Persona 3 Reload Review - Art

Persona 3 Reload Review – A Classic Returns

Persona is one of the most interesting franchises around. The original, largely forgotten, experiences were much closer to its main series, Shin Megami Tensei. All of this changed with Persona 3. A lot of the style, charm, and most importantly social functions essentially stem from this monumental experience. With it being somewhat lost to time, there was a lot of hype and anticipation for Persona 3 Reload. In addition to allowing a new generation to experience it for the first time, returning fans get to reexperience it with a fresh coat of paint. Given how much time has passed, has it stood the test of time, or was it merely good for that generation?

Persona 3 Reload has the same narrative as the original. For those unfamiliar, the adventure starts slow with The Protagonist transferring to Gekkoukan High School. A few days later he enters a mysterious world filled with shadowy creatures. Upon defeating these enemies by awakening your Persona powers, the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES) recruits you to help fight them and explore Tartarus.

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Following this the narrative starts to get into the more mysterious side of the world. Things won’t always make sense at the time, but the overall style and intrigue will keep things moving. It’s also really nice to see animated scenes mixed in to really highlight the intensity of certain scenes.

While that is the core narrative, a lot of time will be spent simply socializing with those around you. Older players will appreciate how alive the world feels. There are several people to talk to, each adding a little to the world. It takes some time for these mechanics to shine, though anyone who really wants to explore the world will have plenty of optional characters to build on the experience. Assuming you can last long enough to see this through.

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It Always Is

Gameplay is broken up into a couple distinct, and interesting sections. A good portion of time will be spent at school. Some of this is the aforementioned interactions, though this is also where each of the main characters are fleshed out. During this time there will also be dialogue options that will shape your run.

The same holds true for interacting with those around you, though those uninterested can simply go to the next objective to keep things moving. This alone can be the difference between each day/section taking 5 minutes and the upwards of an hour.

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Lovely Establishing Scenes

At night there will be sections where players need to navigate through Tartarus. This section is also where enemies, combat, and most of the surreal scenes take place. Areas start rather simple before becoming increasingly more diverse and interesting.

To make things easier it’s possible to attack enemies to start with an advantage, though they can also attack to get their own edge. When in combat things are similar to a traditional RPG experience.

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Persona act as a magic/skill option, along with a standard attack, items, and so forth options. Difficulty largely comes down to how prepared you are. For example, enemies have weaknesses that various Persona can exploit. It always helps to have an option to best common enemies, or the boss. Overtime additional options can be obtained, either by luck or fusion, that can open the door to a wide variety of new tactical options.

There is also the ability to do an all out attack where enemies get overwhelmed by friendly forces. On paper it’s not the most unique experience, though the unique art style, crazy creatures, and fascinating animations help keep things fresh. Depending on difficulty, there is also a need to focus on exploiting weaknesses. However, those uninterested in that have the ability to breeze through combat on a lower level.

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Since this is a remake it occasionally shows its age. This usually happens with cutscenes, though that is not the case with Persona 3 Reload. Instead, most of its age is visible with background items. Desks, locations, and even certain enemies look surprisingly bland. It isn’t enough to negatively impact the experience, just something you’d notice if you’re looking for it.

One last thing I wanted to touch on is the soundtrack. Atlus typically does fairly well with these, and Persona 3 Reload is no exception. It’s bold, engaging, and a great reminder why the old rhythm game was such a big thing. Sometimes I found myself exploring just to keep a track playing.

Persona 3 Reload Review Verdict

Editor's Choice

Persona 3 Reload: This is a great example of a remake done right. Not only were there plenty of reasons to revisit this classic, the improvements were quite welcome. It's unfortunate it still occasionally shows its age, plus the lack of FES, but the overall experience really shows why later titles had so much momentum. So if you loved the original, or just want to see what the hype is about, I think you'll more than love Persona 3 Reload. Mark

von 10

Editor’s Note: Persona 3 Reload was reviewed on PlayStation 5, and a copy was provided to us for review purposes.

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