Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable Playtest: P3 FEM

By Ishaan . July 2, 2010 . 2:32pm


This is our second playtest of Persona 3 Portable. For our previous import playtest, click here. Additionally, please note that the text below contains minor spoilers if you haven’t played at least 10 hours of Persona 3.




It isn’t often that you get the chance to take a fresh look at one of your favourite games ever and re-evaluate it from a different perspective. Likewise, it isn’t often that developers get the chance to fine-tune a single game not once, but twice, in an attempt to file away the rough edges and add something meaningful to it at the same time.


Persona 3 Portable is one of those rare instances, and part of the appeal is making note of the little tweaks Atlus have made to the genre-defining game they first released 4 years ago. While Persona 3 was an incredibly forward-thinking product for its time, it still suffered from flaws that might have prevented people from enjoying it as much as they could have. The way the game required you to approach grinding in Tartarus. The effect this had on how you utilized your time for establishing and strengthening Social Links and living your life. The manner in which you navigated through the different locales.


Persona 4 did a great job of addressing a lot of those issues and demonstrating how to streamline an RPG, but what makes P3P interesting is that it features even more tweaks over and above those that P4 introduced to the series and, perhaps, gives you an idea of what Atlus are thinking in terms of design improvements for future titles.


Not everything you’ll see in P3P is an improvement, however, and this is due in part to the system it’s been ported down to. Whether or not you’ll find it worth your time is going to be entirely subjective. Have you already played Persona 3 before? Did you get to play FES? Are you male or female? How much do you like to get inside the heads of fictional characters and attempt to examine what makes them who they are?



And while the most obvious change to Persona 3 Portable is the addition of a new female character — hereby referred to as “Minako,” as the fans have dubbed her — the other change will make itself much more apparent once you actually have the game in your hands: P3P is much more of a visual novel-esque experience than the original.


ImPERSONAting a Visual Novel


P3P opens with an introductory song named “Soul Phrase,” the accompanying visuals of which are a little reminiscent of an MTV-esque music video. That kind of approach might work for Kingdom Hearts, but it feels a little out of place in Persona. It doesn’t suit the game’s atmosphere as well as “Burn My Dread” or “P3 FES” in my opinion, but others might feel differently.


Once you start a new game, you’re first asked to select your gender. The game actually suggests playing as Minato (male) if it’s your first time experiencing Persona 3. I picked Minako, since she’s the major new addition to the PSP version. After you’ve made your choice, the story begins with the familiar scene of a train headed to Iwatodai station. Here’s where you’ll start to notice the differences.


This entire opening sequence isn’t a movie like in Persona 3 — instead, it’s presented like a visual novel, with still images and text describing the scene. “The station entrance is buzzing with activity,” a dialogue box tells you, as an appropriate image fills the screen. It then cuts to an image of a dorm room, where a certain someone has a gun to her head. The dialogue box appears once again.



[Female student: *gasp* *gasp* I just… put it to my head… And pull the trigger. No chickening out…]


Of course, she ultimately decides not to do it, exclaiming, “No, I can’t!”


The scene then changes back to the train once again, now at Iwatodai Station. The clock strikes 12, and you experience the Dark Hour for the first time. “Something about the atmosphere seems odd,” the game tells you. “As you walk from the station, you notice coffin-like objects lining the deserted city.” Cue image of the Dark Hour coffins.


The change, while interesting, doesn’t work nearly as well as the original anime cinematic, with an expressionless Minato walking through a jungle of coffins with his headphones on, entirely unaffected by the Dark Hour, interspersed with scenes of a trembling Yukari as she points her Evoker to her head. It’s understandable why Atlus aren’t positioning this game as a replacement for the original Persona 3. As great as having a portable, more streamlined version of the game is, certain crucial elements of its design had to be stripped in the process.


Once you arrive at the SEES dorm, you’re greeted by a familiar boy in stripes. He wants you to sign a contract. Once you agree to take responsibility for your actions from that moment forth — AKA, fill in your name — one of your new dorm mates appears to greet you. Except, she “is holding something looks like a gun.”


