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Persona 3 versus Persona 4  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. Which one do you like more?

    • Persona 3
      14
    • Persona 4
      4


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I’ll Burn my Dread and Then Face Myself

It’s 12 o’clock midnight and it’s time to get wild. *Entering the Dark Hour* Not that wild, please no. *Survives the onslaught* Perhaps it’s best to never stay up past 12AM, unless you’re playing a game as good as Persona 3 perhaps, it’s your responsibility in the end, but be wary of those shadows, they will not hesitate to finish you off.

Hey guys, I had many suggestions to play Persona 3 and after playing it for an entire month, I’ve seen it through to the end, so comes my review for it, I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing.

Here's Yuriofwind's video review of it if you wanna see how the game works.

Dreamless Dorm, Ticking Clock

Persona games, at least the ones I played are fixated on this “Midnight” thing, Persona 3 more so than 4. The story of Persona 3 takes place in a small town in Japan and focuses on the Special Extracurricular Execution Squad. (SEES for short) They are high school students who live on the same dorm, all with the same special power Persona which I’ll elaborate on later, their goal is to restore peace to the world by defeating the evil creatures known as shadows.

As the opening song states, this is indeed a dorm that rarely gets decent enough sleep. The only way to face the shadows is via the Dark Hour which takes place right when the clock hits 12AM, you know that time when people are usually asleep. The story takes place over little less than a year, the characters must defeat strong shadows every full moon so there’s a very important boss every month to advance the story.

One of the many things that make Persona special is the character development, almost every character in the game is three dimensional and flawed, they may have special powers but they’re just high school kids, they get tired in battle, they face difficulties in real life tasks, but most importantly, they face themselves (No pun intended) Junpei is a video game nerd who could care less about his grades and finds his Persona ability to be the only important thing he’s proficient with, Ken is a 10 year old kid despite being mature about it, and Aigis is a bloody robot. Every character in the game have very clear and well thought out story arcs and the resolution for those story arcs not only change the character but also changing gameplay, as they literally unlock a new Persona better matching to their current state. (Except the OP as hell MC he has access to multiple Personas) Akihiko is my favorite character, I mean he’s just too badass besides developing a relationship with his old friend Shinji.

But the story and plot are also interesting in their own right and have a lot of twists and turns like any good story has, the theme of the game is facing death, its inevitability and questioning life. The characters are very suited to the theme, as almost all of them have personal issues to deal with on top of being placed with the burden of saving the world. It’s a well written story filled with intriguing villains and grey morality. On par with that of Persona 4.

The Arcana is The Means by Which All Is Revealed

Persona 3 is a game that is very similar to Persona 4, or should I say the opposite, but it’s a very different game at the same time. A lot of the combat and gameplay aspects remain similar, there’s of course the Personas which are the series’ equivalent to Pokémon or Yu Gi Oh in a way, and they are spirits summoned from one’s heart into battle, each of them are related to the Tarot cards major arcana if you’re familiar with those cards.

The game’s combat system is similar to that of a typical turn based JRPG, each party member takes turns followed by the enemy (Unless the enemy has higher speed) and the battle pretty much continues on until one of either party is dead. Don’t die though, just like in most JRPGs boy do you lose progress and you get to watch that lovely 5 minute boss intro scene which thankfully didn’t happen to me all that much as I almost never died against the major story bosses, only once during the Wheel of Fortune/Strength boss. The tower bosses are a different case, we’ll talk about those in a while.

The only thing that makes combat in Persona different than other JRPGs are, well, Personas. These Personas each have different traits to them, different skills, strengths and weaknesses. And really one of the most fun parts of the game is Persona Fusion, fusion does what the name suggests, it literally fuses all different Personas you have to give you a single Persona that’s usually stronger depending on your fusion choice. Near the beginning, you get to fuse two or three Personas in a single fusion operation, and later on, you’ll be able to fuse even more than that. The cascade of synergy is the most exciting part of the game’s combat, managing a team of Personas on top of managing party members in battle adds flavor to the game.

A Different Twin

But what makes it very different to Persona 4? Well, it’s two major things among others, two of my biggest problems with this otherwise fantastic game. First of all, Tartarus. The game has only a single dungeon if you don’t count the very short pre major boss areas in which you mostly don’t do much, and that dungeon is Tartarus, a 264 floor tower that’s procedurally generated, just like Persona 4’s much more diverse procedural dungeons. You can progress in it a specific amount of stairs in each block, you’ll be able to explore it further every months, as blockades will disappear and allow you to progress further. And every now and then, you’ll reach a non-randomly generated floor that has a boss in it.

