Persona 3 vs. Persona 4 – Fight!

By Ishaan . October 18, 2009 . 3:48pm

Spoiler warning: If you haven’t completed BOTH Persona 3 FES and Persona 4, you might want to steer clear of this post. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

image

 

Let’s get something out of the way before we begin. Yes, Persona 4 is almost undeniably the better game of the two. Yet, after playing both games through to the end, I still found myself more in love with Persona 3. I often get asked why, so I’m going to try and examine just that in this post.

 

When I first played Persona 3 FES, it reminded me why I love Japanese games. It was like playing my very first JRPG all over again. The fascination and the complete sense of escapism it evoked had me wanting to skip work, lock myself in a room and not leave until I’d completed the game. It was frighteningly like Hiroshi Yamauchi’s legendary generalization of RPG fans, and it’s certainly not an effect every game has on me.

 

At the start of Persona 3, when an expressionless Minato [note: that’s name of the protagonist from the manga] walked through the dark hour with his MP3 player blaring in his ears at full blast, cut off from the rest of the world, intermingled with a scene of what then looked like a girl trying to commit suicide, you knew you were in for an experience that would be very, very special. My immediate impression was that it was like a manga come to life – an impression that stayed with me throughout the game.

 

SEES

Perhaps this is because, thematically, Persona 3 was much more of a "tense" game and it inspired some sort of a call to arms – a sense of responsibility – in me. While it had its light-hearted, often laugh-out-loud hilarious moments, it pulled no punches when it came to drilling the severity of the Tartarus and Dark Hour situation into your head.

 

There was always a sense of tension that kept you on your toes and constantly reminded you that, regardless of your school life and what you did with your friends, you were far from a “normal” kid…and that you had a job to do.

 

Unlike the Investigation Team from Persona 4, SEES were a group of soldiers that lived and faced tragedy together with Minato as their commander in battle. The game played up the fact that you were their leader. It made you feel responsible for the actions of a team that was entirely devoted to the extermination of shadows and preventing the approaching apocalypse. It made you feel responsible for the safety of the world and it made me feel like I had a purpose…a place in the grander scheme of things.

 

SEES weren’t as “in touch” with their personae as Souji [note: this is the name of the Persona 4 protagonist according to the manga] and his friends had the chance to be, but then again, I’m not sure anyone from SEES was really ever all that concerned about finding their true selves anyway. Or maybe they just didn’t have the time to think about it because they were too busy dealing with a crisis that only they knew existed.

 

image

 

No, to SEES, the personae were tools…a means to an end that they someday hoped to be rid of. This is evident just from the design of the Evokers. And this is a concept that I found very, very cool — even more so after playing Persona 4. If I had to make a comparison, I’d compare SEES to the X-Men and the Investigation Team to the Secret Seven. Even the way they spoke was different. The Investigation Team’s conversations were usually laced with humour. Even during the most desperate times, you could count on Teddie to crack one of his dumb jokes. Conversely, when I think back to the conferences in the SEES dorms, what I remember most clearly is Mitsuru’s authoritative voice, making sure everyone was on the same page.

 

Minato and SoujiThen there’s the matter of the two protagonists — Minato and Souji.

 

The difference between them was like night and day. Minato was much less outspoken than Souji, and perhaps this is why I could relate to him better. His passive nature made it easy for the game to convince you that you were him. Every choice I made as Minato felt natural and like the response I would have given in real life. When I played Persona 4, I had to make a conscious effort to play Souji differently because the choices I would have made personally didn’t suit his personality.

 

Souji didn’t make it his priority to please others and his personality was far more assertive, whereas Minato always seemed more like a silent observer, ready to hop in with aid or encouraging words whenever required, regardless of his personal feelings. In contrast, Souji was never afraid to admit it when he just didn’t care about something. You could say that Souji was more true to his own feelings than Minato was.

 

Ultimately, Souji was human. And while you’d think that would make him more relatable, there was a sense of mystery and a desire to protect within Minato that just made me like him more.

 

image

 

Minato was summoned to Tatsumi Port Island for a far greater purpose — to fulfill his destiny as a messiah. In fact, if you play through Persona 3 a second time, you’ll probably figure Minato was already halfway there even before he entered Tartarus. Never once did he back down from facing his destiny and acting as was required of him…even going back to the scene where he first put an Evoker to his head with — as my friend likes to call it — the classic "He’s nuts" anime smile and pulled the trigger.