Again, this scene is presented visual novel style, and all you see is a portrait of Yukari. The “gun” is nowhere in sight. If you happen to miss the line that says she has a gun (like I did), you wouldn’t know she was carrying one. That is, until you get to ask her about it moments later in a dialogue choice. At times like this, the drama and tension feel like they fall flat compared to the original game.


This scene also highlights one of the nicer additions to P3P though — that there are more dialogue choices scattered throughout the game. I’m not entirely certain if they actually amount to any significant changes as far as character relations go, but they’re there, and they compliment the visual novel presentation very nicely in addition to making you feel more like you’re role-playing. Atlus even took the time to create different dialogue for Minato and Minako, which is fantastic for further replays of the game.


A Cursory Presentation


Once Yukari leads you up to your dorm room, you exchange a few words, and get to ask her a question again. While the wording is different depending on your gender, the two question choices are virtually the same: A) What’s up with the contract you signed? or B) Who was that kid down by the reception?


Naturally, she has no clue what you’re talking about in either case. This is where the game first begins to feel like Persona 3 proper. Slower, more talkative scenes, naturally, don’t suffer from merely being on a smaller screen. The foreboding “Troubled” track kicks in, giving you your first portable taste of that creepy P3 “something’s not right” vibe. I found myself feeling a little envious of people who would be playing the game for the first time.



Once the conversation ends, you’re inside your dorm room, and catch your first glimpse of the new UI. Instead of controlling a 3D model of your character, everything in the background is pre-rendered (including characters, if there are any in the scene) and you move a cursor over the environment to click on objects or people to take a closer look. Hitting the R trigger displays icons over everything you can interact with, which is extremely useful.


You can move your cursor with either the analog stick or the D-pad. Holding down the O button makes it move faster. In addition, the button function returns from Persona 4, allowing you to bring up a shortcut menu of nearby locations you can travel to. It’s a great idea in theory. The problem is, while the cursor system feels great in smaller spaces, I eventually missed the freedom of being able to move my character around.


Having everything be pre-rendered affects the drama at times, too. Since there are no more 3D models for your characters outside of Tartarus and boss events, there’s no animation to speak of either. The game relies almost solely on still portraits and text to convey feeling, which is a noticeable downgrade if you’ve played the PS2 originals. Body language goes a long way toward moving the narrative along, and the original P3’s attention to detail was sorely missed.


Then again, 3D models have their downsides, too. A few days into the game and you arrive at the scene where the SEES dorm is attacked by a Shadow. As per the original script, you run up to the roof with Yukari, who tries to summon her persona, but can’t muster up the courage to do so. Your character then decides to take matters into his / her hands, and puts the Evoker to his head.



This scene isn’t presented visual novel style, but using the ingame 3D models. It’s a step up from still images, but considering the models are entirely expressionless with no facial animation to speak of, it’s another noticeable step down from the wicked cool “per…so…na” scene we all remember. While this might sound nitpicky, Persona is very much a game that lives and dies by its atmosphere, drama and characters. The downgrades to those don’t break the game, but they do cheapen the experience a little.


Persona 3: FEM


Underneath all these flaws, however, lies Persona 3; one of the best RPGs in recent years. Flaws notwithstanding, if the underlying game is strong enough, it will show, and luckily P3’s strengths shine through. I found myself marveling at the fact that I didn’t mind playing through the game all over again, given how heavily plot and character-driven it was.



Part of the reason for this, of course, is Minako. She’s nothing like her male counterpart, and it’s immensely interesting to see how Atlus chose to characterize her. As you’ll recall, Persona 3’s protagonist left a lot up to the imagination. The game told you a few things about him — namely that he was kind of mental and that he was practically born to play the role of saviour — but everything else, you were allowed to fill in yourself. The way he spoke to his friends, how outgoing he was, what his feelings were regarding the situations he found himself in, and so on.


Personally, I viewed him as an aloof, but sincere sort of chap with an iron-strong sense of justice. He often preferred to hang out by himself or with maybe a single friend at a time — certainly not a large group — and given his natural talents and mature outlook, tended to be a loner even though he had plenty of great friends both in and out of SEES. He was a perfectionist, and posessed every commendable trait you could possibly want in a human being, but this was also precisely why he was always so alone.


