Persona 3 Reload is a remastered version of the original Persona 3 game, released 17 years later for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
The story remains unchanged, making it a good option for new fans who want to experience the original story with upgraded visuals.
Die-hard fans may find the remake lacking in new content, as there are only a few new dialogue options and voiceovers.
Persona 3, or Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, was first released as far back as the PlayStation 2 2006 in Japan and in 2007 for the rest of the world. Seventeen years later, the game was finally remastered for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, even being renamed Persona 3 Reload. So what are the changes to Persona 3 Reload from the original, and is the remake worth the upgrade?
The Same Classic Story…
This point is a double-edged sword, depending on which side of the game’s fan population you are on.
Suppose you are a new fan of the Persona franchise and want to catch up on the story in a refreshed way that is visually stunning and upgraded. In that case, Persona 3 Reload doesn’t change the original game’s story and allows you to travel back in time with better glasses on and experience what all the other fans were squinting at in comparison.
If you are a die-hard fan wanting to refresh your knowledge about the series or want a healthy dose of nostalgia, the remake is the game for you. Unfortunately, suppose you are such a fan of the franchise that you have played Persona 3 a couple of times and know the story by heart. In that case, there is nothing new to the story besides lines that weren’t given voiceovers before, a few new inconsequential options in dialogue and NPC interactions.
There are a lot of visual upgrades to enjoy and other upgraded elements to the game, but the story remains intact and untouched.
The short answer for whether or not the upgrade from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 5 is worth it it is and will always be yes. The capabilities of the PS2 can’t hold a match, let alone a candle, to what the PlayStation 5 is capable of. When loading up Persona 3 Reload, from the start of the game, it feels like you are playing an anime that you interact with slightly until the game starts. You can move around in the world.
The core graphics of the entire game have been taken and improved. Everything from cut scenes, enemies, and characters to the user interface has been rendered in stunning detail. Gone are the days of pixelation and faded colours. Atlus has thought of and improved everything from the angle at which the camera sits while you are in class to the improved speech bubbles.
Suppose you ever played the original and got frustrated by the difficulty of navigating the combat menus and the fact that you could only really control some of your party members’ actions initially. In that case, the game has taken their players’ advice and made some changes.
Combat is still turn-based, like the original game. Still, it has also adopted some mechanics, like splitting the damage you take into three different categories or types. This combat system was only picked up in later games in the series. It might seem like small details, but in the end, they all add up to make the game a lot more user-friendly, especially for a player who might have never picked up a Persona game before picking up this one.
As mentioned above, the changes are primarily positive while still staying true to the original story that inspired it in the first place. Persona 3 Reload is a worthy remake that keeps the original game’s essence while bringing elements from later games in the series that players loved.
My introduction to the Persona franchise was when Persona 5 Tactica came to PlayStation 5, so it was nice to dive into a remake of an earlier game with a bit more context and story to it. The game is absolutely stunning, and until you get to combat, it feels like a visual novel that you get to navigate through.
Persona 3 Reload tries its best to cater to every player’s needs, offering plenty of difficulty options and different ways to play the game. Not that into the slice of life? That’s okay. You don’t have to interact with all the students at school and listen to their stories if you don’t want to. On the other hand, if you love being immersed in the world you are playing in, go around and listen to everything, absorbing each little bit of lore you can get your hands on.
Combat is fun, to put it mildly. There is always a certain amount of anxiety when it comes to combat, especially in Japanese playstyles, where you are worried about learning combos, dodging and being perfect. However, the turn-based mechanics of this game make it a ton easier to manage in that respect.
Picking up Persona 3 Reload as a new player, I was instantly drawn into the franchise, mainly thanks to the artful way the game had been rendered. If you are a returning player, you would appreciate the graphical refresh even more than I did.
While gameplay and story don’t seem to have been altered too much compared to what it was in the PlayStation 2 original game, it seems that Atlus has really paid attention to what their players and fans were enjoying from the later iterations of their games and incorporated those elements in Persona 3 Reload without tainting the core or the essence of the original game.
If you love the franchise, love Persona 3, want that nostalgic feeling, or want to play a beautiful game with a little bit of a slice of life with a slice of fright at night, the remake is worth it.
What is your opinion on Persona 3 Reload? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Persona 3 Reload
Step into the shoes of a transfer student thrust into an unexpected fate when entering the hour "hidden" between one day and the next. Awaken an incredible power and chase the mysteries of the Dark Hour, fight for your friends, and leave a mark on their memories forever. Persona 3 Reload is a captivating reimagining of the genre-defining RPG, reborn for the modern era.
Release Date: February 2, 2024
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
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