Minor differences causing Major problems.

It's been a couple of weeks since I last put something up on t'Bomb. I put this down to unexplainable EXHAUSTION and this freakin' raising-questions-about-my-sexuality-though-not-really Robot;
 

                                                 
                                                                                                                              Omgee that's siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick



Over the Christmas break I began Persona 4 with a friend but didn't bring it back to uni with me (kinda a co-op thing, yeh?), and I've honestly never craved a game so much. So I quenched that thirst the only way I knew how;  

I only went and bought Persona 3:FES

 
I was immediately struck with a strange sense of alienating familiarity. The graphics, the gameplay, and most notably, the music are almost identical to Persona 4. Almost. Let's go with the soundtrack for now.  
 
For every situation in both Persona 3 and 4 there is a musical accompaniment. Whether it's the brass sounds of the generic "light hearted walking around music", the eerie piano of the "soon-to-be-revealed creepy plot twist", or perhaps the "Japanese-female-vocalist singing a mash of  seemingly  English words", both games share the same motifs. Only they're not the same.  So it feels like isolated events from the two games are merging into one when I play them, but for some reason I'm always expecting the other piece of music, or the other character to accompany them.  Has anyone had this strangely-disturbing experience? 
 
"Shut up you're talking nonsense"
  
   
I'd like to say this is an example of lazy game design, rehashing previous properties to make the production of a sequel easier. But it's just so darn good I can't even try to complain. If I did, well, I'd be wrong.

(To distract you from my inane ramblings, lets look at this banger;)
 

 Evokers > Card Smashing,   AMIRITE?


  

Onwards to opinions that aren't BS!

The other day I was discussing this eerie similarity with one of my friends who directed me toward this article by the antichrist of Giant Bomb, Leigh Alexander. I, for one, was struck by how perceptive her comments are regarding your interactions with the characters who populate the world around you. She has opened my eyes fellow Bombers!   

(Still, stay off the Bombcast)

 I think she's spot on when she differentiates between Persona 3 and 4 as two games with oddly oppositional themes; the latter consists of you learning to "embrace and accept" your different selves, whilst the former has you trying not to piss everyone off; appeasing them by wearing your "multiple selves" like masks.  This is the reason why I can't enjoy Persona 3 as much as I have done 4. Whilst I think the story of 3 is superb*, (the constant threat of the Tartaraus and the Full Moon bosses accompanied by the unravelling mysteries of the event 10 years ago has me utterly hooked), I'm yet to reach the same levels of enjoyment that I've reached frequently in 4. Well that makes me sound like a pervert but lets ignore that. Today I may have discovered what prevents me from this PLEASURE:
 
I hate everyone in the game. 
 
Maybe not everyone (I'm looking at you fighting dog/sexy robot), and maybe not "hate". But the majority of the cast are cynical, whiny, egocentric mannequins attached to two dimensional self-doubt story-lines. I don't care if your knee is buggered, nor if you're worried about work, nor if you can't talk to boys, nor if your parents are getting a divorce. Honestly I don't know what it is but everyone just needs to calm the fuck down.  
 

SO AM I. LIGHTEN UP

 
I'd really appreciate some help here, because when it comes to Persona 4, I do care if you're worried about inheriting the inn, I do care if you're secretly gay, and I do care if you can't handle fame or the way you're seen by the opposite sex. Honestly, I think this boils down to what Leigh Alexander discusses. The theme of learning to accept the parts of your character you're uncomfortable with, rather than complaining about it till somebody makes you feel better, just makes Persona 4 a more enjoyable experience.  
 
(*I'm not finished yet so please don't kill me if the story turns out to be utter balls.)   
  
    
 

What do you reckon?

 
Am I just talking bollocks?
 I've tried to avoid talking about the game-play here because I think each game is different enough to warrant praise on its own merit, but I can't really understand this business about the different relationships with the characters.   I'm kind of intrigued to know if what Leigh Alexander discusses and what I'm currently feeling are objective truths about the quality of the two games, or whether, on a personal level, I just don't relate to Persona 3's characters as well as those in its follow up.
 
  
 
Fraser.
9 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by fraser

It's been a couple of weeks since I last put something up on t'Bomb. I put this down to unexplainable EXHAUSTION and this freakin' raising-questions-about-my-sexuality-though-not-really Robot;
 

                                                 
                                                                                                                              Omgee that's siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick



Over the Christmas break I began Persona 4 with a friend but didn't bring it back to uni with me (kinda a co-op thing, yeh?), and I've honestly never craved a game so much. So I quenched that thirst the only way I knew how;  

I only went and bought Persona 3:FES

 
I was immediately struck with a strange sense of alienating familiarity. The graphics, the gameplay, and most notably, the music are almost identical to Persona 4. Almost. Let's go with the soundtrack for now.  
 
