In case you haven't heard, Persona 3 is one of the greatest role-playing game of all time. It may not have the clout of a Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, but ask anybody who played through this insanely long adventure and they'll give you hundreds of reasons why Persona 3 is the best adventure game in years. Now you don't need to take their word for it. If you're one of the 60 million people who own a Sony PSP, you'll have a second chance to play this masterpiece.
This isn't the first time Persona has come to Sony's handheld. Last year Atlus ported the original Persona, a PlayStation-era game that hasn't aged well. While I found it easy to recommend, there were a lot of clunky game decisions that kept it down. Thankfully this is not the case with Persona 3, a game that still looks great and features dozens of hours of gameplay. Best of all, Persona 3 Portable will feature brand new content and a bunch of changes that will (hopefully) make this an overall better experience for everybody.
The biggest (and most controversial) change comes in the way of how you navigate. On the PlayStation 2, Persona 3 allowed you to walk about and wander the halls. In this portable version you move a cursor around the world and point to where you want to go. This speeds up interactions with other people and puzzle solving. While some purists feel like this is a downgrade, I have no doubt from my short time with the game that it will help speed up the pace of the adventure.
Speeding up the interface seems to be a big goal at Atlus. Everything from navigating to combat has been sped up, which works to its advantage on the smaller PSP screen. Nothing essential has been trimmed from the adventure, instead the focus has been on making it easier to play. And if you ask me, that's not such a bad thing to strive for.
Also new this time around is the ability to control all of your teammates in battle. In the original Persona 3 you could only control the lead character, leaving the AI to fend for itself. This time around you will be able to tell your fellow classmates what to do and how to fight. The combat also apes elements from Persona 4 and the just-released Dangerous Journey. The developers have gone out of their way to add to and improve every element of the combat system.
And did I mention that there's a brand new female protagonist? What about the brand new after school jobs (like working in a coffee shop)? That's because there are far too many brand new additions worth talking about. This is not just one of those sloppy ports, fans of the original have more than enough reason to come back and play this lengthy adventure once more.
So no matter if you're new to the franchise or somebody who couldn't get enough of the PlayStation 3 original, there's something for everyone in Persona 3 Portable. In a year full of stand-out PSP games, Persona 3 Portable is shaping up to be one of the best. Check back for a review as we near the July 6th release date.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
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