After finishing Persona 4 Golden for the second time, my lost love of Japanese RPG’s was suddenly awakened. Granted, I started a new playthrough of P4G also, but I craved something new, something in that genre I had not really sunk my teeth into in so long. Despite craving something new, I still craved the smart writing, well developed battle system and contemporary setting of Persona. So instead of going back to another medieval-inspired JRPG, I simply went to the PSN store and downloaded Persona 3 Portable (P3P). Did it help foster my new love for the Persona series, as well as keep me engrossed in the JRPG genre? Yes, yes it did.
P3P is the third version of Persona 3 to be released. Coming out twice on the PS2, and this time on the lesser-powered PSP, some differences were bound to crop up. Before going on, it is important to note that I have never played the other two versions of Persona 3, only read about the differences. The basics of Persona 3 are still there, such as the exploration of the dungeon Tartarus and the Social Links first made famous in the original Persona 3 return. However, instead of directly controlling the main character in the field, a smaller, often one-screen long version of an area is shown. A cursor appears when in these non-combat areas, and you use the cursor to interact with people and objects in the environment. It appears this was a technical limitation of the PSP, and considering the system power, was most likely a good one. Even if the protagonist could have been rendered like how he was in the PS2 versions, it would not have looked nearly as good, and would have had insane loading times. However, it must be considered that although you are not running around and directly interacting with the characters as the protagonist, nothing is lost in the content given, just a sense of immersion is broken.
The content one experiences, as hinted at above is not cut in anyway from the original title. Every social link is still available, and the personal tales told as the protagonist gets to know the eclectic cast of P3P are very well told with satisfying resolution to each. While at times it may take a few too many wasted days to get to a social level up (especially as you approach max social rank), never do you feel you are slogging your way through pointless content. Every conversation in P3P is important, and has a place in this very alive and vibrant city. Even side-activities, used to raise your three secondary stats of Courage, Academics and Charm seem fun. Although you never get to see the activity being performed directly, it helps to flesh out an already fleshed out world, as well as leading to other worthwhile options in who you can hang out with. Continue Reading