End Boss Month #5: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 (Plus Bonus!)

It’s fitting that, for as dark as Persona 3 is, the final boss of the game is none other than an avatar of Nyx; a malevolent incarnation of the Greek goddess of the night, who, thanks to the heroes getting tricked into helping their unknown enemy for most of the year, end up putting the world in danger by making her arrival possible.

'Sup, bitches?

Oh, also, that doofy handsome kid that joined your class partway through the year? Nyx’s avatar given human form. The hows and whys are a bit too complex to really go into here, but suffice it to say, he’s none too happy about his situation once two and two are put together. He even offers the protagonist the chance to kill him without resistance; doing so would prevent Nyx’s arrival, at least for a while, but in the process, everyone would lose their memories of the past year and go on as though the end of the world weren’t the horrifying inevitability that it is.

Of course, that choice nets you the bad ending.

To get the good ending, the protagonist allows Ryoji to live long enough to become Nyx’s avatar. Then, on the night of the next full moon, shit goes down, and the party gathers to fight her. At least, I think it's a her? Ryoji is a guy, but Nyx is a girl, and...uh, hmm. Anyway, Nyx comes prepared, complete with fourteen different phases.

Fourteen. Different. Phases. Each one based on one of the tarot Arcana that are so central to the Social Links and Persona fusion.

And then, once you’ve managed to whittle your way through all fourteen phases (fourteen goddamn phases), Nyx, not the avatar, but the actual Nyx, decides to make an appearance and gets ready to wreck shit. At which point the protagonist says “Nope,” and pulls an Ultra Jesus Attack, sacrificing himself to seal Nyx away.

There’s a lot going on there, but what some Persona 3 fans might not know is that there’s even more to this battle than is truly expressed in this game. Namely, that Persona 3 is, in essence, a remake of the original Persona. Or rather, half of the original Persona.

Yep. Though it was cut from the North American release of the original PS1 version, the first Persona features the Snow Queen quest; an optional path that takes the player on a completely different track from the primary story route. In this route, events transpire that cause the party to become trapped in their high school, which has been transformed into an ice castle. To rescue their teacher, the students must enter three towers and defeat the guardians of each; students that wield the Personae Hypnos, Nemesis, and Thanatos, the mythological offspring of Nyx, and then use a restored mirror to free their teacher from the grasp of a possessed mask. A mask that contains none other than the Night Queen, who is Nyx in all but name.

The similarities don’t end there. Where Nyx in Persona 3 is said to be the harbinger of the Fall, in which everyone is screwed and becomes Shadows, the Night Queen wishes to summon forth an Eternal Night; she’ll freeze the world over, into a barren, icy wasteland in which humanity is exterminated. Heck, Nyx’s final phase in Persona 3 even has a particularly sadistic attack called "Night Queen" which can inflict nasty status effects like Charm.

Also, I should note that it really, really sucks to have a character like Yukari get charmed at that point, as she may turn around and heal Nyx back to full health. (Fuck you, Yukari Takeba. Fuck you. I will never forgive that transgression.)

But really, long story short and all desires of petty, vindictive revenge aside, what it comes down to is that the entirety of Persona 3 and particularly the battle with the Nyx Avatar, is more or less an elaborate remake of that optional quest from the original game. Just with more messianic attributions and a ridiculous number of boss forms.

15 Comments
16 Comments
Posted by Hailinel

It’s fitting that, for as dark as Persona 3 is, the final boss of the game is none other than an avatar of Nyx; a malevolent incarnation of the Greek goddess of the night, who, thanks to the heroes getting tricked into helping their unknown enemy for most of the year, end up putting the world in danger by making her arrival possible.

'Sup, bitches?

Oh, also, that doofy handsome kid that joined your class partway through the year? Nyx’s avatar given human form. The hows and whys are a bit too complex to really go into here, but suffice it to say, he’s none too happy about his situation once two and two are put together. He even offers the protagonist the chance to kill him without resistance; doing so would prevent Nyx’s arrival, at least for a while, but in the process, everyone would lose their memories of the past year and go on as though the end of the world weren’t the horrifying inevitability that it is.

