Persona 3: FES was the expansion Atlus brought out for its hit title, Persona 3. It brings tons of new content to the original, and was seen by fans of the game as even better than the original in many ways. Unfortunately, the US will probably never get it, and with the difficulty of the slang dialogue, it’s not import friendly. The soundtrack is, however, and so begins my review.
The Persona 3: FES OST feels, in a lot of ways, closer to what I’ve come to expect of series composer, Shoji Meguro. The short opening theme, Persona 3: FES is a brief remix of part of Persona 3’s opening theme, Burn My Dread, and leads into a nice little piano piece called Brand New Days – The Beginning -. Next up comes Opening Act, which is a dark little piece full of foreboding and electric guitar.
After that, things cool down a bit, with the laid back, synth-y 3/31, which alludes to the storyline of Episode Aegis. Then comes Blind Alley, which is somewhere in between a lounge song and a techno track, throwing in both electric organ synths and drum machine. Sadness come up next, in the form of Interstice of Time, named after the optional dungeon in the expansion. The track feels both airy and lonely at the same time, with a drum beat mimicking a heartbeat for that extra immersion factor.
Of course, there had to be a remix of the battle theme, Mass Destruction, and it’s creatively titled Mass Destruction ~P3fes version~. It features new lyrics by Lotus Juice who I didn’t want to take seriously (rapper in a heavily Japanese RPG?) but who does an excellent job with lyrics and rap stylings, managing to sound menacing and gangsta’. If you want something more fast-paced, though, go for the next track, which is a techno track entitled The Snow Queen, which may is a direct remix of the original Persona’s theme of the same name. It’s catchy, and would be good to get your blood pumping.
Maya’s Theme is a nice little orchestra remix of the Persona 2 ~Innocent Sin~ theme of the same name. It starts with a piano intro and soon expands into a full orchestra rendition of the song. Between Doors is a calming piano piece with some tremolo thrown in, unlike Their Own Past which manages to be at once calming and creepy, thanks to the slightly flat synth-horn line in the background. Heartful Cry, on the other hand, starts calming and morphs into a hardcore techno-industrial track with some dance-y elements thrown in via electric guitar.
The track entitled Persona is jazzy and could have come out of Sonic Adventure, honestly, with smooth piano and slap bass. It’s pretty awesome, actually, but then again I appreciate me some jazz. Time Castle is a fast-paced techno remix of the originally jazzy theme of the same name from Persona 2. It’s certainly a welcome take on the original. Seal, the next track, is a stately march at times, at others features minimalist piano parts and Darkness is, well, dark and creepy, quickly building in tempo to a industrial rock motif with electric guitar and synth and is VERY Meguro, reminiscent of his work in Digital Devil Saga or Nocturne.
As we come to the end of the album, we finish up with Brand New Days, which is a bright, sunny, hopeful vocal theme by Yumi Kawamura. Fortunately, it’s mostly in Japanese with a few English phrases thrown in here and there (Ms. Kawamura does not do very well with English pronunciation).
Now it’s time for the bottom line. If you played FES, you’ll want this album; same goes if you’re a fan of Shoji Meguro, the Persona series or techno in general. If not, stay away, as this album may not be your cup of tea.