More than two years ago, Atlus released a very particular game. It was a game that resonated with several gamers. That game was the original Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 for the PlayStation 2. Now Atlus is working on Persona 3 Portable for the PSP.
Persona 3 Portable has the same plot as its console sibling: A bunch of high school students know about a secret threat to the world. Shadows, strange monsters that roam a time of day known as “the Dark Hour,” hunt down people and cause massive problems. These high school students have the power to stop it using a force known as “persona.” What makes this version unique is somewhat simple: the inclusion of a female protagonist and the social links she makes with the people around her. In other words, some of her links are different than the male protagonist. For example, Junpei is her first link.
If you’re wondering, “Social Links? What are those?” By becoming more connected with people that channel certain arcanas, your personas can become more potent when you fuse them in the Velvet Room. Just spend time with that person to do so. Remember, you have to balance your need of being around people and exploring Tartarus.
Graphically, Persona 3 has changed for the portable version. Although it retains its signature cel-shaded style, exploration of the city could be considered streamlined as you literally look at a picture of the location. You don’t wander around. You “click” on hotspots. You can “teleport” anyplace within a building. When you interact into a character, you watch the action unfold before your eyes. The main thing I noticed is that you are
Sound wise, everything seems to sound just like its PS2 counterpart. The same music pipes in while exploring the city and the Dark hour. Combat seems to have retained its odd music and solid fighting sounds. What remains the same is the awesome voice acting from the original.
Speaking of combat, it’s exactly the same as what people loved in the first place. Exploit enemies’ weaknesses to earn extra turns and cause massive damage. However, you have complete control over your allies. And you do not have to ask them to heal the party.
Overall, Persona 3 Portable seems to be shaping up nicely. The whole “hotspot” thing seems a bit worrying to me, but that’s because I fell in love with the way the original game flowed. I worry that the game’s strong and unique narrative will become lost. However, this could be forgiven due to the portable nature of the game and the preservation of the gameplay that made Persona 3 Portable enjoyable. With the information presented, it is probably best you judge for yourself. Persona 3 Portable will be released July 6. For more information, visit http://www.atlus.com/p3p/.