Minako, however, doesn’t suffer from this tragic irony. She’s outgoing, isn’t afraid to speak her mind — unlike Minato, who I felt sometimes said the things people wanted to hear — and gives the impression of a far more carefree creature. Part of the reason is that there’s no 3D model of her, standing hunched over, hands in her pockets all the time. Even despite the slightly creepy red eyes, she comes off as more joyful, occasionally boisterous, and perhaps a tiny bit cynical. The pink UI helps, too.


She also shares a different relationship with some of the characters you likely got to know in P3. Junpei, for instance, will reveal things about his past to her that you didn’t know before. I can’t speak to whether or not female players will find her more relatable than Minato, but she’s certainly cut from a different cloth. For instance, in my experience, it felt great to not have to give a hoot about your Academics stat for once (not that I’d allow her to be a complete failure either though).


And while Minato, in my own experience, never seemed to cave from all the pressure he must have been under from leading SEES, she occasionally has her moments of fragility. For example; there’s a dialogue option that results in you bursting into tears after barely managing to defeat the first major full moon Shadow inside the moving monorail and getting out in one piece.


Ultimately, I found myself role-playing her as someone a little more “real” and less prepared for the role of a messiah. Building up an entirely new character and seeing her take on familiar events is easily P3P’s biggest appeal.



Other Changes


In addition to the female protagonist, P3P also features a whole bunch of other tweaks that make the game a more easily-digestible experience. Here’s a few of the more prominent ones:

  • You can now resume exploring Tartarus from the floor you left off.
  • Leveling up your various personae results in them giving you a skill card. This card can be used to teach a skill to another persona that wouldn’t normally learn it. You can also duplicate these cards at the shrine, making it that much easier to build up your team.
  • Certain parts of the soundtrack such as the battle theme have been changed for the female route. While they aren’t all as strong as the original OST, they do go a long way toward helping define her unique character and perspective.
  • There are more difficulty levels, which makes grinding and deaths more manageable.
  • Running out of SP is no longer an issue — you can now heal HP and SP at the Tartarus rendezvous save point. There’s also no more fatigue while grinding, so you can keep going as long as you like. This, in turn, makes managing Social Links a lot easier.
  • You can control individual characters in battle, just like in Persona 4. I found myself needing to take control of Yukari a few times because she either tended to heal a little too often or not often enough, depending on the orders assigned to her.


All said and done, no one can deny Persona 3 Portable is a fantastic game. Not only was the PS2 Persona 3 a thoroughly enjoyable experience overall, its individual elements were extremely well-directed as well. At its best, P3P builds upon the strengths of the original, and at its worst, it is nowhere close to being bad or even mediocre.

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  • Eddie

    I should really get a psp soon.

  • YoFace

    Great read. And this will be my first Persona game, too~

    • lostinblue

      Please play the PS2 version instead. Please!

      • ShinNoKami

        Oh come on… what if they don’t have a PS2?

        • lostinblue

          Everyone who plays RPG’s should own one and they’re inexpensive anyway? :(

          I replied to the other reply you made to me, but I couldn’t do a direct reply so it appeared kinda messed up and easy to miss.

          • ShinNoKami



            Suuuuuuure…. If it was inexpensive, I would’ve gotten one by now. 8D
            XD;; but seriously, PS2s are still kinda pricey where I am if you want a brand new one.

          • lostinblue

            They’re inexpensive here. There’s refurbished ones everywhere for 30 euros or so.

            Since the price conversion to USD’s is kinda direct in the values practiced for new products, it would be like charging 30 dollars for a PS2 with a 2 year guarantee in case it breaks and stuff (because stores can’t sell stuff without a 2 year guarantee in European Union)

            Also, the best PS2 manufactured are the FAT models, more specifically SCPH-3000xR and SCPH-3900x. I’d suggest you look out for those rather than a new one (although the new ones are well manufactured enough, unlike the models that came after the ones I just mentioned)

  • I want to see Minako and Mitsuru Social Link… muehehehehe cant wait to have it

    • lostinblue

      I saw it on PS2. It’s nice? (you mean a new one?)

      EDIT: ah, minako=female minato, didn’t knew that.

  • EvilAkito

    I regret the fact that I still haven’t finished P3, yet I’m already buying a 3rd version of it.

