Author Topic: Persona 3 : FES - Ch. 1: The Journey (9.8/10)  (Read 743 times)

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Offline copb.phoenix

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Persona 3 : FES - Ch. 1: The Journey (9.8/10)
« on: February 21, 2010, 04:40:00 pm »
It's been a while and I'm opionated.

Game: Persona 3 : FES (Chapter 1: The Journey)
Genre: JRPG / Slice of Life Sim / Dungeon Crawler (Rougelike)
Company: Atlus
Release (US): April 22, 2008
Rating (ESRB): M (17+)
Rating information (and personal input):
  • Blood
  • Language
  • Partial Nudity
  • Suggestive Themes
  • Violence
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Ritualistic Behavior
  • They're not kidding about the amount of gore.


Let me make this clear - this game is not for the faint of heart, due to its often grotesque nature.

The Persona series games are 1/2 stand-alone, 1/2 connected. You needn't have played any games before this one to enjoy it. I will not be reviewing the second chapter on the disc - only the first.


It starts with a train ride.

Alright, let me stress this point: Persona games are weird about starting normal. Hero has just transferred to a new school, and he is traveling to the dorm to move in. However, during the middle of his walk from the train station, a mysterious "Dark Hour" occurs, and he accidentally signs a contract for his very life.

It's hard to play out part of the story without ruining it. Here's the first hour or so, though:

Hero should not have been aware of his surroundings during the Dark Hour. His Dorm mates, members of a special club called the SEES, monitor him. After an accident by one of the SEES members, Akihiko, our Hero summons his first Persona, a ancient random called Orpheus.

The SEES welcomes in the Hero, classes start, and our game gets serious into the pattern of social life and exploration of things during this Dark Hour.

I promise, the plot and story is good enough to warrant me being vague.

Gameplay Ethic

Take a bit of note from the leader for this review -->

Genre: JRPG / Slice of Life Sim / Dungeon Crawler (Rougelike)

This is a Japanese RPG - which means that it is heavy on character development and concept. It also deals with simulating factors of real life, and is also based upon dungeon exploration.

Stepping past that, this game revolves, primarily, around exploring a dungeon known as Tarturus, with the help of several Personas and friends. A persona is kind of like a demon, but not really. (It's hard to explain.)

In order to aid you, you're allowed to fuse Personas together to make stronger ones. Depending upon your social life, you may receive bonuses to this combination.

On top of this, the fact that you're exploring a dungeon doesn't magically mean that you don't need to focus on your studies! You must stay awake, must listen in class, and must focus or things will get bad in a hurry. In the end, we get this half-real balance of study, socialize, explore, and repeat.


The visuals swap from top of the line PS2 graphics to anime FMVs. This means that parts of it you just watch, like an anime. The blend of dark for the Dark Hour and light for almost any other time is quite appealing - it's an excellent twist to atmosphere. The creators of Diablo would be proud.

Things are also relevant to surroundings - the dorms are actually like dorms in real life: meager rooms, fair enough commons. Likewise, if you step into a night club, you can expect lasers and wallflowers alike. They put an honest amount of effort into making this both fairly representative of the real-life concepts, and of making it appealing and constantly spiced with bits and chunks of variety.


Mostly Japanese, but not bad at all. Not repetitive, and quite appropriate for situations. All told, a modernized musical masterpiece.

Right, Wrong, WTF?!?

+ Emo Hero is emo.

+ Being able to fuse pieces of crap to get something awesome. (Persona Fusion)

+ The variety of social things you can do.

+ Characters are round - there's always another niche to be explored.

+ New Game+ style functionality, with epic bonuses. Namely, they remove the level caps and the experience slope the second time around.

+ You can carry over your save from the original version of Persona 3 if you have it, with no penalties and all the new bonuses. Just throwing it out there.

+ An entirely new chapter spanning roughly 30 hours. I've not gotten to it yet; it will be a second review if somebody doesn't beat me to it.

- Hero is an awfully generic name. (You do get to name him, but, really?)

- Sometimes the dungeon turns from fun to grind machine. It's part of the style, but it's still frustrating.

? Why does it have to look like a gun?

? Why is the dark hour odd shades of green and blue?

Random: Accuracy of Personas

Again, I hesitate to go into detail, but the Personas are highly accurate to their historical/legendary counterparts. For the love of it, I'm going to pick on two of my favorites:

Orpheus is your base Persona. He holds a lyre and uses it to beat people senseful, and is fairly soulless in terms of relative affect for personas. He can't vocalize, looks kind of like his head is amiss, and communicates through speakers on his shoulders.

However, the historical Orpheus is actually from Greek Mythology. The legends are great and many (Orpheus was a great figure in Greek Mythology), but I'd like to focus on a few scraps to help you get their attention to detail.

