Persona 3 Portable
Platform: PlayStation Portable
Publisher: Atlus USA
Developer: Atlus
Genre: Traditional RPG
Format: UMD
Release: US 07/06/10
Japan 11/01/09

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I promise he speaks English in the US version.
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The ultimate weapon for the socially inept: headphones!
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Oooh, scaaaary coffin!
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All I know is that one of those options says, "Arigatou."
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Kimberley Wallace
Hands-On Preview
Kimberley Wallace

With July 6th nearly upon us, there's no denying that Persona 3 for the PSP (P3P) is on your radar if you're a PSP owner. Ever since Persona 3 was originally released on the PS2, it has collected quite a following. It was a completely justified following, too; I really believe it's why we hold our modern JRPGs to such high standards. Persona 3 taught us that big things can come on a PS2 disc. So, how is P3P shaping up on a smaller UMD? From what I've played so far - pretty darn good.

The biggest addition to P3P is that you can play as a female. On top of that, everybody jumped for joy when it was promised there would be a Junpei social link alongside many other first-time male social links. I'm not going to lie, it really makes the game a different experience for those who have previously played it. For those who haven't experienced Persona 3, you can still experience the adventure as the male character. Little adjustments have also been made throughout the game to provide those who previously played the game with a different experience; there are quite a few different characters you'll encounter in school that weren't in the game previously. Many also carry those distinct quirky personalities that we are used to from characters out of the Shin Megami Tensei series. Even the velvet room has an option for you to choose from having a female or male host, so those of us familiar with Elizabeth can choose Theodore to get a different experience from the game. While Theodore does share some of Elizabeth's personality, he does offer a different vibe for the velvet room.

Another interesting new addition to the portable version of Persona 3 is the option to take on part-time jobs. What's even more thrilling about getting some extra funds to spend on dungeon gear and gifts to woo the members of the opposite sex are that you can gain extra bonuses to your personality for working a part-time job. For instance, say you had a tough customer while working at the coffee shop: this can increase your charm. One thing players who are familiar with the PS2 game will find unfamiliar is the navigation around the city. No longer do players walk around and explore; all maneuvering is done with a pointer (blue or pink, depending on your gender). It works well for a portable game, and you can also quickly move across the city with the square button. It's a big change from the PS2 version, but this change is a welcome one.

Battles play out similarly to the PS2 version; however, Atlus took a page from Persona 4 and included all those little enhancements that were added in battles, such as being able to take control of all your party members. It's still very much about exploiting your enemies' weaknesses. If you don't take advantage of those weaknesses it goes almost without saying: death will become you. The game still holds the challenge that Shin Megami Tensei games are noted for... Just don't expect something that's completely different from its PS2 counterpart, other than the addition of a few new persona.

July 6th is quickly approaching, which no doubt equals excitement for those with the Persona bug or those itching to see where the high levels of energy come from over Persona 3. If this preview made you even more excited, be sure to check back at RPGFan soon for a full review on the game. I think it's pretty safe to say if you've always wanted to experience Persona 3 through the eyes of a female or just wanted to be able to play on the go - you should pre-order this title and July 6th will be a day full of SMT-flavored goodness.


© 2010 Atlus USA. All Rights Reserved

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