Help! Controlling characters in battle?

#1 Posted by Fitzgerald (253 posts) -

Hey guys,

I just picked this up on the PSN sale. So far, it seems okay. Not as good as Persona 4 but still manages to scratch that itch, hopefully until P5 comes out.

Anyways... I'm about 2 hours in and the way this game dungeon crawls is very similar to Persona 4... except one really important thing: I can't seem to issue specific orders to my other two party members. They act on their own. Is there a way to change this? It's really annoying. So far I only have a fire spell, so if an enemy is weak to ice I can't tell my party member to use their ice spell...

#2 Edited by Hailinel (23891 posts) -

Hey guys,

I just picked this up on the PSN sale. So far, it seems okay. Not as good as Persona 4 but still manages to scratch that itch, hopefully until P5 comes out.

Anyways... I'm about 2 hours in and the way this game dungeon crawls is very similar to Persona 4... except one really important thing: I can't seem to issue specific orders to my other two party members. They act on their own. Is there a way to change this? It's really annoying. So far I only have a fire spell, so if an enemy is weak to ice I can't tell my party member to use their ice spell...

The original Persona 3 and FES do not allow direct control of your party members. You can set them to act by specific guidelines (conserve SP, etc.), but you cannot control them like you can in Persona 4. They didn't add this capability to Persona 3 until Persona 3 Portable.

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#3 Edited by believer258 (11634 posts) -

Simple answer: You can't. You can set basic tactics, though, which are usually enough.

Choosing your own Persona wisely and exploiting the one more system in this game is a bit more important.

I initially had this problem with them battle system, but I got used to it and wound up having a lot of fun with that game.

#4 Posted by Fitzgerald (253 posts) -

Whhaaaatt? :/

Wow, that's not a dealbreaker but that definitely makes this game not as good as Persona 4... which I guess should be viewed as a good thing because it means the dev team learned from their mistakes and improved upon the shortcomings of P3. Here's hoping P5 is better than P4! (big hopes)

#5 Posted by Hailinel (23891 posts) -

Whhaaaatt? :/

Wow, that's not a dealbreaker but that definitely makes this game not as good as Persona 4... which I guess should be viewed as a good thing because it means the dev team learned from their mistakes and improved upon the shortcomings of P3. Here's hoping P5 is better than P4! (big hopes)

It's not really a mistake, though. Persona 3 was designed with the idea of only controlling the main character in mind. You're playing the game from his perspective, both socially and in the dungeon. It does lead to to some awkward AI moments, but I put about 130 hours into vanilla P3 and beat the final boss, having fun the whole way through.

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#6 Posted by Zeik (2223 posts) -

While I was glad that P4 gave the option for manual control, I think it took a step back with the AI. P3 gave you enough options for directing the AI that it was rare for it to feel like a hindrance. In fact it was actually rather efficient for random battles. But in P4 the AI is always set to do whatever the hell they want, so even when I want to turn the AI on it's not very viable. My hope for P5 is that it gets the best of both.

#7 Posted by Nightriff (4915 posts) -

I really don't understand why someone wouldn't want direct control over the characters, why I played P3P and I am considering playing it again as I work my way through the Persona series. I really want to explorer, watch the videos and see how the scenes play out in FES but just the fact that I can't control characters is still scaring me away. Seems weird that they give you direct control of the team in P2 but took it away in P3, must have been a limit when they were coding the game and couldn't get it to work? I don't know, have always been curious about that.

#8 Posted by Fitzgerald (253 posts) -

I have another question that's not related to controlling characters but I don't think it deserves its own thread:

So, I'm following a Max Social Link guide and of course the situation comes up where I must have a Persona by a certain day. So I'm fusing my pre-existing personas to make these personas that I need.

Question: Once you fuse two personas, is there no "compendium" to buy back the old ones?

#9 Posted by believer258 (11634 posts) -

I have another question that's not related to controlling characters but I don't think it deserves its own thread:

So, I'm following a Max Social Link guide and of course the situation comes up where I must have a Persona by a certain day. So I'm fusing my pre-existing personas to make these personas that I need.

Question: Once you fuse two personas, is there no "compendium" to buy back the old ones?

There is a Compendium, you get it in early May, I think? It works the same way that Persona 4's works, except it doesn't automatically register anything. So if you make a new Persona, go register it! It does take a little too long to get.

At least it's not like Nocturne where you have to go up against one of the hardest bosses in the game, who practically requires fusing something with Media and something with Sukukaja, before getting the Compendium.

#10 Posted by SavePoint (100 posts) -

I just bought P3P and was going to start it tonight... should I play controlling all of the characters or let the rest of the team's AI take control? Is that still an option in P3P? I wouldn't mind trying to let the AI have more control as long as it isn't frustrating.