Tartarus is a very boring dungeon, it’s visually repetitive, it’s repetitive in its exploration and it’s just tedious. Persona 4 was able to hide it’s repetition under the mask of its diverse settings in those dungeons and the reason why you pretty much rarely feel the dungeons in Persona 4 is that they are on average 10 floors long, not 264. Alright, every block in Tartarus has vastly different aesthetics and slightly different music, but they’re mostly pretty boring in my opinion, the game’s combat system and trying out different Personas/Party members make it not as painful as it sounds but when your core central part of the plot, this insane tower that’s a labyrinth of death is really just a 264 floors with variation in about every 40 or so of them. That’s never a good thing to have in your game. I have to at least commend the developers for trying to be different, but you can do better than that, even if you wanna be different.

It doesn’t help that the tower bosses are usually cheap and uncreative, there are a lot of bosses in Tartarus that will just make you wanna throw the controller across your room, and others that are pathetically easy. The cheap ones have incredibly unpredictable attacks that stomp your party, sometimes in one hit if they’re weak to the ailment or are under leveled. If it weren’t for Akihiko and his debuffs, the battles would’ve been other levels of ridiculous, a couple of the bosses are just a case of having a good team and good Personas, but some have insane difficulty curves like the Sleeping Table which is a higher level boss than the ones after it in the freaking next block.

But really the biggest problem I have with this game and the other major difference from its sequel is the fact that party members cannot be manually controlled, and the AI is so stupid, the only way to make them semi-reliable is going to the tactics menu every now and then and order them to change their behavior, but that’s not nearly as efficient as controlling them yourself like you can in Persona 4. There were a lot of times when I lost a battle just because of a party member’s dumb actions like waking a downed enemy up that I was setting up for an all-out attack, and there were a lot of cases where I would’ve loved if they could’ve used items from my inventory but guess what? They can’t, they only use items through their stupid infinite magical supply inventory that only has two or four crappy items. And there are times when I wanted them to use a different buff, having Akihiko only debuff an enemy on Heal/Support instead of healing an ally that barely took any damage. The final boss in the game was very good and very symbolic but it would’ve been much easier if I could’ve controlled party members instead of rotating the wheel every turn for different tactics that aren’t as reliable as manual control.

There are other smaller differences like the stamina system, fight too many battles and you’ll eventually be too tired and suffer penalties, and eventually have to head back home. At first I thought it was a cool system because it brought a sense of urgency and gave a makes players choose their battles wisely, grind too much, and you’ll be too exhausted to keep fighting. But since the game required too much grinding, I just disliked it later on. The overall UI and Menus are much harder to navigate, it’s tedious having to talk to each specific character in order to change their inventory, in Persona 4 there’s one menu that has all of those options, but it’s a slow and tedious process in this game.

In terms of technical differences there aren’t that much, the game uses the same engine as Persona 4 so nothing notable in terms of graphical, animation quality and sound differences. One major difference to the visuals is the 2D portraits, every different expression isn’t just a different facial expression but the whole body stance changes, dunno why they left that out in P4, too much work and drawing, I guess? The voice actors are just as excellent as they were before and the soundtrack is great, albeit less memorable than Persona 4’s.

The game’s flaws frustrated me a bit, mostly the AI one with Tartarus as a close second, but the other parts of this game are its saving grace.

Meaningful Choice

This is one of the terms that game designers love to use, immersion is a word that both gamers and game designers love using but meaningful choice helps with that, greatly. Getting immersed in the game is greatly amplified if the game offers meaningful choice. If you’ve studied game design, or you like watching Extra Credits or read some of Gamasutra’s articles, then you’re probably familiar with the term. If you aren’t, I’ll quickly elaborate since I didn’t in my Persona 4 review. Meaningful choice is when a game gives you different choices that have unequal outcomes, those choices can be either gameplay related or story related, or even both. But they must have different results, one could be good or bad, good and better, bad or worse. These meaningful choices help immerse the player in the game’s world and sometimes the Illusion of Choice can be used instead in different games which isn’t as great but also effective.

The Persona series has meaningful choice built onto its core, every day you can do a single activity, you can’t possibly do all since it’ll be late and you have to sleep, everyone has to sleep eventually. But what you do with your time is your choice and yours alone, whether you’re developing your social stats or hanging out with your friends is your decision, and you can’t hang out with all of your friends, only with one at a time. This game introduced the social link system that has become prominent throughout the series, and those different social links and different friends you get to hang out with will make certain arcanas stronger for you, making fusion offer more experience points and overall better results with more skills and such since they’ll level up further.

A strength and an admirable quality in the Persona series, here it’s slightly weaker than in Persona 4 since you only have 3 social skills as opposed to 6 which means if you’re playing like me you’ll probably max them all out less than halfway through, which means you gotta rely on hanging out with your friends as your sole time killer and they’re not always there, and there are less of them than in P4. But otherwise, it’s an amazing part of the series, very amazing and I always look forward to see the results and fruit of my work. As a player, it empowers me emotionally, immersing me further into the world and making me care more about its characters. As a designer, it inspires me.

