Persona 3 Portable Features Upgrades and Downgrades

By Ishaan . August 21, 2009 . 3:00pm


Persona 3 Portable now has a Famitsu blog. You can find the first entry here, and it contains some new screenshots and videos of the upcoming PSP game.


The first change you’ll notice is that the art for the environments has been redone, and is now pre-rendered. It’s hard to tell, but the character “models” in most scenes outside of Tartarus appear to be sprites.




Unfortunately, Famitsu also indicates that you will no longer be able to navigate the overworld in control of your character. Instead, you’ll be guiding a cursor around and “exploration” will be more menu-based. In scenes where you’re walking to school and interacting with people in class or during certain Social Link segments, you will only see portraits, not the actual character models (or sprites in this case) with animations.


New battle costumes have been added to the portable version, along with a “Guard” command during battles. You will also have full control over your party members this time around if you want to direct them in battle.


There’s new music, too, which means you won’t be hearing the awesome “Mass Destruction” track during battles, at least while playing as the female protagonist. At least the S.E.E.S. dorm music is still intact.


A screenshot of the main menu also indicates that a data install option will be available to PSP users that buy the game on UMD. Persona 3 Portable features five difficulty levels ranging from beginner to manaics, the most difficult setting.


Thanks to all the readers for the tips! Special thanks go to QBasic for helping figure out that the redone character art may be 3D models mapped onto sprites.


Food for thought (spoilers!):


1. P3P is based on the FES version of the original, but doesn’t include “The Answer.” Is this still considered canon?


2. Does the female protagonist have the same fate in store for her as Minato, or will her scenario end differently?


3. Will the inevitable Persona 4 Portable be altered to reflect the alternate telling of P3’s events in any way? (Perhaps by reading save data on your PSP?)

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  • MisterNiwa

    Hrm, i would rather walk around with my character instead of having this Menu-like browsing through the world…

    Well, i hope this will get localized anyways, gimme Persona.

  • Don’t forget the intro! youtube. com/watch?v=-MRkM-fM7wg

    I’m officially hype now.

    • I was finding it hard to like P3P since it seems like Atlus is just whoring out the game, but that intro does make feel like wanting to spend some money on a PSP.

      I know, I’m weak.

  • malek86

    I don’t mind menu-based city touring, I never liked how you had to always run around the same places in P4 anyway (and at least you had the fast travel button).

    I wonder, will the addition of the Guard command make some fights easier?

  • While I’m not horribly fond of not getting to see the social link scenes animated (simple as they were, they added a lot of character to the moments), I’m mostly fine overall with all the changes being made for this portable version.

    A different take on things for a different platform.

    Of course, if in 2 or 3 years I decide to play Persona 3 again, this will not be the version I go back to. I’ll go back to FES for the full experience (and yes Ishaan, The Answer will always be canon! At least in my heart!).

    Very much looking forward to picking it up though still when Atlus USA inevitably gets around to releasing it stateside.

  • Hm, interesting. Good and bad news. I just need to figure out if I want this or not. Hopefully a US release will come.

    I´ll decide at that time.

  • Not sure about the social links but everything else seems fine by me. Looks like a lot of reasons to triple dip this one for me.

  • rislan

    Based on the opening, the theories I’m batting on for possible differences are…

    1. Different ending? (Butterfly effect? The gender switch for Elizabeth only? The loss of Answer?)
    2. Difference in Ken/Shinji plot point (In the opening, in one shot Ken is shown in split screen but only one has an envoker. Shinji appears briefly in one group shot but is absent in the exact same shot used later).
    3. Difference in Fuuka’s role? (She’s shown twice in the opening with Aigis of all people.)

  • Jirin

    I *hate* it when they do entire plot sequences with only portraits.

    I am curious to see the social links unfold from a female perspective. Maybe if the ‘romance’ links from the original become ‘friendship’ links and vice versa.

    And, canon or not, The Answer will still be considered ‘lame’.

  • ElTopo

    Pass. Something new please. Two times through was enough.

  • Hraesvelgr

    I don’t really mind the change with the prerendered areas or the change to a more visual novel-esque look for scenes, mostly because the graphics and exploration weren’t anything special and most scenes honestly didn’t have a lot happening in them. Tartarus graphics look to be about the same, interestingly enough…

    As for the music, you couldn’t hear enough of each track to say much about them, but the beginning of that track that played in the school was awful. Like really awful. Would be nice if we could select battle tracks though, as the battle music got pretty repetitive after a while.

    Full party s.links are nice. Hopefully that idea carries over into the male story, as well. If not, then the P4 battle improvements are a nice enough addition.

  • Hopefully the give you the limited SP rather than tiring.

    • QBasic

      Judging by the fact that they still retained the smiley status faces, that ain’t happening.

  • Trotmeister

    So, uh, whatever happened to P2 Portable?

