Persona 3 Portable is a port of its PS2 counterpart that came out in 2010. The story in both presentation and in style is like a high school/paranormal anime drama. Upon your first week of transferring to Gekkoukan High you find that the hour after midnight transforms the world into the Dark Hour: a world filled with monsters called Shadows. You, and others, not only have the ability to stay awake in the Dark Hour, but can also summon inner monsters called Persona by shooting yourself in the head. Crazy enough? It’s an intriguing story, that, for the most part, is written well and has some good voice acting though be prepared for some heavy anime cliché’s. It’s a good story, but one that takes awhile to rev up.
P3P is a turn based JRPG with dating sim elements. By day you go to school, hang out in town, and interact with NPCs. With key characters, you can also hang out and build up your Social Link with them, which gives you the ability to create better Persona and affects the ending of the game. By night, you can visit Gekkoukan now transformed into the tower of Tartarus. By going here, the game basically turns into a dungeon crawler. The battles can get tough and require a bit of strategy, but it’s still fun. The biggest gripe I have is that if the main character dies it’s game over.
As a PSP game, P3P looks great. As a whole, the changes made for the port are for the better. Sure you interact with the world now by pointing and clicking on stuff instead of running around, but this makes the repetitive nature of the game easier to digest. They also took out the anime cut-scenes, which is unfortunate. As for the improvements, teammates in battle can now be manually controlled, which makes battles a lot easier. They also included the option of playing as a female, which basically mirrors the original, but has a few interesting changes. Finally, the soundtrack, of what little is there, has a great JPOP/HIP Hop feel.
P3P is a great game, and the definitive version. The improvements made from the PS2 version make some of the tedium and toughness of the original easier to tolerate. The game’s quirkiness won’t appeal to everyone, but that’s fine. If you like JRPGs and anime, P3P won’t disappoint.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on March 1, 2012 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.