    Oh well, it’s a great game, and maybe I’ll spend more time with it now that it’s on a portable.

  • I’m actually curious about what happens when you max out the social links for Minako’s potential boyfriends. ‘Cause the both guy MCs from Persona 3 and 4 romantic endings implied that they… at least had a long chat with their girlfriends.

    • EvilAkito

      I was sort of hoping that I’d still be able to date Yukari (and other females) when playing as the girl. I haven’t heard any confirmation that you can’t, but to be honest, I sort of doubt that it works that way.

      • Day2Day

        Aww, you can’t? I was hoping they would play off the positive comments they received from Kanji in Persona 4 being unsure of his sexual orientation and give Minako (not sure I like the new name yet) the option of “swinging both ways” so to speak. The same would go for the hotel scene, where she would be attracted to a girl…

        Also, does anyone know if there’s the possibility that they might release a manga for the Female Protagonist?

        • EvilAkito

          Well, I don’t really know that you can’t, I’m just assuming you can’t. I hope I’m wrong though. There just aren’t enough games that pander to yuri fanboys like me.

          • Day2Day

            I hope you’re wrong, too…
            I want to see the Fem Protagonist and Mitsuru as a couple…
            Oh, and it just occurred to me… the Chihiro Social link’s going to be really different as the FeMC, isn’t it?

          • i’ll put an end to this conversation now. you can’t. not to put down the idea. i just wanted you to know before you get disappointed when you play.

            also the female MC has mostly different cast of social links, i.e. Junpei is Magician, Justice is Ken, Strength is Koromaru.

    • I think there are really only 2 potential boyfriends, from what I’ve played. And, based on the situations, they don’t really overlap.

      • hmmm… i see. being forced to balance out all the girlfriends’ S.Links in FES was a little frustrating when i was trying to keep the arcana bonuses balanced on top of getting Telos.

    • Sunya

      I’ve read on other blogs that the female MC also gets to spend a “long time” with her maxed out social links…including Amada. The little kid. Yep.

      What I’m curious about is how P3P handles the Yakushima, love hotel, and hot springs scenes. I can’t really imagine the female MC going around with Mitsuru, Yukari, and Fuuka while trying lame pick-up lines on the beach…heck, I can’t even fathom how the love hotel scene would go.

      • Well, with the male MC in P3, at the end of the girlfriend max social link events, the characters walk towards the girl’s bed with hearts over their heads. Then the screen blacks out and the “spent a long time” message shows up. I’m pretty sure that’s not the situation that’ll happen with at least Ken, and Junpei.As for the hotel scene, I can sorta picture it, cause you have at least 1 guy in the party regardless of how you set it up. The other 2 scenarios though… lmao, I can’t picture it at all either.

  • endaround

    “Running out of SP is no longer an issue — you can now heal HP and SP at the Tartarus rendezvous save point.”

    That was always the case. The limiting factor in dungeons in P4 was SP, in P3 its getting tired.

    • Ahh yes, I know. I was making comparisons to P4 as well. I pointed that out early on in the post. :)

    • PersonaBull

      I’m pretty sure what Ishaan was getting at with that was that without the “getting tired” factor, you don’t have to worry about companions leaving your party when you go back down to heal HP and SP.

  • I loved the port. I didn’t mind the cursor at all. In fact, I found it easier because I wasn’t wandering aimlessly through halls after school. Same for the dorm.

    I’m “almost” done with my first Minako playthrough. I really love the new social links that are available this time around. And Tartarus seems much more playable what with getting tired “after” visiting, the healing point and the whole being able to resume from the level you left off at. Not to mention being able to control everyone.

    It’s funny, because I got too frustrated with P3 on the PS2, but I was going through this super fast after I got it.

  • Devonian

    So are all the new things on Hamuko’s side? Because it seems that way from what I’ve heard…

    • The system improvements are on both sides.

      • Devonian

        I know that part, I’m wondering if Minato’s side got any new content…

        • I’ve only played a little of Minato’s P3P route so far for comparison. There are minor changes to his route, as I understand it, but don’t expect anything wild. Also, certain things are entirely exclusive to Minako’s — like being able to choose between Elizabeth and Theodore for the Velvet Room is an early example.