Of course, that choice nets you the bad ending.

To get the good ending, the protagonist allows Ryoji to live long enough to become Nyx’s avatar. Then, on the night of the next full moon, shit goes down, and the party gathers to fight her. At least, I think it's a her? Ryoji is a guy, but Nyx is a girl, and...uh, hmm. Anyway, Nyx comes prepared, complete with fourteen different phases.

Fourteen. Different. Phases. Each one based on one of the tarot Arcana that are so central to the Social Links and Persona fusion.

And then, once you’ve managed to whittle your way through all fourteen phases (fourteen goddamn phases), Nyx, not the avatar, but the actual Nyx, decides to make an appearance and gets ready to wreck shit. At which point the protagonist says “Nope,” and pulls an Ultra Jesus Attack, sacrificing himself to seal Nyx away.

There’s a lot going on there, but what some Persona 3 fans might not know is that there’s even more to this battle than is truly expressed in this game. Namely, that Persona 3 is, in essence, a remake of the original Persona. Or rather, half of the original Persona.

Yep. Though it was cut from the North American release of the original PS1 version, the first Persona features the Snow Queen quest; an optional path that takes the player on a completely different track from the primary story route. In this route, events transpire that cause the party to become trapped in their high school, which has been transformed into an ice castle. To rescue their teacher, the students must enter three towers and defeat the guardians of each; students that wield the Personae Hypnos, Nemesis, and Thanatos, the mythological offspring of Nyx, and then use a restored mirror to free their teacher from the grasp of a possessed mask. A mask that contains none other than the Night Queen, who is Nyx in all but name.

The similarities don’t end there. Where Nyx in Persona 3 is said to be the harbinger of the Fall, in which everyone is screwed and becomes Shadows, the Night Queen wishes to summon forth an Eternal Night; she’ll freeze the world over, into a barren, icy wasteland in which humanity is exterminated. Heck, Nyx’s final phase in Persona 3 even has a particularly sadistic attack called "Night Queen" which can inflict nasty status effects like Charm.

Also, I should note that it really, really sucks to have a character like Yukari get charmed at that point, as she may turn around and heal Nyx back to full health. (Fuck you, Yukari Takeba. Fuck you. I will never forgive that transgression.)

But really, long story short and all desires of petty, vindictive revenge aside, what it comes down to is that the entirety of Persona 3 and particularly the battle with the Nyx Avatar, is more or less an elaborate remake of that optional quest from the original game. Just with more messianic attributions and a ridiculous number of boss forms.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Nyx Avatar is a giant dick. Sure, the final boss music is kinda amazing, but the battle itself takes sooo long because the final form has like 14,000 HP and then, as you said, if Yukari or Mitsuru gets charmed and heals it to full health again, it lasts that much longer. Like a lot of boss battles in the series, it boils down to a war of attrition at some point, something I'm not necessarily fond of.

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Posted by Hailinel

@ArbitraryWater said:

Nyx Avatar is a giant dick. Sure, the final boss music is kinda amazing, but the battle itself takes sooo long because the final form has like 14,000 HP and then, as you said, if Yukari or Mitsuru gets charmed and heals it to full health again, it lasts that much longer. Like a lot of boss battles in the series, it boils down to a war of attrition at some point, something I'm not necessarily fond of.

Yeah. When it happened to me, it easily doubled the length of the fight. I can't even remember how long it took me to finish Nyx Avatar off, but I spent the latter half of the battle giving Yukari an icy glare.

Posted by InfiniteGeass

I used Armageddon over and over again on him until he died.

Posted by Hailinel

@InfiniteGeass said:

I used Armageddon over and over again on him until he died.

I unfortunately didn't have that available to me during the fight.

Posted by Hunter5024

This battle was completely epic, but I think a lot of the difficulty of the fight just came from the length. I wish it had not been so.

