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Analysis | Persona 3 Reload is a remake made with great care and quality

It's funny to think that although Persona 3 was my first experience with the franchise, it was a very short time playing, since at the time the visual novel feel of the game in a large part of the adventure didn't attract me and the whole, as we say today in day, it didn't click. In other words, my experience with the original game coming to the remake was almost nil and, to my surprise, I loved the adventure with the members of SEES

Social life vs vigilante life

Starting the school year in Persona as a student at a new school is one of the most interesting things about the franchise. It's always cool to see how there are interesting new features revealed almost daily, be they new characters or possibilities to improve some of the protagonist's attributes. What is also a legacy of the franchise is the double life that your group and you lead, fighting monsters in sinister places, with even more macabre creatures coming from inside your minds.

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In this third chapter of the saga, which can be played easily without ever having touched another game in the series, we stay in a special dormitory, where students with the ability to control a Persona in dark times live and try to unravel the mystery of the shadows that are leaving people vegetating during the day.

If you are in the group of those who have never played Persona, the game runs day after day throughout the school year, where you are allowed to choose activities that make time pass. The cool thing is that you are always making choices that will shape your journey in some way, whether in the story or in the way you fight the monsters. This is because everything your character improves in the real world, whether personal relationships with specific characters or social attributes such as Courage or Wisdom, impacts how strong he will be in combat with his Personas.

Some things in this part show the age of the original game, released in 2006, especially if we compare it to Persona 5 Royal, the most recent game in the franchise. Calm down, I know about the meme of comparing the entire Persona or Shin Megami Tensei (SMT) with the most popular chapter of the saga, but in this case of a modern remake that changed several things, it's inevitable. Social links, for example, which are the connections you create with characters from the city and your school, have simplistic and quick meetings until they are almost completed, leaving much of the connection with these people uninteresting. Tartarus, the dungeon where the combats and progression of the night part of SEES take place, is very repetitive and with a tiring grind, abusing the generic shadow design instead of using the Personas themselves – which here are captured randomly with a card system given after the battle – far from the diversity of the themed palaces. The examples continue on many, many fronts.

However, the game is far from being outdated or “dated” just because it doesn't have some of the modern features of Persona 5 or even the more modern SMT, on the contrary. The narrative here shines on its own and the darker feel than the fourth or fifth games really pleased me. The group of characters that are part of SEES is also incredible and the new ways of interacting with them – which from what I understand are dorm activities, such as cooking or planting as a team, or even watching movies – greatly deepens the sense of connection with them. . It's even difficult to choose who will be the romantic couple or who will be the titular quartet to fight.

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All of this is elevated by competent and attention-grabbing visuals. The character models are very detailed, as are the battle animations and cutscenes that dictate the tone of the narrative. The menu is a spectacle of colors and super efficient to navigate, something that Atlus, in fact, has been teaching for some time. Finally, the soundtrack is super fun and addictive, so much so that I found myself humming some songs for several days without even thinking about the game, a sign that the melodies are great.

Another modern novelty here that is a gift for Brazilians is the localization into Portuguese, which was done impeccably and helps a lot due to the weight that the text has in this type of game. The dubbing is still only in English or Japanese, but both were well executed and pleased me in the test I did before choosing the oriental voices for my campaign.

Modern combat

Speaking of fighting, here's where Atlus took the most liberty in updating Persona 3 and the part I remember most from the original game. A new feature that immediately catches our attention is the possibility of “passing the baton” to allies after exploiting an opponent's weakness, which already comes from some of the studio's games and gives combat a really cool dynamic. There is even an “All-Out Attack” too, when all enemies are incapacitated in this way and can be attacked by everyone in the group in order to cause much more damage.

Aside from the issue of generic shadows instead of fighting with the Personas themselves, the combat itself is quite fun, especially against the most powerful bosses that appear both on specific days of the year and on specific floors of Tartarus.

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Fusing Personas is, of course, also on the menu. It's always fun to gather captured monsters to try to get a more powerful one, having to be careful not to leave the group without some type of elemental attack that may be needed when stunning enemies. There are a series of new Persona that didn't exist in the original, from what I've read, which is another attraction for those who have experienced this adventure in other times.

Allies also play an important role when fighting. Although they cannot control more than one persona, they provide different skills and attributes, which makes group formation crucial before entering each fight. In fact, the game becomes very challenging after the first half of the journey, so taking this into account is essential and also ends up becoming extra fun.

Conclusion

Persona 3 Reload is a remake made with great care and quality, one that will please both veterans and first-time players. Atlus has balanced the modern with the classic very well, ensuring more current gameplay in combat and incredible visual detail, while the great original story has been less altered and shines with its equally unforgettable characters.

Pros

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  • Superb and mesmerizing art direction
  • Outstanding soundtrack
  • Layered and charismatic characters
  • Modern and dynamic combat
  • Collecting and combining Personas is still a lot of fun

Cons

  • Some parts of the game show its age
  • Tartarus is boring at times

Rating: 8.5/10.0

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A PC copy of the game was provided by Atlus for this review.

Analysis | Persona 3 Reload is a remake made with great care and quality

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