Review by Sapphire_Fate

"Embrace Your Other Self"

I'll start off by saying that this game has taken over my life for however brief a time. The fact that the game feels like a Japanese Sims half the time is equally great. I've even begun to place my friends into fictional Social Links with corresponding Arcana!

Okay, well, maybe that's a bit too weird. Ah well, my cat is totally under the Devil Arcana... totally. On to the review!

-Story-
The game starts off with one of the best intros to date, with an amazing anime style that is a lot different from most other Japanese animation, with an extravagant use of color. There's a lot of subtle vagueness that pervades most of the game right up until the very end. Each character is endearing in their own right, and very well developed, with the exception of Koromaru (but come on, he's a dog!). The major problem with the plot is that it only advances within certain intervals of days, sometimes as long as a month! Most of the game is spent in the high-school simulator, increasing levels in what are called Social Links, or people you meet with various Arcana (which in turn are groupings of various Persona, the demons with which you summon through shooting yourself in the head in battle). As you level up these Social Links, you'll also increase the experience a Persona will get when you create it through Fusion. These Social Links can be awesome (Kenji, Kazushi, Hermit) or just plain boring (Maiko, Old Couple), which can pose a serious dampening on fun factor when trying to increase a Social Link. These are all side-stories which is quite interesting because there's never been an RPG with this feature before. There's a lot more to the main story via these Social Links, but they never once advance the main plot unless they are only increased on certain days. However, pacing is important and that's where the game falls flat.

7.5/10

-Graphics-
Not much to say here. The game oozes with extreme style, from the fantastic and colorful menus to the gorgeous animations pulled off by the seemingly low-poly models. Anime cutscenes are rich and vivid, screaming with imagery and metaphor. The game looks great for feeling so "dated."

9.5/10

-Sound-
I thought I would be turned off by the odd choice of soundtrack, much like everyone else... but I loved it. It works so well, the beats so amazing, and Meguro really shows that as a composer he can do what others cannot, change genres. Screw Uematsu, Meguro has gone through so many genre changes through the SMT series and it's spinoffs that the man could produce a great soundtrack to just about any game, any style, any genre. The vocal tracks are sometimes annoying, sometimes hilarious, but overall the game has a soundtrack that cannot be forgotten.

9/10

-Gameplay-
Your typical SMT fare, only the Press Turn system in this one gives you a full turn bonus for exploiting weakness or Critical-ing your enemies. However, enemies do this a lot too, and bosses are particularly fond of it. The game is odd in that random battles are a breeze, but boss battles can be hair-pullingly frustrating. Such great battles as the Sleeping Table, or the Hell Knights, will have you punching a wall if you don't prepare properly. The simulation part of the game is also quite fun, if extremely tedious and repetitive. Most SMT games are like this so it can be forgiven. It's a fairly difficult game but nothing extraordinarily hard, compared to DDS or Nocturne, anyways. I really have no qualms about the mechanics they put in here, as everything works well (even the randomly generated dungeon!).

10/10

Overall: 9/10

It's definitely a great title, worth any RPGers interest, and will last as long as FFXII (and be twice as much fun, to boot!)


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/04/07

Game Release: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (US, 08/14/07)


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