For every situation in both Persona 3 and 4 there is a musical accompaniment. Whether it's the brass sounds of the generic "light hearted walking around music", the eerie piano of the "soon-to-be-revealed creepy plot twist", or perhaps the "Japanese-female-vocalist singing a mash of  seemingly  English words", both games share the same motifs. Only they're not the same.  So it feels like isolated events from the two games are merging into one when I play them, but for some reason I'm always expecting the other piece of music, or the other character to accompany them.  Has anyone had this strangely-disturbing experience? 
 
"Shut up you're talking nonsense"
  
   
I'd like to say this is an example of lazy game design, rehashing previous properties to make the production of a sequel easier. But it's just so darn good I can't even try to complain. If I did, well, I'd be wrong.

(To distract you from my inane ramblings, lets look at this banger;)
 

 Evokers > Card Smashing,   AMIRITE?


  

Onwards to opinions that aren't BS!

The other day I was discussing this eerie similarity with one of my friends who directed me toward this article by the antichrist of Giant Bomb, Leigh Alexander. I, for one, was struck by how perceptive her comments are regarding your interactions with the characters who populate the world around you. She has opened my eyes fellow Bombers!   

(Still, stay off the Bombcast)

 I think she's spot on when she differentiates between Persona 3 and 4 as two games with oddly oppositional themes; the latter consists of you learning to "embrace and accept" your different selves, whilst the former has you trying not to piss everyone off; appeasing them by wearing your "multiple selves" like masks.  This is the reason why I can't enjoy Persona 3 as much as I have done 4. Whilst I think the story of 3 is superb*, (the constant threat of the Tartaraus and the Full Moon bosses accompanied by the unravelling mysteries of the event 10 years ago has me utterly hooked), I'm yet to reach the same levels of enjoyment that I've reached frequently in 4. Well that makes me sound like a pervert but lets ignore that. Today I may have discovered what prevents me from this PLEASURE:
 
I hate everyone in the game. 
 
Maybe not everyone (I'm looking at you fighting dog/sexy robot), and maybe not "hate". But the majority of the cast are cynical, whiny, egocentric mannequins attached to two dimensional self-doubt story-lines. I don't care if your knee is buggered, nor if you're worried about work, nor if you can't talk to boys, nor if your parents are getting a divorce. Honestly I don't know what it is but everyone just needs to calm the fuck down.  
 

SO AM I. LIGHTEN UP

 
I'd really appreciate some help here, because when it comes to Persona 4, I do care if you're worried about inheriting the inn, I do care if you're secretly gay, and I do care if you can't handle fame or the way you're seen by the opposite sex. Honestly, I think this boils down to what Leigh Alexander discusses. The theme of learning to accept the parts of your character you're uncomfortable with, rather than complaining about it till somebody makes you feel better, just makes Persona 4 a more enjoyable experience.  
 
(*I'm not finished yet so please don't kill me if the story turns out to be utter balls.)   
  
    
 

What do you reckon?

 
Am I just talking bollocks?
 I've tried to avoid talking about the game-play here because I think each game is different enough to warrant praise on its own merit, but I can't really understand this business about the different relationships with the characters.   I'm kind of intrigued to know if what Leigh Alexander discusses and what I'm currently feeling are objective truths about the quality of the two games, or whether, on a personal level, I just don't relate to Persona 3's characters as well as those in its follow up.
 
  
 
Fraser.
Posted by Catolf

To a certain extent I agree, some of the S. Link characters in persona 3 made me want to eat babies, thus why I didn't S. Link with many people. But while Persona 4 had better S. Links to a certain degree I didn't really like the characters. The characters that everyone loves so much here in a Giant Bomb collective are the ones I hated most. Namely Chie, Yosuke, and off and on with Yukiko (she has her better moments) Now the rest of the cast, namely Kanji, Teddie, Rise, Naoto I can get behind happily enough.

Posted by Shirogane

I kinda agree, the characters in 3, i pretty much didn't care for or just straight up hated. Moreso for the party characters. 
4 Somehow made them interesting. 
 
