I loved playing Persona 3 so when it came out for the Playstation Portable with an option to play as a girl I was thrilled. I immediately bought the game and poured hours upon hours into it. I’m going to have to say that this Portable version is better than the original Persona 3; the original game was so overwhelmingly huge that it was a chore by the end, the edits they had to make to turn it Portable were helpful in a big way. I also love that you can finally choose to play as a girl – this should be standard by now in video games, people. I have to hear “men” complain when I don’t like them hiring prostitutes in Fallout while I can’t even pick a female main character in the majority of games? The gender gulf in the video game industry seems impassable at times. The major differences in the boy/girl versions of P3P seem to be mostly sexist, like you get a pink loading screen instead of a blue one, and your starter Persona, Orpheus, is made girlier, even though it’s a male mythological figure. I would have been fine with a blue load screen, people, or maybe green for both, but girl-Orpheus? Come on! If you’re going to be sexist don’t be stupid about it, if you need the starter Persona to be feminine for the “girl” version just use Orpheus’ wife Eurydice instead of making Drag Orpheus. Get it together! Both genders get new battle costumes that are revealing, so that’s something, at least. I forced some male characters to fight in their bathing suits just to even the score a little, I won’t lie.
Of course all the above was written assuming you’ve already played Persona 3, because for some reason I assume everyone has. If not, the plot is this: there is a 25th hour in the day called The Dark Hour that most people are asleep for and during which there are monsters. You and a team of friends use your special powers, called Persona, to help rid the world of The Dark Hour, because it is slowly killing humanity. Also you go to school. That’s pretty much it! There is a Social Links system which is basically you becoming best friends with people in order to unlock special, top-tier Persona to use in the game. This can be tricky. The last time I played Persona 3 I tried to work on them all evenly and ended with next to no one maxed out. This time I did a lot better and I focused on Social Links that I had largely ignored the first time, which is the benefit of a second play through.
The Persona themselves are pulled from global mythology and, half a dozen versions of Satan aside, the variety of figures and mythologies (along with historical tidbits) are supremely enjoyable. My favorite Persona to use this go around were Thoth, Kikuri-Hime, Alice, and Helel. If you’re wondering the answer is yes, it is the Alice in Wonderland Alice, and she is exceptionally valuable for level grinding in Monad (the super dungeon you unlock near the end of the game).
Also, unlike my original Persona 3 play through, I maxed out my level this time (level 99) and it made the final boss battle(s) a breeze. Friendly warning: if you choose not to maximize your character this battle will be tedious and stressful. Fighting the Reaper is how you unlock Monad, you cannot finish leveling without it, and the Reaper fight is much harder than the final battle. In the end though it’s worth it: Monad plus Alice (using the move “Die for Me!”) made the end of the game a cake walk in the tea park.
Also, you have a large number of supporting characters, three of which you can have on your team at a time. Instead of trying to level them all equally I chose three and focused all my training on them for nearly the entire game. If you’re wondering, they were Akihiko, Mitsuru, and Koromaru. It’s not the standard team, but I love them. They’re balanced elementally and both Aki and Koro’s AI can be trusted in basic battles, Mitsuru’s cannot (she will cast status ailment spells even if an enemy has 1 HP left) so I kept her in my hip pocket. Also it’s just a good idea to have one other team member at your command for the random status ailment issue. Everyone is gaga over Aigis for some reason, but her AI burns through HP like mad so she’s always dying, plus she constantly gets knocked down in battle, giving the enemy another turn. No thank you.
On the whole Persona 3 is still one of my favorite video games and this Portable version is tops, so I highly recommend it. As a friend and I once discussed: Persona is like Pokemon for adults, also it’s way more awesome. There you have it.