  • BrotherCavil

    Not that I don’t like P3…but, it feels like P4 is getting shafted as a result of this P3 milkage – a *considerably* superior game.And…where’s the Persona 2 love!? T_T Oh well, I’ll be picking this up Tuesday…

  • lostinblue

    I think Persona 3 was designed as it was for a reason, you don’t control the whole party via inputs ala persona 4 intentionally and it’s fine and intended, you’re supposed to learn your way around it and it’s great.This port… it’s like taking Majora Mask and stripping away the 3 day system. Seems like they cheapened everything out, graphics are quite a few notches down, presentation of scenarios has decreased a big deal, the battle pixels are overly sharp, flat and without the shadows that made the original so pretty. The female main character is a dumb inclusion, female audience is not the biggest for this title and male minato just has so much more personality on his design, not to mention this is a series who has a main character per game, pictured on the box, now we have to identify with roughly two of them? one of them whom we never actually see? And the whole plot around minato, is Aegis a man here?Will still probably buy this, but I don’t intent to go through it; whenever I want to play Persona 3 again I think I’ll go with the PS2 version.

    On another note, is there a collectors edition?

    • BrotherCavil

      Collector’s edition? No…but you get Junpei’s hat if you pre-ordered. :<

    • Hraesvelgr

      It’s the same game as the PS2 version, minus FES (which was awful, btw), plus the addition of an alternate (though mostly the same) female story. So, what’s your issue with it? Worse graphics? It doesn’t look that much worse than the PS2 version, plus it’s on the PSP. Frankly, the graphics in the PS2 game are mediocre at best anyway, so I don’t understand the complaint.

      Being able to control your entire party is an improvement, however. The novelty of having the AI “make their own decisions” wore off quickly, especially against the final boss, where the AI would constantly reflect their own attacks back at themselves, killing them in the process. Were the AI truly lifelike, I could possibly see this as a complaint, but that’s not the case.

      I don’t really see how the male lead has more personality in his design than the female. They have specifically said that both the leads for P3 and P4 were designed with a more “generic” look so more people could identify with them better, as the character is technically “you”. I’m pretty sure this was the intention with the female’s design, as well. Also, you “never actually see” the female lead only if you play as the male, because she replaces him in her version. Basically, it’s like if the main character was born female instead of male. And no, Aigis is not a man in the female side, as that has little relevance to anything.

      • lostinblue

        It’s not really a issue, it’s the fact the game was infact watered down, no matter what kind of uncalled for extra content they add; the experience is not intact, it’s too streamed out for that, and they also made sure to include stuff they shouldn’t such as the option to control characters individually. Of course with that option one would be mad to use the automatic AI thing instead, but fact is, the game balance was built around this, in a way Persona 4 didn’t (so while it’s fine Persona 4 allowed it, I think it was part of Persona 3 not having it)

        The AI was fine on the final boss, in fact that boss was designed to take advantage of it, I mean when it used the reflecting shield you had to put them all on standby and quick, it was made so requiring all the control over it you’ve learned throughout the game. I don’t think such boss makes sense if the other characters aren’t controlled by AI tbh.

        I think Minato and Souji are good character designs, I just don’t feel much personality from it’s female counterpart, nor do I see the point in adding that.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m certain the game is considerably worse than the PS2 build of it, even if some improvements are pertinent (not the ones I mentioned in this post) but I’m also sure it’ll be one of the best RPG’s if not the best, on PSP. The thing is, I clearly don’t see it as a improvement whatsoever, worse graphics, lame new female character option, inclusions that go around the original conscious game design, streaming stuff out that didn’t need to be streamed out.

        Not to mention I kinda bet the port and aditions were done by TOSE.

        • malek86

          I’m not sure how having to avoid the mess made by AI stupidity (or stillness, whichever) is supposed to be good design.It’s the reason why I don’t like escort missions.

          • lostinblue

            I’m sure it was part of the design though, it would be simple to do what they did for Persona 4, but instead they did a system where you would you have to learn how to deal with, and even designed the last boss around it, messing with the AI and commands learned throughout the game every time.I really look back and think Persona 4 was mighty fine, and yes, that’s a overall “improvement” in the mechanic if we don’t consider the game balance was done around it, but I’m glad I played Persona 3 like “that”. And I load Persona 3 where there’s an option to go around that; like I said for me is like if you took Majora Mask and stripped the 3 day system just to make it more friendly.

