Persona 3 Reload

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Persona 3 Reload review
Camrin Santchi

Review

Welcome Back to Gekkoukan High

Disclaimer: This game has gameplay and narrative elements that heavily relate to and imply death as well as suicide. For those sensitive to such topics, discretion is suggested.

It's Going Down Now


About a year has passed since Persona 3 Portable was released on Steam, and in that time Atlus has been busy crafting a whole new way to experience the story of the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad, or SEES for short. For anyone interested in a review that details the original experience for Persona 3, or at least as close to it as P3P demonstrates, please check here.

Persona 3 Reload is a revisit to the world and events of Persona 3 meant to be far more accessible to those who have previously played Persona 5 Royal, which features new key art, gameplay mechanics, animations, music, events, and is otherwise meant to be a definitive experience for the events originally shown in 2006. This claim of 'definitive' edition rings at least somewhat hollow without the inclusion of the female protagonist from Persona 3 Portable or 'The Answer', an additional story from Persona 3 FES, especially with a rather hefty 70USD price tag for the base game, but how does this remake do on its own merits, without counting against it what others may count as 'missing' due to previous games?

Memories of the School


One of the first things that returning players will see in regards to Persona 3 Reload is the vastly different voice cast that are reprising the roles of characters- for example, Mitsuru Kirijio is now played by Allegra Clark rather than Tara Platt who originally voiced the character. If a gamer is used to the original voice actors this change may feel a little bit peculiar, but this reviewer can do nothing but praise the new performances, which do no small amount of justice to the previous cast while still making them their own in certain ways.



In a similar vein, the music for Persona 3 Reload is newly mixed and reprised, including new versions of songs from the original Persona 3 games but also adding new songs that were not part of the original games. This reviewer has heard several thoughts, from 'old-heads' who feel the new variants don't have the same punch as the original, to those who appreciate the slightly more jazzy beats of the Reloaded soundtrack. As far as this reviewer is concerned, the original heaviness of the techno and J-Rock of the original Persona 3 soundtrack feels a little bit lost as the new music feels a lot more similar to the jazz inspired Persona 5 Royal soundtrack, but it is still incredibly enjoyable in its own right. In the end, it comes down to the individual player and what they prefer between the two.

Colour Your Night


Something else players will note in Persona 3 Reload is the sheer colour to it. Most Persona games have a colour theme to it, such as the bright yellows of Persona 4 Golden or the stark reds of Persona 5 Royal. The main colour of Persona 3 has always been a deep blue, with the exception of the hot pink of the female protagonist in Persona 3 Portable, but this colour theming feels a whole lot more vibrant as a result of the art style shift. Persona 3 originally had a very strong art direction designed in reference to the 90s anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, while Persona 3 Reload streamlines this direction for art and color to be far more in line with the stylizations that were formed in Persona 5 Royal. As a result of this, the world feels more vibrant and alive than in the original variations of Persona 3. Paulownia Mall, Gekkoukan High School, and even the Iwatodai Dorms all feel starkly bright (Almost to a detriment, some places feel fluorescent)- while the heights of Tartarus are as sinister and mysterious as ever in the midst of the Dark Hour.

Another benefit for Persona 3 Reload is the sheer amount of quality of life changes that were made since the original releases of the Persona 3 games. Battles now include a 'Shift' mechanic that is similar to the Baton Pass mechanic introduced in Persona 5 Royal, allowing players to swap to a different character on their 'One More', assuming they hit an enemy for a weakness or critical hit. Another large change is the removal of the wellness mechanic, which was a way to keep track of your team’s status in Tartarus- the more battles you partook in the worst the conditions of your allies, which once affected their accuracy, crit chance, and a few other factors. This mechanic was removed in Persona 4 and hasn't been back since, which impacts the difficulty of Tartarus exploration and makes it more accessible.

Full Moon Full Life


Persona 3 Reload is a well built game that is filled with modern quality of life improvements that allow for first time Gekkoukan students to be welcomed in, particularly if they have previously played some of the more modern Persona games like Persona 4 Golden or particularly Persona 5 Royal. There were a lot of changes from the original PS2 release from the music to voice actors, and some returning players may question just how definitive Reload really is with some content missing from FES and Portable.

That being said, Persona 3 is a famous story from an RPG perspective and is considered to be one of the best in the series, so despite the price point if you're a fan of turn based JRPGs or have previously played other games in the series, then Persona 3 Reload is definitely a game to pick up!


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8.6

fun score

Pros

Easily Accessible, Quality of Life Improvements

Cons

Hefty Price Tag, Questionably Definitive, Potentially Too Many Changes