 

Looking back, it almost seems like Minato was always ready to accept whatever fate awaited him. We may never know how much Minato’s actions were influenced by Death lurking inside him, but perhaps that’s what made him so special. Even Igor seemed far more impressed with him than with Souji…you could hear it in his voice. Being Minato really made you feel special.

 

image

 

In contrast, Persona 4 scaled things down a bit, story-wise, instead of escalating them. It kind of went against the rules you tend to follow for a sequel, which is probably why it took me a little longer to come to terms with what it was: a story about friendship and high school romance and acceptance, rather than saving the world. It became much easier to fall in love with the game once I came to accept this.

 

When I started to play Persona 4, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d heard it was some sort of a murder mystery, but I’d carefully avoided most media coverage of the game so I wouldn’t spoil it for myself. I had even tried not to think about the game too much until such time as it became available in English. In fact, when I started Persona 4, I stared at the name entry screen for about 20 minutes because I was debating what to name Souji. I couldn’t call him "Ishaan" because Ishaan died at the end of P3. That’s how strongly I connected with Minato.

 

Some things were readily apparent a few hours into Persona 4. a) It was better paced than its predecessor b) It had a much better UI and presentation and c) It was far less grindy than P3.

 

image

 

Despite this, I had trouble getting into the game for the first 20 or so hours because I found it really hard to step into Souji’s shoes. He was outgoing, confident, slightly cynical. He was "outwardly badass," so his personality tended to overshadow your own. Ironically, eventually, it wasn’t Souji’s personality that won me over, but the personalities of all his awesome friends whom I couldn’t help but care for. It was sometime after rescuing Kanji from his embarrassing monkey dance routine in the bathhouse dungeon that I really started to feel the draw of the game.

 

The way personae were handled was refreshingly different from Persona 3. Here, each individual persona — with the exception of Souji’s of course — mattered because it was so strongly connected to the personality of its owner. P4 did an incredible job reminding you how multi-faceted human beings can be, and that while people might seem strange or even bad, appearances can be deceiving. It was also an important reminder that you don’t need to be perfect yourself to be a good human being. The insights into the minds and hearts of each member of the Investigation Team were some of the game’s best moments.

 

Little details like talking to Nanako every night before bed or listening to Chie and Yosuke argue every minute they weren’t obsessing over food or playing hero really added to the experience as well. It had been a while since a game had gotten me to care so deeply about its cast, and — as a friend pointed out to me — made you want to rescue someone so desperately (in the case of Nanako) that you grinded through their dungeon as quickly as you possibly could. Naturally, I shed a tear or two during the hospital scene that followed as well.

 

The Investigation TeamPersona 4′s cast was as real as they come. The game wasn’t afraid of delving deep into the complications that are a part of adolescent life and really exploring the nature of human beings. Heck, I’m 22 and it helped answer a few questions I had about myself even well past my teenage years. Games like P4 are what make me believe so strongly that one could really learn a lot from the medium, if only they’d give it a chance.

 

In the end though, I think Persona 4′s greatest asset is also what made it lose the race ever-so-slightly to P3 in my mind.

 

As I mentioned earlier, I’m 22. I started working at an earlier age than most of my friends and I never really had the time to properly enjoy my late-teens. And while Persona 4 does a fantastic job of letting you relive your younger years and taking you on a journey of self-discovery, it doesn’t deal with the harsher realities of the world…something which I feel Persona 3 did, even if it wasn’t quite in the way you’d expect. Maybe I could just relate better to the constantly stressful lifestyle of being a SEES member.

 

To its credit though, Persona 4 did drive home one important, timeless lesson about life and relationships, which is that everything — no matter how important or profound or satisfying — must come to an end. I never stood a chance against P4′s carefully choreographed parting scenes at the end of the game, and the "true" ending only made the tears flow even more freely. I almost didn’t complete the final dungeon because I didn’t want it to come to an end. Then Laura got on my case:

 

Laura: you’ll love the ending scene
Ishaan: bastards
Ishaan: why?
Laura: ok, you’ll probably bawl your eyes out
Ishaan: i’m actually considering not finishing the final dungeon
Laura: what?!
Laura: /me slaps
Laura: THE URGE TO FIND THE TRUTH
Laura: GO
Ishaan: i don’t want him to go!
Laura: bad ishaan!

 

I love both P3 and P4. While I might personally be more attached to Persona 3, its sequel reminded me of quite a few important life lessons about people in general. Few games offer insights as heartfelt and "human" as those in Persona 4, and it’s this knowledge that makes the wait for Persona 5 so unbearable. I can’t wait to see where Atlus go from here.