I think it’s very clear to see that the strongest component of the series is still very much alive in this game, what’s the final verdict?

Final Verdict:

Persona 3 is an epic video game. It has its fair share of flaws and I wish I played it before Persona 4, or hell I wish I played Persona 3 Portable which had party control. But still, this game laid the foundation when Persona 4 polished it greatly, and there are a lot of suggestions I have for Persona 5 that can make it the perfect Persona game, and I’m pretty sure many others have such suggestions. But I digress, Persona 3 is a very good game and its final chapter was definitely better than Persona 4, while I still think Persona 4 is the overall better game, I still can find lots to appreciate here. Despite Tartarus and Lack of AI control, I’m still gonna give it a better verdict than you may have expected, a nine. The good outweighed the bad for me. Especially after how masterful some of its moments were.

Final Score: 9/10 Excellent

If you're interested, my Persona 4 review is here. The next game may be Okami, I still haven't beaten Dragon Age Inquisition and don't have the patience to restart it, I lost my save. But yeah, there's a good chance that I'll play Okami soon. And I have not played the extra chapter that came with the FES version of Persona 3, I may play that but I need a break from it.

And yeah, new review style, even though I've been writing reviews as an on and off hobby since early 2011 I'm still up for making changes.

Thank you for reading, feel free to post your thoughts on Persona 3 and tell me which one you like better, Persona 3 or 4? And why?

Edited by Rxmonste

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For me, Persona 3 has a slight edge over 4, but just barely.

As far as game play itself is concerned, it's really hard to dispute that 4 is better than 3. Really, being a sequel one would hope that improvements were made. While having your party members under AI control gives them more of a feeling of being independent characters rather than pixels and stat blocks, it does force you to manipulating the tactics and AI into doing what you want, and this often forces the main character into roles and actions that don't fit with what you want to accomplish. Compared to the combat from 4, trying to pick a heal spell in such a way to get your healer to do an AoE heal instead of a single target heal is not particularly fun or engaging.

One thing I think Persona 3 nailed perfectly that 4 didn't was the sense of being involved in a larger series of events. SEES both imposed structure on the game and gave the main character a direction and goal, while in Persona 4 I felt that the main cast was acting way out of it's league and meddling in places where they didn't really belong. The main character's solving a murder mystery and sharing a house with a cop; he should go downstairs, face Dojima, stick an arm in the TV, and get some help.

I suppose it also helps that I really like the entire Persona 3 cast (even if Fuuka's voice acting is subpar and she has one really cross-eyed portrait) while both Yosuke and Teddie could really get on my nerves. Persona 4 was beary good, but I got along better with 3.

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Changing tactics was fun at the start but come at the end boss that takes forever to beat, going on a constant roulette to change tactics got tedious.

I really wanted to talk about Fuuka's voice acting because it irritated me to no end, but I guess I forgot. The first time I heard her voice I was like "This is all wrong"

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Being my favorite of P3&P4, I'm glad to see you got around to playing it. Another thing I feel Persona 3 had over Persona 4 is the characters (for the most part). Characters like Yukari really put me off and I honestly can't really consider them someone I would ever dream of being friends with. But I feel like Chie, Teddie, and Rise suffer from some of the same problems. I also feel in some ways that Yosuke is a weaker "best friend" sort of character than Junpei is. (I guess the whole character debate is for another topic)

However, Gameplay wise, Persona 4 is clearly advanced. And to its credit it also tried to do more with the story and make something interesting happen most of the time, whereas Persona 3 lacked in the whole calender format, as a lot of the time there would just be nothing to do except progress (Hello December).

And, not sure if you knew this, but Persona 4 was intentionally designed with the idea of a small town murder mystery, as I guess some fans felt Persona 3's large scope was too much. It also sports my favorite villain character of the two games, and also made me appreciate villain characters like this, because they really could just be anyone.

That all being said, I appreciate that you didn't let your experience with Persona 4 get in the way of seeing Persona 3's good points.

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I personally like Persona 3 much much better than 4.

I will admit that Persona 4 has a much bigger edge in gameplay than 3, but it falls off at everything else for me, personally.

My main problem with Persona 4 is the story, and it really bothers me with it's drastic mood shifts.

I like Persona 3's story much much more, it's more engaging to me, and has a consistent direction, it's a dark story, but it has some quirky moments, which is usually nice in a game, so things don't get too depressing.

While Persona 4 does it the exact opposite, which makes it... a lot more awkward.

Imo it's really awkward to have a game focused around MURDER when everyone is extremely happy and upbeat, it just kinda... turns me off from the story.

I mean, guys it's the final boss, can take things seriously for once- no okay, you're just going to make weird jokes about something that could probably destroy you? Alright then...

