Geeking Out Over Persona 3 Reload

Geeking Out Over Persona 3 Reload
Persona 3 Reload protagonist shows off his new look.

I'm not going to make a grand review of the game, as there are better articles out there, such as this GameSpot review by Jessica Cogswell. I mostly skimmed it, but she gave it a positive review all around.

I should also note that I haven't technically finished the game yet, but I've also played FES like...4-6 times in the past ten years? I know I put at least 200 hours across the board in the game.

Persona 3: FES was my first entry in the SMT series as a whole, on top of being my first in the Persona series. I got into it around 2008 or 2009, thanks to a suggestion from another fan on Gaia Online (talk about a throwback!), and was immediately smitten! I was no stranger to jrpgs, with my first probably being Baten Kaitos on the GameCube.

This was a very different experience, due to the dating sim mechanics. That was the easiest part to adapt to, though I had some struggles with the battle system. Not that it was overly difficult (thank goodness for turn based battles!), but I never played games like Pokemon before. So that's where the learning curve was for me, but I got good with it the further I progressed in the game.

I will say that the first boss fight was very annoying because it was time based! Super stressful! I groaned when I had to do it again in Reload, which I expected, but didn't help my anxiety over that fight. Nailed it the first time, unlike my very first time playing the game...still not a fan, and I am so glad that never became a reoccurring thing, but I digress.

This remake has been so nostalgic and jaw dropping for me. While I'll always love the original music more, the updates they did were superb! The updated art and animation also added to the early part of the game, when the protag unlocks his persona and experiences the dark hour for the first time. I still love the original scenes, but this was punched up to the max!

That's how I feel about the rest of the game. I haven't beaten the game as of yet, but I have beaten the twelfth boss. There's still a bit of game left, but I am excited for the final boss. I know it's going to be hard, but I'll probably be overleveled by that rate. 

One of the biggest changes (aside from the new voices, art, etc.) I noticed was Tartarus itself, and how much they were changed. That kinda caught me off guard, as I did actually like how repetitive they were. Unpopular opinion, that one. They were easy to grind, and I like to enjoy the music or my own background noise. One thing I wasn't too jazzed about were some of the Persona 5 mechanics they added, such as having to rescue people from the dungeon. That was fun at first, but got tedious fast.

I will say the Monad addition was quite fun. It poised a decent challenge, especially early on. Oh, and the ability to boost teammates with a special door was also a nice touch. I usually stick with the same team for each playthrough (Junpei, Mitsuru, and Yukari), as I don't want to spend too much time grinding, but here I actually was able to swap around quite freely. Having Koromaru in my party was a nice change of pace, but I ultimately swapped Junpei back in after a certain plot point...

Side note: you can pet Korochan! It's such a sweet option.

There are some other changes to the game I found quite relieving, like the transphobic joke in the beach scene. They turned the gross joke into one where the boys get scared off by a delusional scammer. Progress! Atlus, I'm gonna need you to do better from the start. They still had that issue in Persona 5, unfortunately.

It's so odd to me, considering how well they pulled off queer characters in the Persona 2 duology (Tatsuya is bi, Jun's gay). Well, I do have a theory on that, which involves the change in writers. Persona 3 and onwards had different writers, whereas the first two games had a different one.

But that's a story for another day!

I don't think there will be a need to write about my experience when I do beat this remake, though I may update this post in the future. We'll see how I'm feeling then. For now, I'll continue enjoying the ride!