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Vyse the Legend
15-09-2008, 06:46 PM
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (Released for PS2)

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/kras0047/walkthrough_faq/images/persona3fes.JPG

For anyone not familiar with the Persona series of games, let me just start by saying that they are no ordinary RPG's. Infact they are some of the most darkest and emotionally driven games of the genre you are ever likely to find that bring up plenty of adult aspects, that for many games, would never be dealt with. Do you want your fair share of supernatural mayhem, mysterious murders, strange otherworldly dimensions along with all the usual fun, sadness and love that an RPG has? If so, then I welcome you to the world of Persona 3 FES!

Before I go into the game I had just point out that P3 FES is an expanded and improved version of Persona 3. So if you are new to the game then I would strongly recommend getting this version. If however you have already played 3, then you may think "why should I go out and buy what looks like the same game?" Well in addition to a whole new lot of side quests, new weapon synthesis options, added costumes, scenes, additional music tracks, not too mention an added episode called The Answer that offers more gameplay and story than you can shake a large stick at! So now that you've decided on getting the game, (and if you still haven't, then you don't know on what you are missing out on!) let's go into the gameplay.

You play the role of a nameless and speechless Japanese transfer student who has only just moved to Gekkoukan High School, and is ready to experience what this new adventure has ready for him. However not before too long you start to notice that something isn't right. Everyday when the clock hits midnight you are drawn into this 'other' dimension known as The Dark Hour where beasts known as shadows roam and strange coffins lie all over the city. Now if this were me, I would have probably cried myself to death, but not our hero. For you see, he and a select group of high school students can enter this dimension and battle the evil forces within thanks to the help of their persona. Now without making things too complicated a Persona is a type of creature that is linked to the kind of person you are and will take shape as your emotions see fit. So with the help of your Persona powers and your high school friends you set about learning the mysterious of the Dark Hour and what lies ahead for them all!


http://www.gameguru.in/images/persona-3-fes-ss3.jpg

(Above) Here is one of the many, many Personas that you can control in the game - pretty isn't he! :D

Now what I'm about to say may frighten many of you, especially after reading an entire thread on it in this very forum, but in addition to battling the dark shadows that lurk, you have to every morning - GO TO SCHOOL. :eek: You see the game is really split into two seperate areas. During the morning and daytimes you visit school and once finished you are then allowed to wander around the city and visit the whole host of shops and stores that are open to you. In school hours you can be asked general knowledge questions, make new friends, study in the library and take part in after school groups from Swimming to Art lessons.

Now you may be thinking why on earth do I want to do that, I just want to go fight some shadows and level up to level 99! Well I'll tell you. The key to battle is to have very strong Persona and the best way to get those is by creating Social Links. These links are formed with various people at school and around town that will gradually improve the more time you spend with those people. For example, one of the links you create is with the manager of the school sports team. When you spend more time with her and taking part in the sport event, you will raise your social link, so that you can create stronger and more varied Persona. Now there are around 20 social links that you can form and as to which you go about improving, well that's entirely up to you. Before nightfall hits you can spend time with ONE person and help to build your link, so it's not uncommon that you will have to manage your time wisely if you want to improve all of your relationships. Just like real life huh! :p

http://bulk.destructoid.com/ul/72092-atlus-announcement-smt-persona-3-fes-is-coming-to-the-u-s-/32-550x.jpg

(Above) Just to warn you there are a LOT of floors to explore in Tartarus and lots of battles to be won!

Now during the evenings you can stay at home and recover your health or when the clock strikes midnight you can enter the Dark Hour and try to climb the mighty Tartarus tower (or as one of the legendary game characters of all time calls it - a kind of toothpaste.) This tower is a long series of randomly created floors which you will have to run through trying to find the stairs that lead to the next level. On each level are black blobs that wander around (the shadows,) that will lead to a battle once you either strike them or they strike you.