As for me, with some things you mentioned, I don't really mind Tartarus that much, I do prefer it more than the character specific dungeons in Persona 4, but that's just my really weird personal opinion, I think it's really cool climbing this giant weird tower and climbing closer and closer to the top, it's repetitive to most people, but I personally find it really cool and fulfilling once you advance higher up after beating a pretty tough boss.

And I will admit, it can be really annoying not being able to control your characters, so I have to give gameplay to Persona 4, for that.

Some other minor nitpicks I have when comparing the two games.

I like that Persona 3 doesn't rob you of your days nearly as often, if, really ever.

Barring Persona 4's literally 3 hour intro, the game still enjoys robbing your days, why can't I do things before I watch the midnight channel? I'm still going to be back before it starts.
Why do I have to fucking sleep after Nanako says 5 words to me?! Why do I need to sleep after this event at my house?
I replayed Persona 3 recently and noticed how few times the game robbed me of a day, and I could continue still doing stuff in the evening.

That's very nice to me.

My last major nitpick with Persona 4 is... I really don't find many of the characters engaging at all, besides like, Naoto.

I find the characters in Persona 3 much better, and much more relateable, and likable, even.

One thing I don't like about Persona 4 is having to do your party member's social links to evolve their persona. It feels really cheap to me, and takes away something you could have probably put in the story, more development towards the characters, instead of this really awkward mood shifty stuff.

But yeah, all in all, I vastly prefer Persona 3, and Persona 4 is okay I guess to me, mostly due to suffering from a lot of things I especially take issues with.

Nice that you don't let one game in the series cloud your perspective of another one. I can still respect your opinion.

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You said this is a review of FES, but you haven't mentioned anything about The Answer? That's the first thing I noticed upon reading this

I much prefer 3 over 4. 4 had its moments (pulling off the same plot twist three times really well), but I think 3 has a better climax, a more interesting dynamic with the party characters (not to mention, in my opinion, better characters period), and a richer theme. 3 definitely has its flaws, but I just found 4 lacking in some areas

I really wanted to talk about Fuuka's voice acting because it irritated me to no end, but I guess I forgot. The first time I heard her voice I was like "This is all wrong"

See, I'm sort of 50/50 here. I mean, I think her original voice sort of worked for her, even it was mediocre. But I won't argue that Wendee Lee (voiced Fuuka in the Arena games and Persona Q) does a better job as her

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The Answer

Oh right. That.

The general consensus is that the story is good but the padding and everything else really is terrible, right?

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Oh right. That.

The general consensus is that the story is good but the padding and everything else really is terrible, right?

[spoiler=The Answer breakdown]Story's had mixed reception, as far as I can tell. It's essentially a 30-hour grinding session, since you can't perform Social Links or increase the stats of Aigis, the main character. It's basically: preparations > x amount of floors > boss > plot > repeat, and it does this until pretty much the last 5 boss fights. If you weren't a fan of the dungeon exploring in P3, then I'd just recommend watching it on YouTube or something.

I personally think what The Answer gave us was fantastic, and it felt like a good wrap-up to P3

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I think Persona 4 is better in every way. Story and aesthetic-wise, P3 has no idea what it's trying to do. Thematically, it's unrelentingly dark with how damaged and fucked up the characters are (and I won't spoil the ending, but that solidifies how depressing it is), but dark in an angsty teenage/emo way, and not in that philosophical SMT way. And yet they try to add all that teenager/anime banter (like the beach, hot springs, etc.) that feel totally inappropriate in context. In general, game is way to po-faced for me to take it seriously.

With 4, the murder story is taken seriously, but at the end of the day the team are a group of relatively well adjusted kids who legitimately enjoy each other's presence, so it actually made sense to me when they had fun.

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I personally think what The Answer gave us was fantastic, and it felt like a good wrap-up to P3

Oh I attempted it, then watched a video on it, I was just wondering what the fanbase typically thinks of it.

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I'm a newcomer to this series.

Have played P3 a very bit yet... and so far I find the battle system quite good and easy to understand.

However I must analyze further how social links work and affect the Personas.

I only wished I could command the other characters while the battles like in any other RPG.

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Even though P3 FES has The Answer and being able to actually control the protagonist instead of point-and-click, P3P is much better in my opinion. Not only is the female protagonist route (which is actually more fun and interesting) but also has the same battle mechanics of P4. If you have a PSP, I would suggest that because it is the same exact game for both routes but battling and level grinding is so much easier.

Edited by shujinkou

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The Answer is pretty terrible anyway. I'm glad I played FES first for the cutscenes, but all my subsequent playthroughs are on P3P.

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You said this is a review of FES, but you haven't mentioned anything about The Answer? That's the first thing I noticed upon reading this

Well, I at least mentioned that the answer existed. But that wasn't the only difference from the original version as far as I know. There's the film festivals, walking Koromaru, Aigis' social link (One of my favorite characters) and finally those hilarious video recordings, can't deny how much I loved the video recordings.

