Persona 3 versus Persona 3 Portable

Re-exploring the World

The most shocking change to Persona 3 Portable is the complete overhaul of the game’s world map. In the original Persona 3, every room in every location from your dorm to your high school could be explored in 3D. Now, all these areas have been completely redrawn as isometric maps that have you pointing and clicking on NPCs, objects and doors with a cursor.

As with the loss of fully animated cutscenes, P3P loses some of the original’s charm with this new look. Memorable scenarios from the original that showed characters interacting with each other in the game’s gorgeous 3D world are now reduced to just the recorded dialogues while the area map sits motionless in the background.

Above: A shot of the dining room of your dorm’s first floor lounge in Persona 3 

Above: A similar shot of the first floor lounge in P3P 

But it’s not all doom and gloom for purists. Even though we were turned off by the new design at first, much faster load times and being able to quickly mouse over to where we want to go makes navigating the world much more convenient in P3P. Those who remember the frequent loading screens in the original and trekking back and forth from Paulowina Mall to your High School library and back will appreciate the smoother system. Also, Persona 3 still has a solid story and a strong cast of characters at its core, so it’s still entertaining to explore its world even if the new look may not agree.

What Else is New?

The biggest new addition is the introduction of a new protagonist. When you start a new game in P3P, you now either pick the male protagonist from the original, or the new female protagonist. Some of the differences that come when you pick the female protagonist are superficial, like the way other characters refer to you as a “she” instead of a “he.” But choosing her also opens up some new Social Links that give you a different perspective on some of the game’s subplots.

You can create more powerful Personas for battle when you improve your Social Links with other characters outside of the Dark Hour. This Social Link system is what made Persona 3’s characters and story so interesting. Follow the Social Link stories, and you’ll find yourself befriending a young girl who’s coming to terms with her parents’ divorce, or an alcoholic monk who has lost touch with his family. That’s why the new Social Link options that come with picking the female protagonist are more than welcomed. So far, we’ve met a new sports coach who unlocks some new background stories of one of the side characters from the first game.

Above: Thankfully, exploring dungeons and battling is almost visually identical to the original Persona 3 

There are lots of other subtle tweaks that smooth out some of the repetitiveness from the original. Grinding up the protagonist’s charm, courage, and academics stats used to take forever. Now, instead of just paying money to spend time sipping coffee to improve your charm, or singing karaoke to improve your courage, you can now spend time working part time jobs to increase several stats at once in addition to earning some extra cash to spend on items. It saves time, and makes managing your daytime and nighttime hours a lot more fun.

Above: Elizabeth will now give you optional missions to rescue citizens trapped in Tartarus during the Dark Hour 

Direct control over your party members has also been added to the tactics menu when battling in dungeons. In the past, you had to rely on the AI to choose actions for your party members, which led to many frustrating deaths, so this change is more than welcome. Party members can now sacrifice themselves to take lethal blows in place of the protagonist. When you hit an enemy with an element that they’re weak against, individual party members now have a chance to join you for a quick double team attack for an automatic critical hit and knockdown.

Above: New battle features add double team attacks and the ability for party members to prevent lethal blows from landing 

Persona 3 Portable is scheduled to release in stores and on PSN on Jul 7, 2010. Be sure to check back here for a review as its release date draws nearer.

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  • 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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