The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
When Game Informer reviewed Persona 3 back in 2007, we
praised its macabre visuals and fun combat as defining aspects that set it
apart from other RPGs. While this handheld port suffers from simplified
visuals, absent cutscenes, and a dated formula, the additional storyline and
improvements make Persona 3 Portable worth returning to for fans of the
original. For newcomers, this is a great entry point into a memorable
If you want to know more about the original Persona 3, you
can check out our original reviews in our Review Archive. What
matters most for P3P are the new additions and time-tested improvements that
have been made to the original title, and what concessions were made to fit the
game on the PSP.
Persona 3's gameplay is as entertaining as it ever was. The
combat is even more engrossing thanks to your ability of being able to control
your party's actions (the AI chose their attacks before). Scaling Tartarus is
also easier now that you can return to the highest floor you've reached
whenever you enter the Dark Hour, eliminating needless grinding. Most
importantly, the enjoyment derived from collecting and forging new personas
hasn't aged a bit.
For the uninitiated, personas are the game's equivalent of Pokémon, however the
depth of their abilities make them as useful as a regular party member. Once
you've collected multiple personas you can fuse them into new, more powerful
personas. Every persona can be leveled up during combat, making them as engaging
and addictive as Nintendo's pocket monsters - without the kid gloves. If you
already amassed an army of personas in the original release, the new playable
female protagonist in P3P adds a different perspective to the action that
should justify doing it all over again.
Persona 3 is also surprisingly conducive to portable gaming.
Gameplay is split up naturally thanks to the game's calendar schedule, allowing
you to play one or two in-game days in an hour or so. Traveling around the city
has been simplified to selecting icons on menus, which reduces downtime to a
minimum, allowing you to focus on dungeon crawling and building up your
P3P does suffer a few minor setbacks, but most of them are
aesthetic. The simplified character models don't diminish the experience, but
the same cannot be said for the cutscenes. The original animated sequences are
gone, replaced by still images (the camera pans and zooms over the image, but
it's not the same) or the standard portrait-plus-dialogue scheme that JRPG fans
are accustomed to. When I was talking to other editors about their favorite
storyline moments from the game, I scarcely knew what they were talking about,
because in the PSP version they've been reduced to lifeless
Ultimately I can't recommend P3P to every player, and even some RPG fans may be
put off by the title's aging formula. For gamers who don't mind that this
remake might not be the freshest experience to be had in 2010, there's a vast
wealth of entertaining gameplay to be had here.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.