It's interesting to see why people prefer P3. One of my friends, a fellow indie developer told me I wouldn't have the patience for it after playing through 4 after how much it improved the series. Well it turns out I did, I wouldn't have played through all 95 hours of this game if I thought it sucked. (Says the guy who finished Shadow The Hedgehog : [ )

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I think Persona 4 is better in every way. Story and aesthetic-wise, P3 has no idea what it's trying to do. Thematically, it's unrelentingly dark with how damaged and fucked up the characters are (and I won't spoil the ending, but that solidifies how depressing it is), but dark in an angsty teenage/emo way, and not in that philosophical SMT way. And yet they try to add all that teenager/anime banter (like the beach, hot springs, etc.) that feel totally inappropriate in context. In general, game is way to po-faced for me to take it seriously.

[spoiler=Persona 3 Journey and Answer spoilers, as well as minor Q spoilers]Persona 3's main theme is death, and how people cope with it. Let's go through each character and how death has affected them:

Main protagonist: Both his/her's parents were killed in the fight between Aigis and Death, though the reasoning as to how is unexplained until the last two months of the game. This made the canon protagonist very aloof and unafraid of death; it does not faze him, and it can be argued he welcomes death. The ending of The Journey marks his passing, and the negative emotions spurred from his death is what sets The Answer in motion; Yukari doesn't particularly want to deal with the rest of SEES any more, and Aigis no longer wishes to feel emotions. Said negative emotions is what makes the Abyss of Time emerge

Yukari: We find out her father has been killed, and we're led to believe for most of the game that her father is the one who released the Shadows to the world. She wants to fight to undo his wrongs, and when she finds out Ituksuki doctored the recording--essentially falsifying their mission--she vows to undo everything she and SEES caused, and fulfil her father's wishes. Her father's death made her mother date random men, which Yukari did not approve of, and severed ties with her, even though it hurt her. This is why she doesn't allow herself to express herself truly to others: she's afraid of hurting herself any further

Junpei: Junpei does not fit the theme of death until Chidori sacrifices herself to revive Junpei from Takaya's murder; and his revival (and finding out what Chidori did) prompted the transformation of Hermes. He then decides to live to honour Chidori's sacrifice, but not before getting depressed. He also starts to kick off at two students when they're talking through Shinjiro's funeral

Mitsuru: Her father's demise at the hands of Ikutsuki forces immediate pressure on her, as the next heir to the Kirijo group. She is gone from the dorm for a while, and comes back noticeably sombre, despite trying to hide it. She resolves herself to carry out her father's legacy, thus producing Artemisia

Akihiko: Death arguably affects this man the most; his entire reasoning for wanting to get stronger is because his little sister was killed in a fire. He felt powerless, and decided to never want to feel that way ever again. It eventually consumes him, wishing nothing more than to overcome life's challenges through strength--which ends up being exemplified once Shinjiro gets murdered. To him, another person close to him has been killed because he lacked the strength to do anything. This is also why he feels guilty about the past regarding Shinjiro and Ken's mother

Fuuka: Okay, Fuuka doesn't really fit with the theme of death all too well. The closest would be when she awakens Lucia, since she wants to protect the other members of SEES and Natsuki. Protecting those she cares for is also what causes Lucia to transform to Juno

Aigis: Aigis was created to essentially beat back Death; and when she couldn't do it, she opted for the second best result: sealing it inside the protagonist during their younger days. She feels guilty because of this, and vows to protect him/her once she remembers the battle the two had 10 years ago. She is also the opposite of literal death: she wishes to "live". And once she finds her purpose for living, it's all taken away from her in the form of the MC's death. Like I said, she discards her emotions and starts to act more mechanical (and inadvertently spawns Metis in the process). She no longer wishes to live

Ken: He joins SEES strictly to murder Shinjiro for his accidental murder of his mother--and then planned to commit suicide once killing him. Revenge plagues him; he does not desire anything else. When Shinjiro falls by Takaya's hands, he literally has no idea what to do with himself; he cries after seeing Shinjiro get shot, runs away from SEES, then realises what he wanted all along was wrong, and decides to live for both Shinjiro and his mother, spawning Kala-Nemi

Koromaru: Cerberus is awakened when Shadows attack the burial ground of his former master's grave. Koromaru wishes not to forget this, which is directly stated in Persona Q when Margaret offers everyone's Ultimate Personas to everyone. Koromaru and Shinjiro are the only ones who ask if they can stay with the Personas they have, as they don't want to forget the past