    • QBasic

      Nothing? Wasn’t it just us *wanting* it? Just cause we want it doesn’t mean shit, necessarily…

  • anbu

    i know for sure that this will own persona 1 psp.

    but im curious how the dating sim will work on these.

    soooo, she will be dating the guys of this game?

    • Hraesvelgr

      How do you know for sure? Personal preference? Don’t state it like it’s a fact of life, then.

  • Those are interesting features to add/remove, but I don’t think it’s enough for me to warrant yet another playthrough of a game that was completely outdone by Persona 4. Yet I’m all for getting a second copy/version of Revelations: Persona on the PSP. Maybe this was just too soon…?

    • Hraesvelgr

      Considering the game is barely three years old in Japan, I’d say so.

  • maxchain

    Honestly, I’m all for menu-based navigation. I was initially wary when Phantasy Star Portable did the same thing, but man, after all the time it ended up saving during backtracking and whatnot, I absolutely fell in love! I’ll miss the Step Forward, Robotically Embrace Her by the Waist animation that punctuates the end of Social Links with the ladies, though.


    • Hraesvelgr

      I’m assuming male and female have different BGMs… maybe. I still say they should let us choose, the game seriously lacked music, especially vanilla P3.

    • Marnic

      I agree with Maxchain. Cursor-based movement on the overworld map is way more effecient, portable game or not.
      I’m sure it’s a big let down to miss out on some of the eye candy for a lot of people, but I suggest those of you who are see this in another perspective.

      Let me tell you this first though, I was sceptic about this the moment I saw it too but after a second of thought I was all over it and actually started to like it.

      Not only is it faster (and beside it basically being like walking on the overworld map, only faster as I just mentioned) but you never actually did walk that much in Persona 4 anyway. I’m sure you used the shortcut-option to simply transport yourself to the next area in Persona 4 instead of walking there all by yourself (unless you forgot, that was that case with me at least).

      Not only that, many dungeon crawlers are actually like this rather than the original Persona 3’s 3D maps. Before the actual dungeon exploration you actually go through a lot of text and preparations.
      To be honest, the cursor thing is an upgrade if anything (for a dungeon crawler at least).
      If you still think the 3D map exploring were better than moving around a pre-rendered background with a cursor I can’t really blame you. But for what it is it’s actually really good already and considering the capacity of the UMD, it’s only fair.

      And hey, there are updates to the map beside you (the cursor) moving a lot faster, like the shortcut thing.

      I’m sure this won’t bug me the slightest, in my eyes these are all prefectly upgrades!
      I’m glad they’re implementing P4 stuff for the Battle System too. The videos look fantastic.

      My only complaint would be the lack of the Answer…hopefully that “Data Install” button will come to good use, if you get what I’m at…

      Can’t wait to date Bropei, chu chu~

      • doubleO7

        Sorry, but I dont get what your at with the “Data Install” thing. Could you please elaborate?

        • Marnic

          Check out the title screen with the male main character. One of the option says “Data Install”.

          • Marnic

            And uh…that’d mean they might release a DLC with the Answer (the chapter from Persona 3 FES that apparently has gone missing in this version of th game) and have it playable.

  • Nekobo

    Ooh, sprites. Now the S-Links are even more visual novel like. Anyways, I’m glad this isn’t just a port that reuses a lot of old audio visual assets.

    I don’t mind losing the freedom to wander around if the menus streamlines the game play. I personally got a little tired of running around town by the 40th of 50th hour of the game.

  • Just as a quick note, yes, the ending to The Answer is canon, at least as far as the party finding out what happened to Minato. Margaret flat-out says that Elizabeth left the Velvet Room because she went to, um, remedy his situation. (It’s so hard to talk about it without leaving spoilers!) I figure the female protagonist’s entire scenario will be “non-canon.”

    My favorite part out of all that you mentioned? Full control in battle. HECK YEAH. No more bone-brained AI stopping me from killing the final boss because they decided to heal instead of deal the final blow, thus letting us all die! (This may or may not have happened to me. *cough*)

    • Trotmeister

      Full control is awesome, but there still remains an issue of the game having only one dungeon.

  • chaoticrealm

    My only concern is if they will be able to fit the entire story with the different possible outcomes on a UMD, or will some of it be on the cutting floor? Even with all these compromises I still find it difficult to believe the whole story will fit, but since PS2 games have been ported before, I guess it deserves the benefit of the doubt……

  • Ooo… I don’t know how I feel about these changes…I mean i’m down with the 2D downgrade but not being able to walk around exploring is a big let down for me.

  • shadow flame

    aarghh.. i absolutely hate menu based. walking might be slow, but menu based destroying the fun of it.. boring boring boo~ ring..! i might not buy it..

    tch, atlus better make changes about this if us version come out.

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