So how do the battles work? Well you and three other party members will take part in turn based battle, where you can only control the movements of the main character by telling him to attack, use an item or summon his Persona and use of the many skills that each one has, from magical attacks to healing ones. You can set your partners a theme to how to battle each time, so stay back and heal or go all out and attack, but they still aren't as reliable as you would like them to be. When you win a battle you will gain experience points, and sometimes the option to gain extra exp, weapons, money or even if you are very lucky a Persona by a game of follow the cards as they flash across the screen - not an easy task I assure you! That experience will then help your character skills and Persona skills increase and learn new moves. Now for me this is one of the games most frustrating points, as it moves that you learn will not be obvious to you what they do, so when asked whether to say learn Pulinpa, how can you decide if you don't even know what it does!?!

Graphically the game looks very nice, in particular during the special anime like cutscenes you get every now and then. All the enviroments during the morning from school to the city are well presented and as the seasons pass you will notice lovely little details like the change in colour on trees. Whilst in Tartarus though, each floor does seem pretty boring and lacks any real character. And whilst in battle, the enemies are well done, but the same can't be said for the spells which look pretty ordinary. The soundtrack is also extremely good and has a whole variety of themes that always fit the mood well, these include a variety of J-Pop, Rap and Rock themes, all of which whilst a little too short and loopy for my liking are excellent. Even the voice acting is of a very high standard. All the major characters have a real charm to them that helps you to grow to understand them more during many of the games story driven moments, good and bad.

http://www.lordyuanshu.com/images/Persona3/koromaru.jpg

(Above) Yes, one of the characters that helps you during the game and in battles is a dog!

Conclusion. Now I am a big fan of RPG's and have most of the ones on PS2, but I have to say this is definately up there as one of the best. There's the epic story that goes back and forth, the wonderful soundtrack, lovely graphics, the life simulator aspect of hanging out with friends and going to school, the brilliant dialogue between characters, sidequests, I really could go on. Remember also that P3 FES features additional content and the added episode, which combined with the original game really will keep you busy for months trying to maximise all your social links and reach epic level 99 status. This is the odd issue with the game that prevents it from being perfect, but on a console full of RPG's this game shines bright and deserves to be seen for the wonderful title that it is!

+ Engrossing storyline that deals with so many issues and emotions to keep you on the edge of your seat
+ Great soundtrack and visual environments at school and in the city
+ Plenty to keep you busy playing for months with battling and making friends and the added chapter - The Answer

- Team party AI in battles isn't very good and can lead to more deaths than you'd like
- Slightly less impressive visuals in Tartarus and in battle
- Hard to work out what a lot of the moves do when you get them

Overall - 9.5/10

Vyse the Legend
15-09-2008, 07:00 PM
Hmmm that did end up a little longer than I wanted, and those pictures kept giving me troubles too. If it's too long, someone let me know and I'll try to edit it as best I can, hard when you have a lot to say! :D

Star Hustler
15-09-2008, 09:50 PM
One of my top favorite games of all time! Why? Cause everything thing about this game is awesome! If you like hardcore dungeon crawler you will love this game! This game is one of the most unique games out there just because in the day time its a sims type game but when midnight comes around the whole game changes into a dungeon crawler! Brilliant game! And yes it has alot of Adult aspects in this game. If you are into a very dark grim story in an RPG I suggest picking up any game from the Shin Megami Tensei Series. :D

Vyse you are becoming my favortie game reviewer!^^

Vyse the Legend
15-09-2008, 09:54 PM
Thanks Spinja, glad you liked the review! :)

Altair17
16-09-2008, 11:44 AM
I love the review :) Nicely done, never heard of this game be4, doesnt seem bad tho

Vyse the Legend
16-09-2008, 11:48 AM
Thanks Altair. Yes if you have the chance of playing it and like an alternate type of RPG, then you would be hard done to find a better one than this!

Daeanu
16-09-2008, 12:19 PM
Vyse, all I can say that this review is the bee's knees and it describes the whole game as it is. top job :)

Vyse the Legend
16-09-2008, 12:36 PM
Thanks Flame, I assume you have the game then?

Daeanu
16-09-2008, 12:44 PM
yes I have the game and it gave me and still gives me hours of entertainment and you are becoming my favourite reviewing :)

Vyse the Legend
16-09-2008, 12:48 PM
Well I know an awful lot on FES, but in truth I only have 3, as the cut version isn't out here until another month (been a long wait as always *sigh*) anyway I felt I was able to work around that, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what lies ahead in The Answer and trying out all the other features!