Think all Japanese role-playing games are the same? Then clearly you haven't played Persona 3. Forget the boring old days of high fantasy and stories about saving the princess, Persona 3 throws out every convention and offers up the most original storyline in a decade. Is it a hack and slash or a dating sim? Now you can get to the bottom of that question on the go, thanks to Persona 3 Portable for the Sony PSP.
You play a teenager who has recently transferred to a brand new high school. But this is no ordinary boy; he has a special power that allows him to see things normal people are oblivious to. As luck would have it, our hero meets up with a whole team of kids with similar powers. It turns out that they have formed a squad that goes out at night and battles the darkness nobody else is even aware of. They're afraid that if these mysterious monsters continue to rip their way into our existence, then it could spell certain doom for our world.
We're informed that every night while most people are sound asleep, this group of commandos will experience an extra hour. It's called the Dark Hour, and it is when the shadow monsters begin their onslaught on our world. In this 25th hour the high school is replaced with a huge tower full of all kinds of creepy crawly demons and monsters. It is your job to ascend this tower, defeating baddies along the way and investigating everything there is to know about this strange structure.
As exciting as battling demons late at night is, you still need to go to school. Unlike most role-playing games, Persona 3 Portable requires you to spend half of your time studying and the other half shoving swords into nightmarish creatures. The truth is, this game is as much a social high school simulator as it is a turn-based adventure game. You need to do well in school, make friends and even date. All this will shape who you are and the abilities you bring to the struggle between humans and this shadow world.
Of course, we haven't ever touched on the game's most controversial element. This is not your typical turn-based role-playing game. Oh sure, it may have all of the typical actions and items, but this game is anything but traditional. That's because most role-playing games don't involve you taking a hand gun to your head and shooting yourself in the face. This is what Persona 3 does in every single fight, and you'll never forget the first time you see it. Even if somebody warns you, the sight of your virtual adventurer shooting himself in the head will stick with you.
But don't worry; this is not a suicide simulator. In order to summon your personas, each character is required to use a gun-like device called an Evoker. These personas work like magic, where you can use spells on bad guys and heal up your squad. On top of using the personas, each character has their own weapons, usually ranging from swords to bow and arrows. Together the battles are a combination or melee attacks and large beasts pulling off magic spells, an interesting mix that makes each encounter fun to watch.
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