Shinjiro: I've pretty much explained how death affects Shinjiro. The murder of Ken's mother makes him quit SEES, start taking drugs to suppress Castor (and shortening his life in the process), and separates himself from everyone he used to get along with. His death also sparks the third segment of Persona 3's story, and is the reason why Akihiko's and Ken's Personas evolve

You cannot say Persona 3 has no idea what it wants to be in regards to its theme, since it's really obvious if you pay attention. Hell, Thanatos--one of the MC's most prominent Personas--is the Greek God of Death. The reason why the character's act the way they do--the "angsty emo/teenage way", as you put it--is because they are teenagers, and I imagine how each of them act would be the way most people would act whenever death affects someone they care for. They're kids, they want to have fun and enjoy themselves, despite everything around them slowly going terrible. That's why we have the beach and the hot springs scenes. Persona 4 has them as well. But why we have them in Persona 3 is perfectly legitimate (Mitsuru wants to speak to her father, introduce the group to him, and want to give the group a well-deserved break. The hot springs scene is the school going to a hotel together on a trip, if I recall correctly. They're executed fine)

You also need to remember that no one in Persona 3's cast, except Akihiko, actually want to fight the Shadows until later on in the game; they feel obligated to since they're the only ones who actually know what causes Apathy Syndrome, and they sort of feel like chosen ones because of it. And despite that, since they aren't together except for when SEES-related duties are happening, they don't share little chemistry with each other. This is why we have the senior/junior divide and overall the lack of camaraderie. They aren't friends; they're a bunch of stringed-together students fighting for a cause. They aren't supposed to be like the cast from Persona 4

If you want to discuss this with me (or anyone else, for that matter), then feel free to PM me, since this might not be the correct place to hold such a conversation

Well, I at least mentioned that the answer existed. But that wasn't the only difference from the original version as far as I know. There's the film festivals, walking Koromaru, Aigis' social link (One of my favorite characters) and finally those hilarious video recordings, can't deny how much I loved the video recordings.

Yeah, all of them are part of FES too. There are also slight changes to what some Personas learn through level up, as well as some physical skills requiring less HP. The moves were a bit balanced out, so to speak

Edited by DodgeDusk

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The point I was making was not that they shouldn't be emo and angsty, but this game is specifically dark in the most hackneyed and least interesting way possible. The way they beat you over the head with the theme of death (which I don't think I or anyone paying attention needed a condescending explanation of, given how this game doesn't know what subtlety is) what with everyone being an orphan, coffins everywhere, evokers pointing at your head, etc. -> it's all laughable honestly.

The game tries to have it both ways - the team aren't friends, except for when they randomly are in those comic relief scenes that feel out of place.

Despite this, I still liked the game. It's actually because of P4 that I realized how bad the problems of P3 are.

Edited by Radiant head

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If I came across as condescending, then my apologies. That was certainly not my intention. When I read your post I didn't think you understood the theme of the game, so I wanted to explain it. So again, sorry. It's fine if you dislike it, but I can't agree with your reasons, though I can certainly understand them. I'll guess we'll have to agree to disagree

Edited by DodgeDusk

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Being my favorite of P3&P4, I'm glad to see you got around to playing it. Another thing I feel Persona 3 had over Persona 4 is the characters (for the most part). Characters like Yukari really put me off and I honestly can't really consider them someone I would ever dream of being friends with. But I feel like Chie, Teddie, and Rise suffer from some of the same problems. I also feel in some ways that Yosuke is a weaker "best friend" sort of character than Junpei is. (I guess the whole character debate is for another topic)

However, Gameplay wise, Persona 4 is clearly advanced. And to its credit it also tried to do more with the story and make something interesting happen most of the time, whereas Persona 3 lacked in the whole calender format, as a lot of the time there would just be nothing to do except progress (Hello December).

And, not sure if you knew this, but Persona 4 was intentionally designed with the idea of a small town murder mystery, as I guess some fans felt Persona 3's large scope was too much. It also sports my favorite villain character of the two games, and also made me appreciate villain characters like this, because they really could just be anyone.

That all being said, I appreciate that you didn't let your experience with Persona 4 get in the way of seeing Persona 3's good points.

Absolutely, I intentionally left my Microsoft Word document empty for two days because I knew my review would've been negative if I didn't let the experience sink in a little bit. I looked at it again yesterday and thought, this is a magnificent game all on its own feet, which lead me to write the review without comparison clouding my judgement.

You said Persona 4 had your favorite villain of the two games, I think I know who you're talking about, and I agree that [spoiler=Massive Spoilers, do not show until you finish Persona 4]Adachi is the best villain out of the two games. Is that who you were talking about?

The point I was making was not that they shouldn't be emo and angsty, but this game is specifically dark in the most hackneyed and least interesting way possible. The way they beat you over the head with the theme of death (which I don't think I or anyone paying attention needed a condescending explanation of, given how this game doesn't know what subtlety is) what with everyone being an orphan, coffins everywhere, evokers pointing at your head, etc. -> it's all laughable honestly.

