Also available on PlayStation Portable
This is a long fucking game. This might be the longest game I've ever played in terms of straight main storyline because the way the game is set up, there's not really side stuff you can skip, at least not from the perspective of saving time. The only thing that really changes how long it takes you to finish the game is based on how much grinding you do, how slowly you read dialogue, and how much time you spending dying against and retrying boss battles. That's not to say that it's a bad game, though. On the contrary, this game keeps the Shin Megami Tensei series' record of excellence. I, personally, much preferred Persona 4, but Persona 3 is still one of the premier JRPGs on the Playstation 2 (and that's saying something), and it's not a game that any PS2 owner should miss.
You play as the main character as a junior at Gekkokan High School. Then magical bad shit happens at midnight and oh no, let's spend the next 100 hours fighting demons or whatever. Along the way, you discover the magic of friendship and use it to beat the unbeatable monster demon god whatever thing. Pretty standard JRPG plot for the most part. What makes Persona 3 interesting (as is the case with most of the SMT series) are the details to the plot and the dark, foreboding atmosphere that permeates the whole storyline all the while juxtaposed against the extremely average and generally happy backdrop of high school.
The combat is pretty similar to Persona 4 (that's the only other game in the Persona sub-series that I've played, so most of my comparisons go back to that), though it felt a little less refined in my opinion. That's not surprising given that Persona 4 was the sequel to this game, but I felt I'd point it out in case, like me, anyone's first exposure to the Persona sub-series was Persona 4 Golden on the Vita. What really makes this game shine, however, is not the combat or the dungeon crawling (200+ floors of repetitive tower got REALLY old REALLY fast for me) but the character development and the social links that you form in the game. It's especially great if you like waifus. You're only supposed to have one waifu, I think, but I ended up with two (almost three). I just waited until one social link was 10 before going after the next. By the end of the game, I ended up with two romantic interests at 10, one at 9, one at 7, and one at 6. #pimpin #donthatetheplayerhatethegame #yoloswagginsandthefellowshipofthebling
If you play FES (as opposed to the original PS2 release or Persona 3 Portable on PSP), you get the epilogue chapter "The Answer." I played through this, as well, though by the time I finally finished the main game ("The Journey"), I was beyond sick of it. It's definitely not a bad epilogue, but it definitely isn't up to par with the rest of the game in terms of story. For the most part, it gave the overall story some finality and tied up a few loose ends that were left at the end of the main game, but it also felt a bit like a sequel that really shouldn't have been made but was rushed out for the sake of money. You know what I mean? Like Halo 5 or Bioshock 2 - it's not like they're an affront to goodness, but the previous games wrapped up the story well, and you're really not doing the game any favors by adding a continued storyline.
Anyway, I know I've been a bit critical of it here, but that's just because it's SO easy to find a million and one things that are amazing about Persona 3, so I wanted to show some of what I felt were negatives about it. It absolutely IS an amazing game, and I think every JRPG/SMT fan needs to play it at least one, be it on PS2 or PSP (I, personally, recommend FES on PS2). All in all, though, I thought Persona 4 was better and am SUPER hyped for Persona 5 next year.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.