Review by NinjaZidt

"Simply amazing! You could not go wrong with this!"

The MegaTen games have been on the roll with many buyers from the very start, being a series of RPGs that hold hours of fun and excitement for any gamers that play it. Every game, including all the great spinoffs such as this, consists of a fine battle system, a wondrous soundtrack, and a great story. Every game labeled with the "Shin Megami Tensei" mark is bound to be another incredible game that'll captivate and pull you in. And once again has Atlus proved that the games are still fresh in the making.

We all know that Atlus releases only a few games at a time, practically throwing bits of meat into a herd of hungry lions. But it's this strategy that insures that they get all of their games sold out, of course. This alone has proved how popular the MegaTen series has become. And it's not only the overall greatness of the game that pulls us into it; it's also the uniqueness of the game itself. Whether it's Nocturne's world-be-destroyed plotline or this game's save-the-world-at-night kind of style, there's always some kind of spark that makes us want to continue playing this game. Thus, Atlus could never fail to present an amazing game.

Without further ado, onwards with the review.

The story starts off fresh, with an opening scene that's bound to get you hooked immediately. Though the story starts out slow at first, you'll get bits and pieces of it as you go along. It might take a little while, but the story will always be there, awaiting you. Every time this happens, the game seems to be renewed with a confidence that'll keep you playing, so you could hear more about it. This suspence keeps it from lowering the score at all, seeing how the story itself gets more and more intense as you go along.

You are a Persona-user, part of a school club called "SEES" that use the mystical beings called Personas embedded into their bodies, acting as a mask that reflects your inner personality. These creatures are used to defeat deadlier ones in Tartarus, a strange tower that protrudes into the night sky, unknown to the people transmogrified at midnight. Every night, this tower rises up for unknown reasons, and it's up to you and the other SEES members to check out why it's here.

But that's not it: this story branches out to included more characters and more stories to tell. The story does not entirely revolve around Tartarus and figuring out why it's here; it also centers around why creatures called Shadows roam the streets at the full moon. It also revolved around the protagonist, who holds the special ability to use multiple Personas.

And so, you explore Tartarus. Tartarus is an entirely random hallway to Hell, and everytime you entire, the floors changes. Shadows roam the corridors, and you must engage them by attacking them while on the "overworld". This triggers the battle, which is a normal turn-based battle involving up to four of your characters with different strengths and weaknesses. You are giving a few options to choose from: attack, skill, Persona, escape, item, and tactics. Skills are the enhanced attacks that you'll be using most of the time that deplete your HP or SP points. Persona allows you to switch between Personas to plan out your moves, but you could only switch once per turn. Tactics allow you to command your characters what to do, and the rest is self-explainitory.

However, there's a twist to the battle system. First of all, the other characters are entirely AI control, which is both beneficial and could also bring about your downfall. Thus, it is up to you to command them using tactics. Another system is the "Once More!" system. Whenever you exploit the weakness or land a critical on a Shadow or boss that isn't already "Down," then you will be given the option to attack again. Once all enemies are down, you will be allowed to use an attacked called the "All-Out Attack" to deal MASSIVE DAMAGE to all enemies out. And believe me, though this battle system sounds simple, there's more stratigizing than you could imagine.

Moving on, the soundtrack of this game is purely amazing. With a mix of rock, techno, and whatever else you could name, this game has its own unique blend of music that is unmatched by any other. The themes of this game is great enough to land a spot in you own MP3 players (As has mine ^_^). Though the soundtrack isn't purely large, the music listing is always pleasant to your ears.

The voice actors are fine, though some miscellaneous voices sound extremely forced. For example, the teacher that nobody cares about has a gruff voice that is apparently a really, really poor way. The voices of the main characters, at the start, don't seem to fit, but they'll eventually grow on you.

Like the story and battle system, the graphics are unique on its own accord. Not only does the cutscenes of this game consist of only anime scenes, the art of those scenes are different as well, but only in a good way. Apart from the cutscenes, any other character movement or actions are smooth and perfectly animated, with no lagging or strange jerks in between.

Here's the first problem I've found in this entire game: there aren't enough anime scenes. I mean, honestly! There's only a few, and they last a few seconds long. That, and the fact that the artists should've drawn the lips to move as they talk. I've always found it strange how they could open their mouths and sound will come out in a smooth flow.

Aside from going Tartarus, you spend your days having a social life. You usually go to school, and afterwards, you'll converse with any friends you make. That could be done by improving your three social statuses: charm, courage, and academics. These three things affect how you could make friends. Whenever you hang out with your friends, you'll have a chance to gain a bit of info on their backstory, as well as improving your social links with them. These social links are used to make fused Personas stronger.

The problem with this is that you're not allowed to do more than one single thing a day (Apart from doing something else at night). You should be allowed to do two a day, though that would make it a bit unbalance. But shouldn't take the entire afternoon to converse with an old couple. Ah, well.

Overall, I was happy to have found this game and to play it. From the start, I've always wanted to play a MegaTen game, and I finally managed to get one. Yes, this is my very first MegaTen game, so I wasn't baised with it at all. But nevertheless, it was well worth the money and well worth the eighty hours spent on playing it.If you ever see this game on the shelves, get it immediately. Thought there's always the option of profited from it by selling it on eBay, it will, no doubt, be a memorable game that you won't forget for a long time.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/14/08

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

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