By Kowbrainz 16 Comments
I’ve been playing through Persona 3 FES on Youtube for the last couple of months now in a Let’s Play format, not too different to Giant Bomb’s Endurance Run of the fourth game in the series. A little while back I put up a blog on Giant Bomb regarding my thoughts of the game in relation to Persona 4 at the 25 hour point, and my opinions on what should happen with the franchise in future instalments from what I’d observed.
You can see the original blog here.
And my videos here.
Part one of what will probably become (and already is) many, many videos... :/
I’m now 40 hours into the game, mid-way through August, and feel like it’d be a cool idea to at least post an update every now and then as I progress through the game, just to put my thoughts into words and so I have something to look back on once I finish all of this up, whenever that may be. Again, I don’t think I’ll be posting these with too much structure – I just want to jot down a few points on anything that I may have missed in my previous blog or any thoughts that may have changed in the fifteen hours since then.
I started my previous blog off focussing on the story of Persona 3, and I’m glad to say that I’ve finally reached the point where the story is picking up a bit. New parties are being introduced, although every time one question is solved another one seems to sprout up in its place to keep you thinking. It’s all very interesting, but there’s still one problem – the delivery. Since the Persona games see you going through a year of high school a lot of plot points are drawn out over a month or so in game time, so it can feel frustrating when some of the characters are fixating on one particular thing in the storyline for weeks on end without actually doing anything to answer your questions about it. Persona 4 did well to fix this problem by eliminating the last couple of months of your school year after December and squeezing a lot more narrative into the remaining months. I’m hoping that Persona 5 does something similar or at least throws in a red herring or something when shit slows down.
My thoughts on the combat may have changed a bit now, but I think a lot of that may stem from particular party characters whose AI probably wasn’t done quite as well as everyone else’s. I fully understand now when people complain about Mitsuru’s obsession with casting Marin Karin – occasionally it’ll work to charm an enemy and shut me up, but even in those situations it’s barely ever as useful as Mabufu or Bufula. While I’m fairly certain that Persona 5 won’t go back to using team tactics alone, some better AI in some situations would have made it a lot more appealing as an option I think.
The analysis system is still something I like better than Persona 4’s system; the only way I think it would be improved would be to use the Persona 4 system for Tartarus boss fights at least, filling in each of the elements on the weakness chart gradually so that your team mates knew to stop using a certain spell type after it didn’t do well the first time. Akihiko using Mazio against a trio of Hulk Hogans when it was only doing 10 points of damage each time to their 400 hit point life bar was a little annoying.
I’m up to the eighty-something-eth floor of Tartarus right now, and while the design may feel a bit tiring at some points I think I’ll have to wait a while before I see to what extent it affects me. It lacks a lot of the personal flavour that the P4 dungeons had, for sure, but I wouldn’t say I’m sick of it entirely… yet. The slight changes in music from block to block are fine with me right now too. Will wait and see how my thoughts on all of this change I suppose. :P
I talked about how I liked the fatigue system last time for drawing out your month’s grinding a bit more over the month, but another reason I’m starting to enjoy it in Persona 3 is the fact that it encourages you to start grinding with your entire party instead of just picking three dudes to plow through the entire game with. Some of the boss encounters even force you to bring a certain character or two into battle with you so you’ll need to come prepared for any situation. I realise sometimes people prefer staying with one party throughout the game because they warm up to those characters, but the Persona games do a lot of their character development outside of dungeon crawling so it’s not as if you’ll be missing out on much by sitting Junpei out for a grinding session or two.
Fusion spells are something I’d definitely like to see return in future Persona games… the fact that they were taken out of Persona 4 was a real shame. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, basically if you have two specific Personas in your possession you’ll be able to use a special skill with them for a certain portion of your total SP. I’ve laid witness to four different types so far (although Cadenza was by far the most useful of them all considering when it first became available) but some new ones in the fifth Persona instalment would be nice.Boss fights in the game are quite different to how they were in Persona 4, whether they be within Tartarus or as part of a Full Moon event. While Persona 4 boss fights felt like an endurance run in of themselves, in Persona 3 it never really feels like the end is too far out of reach. The catch is that bosses still deal out a good deal of damage and there’s often a lot of luck involved in getting through a battle since it really depends on what attack the enemy AI randomly picks. If your boss picks power charge, you better heal to max, put out a persona with high endurance and maybe an endurance boost like Rakukaja and hope to dear god the enemy doesn’t get lucky with critical hits or something stupid. Despite my bad luck with some Full Moon bosses I’d say that it's probably the Tartarus boss fights that have given me the most trouble thus far, particularly those which come in threes and have an uncanny ability to use high powered attacks targeting my entire party over and over before I can heal.
Social Links… if there’s one thing that I like about them which is pretty ironic considering the nature of the rest of the game, it’s how upbeat and different each of them are, and how I actually look forward to hanging out with pretty much everyone unless they go on too much about their hots for teacher. There’s a few social links that get mopey from time to time, but compared to the number of those awkward social links in Persona 4 it’s really refreshing. Did I mention you can hang out with Tanaka? Or someone in an MMORPG? Well, I guess most people who read this will have already played Persona 3 but hey, I felt like shouting that out to someone.
The characters on your party themselves, I’ll admit, probably don’t have the same charm as those in Persona 4. The only one that really exists on the same level as my old standbys Chie, Yosuke and Kanji is Junpei; otherwise the only characters I’ve started liking all that much are because of their gimmicks. Outside of those, Yukari is okay but I feel that’s only because she’s always at odds with Junpei. Akihiko is timid on the inside but boring otherwise, Mitsuru’s a bitch but also bland and Fuuka’s just annoying. Forgive me for my exaggeration here as these characters are still better than the ones you’ll find in most games, but for the standards the Persona series has set for me they’re definitely average.
That’s all I have for today. Again, I apologise for the long blog. If it’s too long for you, I’ll basically just say that I’m enjoying Persona 3 quite a bit in spite of some flaws. Check out my videos if you want to know to what extent that enjoyment is or something. Otherwise I’ll be back in another few weeks or a month or something with another blog to update when I feel like it. Thanks for reading. :)