#11 Posted by Taku128 (793 posts) -

The other characters being AI controlled wouldn't be so bad if the AI wasn't so fucking terrible. Yes Mitsuru, use your last SP on Mind Charge, brilliant tactical planning. Hey Yukari, think you could knock down these five enemies with wind so we could rush them? Oh yeah, that's cool, just use five Garudynes instead of Magarula, it's not like you needed that extra 40 SP...

#12 Edited by believer258 (11634 posts) -

@savepoint said:

I just bought P3P and was going to start it tonight... should I play controlling all of the characters or let the rest of the team's AI take control? Is that still an option in P3P? I wouldn't mind trying to let the AI have more control as long as it isn't frustrating.

I believe they all default to the P3FES "Act Freely" commands. You should definitely change them to "Direct Commands". As I said above, I got through all of P3FES just using the preset tactics and had a hell of a lot of fun with it. That said, if you're playing P3P, you should be controlling all characters in battle and not just one. It gives the game a lot more predictability and it ensures that you will never die due to the AI doing something stupid.

EDIT: That's not something that happens often, but there were plenty of times where I felt like a battle could have come out better if I had been given complete control over my characters./EDIT

I swear, Mitsuru casts Tentarafoo like it makes money rain if you don't switch her tactics to something else every time.

#13 Posted by SavePoint (100 posts) -

@believer258: Thanks! I may check out the Act Freely command at first. If I see the AI doing stupid things, I'll probably switch it over... so I'll probably be switching it over.

#14 Posted by believer258 (11634 posts) -

@believer258: Thanks! I may check out the Act Freely command at first. If I see the AI doing stupid things, I'll probably switch it over... so I'll probably be switching it over.

You're welcome.

Go ahead and try it if you wish, but you should probably just go ahead and switch it over.

#15 Posted by Nightriff (4915 posts) -

@taku128 said:

The other characters being AI controlled wouldn't be so bad if the AI wasn't so fucking terrible. Yes Mitsuru, use your last SP on Mind Charge, brilliant tactical planning. Hey Yukari, think you could knock down these five enemies with wind so we could rush them? Oh yeah, that's cool, just use five Garudynes instead of Magarula, it's not like you needed that extra 40 SP...

And this is what I'm afraid of. I'm a control freak, especially when it comes to RPGs

#16 Edited by believer258 (11634 posts) -

@nightriff said:

@taku128 said:

The other characters being AI controlled wouldn't be so bad if the AI wasn't so fucking terrible. Yes Mitsuru, use your last SP on Mind Charge, brilliant tactical planning. Hey Yukari, think you could knock down these five enemies with wind so we could rush them? Oh yeah, that's cool, just use five Garudynes instead of Magarula, it's not like you needed that extra 40 SP...

And this is what I'm afraid of. I'm a control freak, especially when it comes to RPGs

Don't be afraid of it. I even wrote a blog on having a hard time deciding which version of Persona 3 to play, and I'm so glad I decided to play FES first. While P3FES's lack of direct commands do feel restrictive, and really are restrictive, they still allow for plenty of strategy and freedom. There's a little bit more "meta strategy", so to speak, and by that I mean making wise choices on which Personas to carry with you. In P4, you could fuse Black Frost or some other incredibly useful Persona and use that most of the time, while the rest of your team made up for what you didn't have hanging around. In P3FES, your teammates are there to help you but you should be more concerned with having a variety of Personas and a keen eye on how to exploit enemy weaknesses or cover up your own.

And don't forget about the different tactics you can set for the AI. You've got plenty of choice in what each character will do, especially if you're aware of their skillset (need buffs? Set Akihiko to Heal and Support. Need to heal? Set Yukari to Heal and Support).

Trust me, if you think that being able to explore and see characters and cutscenes are important, then FES is the one you should get. It will take some time to get used to, but it's definitely a great game.

#17 Posted by Fitzgerald (253 posts) -

@believer258:

After putting some more time into this game, I've decided that Persona 4 >>> Persona 3. Being able to only control the Main Character is just plain less fun, and more importantly it actually changes the balance of the game. Skills like "Stagnant Air" that up the chance of effect spells make less sense if you can only control the Main Character. Being able to control characters allows you to chain spells to get the most out of your offensive capabilities (ie, Main Character casts Stagnant Air and then next character casts Tentarafoo). As it stands, I basically can't rely on the other characters at all and feel like I have to "solo" every boss, with occasional help from allies. It's dumb.

I'm like 20-something hours into the game. Just past the 3rd full moon/Lovers boss, for reference.