            It was made like that from the start intentionally, it wasn’t an accident or anything broken in the game mechanic.There were/are improvements that are welcome, such as being able to choose which ability gets erased by what, and a handful others… But this is not one relevant for the core of Persona 3, imo; quite the opposite.Thing is I never asked for more friendly, nor do I think it’s pertinent.

      • FES wasnt awfull! D: it was pretty cool but heavy in dungeon crawling, still i loved see what happened after the main story, and the battles between friends was epic

    • First… taking the 3 days system in majorask mask is destroying the game itself so i dont think this is much of a great example. D:
      What did they took off? characters dont get tired, meh it only bothered me at the beginning, and after all i even forgot that could happen, the girl addition is great, is like a spinoff of the game itself, and even has the original game inside, she even has different events and she has an unique style, and this is hard to acomplish in the world of anime drawings. These are 2 different games and each one of them is the main character of each game, if you can’t separate them that way, i dont really know what to say… Auto battle system is out? If this is like P4 you can just leave them in auto you know, but then, if the game makes you use them manually, then i may understand why you dont like this, i actually though it was pretty cool to make strategies knowing how the AI thinks, but i still prefer manually, i feel more free making strategies.

      Graphics in Tartarus, and in battles, are EXACTLY the same as in ps2, i imported the game in japanese, you cant mislead yourself from videos or photos, they always look a lot worse than having the game in your hands, oh and now moving in town is just by choosing, well, we can save more time this way, and is not much of a big deal because now i can have this in the palm of my hand. Just adding a new storyline is more than enough reason to get the game, maybe if they just released the game like a spinoff with the girl, and just adding what they took off would be enough to sell, but i prefer a lot more to have these 2 stories, the original one i loved and the new one. And no.. there is no an Aegis boy, whats the difference, is not like Aegis kissed minato or wanted to do romantic stuff with him lol (this was already answered but i had to say it xD)

      • lostinblue

        Well, I think allowing to have the P4 system in P3 is a gamebreaking option; sure you can not use it, but the thing is you will because it’ll make the game easier. Majora Mask is a more extreme example of course, but it could be made too; I see the 3 day system and the AI for this game as something that’s clearly intentionally tied to the whole initial concept, it might not be the easiest to deal with but the game was designed around that. A game is meant to be played like the creators intended, they shouldn’t let you go over it.

        Characters not getting tired is also watering down the game in my book, it was clearly intended, you were supposed to learn your way around it… It’s like porting Persona 4 and letting you recover all your SP for 1¥, it’s cheapening the whole strategy/mechanic and balance of the game.

        I liked the option to use each character in Persona 4 without the AI because it was intended from the beginning, it was calibrated taking it into account; but Persona 3 wasn’t; they could have recalibrated it, but it’s still not how it’s meant to be, it’s like if they remade FFVII as a action RPG, let stuff be what it was meant to, and P3 wasn’t supposed to have that option, it’s part of the experience, just like getting tired is.

        Graphics in Tartarus are not the same, the awesome shadowing of the engine is gone, as are some of the original effects, the resolution is lower and the game 3D graphics are very jagged compared to the original; not to mention outside tartarus they really butchered it all. It’s fine though, but this is no ultimate version.

        Like I said, there are good inclusions, such as the square menu from persona 4, but some of the options they took to streamline the game were really uncalled for. More than the whole adition of the female version thing.

    • “…female audience is not the biggest for this title”

      Where exactly are you drawing these conclusions from? Also, the way you word it makes it sound like they shouldn’t even be trying to cater to a female audience at all. Why is it that this sounds like backward thinking to me?

      • lostinblue

        I think you polarized what I said too much.

        What I meant to say is, gaming and RPG’s in general are not overly populated with girl gamers, meaning stuff like Rune Factory can get away having no female counterpart and female only Harvest Moon versions while profitable have been known to not sell through the roof compared to the male version, but it’s simple enough to do since it’s done over an existing game/framework anyway, there’s nothing wrong with that, off course.

