First LookShin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable

Developer: Atlus USA, Inc
Publisher: Atlus USA, Inc

Release Date: 07/06/2010


Genre: rpg
Setting: alternate


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. P3p_screens_02

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 told what happens. I don’t know if this is true for story sequences. Load times also seem fast. There is an install function that should decrease them even more than its PS2 sibling. P3p_screens_05

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

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About the Author, Evan Csir (A.K.A Psychphan)

Hi, my name is Evan. I’m an RPGaholic and hard core gamer. I graduated from college in 2007 with a BA in English (Gasp!) and psychology. I’ve been playing video games since the age of three. My first game, ever, was Super Mario Bros. So yeah, I’m pretty darn good at this video game stuff. And persistant. I like RPGs the best because I can look at it as literature. This is especially true for the Shin Megami Tensei games and The Digital Devil Saga. I enjoy horror games due to their psychological nature, like Silent Hill 3. I don’t like FPS or anything that relies too much on the first-person perspective; they make me dizzy and nauseous. Ironically, I love Metroid Prime and Half-Life 2. Hmm... Where’s Alanis Morissette when you need her? I really like it when games are creative and technically pull everything off. In this case, my favorite game is Ico. I loved it due to the presentation and the way the characters interacted with each other. Yorda and Ico didn’t speak the same language, so they had to rely on gestures and other forms of communication. I also occasionally enjoy bouts of Mario Kart: Double Dash and Smash Bros. Melee. Overall, I’m rather boring. I stay home, read my homework, occasionally write, fool around on the computer, eat, and sleep. Except for those days that I travel to school. I sometimes am inspired to write poetry (if you really want to read it, just ask). I play piano from time to time. And my favorite book genres are psychology books, occasionally poetry, and most of all, mysteries. And I’m “addicted” to herbal teas and Starbucks coffee.