  • Orpheus was a warrior that traveled with the Argonauts. They once came to the Sirens, and the sirens began to sing to the soldiers to try to entice them. To combat this, Orpheus drew his lyre and played music more enticing than that of the Sirens - effectively saving his companions.
  • Orpheus is best know for his attempt to retrieve his wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. Hades and Persephone agreed to let him take his wife home if he could walk back to the Upper World without looking back. Sadly, Orpheus is of the Fool Arcana in Persona for a reason; when he saw the first lights of the Upper World, he looked back, and she disappeared.
  • At his death, Orpheus walked into the wrong temple - that of Dionysus - to pray to his own god - Apollo. The patrons murdered him and it is written that Dionysus ripped his head from his shoulders for his actions. This is most likely why he looks the way he does in Persona.

This is sort of like an ancient Cat spirit. Nekomatas are mildly trickish and are based in fire. Their forms seem like that of a modified catgirl; that is to say, a female-quarter beast, mostly human.

The legendary counterpart is the bakeneko, from Japanese folklore. Because I'm not much for it, I'm going to quote the opening to the Wikipedia page.

A bakeneko (化け猫, "ghost-cat able to appear in disguise") is, in Japanese folklore, a cat with supernatural abilities akin to those of the fox or raccoon dog. A cat may become a bakeneko in a number of ways: it may reach a certain age, be kept for a certain number of years, grow to a certain size, or be allowed to keep a long tail. In the last case, the tail forks in two and the bakeneko is then called a nekomata (猫又, ,猫叉, or 猫股 "monster"). This superstition may have some connection to the breeding of the Japanese Bobtail.

A bakeneko will haunt any household it is kept in, creating ghostly fireballs, menacing sleepers, walking on its hind legs, changing its shape into that of a human, and even devouring its own mistress in order to shapeshift and take her place. When it is finally killed, its body may be as much as five feet in length. It also poses a danger if allowed into a room with a fresh corpse; a cat is believed to be capable of reanimating a body by jumping over it.

Why your inner fur will like it

Well, if Nekomata isn't enough, several of the personae are fairly animalistic/are purely animalistic creatures. If using them to help you fight isn't enough, get out of my fandom!

Conclusion and final rating

It's hard to describe this game in any major amount of detail without breaking our PG-13 policy. However, I've clocked almost 50 hours and I'm only about 1/3 of the way finished with my first play through. If it can keep someone so random engaged for so long, has to be worth something, right?

Again, I stress - if you don't don't like any of the concerns mentioned for the rating information, please veer away. I will be happy to answer questions for specifics via PM, or you can always research it yourself. The What They Play review sheet can be found at:

I support that write up but refuse to offer any support for the string of comments at the end.

Plot/Story: 10/10

Video: 10/10

Audio: 10/10

Gameplay Ethic: 9/10

R - Accuracy of Personae: 10/10

Final Average: 98% (9.8/10)

A side note - that creepy guy with the blue hair that used to be my avatar is indeed Hero. Thought I'd clear that up before anyone asks.

EDIT: Formatting fixes and spell checking. Sadly, Notepad doesn't do this or I'd do it before I post.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2010, 04:45:20 pm by copb.phoenix »
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Offline Izzy

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Re: Persona 3 : FES - Ch. 1: The Journey (9.8/10)
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2010, 04:53:42 pm »
The Persona games are indeed awesome, played P3, FES, and P4 and they're quite fun. The dungeon crawling aspect isn't really my style, but the combat system is quite nice in my opinion, and since you only are given a limited time to dungeon crawl, well it limits how much time I spend being annoyed by it :D! I loved the social aspect of the game and how it affected your combat aspects to a certain degree. Since depending on who you make social links with/etc, it'll determine what type of persona will get the most exp when you fuse them/etc, thus somewhat suggesting you toward certain personae. It was quite fun, it has decent music I guess, not my type of music, but good music nonetheless. It had pretty good graphics and well drawn characters. Persona 4's style was a simplified version of Persona 3's, although of course they had entirely different plotlines, but in terms of combat/skills/etc it was simplified in several ways. Less emo-ish too, since they don't go out and shoot themselves in the head with evokers and just summon the Persona through card things. It is indeed a fun game, although it just doesn't really feel like a M rated game... sure there are moments with suggestive themes in the games/etc, but I don't know, it doesn't ever go too far really, and it's not too graphic/bloody for the most part.

Either way amazing game as Phoenix stated, my opinion on the game is a more blegh paragraph in comparison to his well organized review.
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Offline copb.phoenix

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Re: Persona 3 : FES - Ch. 1: The Journey (9.8/10)
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2010, 05:00:07 pm »
I'd contest the graphic and bloody part. I'll agree that actual game play is not, but I think they drew a lot of their concerns from the anime sequences. They get fairly graphic.

Remember: The fact that both of us don't squirm doesn't automatically make it alright. Kind of like hunters mounting their prize catches everywhere - some people just cannot handle it (the glassy stares make me squirm, at least). In this case, the concern is younger people; I acknowledge their reasoning, but I'd set the bar closer to 14/15.

That doesn't change the fact that this game is rated M.
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