        But Persona 3 was designed to have a main character and that was Minato and he looked inspired, I just don’t think Minako looks inspired or is something they should be using as a sell point, since that specific part is for a niche market when compared to the original game appeal. I ain’t gonna play as a girl and mate up with guy’s, obviously. (to this point of course you’ll argue females won’t have my opinion and will see this as a godsend; fine, but I still think it doesn’t look inspired)

        I think this inclusion is uncalled for, and to be blunt, I’m criticizing it in the same way I’d criticize a persona who started with a “character creation” thing, it’s diluting the game identity, afterwards they might use a shadow for the main character in the artwork because it can be a girl, it can be a boy it can have blonde hair, black hair… You see where I’m going.

        We played Persona 2 Innocent Sin with Maya didn’t we? And it was mighty fine. I’m all up for a new persona with a female main character (although, with that said, then I’d like to have the option to date girls as well, and I’m fine with Persona 4 or Persona 3 type of games having those to “date guys with a male main character thing”. But not this one, who was totally not designed for it. And seeing male versions of the girls in persona 3 is just a little too much for me too, I think it dilutes the characters (not to mention, again, that I don’t think they look all that inspired, they look as if they were done by the book, whereas the original ones didn’t)

        • How does Minato look “inspired” at all? He looks like your typical — pardon the wording — “emo” protagonist. Hunched over, hands in his pockets, hair covering his face. Aloof.

          You might have felt he was inspired because you could relate to him, just like a lot of us could. You can’t say Minako isn’t inspired because who knows how women feel about her? If anything, she looks less generic than Minato does. She isn’t a “female version” of him either…she has her own personality, which is very different from his…so you can’t say they just swapped his sprite with hers either.

          Speaking to your point about protagonists — I highly doubt they’d have you take on the role of a Shadow in future games… and if they did, it would look human. Personally, I don’t see how her addition is a bad thing at all. And as for making the game a little easier to get through — more options are always a good thing. You don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.

          I’m not trying to come down hard on you or anything…I just honestly can’t see anything wrong with the improvements they’ve made here that you seem to be complaining about. Presentation aside, everything else has been tweaked for the better.

          • lostinblue

            Opinions, I thought he had his presence, personality and looked pretty nice, perhaps because there’s not many so called emo characters as main characters; or rather, we have, but not with that visual; I’d argue cloud/squall/tidus and the like are pretty emo, and in the end since he was a silent protagonist… he wasn’t really emo when it came to attitude. I don’t really like the new female character design though, seems less inspired than say, Yukari or Mitsuru and perhaps even less than Fuuka, which is saying a lot. It just seems like something subpar whereas Minato standed out on the likes of Jumpei and Akihiro. Of course this is my opinion though, you can disagree.

            Reading your post though, perhaps we don’t totally disagree, we just demand different stuff out of the characters. Yes, I would prefer by a female Minato by a blind mile to a character with an all new look, which as you said, “perhaps it’s easier to identify with for women”, I dunno I’d claim she’s pretty average looking (average, not ugly; but unlike Yukari and Mitsuru for the most part) well, most girls aren’t goddesses just like we men wouldn’t identify with a hulk build-like character, so perhaps it’s more natural to go with what I call bland in a woman-like character. But I do find it blander and more down to earth with the stereotype than Minato is, it just doesn’t stand out at all for me.

            I feel I’m screeching this point though, since what really bothers me is the chance to skip AI managing altogether and the fact characters can’t get tired anymore. I’ll agree I’m sure the core is still intact and it’s a great game nonetheless, might be good on the go for people replaying it and all, but I just can’t consider it the version you should play the first time around… I believe in limitations by design so some improvements are everything but improvements in my opinion, instead I think they’re watering down the experience. The only thing I think about the female inclusion in the end is that perhaps it shouldn’t be listed as the “biggest inclusion” the game has, even if for location purposes it is, otherwise I’d have nothing to say about it other than thinking the main character looked unispired and hope they aren’t taking this route on future “new” persona games (as said, I’m even fine about playing as a girl throughout the game if meant to be that wat; if P3 character was originally a girl we’d could be having the very same discussion about it’s male counterpart).