The game tries to have it both ways - the team aren't friends, except for when they randomly are in those comic relief scenes that feel out of place.

Despite this, I still liked the game. It's actually because of P4 that I realized how bad the problems of P3 are.

I just hope that Atlus are paying attention and are aiming to deliver the best Persona experience in Persona 5. I think the series was still being figured out in P4 and P3, the experimentation phase is over, it's (Hopefully) time to see what they can really do.

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The point I was making was not that they shouldn't be emo and angsty, but this game is specifically dark in the most hackneyed and least interesting way possible. The way they beat you over the head with the theme of death (which I don't think I or anyone paying attention needed a condescending explanation of, given how this game doesn't know what subtlety is) what with everyone being an orphan, coffins everywhere, evokers pointing at your head, etc. -> it's all laughable honestly.

The game tries to have it both ways - the team aren't friends, except for when they randomly are in those comic relief scenes that feel out of place.

Despite this, I still liked the game. It's actually because of P4 that I realized how bad the problems of P3 are.

Persona 3 is certainly flirting with being an emo edgelord game, but I think the plot and characters were done well enough to save the mood. There are a lot of things that seem to be put into the game purely for shock value (play a few levels of Tartarus when a roommate has friends over - the evokers are always good for a laugh), but visual elements aside there is a rather level-headed discussion of dark themes going on. It's not revelling in death and blood just because it can, but instead uses this imagery as a means to discuss questions of meaning and purpose in life. You can argue whether or not Atlus managed to pull it off, but at least it's not hard to see what they were trying to do. Then again, maybe it's just me having more patience for characters moping about various life issues then some of the antics in P4. I found Yosuke and Teddie to be extremely offputting when they spent their time hitting on girls and being perverts.

The members of SEES not being friends, though? That makes no sense at all. First off, Mitsuru, Akihiko, and Shinji are obviously close for the entire game. They've known each other for a long time and fought together. Mitsuru/Shinji can get a bit strained as they don't see eye to eye on responsibility and duty, but nevertheless their friendship is hard to deny. Yukari and Junpei take a lot longer to integrate, not really coming into their own until the events in November and December, but by then they are obviously integral parts of the group, and not just because of their combat prowess. It's especially obvious in Yukari, who goes from being barely able to lift an evoker in the opening cutscene to being the only one who can console Mitsuru on

the loss of her father

and even softening towards Junpei after the conclusion of the Chidori arc. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't see it.

So yes, P3 can be hilariously over the top. Even so, it works, at least for the most part.

Edited by Gypsy

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Persona 3 is certainly flirting with being an emo edgelord game, but I think the plot and characters were done well enough to save the mood. There are a lot of things that seem to be put into the game purely for shock value (play a few levels of Tartarus when a roommate has friends over - the evokers are always good for a laugh), but visual elements aside there is a rather level-headed discussion of dark themes going on. It's not revelling in death and blood just because it can, but instead uses this imagery as a means to discuss questions of meaning and purpose in life. You can argue whether or not Atlus managed to pull it off, but at least it's not hard to see what they were trying to do. Then again, maybe it's just me having more patience for characters moping about various life issues then some of the antics in P4. I found Yosuke and Teddie to be extremely offputting when they spent their time hitting on girls and being perverts.

Yeah I agree the game works despite those problems, which is what I said. As far as what the game was trying to do -> my problem is that it tries to take the stereotypical anime tropes that fit better in Persona 4 into this death-obsessed game, and none of it feels coherent I disagree that some superficial lip service to philosophical questions is a level headed discussion. If the game was intended to be philosophical, then it miserably fails at that.

As for Yosuke and Teddie...hard to disagree. Teddie almost single handedly ruins the whole game for me. I've seen people complain was was flanderized in Persona Q...but I think he was flanderized from inception, and his whole pinochle drama feels totally artificial and meaningless. If his social link wasn't automatic, I would have never bothered with it, completion be damned. With Yosuke, he's a homophobe and a creep in the story scenes, but he's more human and sympathetic in his social link. I like to think that the worst aspects of his character can be attributed to plausible immaturity.

The members of SEES not being friends, though? That makes no sense at all. First off, Mitsuru, Akihiko, and Shinji are obviously close for the entire game. They've known each other for a long time and fought together. Mitsuru/Shinji can get a bit strained as they don't see eye to eye on responsibility and duty, but nevertheless their friendship is hard to deny. Yukari and Junpei take a lot longer to integrate, not really coming into their own until the events in November and December, but by then they are obviously integral parts of the group, and not just because of their combat prowess. It's especially obvious in Yukari, who goes from being barely able to lift an evoker in the opening cutscene to being the only one who can console Mitsuru on the loss of her father and even softening towards Junpei after the conclusion of the Chidori arc. Perhaps I'm missing something, but I don't see it.

