardening, reading, etc.). The recipe works, and while the days may sometimes seem similar, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do. The days are generally divided into three large parts: the morning/early afternoon when classes are held, the end of the day after school where you can do whatever you want, and the evening where you have the choice to stay in the real world or to venture into the massive nocturnal tower during the Dark Hour. The school is vast. It’s up to you to decide, but you’ll need to take into account the calendar, since the days go by and have their own set of events in the real world or the other dimension. If you have trouble choosing, you can always check out choices made by other players online, a feature present in P5 but totally new in Persona 3. In any case, the recipe works wonders, it no longer needs to prove itself. If many of you discovered it with Persona 5, you will absolutely not be disoriented this time, since the influence of the latter is strongly felt. But Persona has always been like this, anyway, P3 was and still is in this remake. This means two things: first, that fans will very clearly be hooked. The second is that you will have to deal with the general slowness of progression. Persona 3 Reload takes its time. While it gives access to most of its mechanics more quickly than P5 does, for example, for those unfamiliar with the genre, it can be frustrating. It’s a game that makes no compromises and has an idea, a vision of what it wants to offer, and it sticks to it. It’s not a bad thing, far from it, you just need to know what you’re getting into to fully enjoy it. A street we will often pass by. …monster hunters at night The nocturnal phases are the action part of the game. This is where we will be led to face enemies in groups of 10 while trying to shed light on what is really happening during the Dark Hour. Here, Persona 3 once again opts for the dungeon crawler, with the difference that we have only one destination: the Tartarus, a huge tower that only appears at night. Most of the time, in the evening, we will have the choice to assault the building by taking colleagues with us. The dungeon is a succession of floors to explore. The corridors change with each session and we are therefore pushed to go further and further, trying to unlock a teleporter (which serves as a checkpoint) to resume exploration from a higher floor. On the way, we will of course face a multitude of Shadows and a few bosses, generally marking a milestone to be crossed. On paper, it’s nice and easy to understand, but in practice, we’re not going to beat around the bush, it’s incredibly redundant. Tick-tock… from here, everything goes wrong… The Tartarus of this Persona 3 Reload is nothing to write home about, certainly not what you’re used to in Persona 5….
Meet Sarah Jensen, a dynamic 30-year-old American web content writer, whose expertise shines in the realms of entertainment including film, TV series, technology, and logic games. Based in the creative hub of Austin, Texas, Sarah’s passion for all things entertainment and tech is matched only by her skill in conveying that enthusiasm through her writing.