          • ShinNoKami

            It’s like that whole comment I heard about gaming being a “boys only club” because people think that way and it’s that kind of thinking that turns some girls away from gaming in general.

            “What I meant to say is, gaming and RPG’s in general are not overly populated with girl gamers”

            Not true. If anything, RPGs are the most popular genre for girl gamers, it seems. Well, as far as I’ve asked. My friends and I prefer RPGs. Rune Factory was popular among my DS owning friends because of the character designs and the fact that it was Harvest Moon in vein.

            As I said, I’m happy that they’re bringing the P3 experience to the PSP which is something I’ve wanted to play for ages but never had the chance to. I guess the addition of Miyako was just so they could add something new for old P3 fans as well as more replayability for new ones such as myself. Maybe they’re trying out the public’s reaction to the whole “gender selection” thing and might use it in future games if it turns out well.

          • lostinblue

            ^ I realize it could be taken that way but that wasn’t my intent. I’m sure girls play games, there’s a clear community and entry door for them in Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts and we both know how rabid they can be; but at the end of the day, they’re a minority compared to guys playing. I’m not saying it is a good or a bad thing, I’m saying it’s more niche.

            I also argued previously that I wouldn’t mind at all, if a new persona had a female character instead of a male one, but I’d most certainly bitch around if they later ported it and did a male character for that same scenario.

            I hope they’re not going for the public’s reaction and actually considering going down this path in main future releases to be honest. And I’m really not trying to be macho on this.

            PS: I have read shoujo and I’m not ashamed, it’s not like, truth to be told, I’m unable to go through that in a game or anything.

  • holyPaladin

    So waiting for this ^^
    But haven’t finish Hexyz yet

  • wait a minute… i just thought of this question. why do they tell you to play as male MC first anyways?

  • Jaxx-Leviathan

    “seeing her take on familiar events is easily P3P’s biggest appeal.” Personally, I prefer Minato’s situation. Shin Megami Tensei has always made the main protagonist be someone with the potential to become something akin to a god. Minato has the qualities to ascend humanity just like the former SMT heroes. I’m certain this also is the case in Minako, but… I just prefered the non-relateable Minato. That quality makes him easier to accept becoming the host of a persona like Messiah.

    • I agree completely. Minato’s obviously more suited for the role of saviour…he was born to play it. Devil Survivor’s protagonist, while a little more normal, was like that, too.

      But that’s the interesting thing about Minako in a sense. It’s an entertaining “what if” sort of situation. It should be interesting to see where she’s at by the end of the game and how she grows into the role. :)

    • That is why he was the first main character :P, i dont think why people think they are replacing him o.0, i think this is just another perspective, and knowing how fun this game is, i wouldnt mind checking everything from another perspective xD

  • ShinNoKami

    I’m just happy about the fact that I’m gonna get to play P3. I don’t care of you people complain about the graphics or if it seems watered down. I’m just happy we’re getting some part of the Persona experience.

  • Chippel

    I’m another person who liked the original battle system. P4’s didn’t add to it, it replaced it. The AI in P4 is useless. Where as the AI in P3 learned things and didn’t have repeat battles constantly, nor bosses that needed something else. So it’s a bit of a downer that it was replaced here. I felt it added a bit of difficulty in it. I only hope that the AI here isn’t as bad as in P4.

  • I just can’t get into this the more I read about it. They killed basically everything I enjoyed about the PS2 version. Oh well…I still have it, it’s not going anywhere, I’ll take solace in that.

    On a side note, I found FES to be boring just because it was a giant crawler. And I didn’t like Persona 4 nearly as much as I did 3, because of the characters. 3 felt like you were playing some movie – going to school, interacting with friends, the links, the bonds, the development of the characters, all felt like a 5 star script. 4 felt like a cartoon, if that makes any sense…the concept was questionable, and it didn’t have that same “bite” that 3 had. Also some of it was really annoying, like the “family time” parts. 3 had Shinjiro, who had a small part, yet was one of the most compelling characters in the series.

    4 had Rise Kujikawa though…and given a choice between her and the other females, she’s got my vote. She saved that game from true mediocrity.

  • ?

    Can you date girls as the female protagonist or do you have to date boys?

    • You can only date boys, unfortunately.

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