Overall, this game still manages to scratch that "Persona" itch but definitely feels like a weaker game. .... fffffffffffffffffffffff INDEX, FUCKING HURRY IT UP WITH PERSONA FIVE ALREADY.

#18 Edited by Nightriff (4915 posts) -

@fitzgerald: Maybe jump to P3P since you haven't put that much time into yet (considering how long it actually is). I've played it and it feels a lot like P4 in the combat sense. The only thing that stinks is not having videos and animations and such. That is why I'm going to play FES soon so I can watch the scenes and everything this time around, I'll just have to suffer and adjust to the combat.

#19 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19308 posts) -

Overall, this game still manages to scratch that "Persona" itch but definitely feels like a weaker game. .... fffffffffffffffffffffff INDEX, FUCKING HURRY IT UP WITH PERSONA FIVE ALREADY.

Index has nothing to do with it anymore.

#20 Posted by believer258 (11634 posts) -

@believer258:

After putting some more time into this game, I've decided that Persona 4 >>> Persona 3. Being able to only control the Main Character is just plain less fun, and more importantly it actually changes the balance of the game. Skills like "Stagnant Air" that up the chance of effect spells make less sense if you can only control the Main Character. Being able to control characters allows you to chain spells to get the most out of your offensive capabilities (ie, Main Character casts Stagnant Air and then next character casts Tentarafoo). As it stands, I basically can't rely on the other characters at all and feel like I have to "solo" every boss, with occasional help from allies. It's dumb.

I'm like 20-something hours into the game. Just past the 3rd full moon/Lovers boss, for reference.

Overall, this game still manages to scratch that "Persona" itch but definitely feels like a weaker game.

That bolded bit isn't really true, you just haven't learned how to use character tactics correctly. Don't leave everyone on Act Freely. True, the AI isn't perfect, but you can do a lot more with it than you might think.

If you really want to use Stagnant Air, bring Mitsuru into your party. She casts Tentarafoo and other status ailments quite often. However, I have rarely found ailments useful in SMT games. Abusing weaknesses, buffing, and debuffing are what you should be concentrating on.

Finally, I think that Persona 3 FES and Persona 4 are both great games, and 4 is probably the better game, but I'll look back on P3FES more fondly. While neither have award winning plots, I think that Persona 3's story just works a lot better than Persona 4's. Character motivations especially hold up better under scrutiny - Namatame has a leap of logic that just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I liked P3FES's tone and atmosphere and themes more.

#21 Posted by mithical (289 posts) -

I originally hated not being able to control the characters because I like to optimize, but as you learn the quirks of each of the AI settings it becomes just another thing to account for. Try not to let it turn you off of the game.

If anyone is struggling, Full Assault will usually prevent characters from doing silly things. Knock Down is by far the most useful and is my default for random battles, though it's a shame they'll never use the 'Ma-' spells to do it. You can put Akihiko and Aigis to Heal/Support if you want them to focus on buffs/debuffs, but they will prioritize healing so try to make sure everyone is topped up before their turn.

The biggest frustration that I have found no good way to deal with is healing during boss fights. Characters (looking at you YUKARI) will frequently cast single target heals when a party heal would be way better and safer. While the main character is capable of way more offensive output than anyone else, learn to recognize those risky situations and play the role of healer for a turn while switching your healer to Full Assault.

#22 Posted by ajamafalous (11848 posts) -

Super old thread, but:

Yeah. This is the reason I could never get into P3FES after playing through P4. I don't care if the AI is 'passable,' I want to be able to manually control all my party members. It was an absolute dealbreaker for me, which is a shame, because I think the aesthetic in P3 is more interesting than P4.

#23 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2004 posts) -

Ah... I remember the good ol' days when Mitsuru would cast "Marin Karin" and "Tentrafoo" during fights those spells wouldn't even do anything.

It definitely is jarring to go back from P4 to P3/FES, but I don't think it's an impossible hurdle to overcome. When the AI fails, though, boy they choose the worst times to mess you up!

#24 Posted by Persona3rocks (33 posts) -

Hey guys,

I just picked this up on the PSN sale. So far, it seems okay. Not as good as Persona 4 but still manages to scratch that itch, hopefully until P5 comes out.

Anyways... I'm about 2 hours in and the way this game dungeon crawls is very similar to Persona 4... except one really important thing: I can't seem to issue specific orders to my other two party members. They act on their own. Is there a way to change this? It's really annoying. So far I only have a fire spell, so if an enemy is weak to ice I can't tell my party member to use their ice spell...

Okay well, by now you know that you can't control your other party members. But also, neither Junpei nor Yukari has ice moves:/ They have fire and wind. Each party member only has one element...

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