The game may be three years old, but “Persona 3” is still one of the most creative RPGs of the 2000s era. It is one of the only games on the Playstation 2 to introduce a miniature life simulation, where your main character must juggle his time between socializing at school and fighting in dungeons.
The story is an immense adventure, set in March 2009 in the fictional Port Island, which is a few miles off of the coast of Japan. Your main character transfers to the school there, Gekkoukan High School. One night, he is forced to defend himself and a dorm roommate from monsters known as shadows. After the roommate gets wounded, he picks up her weapon and shoots it through his head to summon a spirit.
After the deadly night of battling, his dorm roommates inform him that they are part of a special school organization that is protecting the city from the shadows. Their mission is to explore a mysterious tower known as Tartarus. The organization thinks that the shadows are hiding out in the tower, waiting for their chance to invade the city.
The story may sound like a bad set-up for an anime series. The game even features anime-style cutscenes to make you think that this is the lighter version of some of those other post-apocalyptic shows. Yet, the game holds a surprising amount of depth, especially in the second half of the game. Although there are plenty of details left unexplained about how these shadows were created, the game’s story holds up as an epic journey against the face of death.
This isn’t all that “Persona 3” has to offer. The game includes a miniature simulation game, where the main character has to socialize with other people in order to build his social links. These connections will build up his power to fuse personas, monsters which you can summon to cast spells and perform special attacks. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be spending much of your free time talking with your friends in high school to build up your fusion power.
Yes, it is a silly game mechanic which adds a comedic touch to the entire “save the world” story. However, the system is well worth playing through. Your efforts will especially pay off at the very end, when your social link friends tell you about how you changed their lives.
Oddly enough, the game even has certain parts that turn the RPG into a dating simulation. Your main character can date almost all the most interesting girls at Gekkoukan. Like any dating game, though, you have to make sure that you don’t go out with another girl when your relationship gets deep.
This is a complex masterpiece of a video game, with more and more layers of unique gameplay and social interactivity. As chiched as this may sound, this is one of the best games ever made. If you missed it, be sure to at least play through it at least once. It is one of the most satisfying journeys I have ever experienced in a Japanese RPG.
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