Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 succeeds in the same way that some of the most beloved and famous JRPG’s did: with great characters and a great story. Persona 3 is a story about bonds and how they can make people more powerful. It’s also a story rife with tragedy and loss, and one of those few games that tackles issues of family dysfunction that games rarely address. The characters’ personal obstacles are so poignant. This LP helped remind me of why I loved this game in the first place.
The cast is pretty great. Junpei, Yukari (no, really), and Aigis are my favorites. Yukari is a divisive character, but I felt like she is one of the more realistically written and portrayed female characters in video games. I bonded with Junpei pretty early on, and Vic Migonga did a good job voicing him. His subplot with Chihiro is very bittersweet. Aigis’ wanting to redeem herself for sealing Ryoji inside of the protagonist and wanting to become more human is pretty moving. I love her relationship with the female protagonist. I enjoy how there is a queer option for gamers (nothing for the queer guys, though, unfortunately; Atlus is still pretty gun-shy about LGBT+ representation). I was quite tickled to discover that the scene you get for maxing out Aigis’ Social Link was the same for the female and male protagonist.
Due to Atlus not featuring the female MC in any spinoff games, Kasumi is unlikely to make appearances in any future LP’s on this blog, so I will take this opportunity to declare Kasumi bisexual.
I suppose that their relative absence in recaps makes it obvious, but I found Ken and Akihiko to be less interesting than their SEES cohorts. They both have connections to Shinjiro, but after his tragic death, Ken and Akihiko take a back seat to the rest of the cast.
It’s cool how recent Persona games have distinct color schemes. The original P3 has blue; the female MC’s path has pink; Persona 4, yellow; and Persona 5, a very striking red. I wonder if Persona 6 will have one, and if so, what color would it be? Green?
Junpei was intended to become one of the love interests for the female MC, but it was disabled for the final game.
P3 revolutionized the franchise by integrating dating sim/otome and visual novel elements. P3 joins its ever more successful sequel in some spinoffs, such as Persona 4 Arena and its updated rerelease, as well as Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrunth. The latter allows you to start the game with the cast of SEES intact (taking place before Shinjiro’s death) instead of the Investigation Team from P4. A rhythm game featuring the cast of P3 has also been announced.
P4A and P4AU shows what the members of SEES have been up to. Mitsuru takes over the Kirijo Group and cleans up more of its messes as a Shadow Operative; Aigis joins Mitsuru as a fellow Operative; Fuuka supports Mitsuru; Akihiko basically becomes Ryu,wandering the earth in search of ways to get stronger; Junpei gets part time a job as a baseball coach, and he also helps the Shadow Operatives part time; while in college, Yukari works part time as a model and as an actress on the super sentai show Phoenix Ranger Featherman Victory; and Ken adopts Koromaru after his former team members move out of the dorm. Koromaru wears Ken’s old hoodie. D’awwww.
It amuses me that shady salesman Tanaka of the Devil S. Link has a cameo in P5.
Should I Buy It? If you like great stories and characters, and/or want to see what all the hubbub about Persona is for, then yes. However, the gameplay is not as involving as the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games. The Portable rerelease lets you control all of your characters’ actions in battle, unlike the original PS2 version.