Posted by C2C

I didn't find the boss too hard because I was kind of over leveled because of the optional dungeon (Monad). Even then, I also really liked the boss fight because of the music and how it integrated the major arcana. The final form however did give me a bit of a struggle, though I beat the boss in one go. I really do think because of this boss, I was slightly disappointed in P4's end boss sequence.

Thankfully, none of my healers healed the boss :P

Posted by Hailinel

@C2C said:

Thankfully, none of my healers healed the boss :P

You lucky bastard. :P

Posted by Red

I didn't find the battle very difficult because I was around level 90 at that point and had fused all of the best persona in the game. While I did have Armageddon, I was against using it because I felt it would simply make me cheat the boss. Then Yukari got charmed (or maybe it was I who was charmed...not quite sure) and fully restored Nyx. I think I could've avoided the charming too, but I forgot to put my characters on Wait before nyx got into her crazy reflect everything form and killed a couple party members due to their inability to listen to me yelling at them to stop.

Needless to say, in a blinding rage, I demolished Nyx afterwards.

Posted by RPGee

I still need to go through Persona 3, and this may just be the push that I need. Never mind that I already know the ending, I want to see how damn good this game is that I've heard so much about.

It almost feels like I need a FAQ, though, just so I can figure out what I can and can't ignore. That, and the lack of total party control/random onsets of fatigue/hitting inexplicable walls in social links make it feel like much more of a slog than it should be.

Posted by SuperWristBands

I had Yukari heal Nyx to full health twice before I raged, went to GameFaqs, found a way to prevent charm and then went back in. When Nyx can't charm you she lays on this devastating attack that, if I recall correctly, hit everyone and also would one-hit at least one character.
 
I did all that in after powering through the last few hours of the game. I was looking at finishing the game at midnight and didn't end up fighting the last boss until 3 am. One of two strong memories I have of JRPG last bosses that would refuse to die...

Posted by Bocam

I remember Yukari healing him to full life at least 4 times before I went "NOPE" and used Action Replay to beat him. I regret nothing.

Posted by coakroach

I am shocked that anyone was using Yukari by the end of the game or that it was possible for your party members to heal him (although that may have been something that changed in P3P).

I'm loving this blog series, looking forward to the next one.

Edited by ReyGitano

I remember the first time I went up against this boss being under leveled, because the fight took SO long that I had to leave the PS2 on over night. Second time through I spent the game leveling Persona's though so it was a cake walk...

Side thought... wtf is a cake walk? Also never made the Snow Queen connection, good read. Also the music to this boss fight is just... I loved it so much I learned the guitar part.

Posted by Hailinel

@ReyGitano said:

I remember the first time I went up against this boss being under leveled, because the fight took SO long that I had to leave the PS2 on over night. Second time through I spent the game leveling Persona's though so it was a cake walk...

Side thought... wtf is a cake walk? Also never made the Snow Queen connection, good read. Also the music to this boss fight is just... I loved it so much I learned the guitar part.

Thanks. I never really knew about the Snow Queen connection either, until only recently. I decided to go on Youtube to see what the quest really entailed, as I hadn't had a chance to play that portion of Persona myself yet, and was shocked to find that it was less "notable sidequest" and more "alternate path through the entire game."

@coakroach said:

I am shocked that anyone was using Yukari by the end of the game or that it was possible for your party members to heal him (although that may have been something that changed in P3P).

I'm loving this blog series, looking forward to the next one.

I'm not sure why anyone would be shocked that Yukari would be used at the end of the game. In my party, she was worth it for her wind magic and healing. At least when she wasn't healing the final boss.

Edited by pyromagnestir

I gave Akihiko that ice glove weapon, and forgot about it. During this fight, I don't remember if it was beserk or whatever that made this keep happening and made it so I couldn't stop it, but he just kept attacking her with the glove instead of his lightning (he was zio dude right?) and I think it would often heal her, or reflect back on him and kill him. That was a bitch. Plus the aforementioned threat of charming my Yukari.

I don't like overlong boss fights. Especially if they don't checkpoint. Dying at stage 12 or 13 out of 14 would only make me want to never play that damn game again, therefore the boss fight becomes too stressful.