I haven't played P3P, but from what I gather, here are the advantages P3P has over FES:
- Female protagonist (new music, different Social Links)
- Faster navigation
- Controllable teammates in battle
- 3D models during scenes/events instead of visual novel treatment
- Generally better presentation
- The Answer (which most aren't too fond of)
If one was to play Persona 3 for the first time, which of the two would you recommend?
You've got it exactly right; P3P is technically a better game to play because of the addition of direct control over party members in battle as well as improvements to the way you navigate around town, but suffers greatly in the presentation and story department because of the PSP's hardware limitations.
As the Persona games are more about the story and the characters than the combat, the lack of actual animating character models in the majority of story interactions, and the absence of the animated cutscenes for more important story moments make the experience feel really hollow in comparison to FES.
If this is the first time playing the game, play it experiencing those cutscenes as actual cutscenes and not two character portraits talking to each other against a static background.
The biggest issue is the change in combat, with full party control in P3P versus AI controlled party in P3:FES. P3P also has many more costumes, more jobs and things to do during the day and mini quests that tend to fit better in the flow of the game. There are also separate combat puzzle type challenges. And Yukiko. And Kashiwagi.
P3:FES does allow you to choose which weapon the MC uses. And the animated 3D models do add a bit to the scenes.
P3P for sure, the improved battle system is a HUGE plus for me, and I didn't mind at all not having the 3D models. I also liked the female protagonist better. But I guess it depends too on whether or not have you played Persona 4, since I can't imagine going back to FES after playing it.
If you've played through FES, I think P3P is the superior game. You've already seen all the animation (which wasn't too great anyway) and done all the walking around. First timers should probably play through FES first.
P3P has player-controlled party members (so much less of a headache), arguably superior music, and cuts off several hours of playtime wasted running from your dorm to other locations.
You play P3P if you own a PSP, you play FES if not.
Yeah, the ability to control your entire party cannot be overlooked as a major plus.
The FES content is something I feel like you're better off never experiencing, but the world traversal and animations are better. I also like the male route music better, but that's still in P3P if you're going that route.
I prefer P3P because of its changes to combat and Tartarus's "tired" system, along with the fact that it's a lot easier to get where you need to go when looking for people about town and such. I personally found Persona 3 Portable to be a lot more enjoyable to play, and that was a lot more important to me than what it sacrificed in terms of presentation. I found the story to be just as impactful overall, as well, there are occasions where you miss out on some of the more comedic moments when you don't have animations on screen, but again, I felt it was a worthy sacrifice.
I never cared too much about controlling my fellow team mates while in battle. The a.i. seemed pretty smart & it made grinding easier. Also I love Persona 3 because of the social interactions I have with those characters. They seemed real & controlling them in any way takes away from that illusion for me.
But then again that's just my preference.
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