Read more stories about & & & & on Siliconera.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

  • Enact

    Good write up Isshan, although if I were to take a side in this argument, I’d probably side with P4 as the game I liked more, if anything because I prefered the characters in it (Espically the heroines, cause outside of Mitsuru, I didn’t really like or care about Yukari, and I was always sort of on the fence about Fuuka). There was a greater sense of teamwork and such in P4 because everyone there felt like they were friends, as opposed P3 where not everyone really meshed well together.

    I think the thing is though is that P3 was still really fresh in people’s minds when 4 came out, so maybe that’s part of the reason you prefered it (Just speculation on my part).

  • http://denpanosekai.blogspot.com denpanosekai

    P4 had the square button menu.

    The end.

    • http://www.stationhquinze.com/ CRIMExTHINK

      wow, that really made me LOL big time

    • QBasic

      Hell to the frakking yes.

    • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

      P3 FES had the POWER to change the BGM in the dungeon crawling

      • Moriken

        Actually, P3 FES had arguably the better soundtrack…many of the non-vocal tracks in P4 (dungeon themes, suspense themes etc.) are pretty much only a small motiv or at most a 4 bar long part repeating. Repeating. Repeating all over agaaaaaain!
        …I seriously wonder how much time Meguro spent with some of these pieces, they’re ridiculously underdeveloped.

        • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

          Not all of them, i specially like your little cousin dungeon, i think the song is called heave, the naoto’s dungeon as well, and i dont remember any other now..

  • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

    One of the main diferences for me, that made me like P3 more than P4 is the “epic-ness” P3 story was far more epic than p4, p4 was more like a mystery story

  • SpearOfChivalry

    The ” Let’s get something out of the way before we begin. Yes, Persona 4 is almost undeniably the better game of the two.” almost made me stop reading, cause I personally prefer P3 MUCH more over P4. I mean, which one is cooler – A TV you can enter, or a badass tower? I liked the atmosphere in P3 more than I did in P4 as well. The ending was better in P3 as well. The only thing I think P4 beated P3 in, was the control system and the new things you could do. Not to mention the MC in P3 was friggin’ awesome

    • xemnas

      The talk to teamates to change equipment, the lack of party control, the lack of access to your entire pary pissed me off..luckily the psp version will fix those.

  • xemnas

    Nice read, I loved both..but i can’t say which is more..

    Souji>Minato
    SEES clothes>>P4 team
    P3 battle theme>battle theme
    Adachi is win

    etc etc

  • cowcow

    If they make a Persona for PS3, I want it to actually look like the hand drawn art. Like moving art.

    I wish Castlevania PS3 was like that too (the popular cover art)

  • Slashlen

    Great writeup. I’m in the same boat as you. There’s no doubt that Persona 4 was improved, and was a better game, but there’s something about 3. I always wondered if it was just style, or maybe I like seeing people shooting themselves in the head(ok that’s part of it), but I think you hit the nail on the head here. Persona 4 was a lot less harsh than 3. P3 seemed to be more about struggling against death, while P4 was more about the pursuit of truth(truth about themselves, the world, the murders). I’m not saying that one is better than the other, and frankly, we need more games like P4, but the struggle in 3 appealed to me more.

    It makes me wonder what P3 would have been like if P4 had come out first and P3 got to build on that. In any case, Persona 5 can not come soon enough.

  • QBasic

    Hmmm…

    I’m surprised no one yet posted a “Kanj-ecture” pun….

    • Xien12

      The original pun used his name(完二 ) and feeling(kanjiru)(感じる). I think it was that. Someone correct me if I’m mistaken.

  • Xien12

    Persona 5. Persona 1 and 2 themes revisited. Go go go.

  • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

    Nice write up Ishaan. Nice to see you put into words exactly why you prefer 3 to 4 (even though I already knew).

    I’ve come to love both equally, with different elements from each balancing out the other. And I’m of the rare breed that likes P3′s battle system more. I don’t want to have direct control of my party members, it makes them feel less like different people if I can determine every exact action of theirs.

    Also, I want to go on record as saying that I despise the damn manga names. They will always be “Hero” or “Hero of P#” to me (if not my game’s “Chris” or maybe Giant Bomb’s “Charlie” for P4).

    If they wanted the characters to have official names they wouldn’t give you the ability to name them yourself. They only had the names for the manga, because they needed to call them /something/. Always ticks me off a bit when you call them by the manga names Ishaan :)

    • Xien12

      If they wanted the characters to have official names they wouldn’t give you the ability to name them yourself. They only had the names for the manga, because they needed to call them /something/. Always ticks me off a bit when you call them by the manga names Ishaan :)

      - Why not? It’s canon. So it’s used. “Nameless Protagonist of P3″ or “Nameless Protagonist of P4″ is just way too long.

      • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

        To me, what is canon, is only what appears in the games. The manga is a work of fanfic for all I care.

        Is this hard headed, juvenile, or immature? Perhaps, but I simply do not care.

      • http://www.facebook.com/sccrandall Sean Crandall

        Yeah, Minato and Souji do have more of a ring to them. I personally don’t like using them, though, so I just call P3′s guy MC and P4′s guy Protagonist. But still, the names are nice just so you can differentiate between all the characters of games where you name the main character.

  • clyde_223

    i personally did not really get into person 3. but persona 4 i got really into, i think it was the story and characters for 4 and the fact that everyone didnt get tired and want to leave after 45 minutes in tarturus (i think thats the dungeon/school in P3). not that P3 is a bad game … i just liked P4 so much more. also gameplay in P4 was far superior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sccrandall Sean Crandall

    I’m totally on the fence on this one. The only things I can say for certain that I liked in one version better than the other were that I liked P3′s music better and P4′s general play mechanics better. Everything else is really hard to compare. Spoilers in the coming grafs, by the way.

    I liked the atmosphere in both. The dark city, end-of-the-world thing was good, but I also really like the bucolic Japanese countryside. These settings are just a representation for the type of games the two are, so there really is a big divide, despite how similar the two are.

    I really liked the exploration of the mind in P4 a lot, as it had a lot more to do with the concept of the persona than P3 did. Facing the many facets of yourself as well as the idea of you that exists in other people’s minds was simply fascinating and a little reminiscent of the last few episodes of the TV run of Evangelion. Coming to grips with yourself and how others view you made for some brilliant narrative. The likable characters helped, too.

    On the other hand, what I really liked in P3 was the realism in terms of human relations. People certainly aren’t going to instantly like each other. They may even hate each other the whole way through, or good friends may become enemies and vice versa. Particularly in FES, where the tightly knit SEES group so quickly crumbles without the leadership of Minato and the recurrence of something they thought they had beaten, this concept is shown quite well. Even more interestingly, highlighting the idea of Minato as a Messiah, the group formed factions based on the actions they thought he would take in such a situation.

    I won’t even get into what the final bosses (and the FINAL final bosses) in each game represented. That’s a whole other discussion.

    So while P4 was more an examination of the personal, the individual mind, P3 was more an study on the human condition in general. It’s these differences that make it so hard for me to decide which I like better. They both focus on wholly different aspects of humanity and both portray important concepts and realities, so saying which one is better on philosophical standpoint is sort of pointless, actually. It’s sort of like trying to ask which school of psychology is better: they all have certain things to say and people will find a personal connection with one more than an other.

    In the end, I’ll just keep paying out the butt to keep playing these games and the experiences they give me.

    • endaround

      See the P3 relationships were just screwy. There is no reason for Mitsuru or Akihiko to let you lead the team. Mitsuru is a born leader and Akihiko has much more experience than you..

      • http://www.facebook.com/sccrandall Sean Crandall

        Point. In all realistic cases, Mitsuru would have stayed the leader. A strong, independent woman with an affluent background would definitely win out over a quiet orphan who just moved in. Maybe it was that whole Death-ripping-out-of-Orpheus thing that messed up the order of things…

        • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

          Well, they choose the MC because of his natural ability to use a persona, besides, akihiko is more the kind of “hit first, ask later” and mitsuru probably though (maybe im taking this too deep, but it wouldnt surprise me if she did) that she cant be the leader with someone *cough* yukari *cough* disliking her so much, so the MC was more fit to be leader

      • blue23

        Well, one of the reasons to Mitsuru and Akihiko letting the MC lead the team was because of his ability to use multiple personas.

        • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

          Yeah i though that as well while typing, but i think by the time they choose you as leader they didnt knew you could do that, or even so, they barely talked about it, just some comments if i remember correctly, they never made it feel important D:

  • Soma

    Great comparison, Ishaan.
    From everything I’ve read from you on the site so far, I think this is the first time I have held the complete opposite opinion.
    I did truly enjoy P3. It was fantastic! However, P4 wholly replaced P3 in my heart.

