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Friday, September 3, 2010

Persona 3 Portable PSP Impression

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable or P3P for short may be an update to a PlayStation 2 gem but it’s also one of the best, most stylish titles on the PSP full of new content. The action is outstanding but why should gamers care? Why take a shot at what could potentially be a dated RPG port? The answer is simple. P3P rocks and Atlus has provided enough new content to make fans return for another go-around while making noobs understand what all the hype was about.

Gameplay – This is a level grinding, Japanese RPG where gamers must navigate dungeons to take on baddies, level up and advance the story. Battles are carried out during the ‘Dark Hour’ a hidden time right at midnight. Characters awake during this time have inner abilities called Personas which come out and battle. Each Persona gained has unique abilities. There is also relationship building, word tree conversations that will determine the story and gameplay elements down the road. The dark tower known as Tartarus is where the majority of gameplay, battles, takes place. So it’s a dual personality game, JRPG at night with relationship/school simulation during the day but not separate. Social choices made during the day will affect gamers in Tartarus as much as any piece of equipment.

Graphics – The opening sequence is beautiful and each character model is cos-play fan drool inducing but the in-game graphics show their age. Persona 3 did not set new standards when it was first released and the in-game character models and environments can feel a big bland and ok, not great, just ok. The battle sequences also feel a bit off.

Sound – Voice work is outstanding and matches the static expressions for each character to a tee. This is some sweet voice talent at work folks and many voices will be recognized by anime fans. The soundtrack is still amazing with a number of catchy beats worthy of gamers preferred music device. The game is amazing after all these years from a sound perspective, beautiful.

Design – Sweet to put it simply. The characters look amazing and carry a nice amount of style and swagger. The static level backdrops look amazing also, this game has some great art design. The relationship trees, choices and interactions have been integrated nicely also. Including a new female lead option and the improvements seen in Persona 3 FES shows that Atlus took a good amount of time to improve the overall game design.

Miscellaneous – Missing the animated cut-scenes that screamed for an Persona anime (check out Persona Trinity). The static story points get the job done but having played the original gamers will notice this sadly missing component.

Overall, RPG fans need to pick up P3P now. The gameplay, mix of social aspects and new gameplay additions and characters make this a fresh and deep experience fans of the original will dig and those new to the franchise will enjoy. The music and design is outstanding and the changes to gameplay save time from more linear choices on movement to the quick save options. No, not a straight port but an upgrade to a gaming gem just perfect for the PSP audience.

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