The thing about the three seniors is that the game just has us accept that they have a past and deep relationship, but in the present day, most of their relationship boils down to a depressing past, so we never see the warmth in any of these "friendships." But okay.

I think the lack of social links was my problem here. I never got the impression the MC was friends with Junpei (who probably hated his guts if anything; I think Yosuke is a better execution of the jealous/insecure friend) or Akhiko. The Mitsuru social link is just waifu bait. Yukari is probably the only one he has a meaningful bond with. And I guess Aigis.

Edited by Radiant head

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I completely forgot to mention that my favorite part of the game is the dorm character interactions, this is unquestionably better for me. Every few days, the characters have new things to say that are either gameplay or story related, it makes the game feel just that much more alive. As opposed to Persona 4 where the characters only have new things to say in about every new dungeon.

Edited by Rxmonste

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Yeah I agree the game works despite those problems, which is what I said. As far as what the game was trying to do -> my problem is that it tries to take the stereotypical anime tropes that fit better in Persona 4 into this death-obsessed game, and none of it feels coherent I disagree that some superficial lip service to philosophical questions is a level headed discussion. If the game was intended to be philosophical, then it miserably fails at that.

OK, fair enough. It was good fun and of enough quality to not detract from the story, but it's certainly not a world-class work on philosophy. I'll agree with you there.

As for Yosuke and Teddie...hard to disagree. Teddie almost single handedly ruins the whole game for me. I've seen people complain was was flanderized in Persona Q...but I think he was flanderized from inception, and his whole pinochle drama feels totally artificial and meaningless. If his social link wasn't automatic, I would have never bothered with it, completion be damned. With Yosuke, he's a homophobe and a creep in the story scenes, but he's more human and sympathetic in his social link. I like to think that the worst aspects of his character can be attributed to plausible immaturity.

Again, I think we can agree here. Teddie did a decent job as a plot device and comic relief, but I just can't understand why some people call him a very well done character. Yosuke's social link was a lot better than his story scenes, so that does help redeem some of his less shining moments.

The thing about the three seniors is that the game just has us accept that they have a past and deep relationship, but in the present day, most of their relationship boils down to a depressing past, so we never see the warmth in any of these "friendships." But okay.

I think the lack of social links was my problem here. I never got the impression the MC was friends with Junpei (who probably hated his guts if anything; I think Yosuke is a better execution of the jealous/insecure friend) or Akhiko. The Mitsuru social link is just waifu bait. Yukari is probably the only one he has a meaningful bond with. And I guess Aigis.

As far as the seniors are concerned, the game does display genuine warmth from Akihiko towards both Shinji and Mitsuru. He's hit hard by

Shinji's death

and concerned about Mitsuru's well being as she copes with

the loss of her father

Mitsuru isn't an outgoing character, so you do have a point with her, and Shinji is very broken character by the time the events in the game roll around, so he does appear rather distant as well. Hm, perhaps I did overestimate this. They certainly were close as some point in past, though.

Junpei might not be quite as much of a buddy with the MC as Yosuke was, but there is at least a decent level of respect there, along with the bond that comes from fighting side by side. It's a much more strained relationship, but honestly I think that has more to do with Junpei being the significantly deeper and well written character. I massively enjoyed watching him grow as a character throughout the game.

Edited by Gypsy

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Guys, by all means use spoilers in your discussions but at least hide them under spoiler tags like DodgeDusk did, a lot of new players are jumping into the series with the announcement of P5.

Edited by Rxmonste

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Junpei might not be quite as much of a buddy with the MC as Yosuke was, but there is at least a decent level of respect there, along with the bond that comes from fighting side by side. It's a much more strained relationship, but honestly I think that has more to do with Junpei being the significantly deeper and well written character. I massively enjoyed watching him grow as a character throughout the game.

I know the game was obviously attempting to do this, and I'm glad it worked for you, but I found most of his drama to be lame and forced, and Junpei mostly just reeked of being a pathetic whiner.

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I've just started playing Persona 4 and haven't seen too much of the story,

although some jackass on Reddit already spoiled me that the killer is Adachi

but I've got to say that even though I'm enjoying it quite a bit (it is a great game), the characters don't seem to have the same depth to them that the characters in P3 did. Perhaps this is just because I've only cleared the first couple of dungeons, but I really don't see much more character development going on for the likes of Yosuke/Chie, whereas in Persona 3 you're still finding out things about the characters you get right at the beginning of game as the plot continues:

Junpei and his arc with Strega, Yukari's dad, Mitsuru's dad, Akihiko and Shinjiro's relationship, etc.

Also, I thought the not being able to control your party members in P3 was pretty cool, since it made battle tactics (no pun intended) a lot more involved to work out.

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