    Although I think the P3 story is great, and I did love Minato, I’m kind of sick of “end of the world” situations in games. It seems that most RPG’s deal with some kind of extreme situation to which I can’t relate. That’s how I felt playing P3, and it’s how I’ve felt playing many games.
    Not only that, but I found that the characters in P3 kind of fit into archetypes often used in many games/anime/manga. Akihiko: the cool upperclassman, Junpei: the class clown, Mitsuru: the cold class rep, Fuuka: the shy girl, etc.

    Contrary, the characters in P4 almost seem real. While playing the game, I often wished there were an option which would allow Souji to open his mobile phone and be able to call the characters up to just hang out! Even if it had nothing to do with the game or story, I would have enjoyed seeing these kind of in game events over and over.
    Also, I found the fact that the games theme was more light-hearted very refreshing. There is a sense of urgency to get to the bottom of the whole mystery, but there’s no “fate of mankind in your hands.”

    Just thought I’d chip in my 2 cents, for what it’s worth. =P
    I still love both games, but if I could choose for P5 to be more similar to one or the other, I’d choose P4. =)

    • http://www.facebook.com/sccrandall Sean Crandall

      Interesting you should note that. I’ve heard that before, that P4 seems more real simply because the kids aren’t saving the world like all the other RPG kids. While I still liked the save-the-world business in 3, 4 was refreshing, in that sense. It felt a bit more like a real high school experience.

      • endaround

        Except of course they did save the world.

        • http://www.facebook.com/sccrandall Sean Crandall

          Got me there. Totally forgot that bit writing it. Point is, though, that there was a more obvious atmosphere of that in P3. While you did end up doing that in P4, it wasn’t as blunt as it was in P3. Several different focuses, like the local murders and the connections between teammates.

        • Soma

          Right.
          I should have been more concise.
          It’s like Sean says, that point wasn’t made obvious throughout the game.

  • endaround

    P3 was pretty much a manga come to life, you’re right. And that’s why it isn’t as good as P4. P3s cast is a collection of manga stereotypes, I mean they have a kid, a dog and even a robot girl! An ice queen Student Council President (literally!). A little sister type. Add in a somewhat generic plot (evil cabal set on world destruction!). Again this is not to say it was done poorly, it was done really well it just wasn’t unique. What sets P3 apart was the gameplay mechanic, otherwise it just another SMT/Persona game.

    Compare this with P4 where we break down a bunch of cliche’s of RPGs and related manga/aniem stories. Star with the MC. Now its common in lots of RPGs (JRPGS and WRPGs) and similar type of adventure stories to have the protagonist be an actual or defacto orphan. This is done for a variety of reasons, to explain why the protagonist is allowed to do what she needs, to provide some motivation, and to also serve as wish fulfillment for teens to be on their own and in charge. P3 plays this perfectly straight with you’e typical orphan protagonist. P4 however, starts of with you being a defacto orphan but it soon turns this on its head as you relationship with Dojima and Nanako, your family, becomes super important in the game. And this is reflected through all the cast. In P3 even the fracking dog is an orphan. In P4 family is important and in the minds of everyone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sccrandall Sean Crandall

      Definitely a feeling of family in P4, especially towards the end, where the whole Investigation Team are good pals and often come over to the Dojima house, heading to the hospital after the Nanako incident, etc.

      And you’re right with the cliches. While I think 3 fleshed them out more in FES, P4′s group did have quite a bit of depth.

      • endaround

        Also look at how important family is in many of the SLinks. Obviously there is Yukiko’s, but from the party family plays an important part in Kanji’s, Naoto’s, and Yosuke’s. Then in other SLs, you have Kou, Yumi, Naoki, and Eri all dealing with family not to mention of course Dojima and Nanako.

        • http://www.facebook.com/sccrandall Sean Crandall

          Right. Perhaps that’s a reflection of the small-town, more family-oriented atmosphere. P3 had everyone living in the dorms, away from family (if they had any to begin with) in the middle of the city while in P4, you just couldn’t get away from family. There were strong established roots in a town where everyone knows most everyone. The entire community is almost family, you could say.

  • Devonian

    I prefer P4, mostly because I prefer (relatively) upbeat stories to downer ones.

    Hell, I’ve never been able to play P3 because I found out how it ends after buying it (because of all the glowing praise it was getting) but before playing it, and I lost all enthusiasm for playing it.

    Needless to say, I made sure P4 didn’t end that way before buying it…

    Also, Nanako is d’awww incarnate. Right down to her cheerful “welcome home, Big Bro!” in the evenings.

