Review by mewtwo7

"Persona 3 - To Live Two Lives..."

Gameplay and Story

Being the most important part, I though I might kick this review off with gameplay. And what outstanding gameplay it is.

Essentially, you are living two lives. In one, you are <Insert name here>, high school student with attributes including charm, academics, and courage. You live a day to day life making new friends and connections, with the options later on to date various women. In it's own right, one of your lives is a life simulator.

However, by night you are a superhero with incredible powers. No joke. At midnight each night there is a time called the "Dark Hour". In this time a number of things happen. For one, normal beings are "Transmogrified" into coffins, more or less a stasis lock. For those inside, the hour passes like a split second, and nobody is any the wiser. However, there are those who do not undergo this process and experience the Dark Hour, a time where the sky goes dark, and the enemy known as "Shadows" roam. In this life, you are a Persona user, which is hard to explain in it's own right.

Essentially, you are man-kinds only hope. Your "Persona", as it has been labelled, is a hidden part of your soul that lies beneath your normal physical form. Those with "the Potential" can summon this soul in order to fight for them. Your character is unique in that he can possess more than a single Persona, several in fact, and you can eventually fuse them together to become more powerful as well. Which brings us to...

Battle System

The battle system is much like you'd expect from an RPG, with several key differences. A number of battles are initiated in advance by either you or the enemy you're going to fight. You can swing your sword and hit it, allowing you to gain the advantage when the battle starts. The support character of the game does the analyzing of creatures for you, allowing you to focus on battle. The positive to this is you don't have to waste a turn with a pesky move such as "Scan" or "Intel". The negative is she's slow, and it'll take a couple turns for her to tell you what you want to know. There are other key differences as well, the most dominant of which being the use of Persona's in battle. The abilities you have depend on the Persona's you've got, and the Persona's you assign.

I won't ruin it all for you, but there are a few more surprises that make the battle system a lot of fun, and hard to master.

Graphics & Sound

First of all, I should mention that the game comes with a hardcover art book. That should tell you something right there. The artists are quite proud of their work and it's easy to see why. As far as intensity goes, for PS2 graphics they stand out among many of the other greats to date. The style on the other hand a lot of people have trouble getting accustomed to. It's a beautiful art style, but it's not for everyone. Also, the cut scenes and certain events are very much anime style, so if you into that, you're in for a treat.

The sound is in a world all it's own. The music in the game is catchy, eerie, uplifting... Pretty much however it SHOULD be for certain situations. Considering this is a game based on situations, you're in for a treat. Masterfully developed, the music should be easily appreciated by players and music fans alike.

Replayability

It should not go without mention that this game will rake in upwards from 60 your first time through. And the second, and the third... The game has endless possibilities as far as social links, friendships, and relationships go. These influence how your character grows and fights, allowing you to choose a path fitting to you. And then try another.

Conclusion

The game impresses from the moment you put it into your console, and with an art book, soundtrack, and game for $5 less than newer games usually cost, you really can't go wrong. Worth at least a play-through, and worth the money you'll spend. If you have your doubts, rent it first. But act fast. Atlus games have a tendency to disappear from store shelves very quickly. And never return...


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/19/07


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