Though i do agree, Aigis is awesome, so is Metis.
Posted by fraser
@Catolf: 
I totally get that. Giant Bomb love Chie far more so than I ever did. (More of a Yukiko man myself, know what I'm sayin?). Yosuke falls into the same category as Junpei for me; annoying 90% of the time, hilarious 5% of the time, and depressing for the other 5%.
Posted by Catolf
@fraser:  Sheesh I know right? XD
 
I can tolerate Junpei more than Yosuke, but I think I'm far more attached to him than I should be because of what happens to him. Yosuke just felt annoying to be annoying and harpingon about a girl that his inner self proved he didn't really like in the first place. I think I started to dislike him when he started laying into Kanji and the whole end game thing he did...
 
Chie i just... didn't like her the moment she opened her mouth.. so i guess i like Yukiko way more than Chie so I'm int he boat with you then. XD
Edited by Karkarov

This is another one of those "giant bomb" threads.  Sometimes I wonder if the average giant bomber somehow doesn't realize 3 came out first and if either game really was copying or ripping off it was 4.  3 did have some helaciously rough social links though, like the dude dieing from cancer.  However the main party members are plenty strong as characters and honestly I really don't see the constant comparisons at all.  Junpei and Yosuke are somewhat similar but no one else on either party has hardly anything in common.  Even the Junpei/Yosuke thing doesn't hold up in the end though as they both develop in different ways and personally I feel like Junpei grew as a character while Yosuke... not so much.  As for the music, no not really.  Some of the overall themes and styles are similar but neither game shares actual music.  Well except for the part in P4 where you actually visit the school P3 happened in.  
 
Of the two I honestly prefer 3 because I like the party more overall and I think the story has a little more impact to it especially if you add in the "FES" content.  You always felt under at least some pressure and there was something big on the line from the get go.  In P4 you never even realize the real stakes until you are most of the way through the game and the fact that I figured out the killers real identity long before the reveal didn't help either.  Also I am aware that I place in the vast minority of persona players on this but I really don't like Teddy that much.

Posted by Catolf
@Karkarov:  Agreed about the yosuke/Junpei thing, Junpei turns into this guy you can depend on his childish antics while not completely gone have faded and made him a man during the course of events. Yosuke however..still seems like a brat. 
 
Aslo agreed story wise, persona 3 has this pressure of if you dont' do this the world may end, people will die, even more so once you meet Ryoji. In Persona 4 it seemed more laid back.. no real need for urgency. And even if you missed saving someone they would just set you back a week so you could. XP
 
No your not int he minority, I really didn't like Teddy at all until he turned into a blond boy.. and then.. i kinda only like him for the slash pairings..Heh. I'm a girl.. forgive me XD
Posted by supermike6

Yeah, Persona 3 is kind of a downer. Persona 4 is without a doubt a way better game, mostly due to the fact that it has Rise in it.

Posted by fraser
@Karkarov: 
 
I tried to avoid writing in a way that came across as the average "giant bomb" thread that presumes 3 came out after
4. I rushed the blog out so I should perhaps have been more clear. But I fully agree with you on the strength of the party members. And outside of Junpei and Yosuke I don't really see room for comparison between the two games. And yeh, Junpei develops far more than Yosuke ever does. But I think that there is a large point of contact between the games' S.Links. And looking at Persona 3 after playing Persona 4 really highlights the ways in which Atlus improved that side of the game. But maybe this is at the sacrifice of  the better, continuous story that 3 has.
 
Something that I've had trouble with in 3 is the fact that you arrive in the midst of things, into a bunch of characters who kind of know what's going on. Whereas in Persona 4 you arrive as informed as everyone else, and have to work it all out together. I think that was something that took me a while to overcome, and it stopped me appreciating the quality of the main party characters for quite a while. (A bit stupid, I know) I think I'm there now though.
 
Also, I'm only like 40 hours in, perhaps an "initial thoughts" blog is a bit premature when it comes to Persona.......
Posted by Karkarov
@fraser: 
Your comparison about the tone is accurate.  P4 is the least  "persona" or should I say "Shin Megami Tensei" of all the persona games.  If you took the murder mystery out of it then it would be able to pass for a high school / slice of life simulation game.  P3 has a much darker tone from the outset.  Like you said even the social links are more morbid and every character has heavy issues.  Even the happy little girl social link has parents who are getting a divorce and she blames herself for it and thinks her daddy doesn't love her.  Meanwhile in 4 they improved how social links worked (love that "oh shi.....!!!" moment when I went on a date with one chick just to have max social link Yukiko show up out of nowhere) but the biggest change was definitely the tone.  Other than the Old Lady none of them were morbid or even very ... "rough".