  • ndjn3979

    Great write up. I think videogame nostalgia wise, P3 just has to take the cake. I like P4, but it doesn’t have as much otherworldly charm as its predecessor.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Kamiwoo Kamiwoo

    They’re both so good that I’ll never be able to pick one over the other. There are things from P3 I miss when playing P4 and vice-versa. I really do enjoy the various improvements made in P4, though, so it makes it easier to play whereas P3 sometimes seems outdated when I go back to it.

    It’s true that P3P is going to “fix” various things to make them more like P4, but that’s one of the things I don’t like about P3: the fact that we now have THREE versions of a game that didn’t come out so long ago. P4 is simply one game, and that gives it a touch of class that the now whored-out P3 doesn’t have.

    That doesn’t have much to do with enjoying the actual games themselves, but it’s a difference worth noting.

  • holyPaladin

    I like P3 and P4 both but I love P4 better because of party members (Yukiko, Naoto, Rise, Chie =p)
    And sadly P3 can’t have social links with the boys (make we don’t know much about their background although in main story we still learn a lot) but in P4 you can.

  • overlord_laharl

    Persona 2 > all

    I like a little more the story of Persona 3 than 4. But Persona 4 have the concept of the Shadow self something important than Persona 3 miss and in my case hate it for that. But in the last part of Persona 4 was boring comparing the tension from the last part in Persona 3 but in the begining the idea was good.

    Come on, seed are wannabes the same for club detectives in Persona 4 LOL

    • QBasic

      English please.

      • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

        An example of drunk commenting?

  • Jirin

    Here’s my thoughts about P3 vs P4.

    P4 wins: Combat, social links

    P3 wins: Story, main cast, PACING

    The changes made to the combat system were undeniably all improvements, starting of course with the ability to control your team. Plus the social links seemed like more than “Spend time with this crazy person and agree with him about everything”. But P4 has a story that’s more kitschy, and issues like six week gaps between one deadline and the next dungeon opening. Also it seemed P4 started out with some cool philosophical points to make about modern voyeurism, which then degraded into yet another ‘Humanity deserves to die because its so darn flawed!’ villain.

    It would also have been nice if they gave you more than one option for choosing the real killer at the end besides main characters, social links, people already disproven and people who are dead. So you actually had to figure something out rather than just using process of elimination.

    Persona 3 on the other hand was paced well, had a better balance between social stuff and dungeon crawling, and was more philosophically consistent throughout the game.

    So on balance whereas Persona 4 was more fun to play, Persona 3 ended up affecting you more.

    • Jirin

      Oh, one more thing to add that I think is a major issue in Persona 4.

      Persona 3 kept itself fresh because you kept going back and forth. Play in Tartarus a little, get bored, do social links a little, get bored, go back to Tartarus. But in Persona 4, exploring the dungeon takes away from your social link time. You’re pressured to finish a whole area in just one or two visits. So it turns into: I’m bored, but I MUST KEEP FIGHTING until I finish the dungeon or else I waste a social link day. Now I finished the dungeon and must go through two months of social links until the next dungeon opens up.

      That was a huge problem for me. Toward the end it made it harder to motivate myself to play.

      • QBasic

        You know, if you cranked up the difficulty of the game, you wouldn’t really be able to do dungeon crawls in one fell swoop…

        So yeah. Up the challenge, and the problem fixes itself.

        • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

          dungeon crawling hardcore = the answer in p3FES, and strangely, it didnt bore me, i just wanted to see my pretty emo MC once more :(

          • Soma

            I think that may be another reason why I didn’t like P3 as much P4. I’ve never been a fan of dungeon crawlers. I don’t mind stepping inside of a dungeon, working my through, and killing the boss. But generally, I like that to be the end of it.
            P3′s Tartarus just drove me nuts.
            With P4 some of the dungeons are pretty long, but they’re all separated, making the game less maddening.
            For me, dungeon crawling and grinding are not fun. ):

        • Jirin

          A) I know someone who played on hard, and he got through most of the dungeons in one shot.

          B) The problem isn’t that you *can* get through them in one fell swoop, the problem is that you’re pressured to. Failure to get through in one try = You lose a social link day. The problem is that they moved the dungeon exploration to after school instead of late night.

          I found the answer in P3 almost unplayable. Not only do you not have the social link stuff to balance it out, they stripped down the customization so prep loses it’s fun.

  • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

    When it comes down to it, I could never decide over Yukari and Yukiko. Think I have a thing for girls whose names start with the letter ‘Y’ (or ゆ)…

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Come on! Yukiko wins hands down. I still remember the scene of her sitting all by herself on that bench when you get to talk to her for the first time.

      • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

        Oh, it’s a great scene. And you know how I feel about her magnificent… well, that’s best left for irc! :p

        • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

          i vote for yukiko too… tehee *blush* i cant forget those great times, when she was drunk… and got she got into my lap… or was i on her lap..? i forgot, that night was heavy

          • Moriken

            Ah, the good old days…when we partied all night long in the city~
            I kinda like Yukiko most too, from all the P3+4 girls. She’s pretty much a perfect girl on the outside, but has some habits like her…awesome sense of humour XD

  • http://twitter.com/atmey Atmey

    In P3 I got stuck on some hard boss which countered my attacks and took Minato 1 hit from full hp to die, umm… never played it again. when I played P4 I already got used to next generation HD, I couldn’t play it more than 4 hours.

    • Aoshi00

      I’m the same as you in terms of being spoiled by HD alrdy by the time P4 came out. I would still very much like to give it another chance (after all got both the Jpn/US copy), most likely I’m waiting for the beefed up P5.

  • Trotmeister

    P3 is a disgrace to the entire series.

    • blue23

      Uhm…………………………. No?

      • Trotmeister

        Oh yes.

        • QBasic

          You know, I can’t entirely say myself P3 is as cracked up to be as everyone else says (Ishaan…sorry bud, but you included :<), but damn dude. You'd AT LEAST better be able to back that up one way or another.

          Just saying that makes you look like a troll, and a complete asshat. *Elaborate*, so as you don't make yourself look like a complete moron. Ya know? =/ I'm sure you got good reasons, so if anything, *at least* make the raging fanboys look like idiots. You'd do me proud.

          • Trotmeister

            Nah, I think my initial comment pretty much sums it up.

          • Xien12

            MC died for your sins.
            He died for your Emo Angst.
            He died for your rage.

            Well, he’s not really dead. He’s stuck protecting said emotions from forming into a monster and attacking the gate leading towards the annihilation of the world day after day.

            He’s doing it right now.
            Just for you.
            Yes, you sitting in that seat, at this very minute. MC is fighting so that you can keep on typing and lurking.
            How dare you say you don’t like P3?

          • Xien12

            Hahaha.

          • Xien12

            But it’s true that Minato did more than Souji in terms of world saving.

    • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

      P3 was the one that made possible the series to continue…

      • Trotmeister

        Totally true. Doesn’t makes the game less of a disgrace, though.

        • http://thrust-the-sky.deviantart.com/ WildArms

          thanks to him you may get your p2 remake and got p1 remake, you should be thankfull and make an altar for p3!! NAW, i respect your tastes in games so i wont object what you say, BUT U HAVE TO MAKE A NATURAL SIZE EMO MAIN CHAR FIGURE

  • Randgriz

    Personally i much prefet Persona 3 to Persona 4, when i played persona 4 it just felt like i was playing a copycat game of P3.

    I loved everything about persona 3, the way you invoke your Pesona’s (Putting a gun to your head, now how cool is that!) and not to mention the tartarus tower story was really interesting, i loved how it felt like a dark supernatural mystery.

    I think the characters in P3 were more appealing too.

  • Xeahnort

    P3 is light years better than Persona 4 in my opinion. I greatly preferred Persona 3′s final boss (Nyx). The whole situation leading up to that point with Strega was awesome and the fight itself was as well. The music was epic. Also, the characters like Shinjiro Aragaki, Mitsuru Kirijo Takaya a.k.a revolver Jesus and Ikutsuki´s lame jokes “Monorail…listen to the monorail in monaural!”

  • http://otoboku.se manga

    Excellent writeup and the pros and cons are fully viewable.

    As for me. I can´t say that one or the other is better as they aim for different aspects. Sure I can comment on the battle system being better in P4 since then I can controll everyone as I want and have them act as I want them to instead of just sitting with a jaw dropped into why the hell did Mitsuru just use a mind charge and then drained MP?

    Characterwise, it´s equal. I don´t dislike people in videogames. They all have their own stories that will most certain require help to solve and I am there for them.

    I need to finish up “The Answer” in P3:Fes along with the True End in P4. But otherwise I´ve finished them and they were great. Getting to understand the story of the shadows in P3 and then having to understand that we can act a different way when our thoughts and what we really want to do is something completely different in P4 are great.

    For the main hero I feel that they both are the same way. It is I as the player who give them a soul and it is indeed me myself that makes the choices and I take responsibility for my actions. That is the core of Persona 3 and 4.

    We are indeed the Fool, not a set value but we have unlimited choices and possibilities.

    That way of thinking helped me a lot when I came up with the new blog title.

