Persona 3 versus Persona 3 Portable

A young woman sits curled up on the floor of her apartment kitchen. She holds a gun to her temple. Her hands are trembling as she prepares to pull the trigger. This is not how a typical JRPG begins. Persona 3 for the PlayStation was one of the most unique and engaging role-playing games of all time with a powerful story, engaging characters and amazing artwork that carried you through 100 hours of awesomeness. We’ve been playing the heck out of Persona 3 Portable (P3P) for the PSP, so we decided to pick it apart to find out how it compares to the original.

The Story

You play an orphaned student who has just transferred to Gekkoukan High School. On your way to your new dorm, you encounter the Dark Hour, a hidden slice of time that occurs each night at midnight. During the Dark Hour everyone except for a special few are transmogrified into coffins; dark spirits called Shadows roam the streets, preying on those who find themselves awake and trapped in the Dark Hour. Those who fall victim to Shadows during the Dark Hour awaken the next day as brain dead zombies. The media wrongly identifies the condition as a case of mental illness and calls it Apathy Syndrome.

After discovering that you have the power to interact with the Dark Hour and can summon Persona, a powerful manifestation of your inner psyche, you join the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES) to investigate the mysteries of the Dark Hour in order to put a stop to the spread of Apathy Syndrome caused by nightly Shadow attacks during the Dark Hour.

Above: Every night there is a hidden hour, known as the Dark Hour, which only a few are aware of. Everyone else slumbers in the form of a coffin 

A New Opening

Every great anime has a great opening title sequence. But few JRPGs have an opening title sequence as impressive as the ones featured in Persona 3 and Persona 3 FES. The game’s brilliant art work has always been one of its most overlooked features. So we were pleased to see a brand new opening title sequence for P3P that introduces the new female protagonist. Check them out below – and remember that these epic videos roll before the title screen even pops up.

Above: The new opening features the female protagonist. If you rest on the game’s title screen, the original opening for Persona 3 will eventually roll. Check it out below to compare

Above: The original opening for Persona 3

Above: The opening for Persona 3 FES

Cutting the Cutscenes

Unfortunately, it looks like the awesome animated cutscenes from Persona 3 have been cut from the portable version. Instead, P3P pans over pulled frames from Persona 3’s cutscenes while narrating the story with text and voiceover clips from the original. These new versions of the old cutscenes definitely feel like they’ve been declawed and aren’t nearly as engaging. But Persona 3’s artwork and excellent story is its saving grace, and as far as cutscenes go, they still get the job done and keep your interest despite the lack of animation.

Above: Yukari’s hands tremble as she attempts to pull the trigger. Without the animation, P3P’s cutscenes just aren’t as gripping 

Above: Every time your characters summon a Persona, they need to shoot themselves in the head with an Evoker, making for some of the most unnerving and unforgettable battle animations in JRPG history 

Above: The first animated cutscene from the original Persona 3. In P3P, the game just pans over stills from this scene


  • JohnnyMaverik - July 9, 2010 2:51 a.m.

    @ Soren You can pick up a ps2 and a copy of Persona 3 FES for about 50-60 bucks.
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  • RFswitchBlade - June 11, 2010 6:04 p.m.

    And so, you become an hero.
  • soren7550 - June 11, 2010 2:27 a.m.

    Really wanted to play the PS2 version, but I missed out. Don't have a PSP, so it looks like I'll be missing out again.
  • Metroidhunter32 - June 10, 2010 2:27 p.m.

    Please super review it, so you can compare it to the original and FES directly, and not beating around the bush.
  • Persona - June 10, 2010 12:11 p.m.

    DOESN'T MY USERNAME SAY ENOUGH I missed out on the older Personas, IT'S TIME TO JUMP FROM 1 TO 3 BABY
  • AnonymouZ - June 10, 2010 10:30 a.m.

    i'm oh so very close to finishing fes... but yet, i dont' want the story to end... after that, i can finally start playing that p4. xD
  • Amnesiac - June 10, 2010 6:25 a.m.

    Removed cutscenes are a small price to pay for the improvements we're getting. Now if only we could get a super-deluxe PSP version of P4...
  • zanthox - June 10, 2010 4:25 a.m.

    I haven't played P3 before and have been looking forward to P3P to finally play it. It sounds great, but it makes me sad that it also sounds kinda gimped.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 10, 2010 2:57 a.m.

    It really sucks that the animated cutscenes are gone, though they weren't that great anyway. I've said it once, and then some more: why the hell are we getting the same game 3 times? Especially a 100-hour+ game on a PSP? Especially when 4 was better? Especially when you should be focused on P5? *exasperated sigh*
  • Setre - June 10, 2010 1:40 a.m.

    Can't wait! Only Persona I've played for more than an hour was the 1 remake and I loved it. I know 3 and 4 are tottaly different games but I'm still excited. I'll miss not being able to smack-talk demons though.
  • Corsair89 - June 10, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    The differences between P3P and P3 FES are exactly what I wanted to know for a while. Now the question is get the cheaper and slightly better PS2 version or the newer one with a new protagonist on the much more convenient PSP? Or both?
  • Awesomeforthemasses - June 10, 2010 12:34 a.m.

    Ooo, looking forward to this one. New navigation system seems akin to Phantasy Star Portable. I never finished playing P3 on ps2; damn friend wanting his copy back, DAMN HIM!
  • Cyberninja - June 10, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    if thats the case i will just have to youtube all the cutscenes not that big a problem for me and was that really the fes opening?
  • litrock - June 10, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    The one reason I couldn't get past the second new moon in Persona 3 was that not being able to control my party frustrated me so badly that I simply had to stop. Probably shouldn't have played Persona 4 first. Either way, even if some of the bells and whistles are trimmed from this, I'm looking forward to making it further.
  • Peloun - June 9, 2010 11:39 p.m.


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