With Memento Mori as its theme, Persona 3 is one dark, stylish treat and one of the games that breaks the Shin Megami Tensei/ Persona title from a niche series into to a big commercial title.
All those who have played the old P3 on the PlayStation 2 should be familiar with the game, those who are not, get the game, play it and post your impressions on your own blog or some message board!
This PSP port has a new OP and the pictures are still as attractive as ever, the song has a bit more 'fire' than the last one, which is both good. However, I could not help but miss the opening animations in the old PS2 version! I remembered feeling Yukari's fear when she first held the Evoker to her head. There are no texts and no dialogue, but that brief sequence of her sweating and trembling and dropping the gun already explains everything.
Another thing about the animation is that it gives you such a deep impression of the game world and the trendy people who live there. Just seeing how the girls' school bag accessories jingle as they giggle and the MP3 screen flash already remind gamers of urban Japan.
Now, instead of the animations, we have some stills that are visibly brightened and contained more visual details. The sequence with Yukari is replaced by a picture with the voice over saying something like "I can do it... (sob)... no I can't..." It's very explicit, but I like the old representation better.
I need to play on to see how many animations survive the cut, and before I lament on about how much I miss the old PS2 version, I have to say that the battle system of the PSP Port makes P3 so much more playable.
I'll admit that I have never finished the old PS2 version, the highest floor I have gone up to was 5 or 6 (pathetic, isn't it?). Party Characters get exhausted easily and the AI, although quite intelligent (or so I've heard), wastes SP, which makes the battling aspect very difficult.
Now that I have control over all my characters, the battles aren't as annoying and I am so much more willing to go on. Even if I get a game-over at the end, I've only got myself to blame.
Actually, there are more reasons I can't finish the old PS2 version, click "read more" to be spoiled. Or leave it to order, or even better, play your game now.
Memento Mori - remember that you will die... means that you will die no matter what. There are three ways of dying, gameover during a battle, selecting a wrong path during a game event and... well, winning the game.
You just, die.
Actually, this is a selling point, I don't remember where I've read it, but on some guide/art book, the director said that parting is a big thing that teenagers are going through and this is one of the games that gives you the most realistic experience. (take this with a grain of salt, as I've read it a year ago and I no longer have the book near me.)
Going through all that trouble, battling all those shadows just so you can die (or fall into a coma) on a pretty girl's lap just doesn't add up. If its about death and rebirth, fine. However, it's not, in P3 FES, you're officially dead and the spotlight goes to Aegis (the pretty girl whose lap you fall "asleep" on).
I don't mind sad endings, I do read some tragedies, I just like to have a choice to live if I could.
Now I'm not sure if the girl-MC route in P3 PSP will give me this choice, but I'd like to try it out after I beat the game in the original guy-MC route. And at the mean time, I'll stop reading any spoilerific material.