    I adored Yukari in P3 and decided on her. In P4 it was Chie that I first fell for.

    While P3 had moments of loss it was toned down in P4 but I would imagine that the characters had some restless nights with what happend and wish that they could have acted faster than what they did.

    But I also think that the perspective was changed a bit in P4, in P3 it had been the whole world and a sickness that would mean the end of the world. In P4 it more of a local thing, prevent the murders of your dear friends and neighbours. If it had been another save the world game I don´t think I would have liked it as much.

    So the change was welcome for me. Getting to go back to the island of P3 was also a great touch.

    And why did you have to tempt me like this to finish the true end? All I want to do right now is basically to start up P4 and choose to go onto the True End path. I also want to start over with my P3: Fes Journey and Answer stories.

    As well as getting me interested in P3P even more than before.

    edit – one thing that I do want from P4 is a new game based on it where Souji comes back to Inaba and either brings everyone with him to the big city or settles down in Inaba to live there with his friends. And maybe solve some new mysteries, what do I know?

    That would be great. A P4: Fes of some sort.

  • Hraesvelgr

    Persona and Persona 2 (both parts) are vastly superior to both P3 and P4, but between the two, I think P4 is vastly superior to P3, if only for the fact that I can’t stand a good majority of P3′s characters. Junpei alone is one of the most annoying game characters I’ve ever seen in a game.

    • Xien12

      Story-wise, Persona and Persona 2 were superior because of its darker atmosphere. In terms of gameplay, though, P4 was the best.

    • smashman98

      p2 was amazing, while the original persona was just meh imo, tho p4 is definitley my fave

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/xxHiryuuxx Hiryuu

    I was more amused by the give and take between Laura and Ishaan at the end, myself.

    But yea, P4 > P3. I’m actually on P4 again at the moment (after clearing Mana Khemia 2 100% at least in item acquisition).

  • DarkAesthir

    Not taking into consideration the obvious improvements in mechanics that were made in P4′s menus and combat, it’s very close for me.
    I liked the story of P3 more because of the gravitas it conveyed, but I liked P4 more as a whole because of the depth of the social link characters. They felt more complete to me than the P3 cast (androids notwithstanding).
    There is still something special I feel for P3, it has a kind of intangible quality, despite its shortcomings.

  • Magnolia_Blaire

    while I loved P4, P3 was still the better game. There were times where I was just bored with P4. I never really loved any of the characters, or the story. I’m not disappointed I played P4 by any means, it just didn’t quite click the same.

  • Nekobo

    The game is better in P4, but I like the story and themes in P3 more.

  • kashi

    Excellent write-up! A friend and I recently got into a similar discussion (argument?) about Persona 3 vs Persona 4 and I couldn’t exactly put into words why P3 felt like it affected me more. I’ve only played Persona 2 so there might be a bit of a nostalgia factor (coupled with the fact it was a breath of fresh air amongst the fantasy RPGs I was playing).

    I enjoyed both games for their own merits. I loved Tartarus (even though I’m not big on dungeon-crawling), the music, themes and style of Persona 3. You kicked ass and looked good doing it. The soical links were new and entertaining and added depth to the characters outside of the main storyline. The plot was melancholic as it headed towards the end and I felt for the characters affected by the Shadows.

    In Persona 4, it was at a similar level. Though the atmosphere had completely changed, I felt a kinship with these struggling adolescents trying to not only save people’s lives but struggling with their identities and growing up. While Persona 3 had darker undertones, Persona 4 embraced relationships as an overall theme. I couldn’t help but feel for everyone in this little town of Inaba and feel compelled to solve this murder mystery.

    Game mechanics though, I really enjoyed the ability to control my characters in battle. Persona 4 polished up on the game mechanics from Persona 3 I found. While playing Persona 3, I always lamented not being to play a girl though it looks like this will change with the release of P3P ^^

  • smashman98

    u had this thing with the manga and the game the manga was meant to give them personalities seeing as u cant make any decisions while reading a manga but the game both of them dont have personalities that is totally u no one else so dont get the 2 confused other wise good post i still enjoyed p4 a lot more though

  • overlord_laharl

    Sorry, I’m spanish -___-

  • http://www.twitter.com/christaran Chris Taran

    No worries :)

  • Trotmeister

    Quick to resort to petty insults, aren’t we.

  • Trotmeister

    Oh, sorry, I’ve forgotten internet is a serious business.

  • Trotmeister

    Well, okay, you got me, this is the last reply. Just, you know, to spite you.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos

Popular