Metascore
86

Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
  1. Spellbinding stuff with lashings of imagination: well worth top marks! [Feb 2008, p.76]
  2. 100
    Persona 3’s unusual take on the RPG formula takes some getting used to, but it’s well worth the small amount of effort it requires to become acclimated. If you’re tired of the same old RPG shtick, but still want a compelling story and addictive gameplay, look no further.
  3. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is one of those rare games where every single element comes together to deliver something truly special.
  4. 96
    I loved Persona 3. It delivered an experience that was both novel and familiar, and with the exception of the anime cutscenes and some of the voice acting, did so with excellent quality.
  5. Games like Persona 3 are the reason we play games. So, I can't say this enough. Play it. [Aug 2007, p.62]
  6. With a terrific storyline and characters, a difficulty that's challenging but not classically MegaTen hard, and a stupid amount of stuff to do in the game, it's impossible not to recommend this game to anyone who love RPGS. And most who don't.
  7. Persona 3 is one of the most polished and enjoyable PS2 titles I have ever had the joy of playing and reviewing.
  8. 95
    I spent quite a bit of time hanging out in the Velvet Room fusing new Persona.
  9. 95
    At the end of the day, Persona 3 is an engaging title that truly pushes genre conventions in an exciting way. [Sep 2007, p.82]
  10. If it isn’t the ‘true’ definitive RPG of the PS2 generation, it’s certainly one of the top.
  11. Persona 3 is, despite that complaint, one of the best RPGs on the PS2, and in fact, on any console. It has characters you'll care about, a combat system that's easy to get into but hard to master, enough of a difficulty curve that you'll feel like you're working for your victories, and a truly bizarre and memorable soundtrack.
  12. With an intriguing story, varied and fun gameplay, awesome graphics, a catchy soundtrack, and tons and tons of stuff to do, Persona 3 is easily one of the best RPGs to come out for the PS2 this year, if not the best, period.
  13. Granted, there will always be those for whom story-led gaming and turn-based battles are a complete turn-off, and for those people, Persona 3 is unlikely to be a Road to Damascus experience. For the rest of us, though, this is one of the finest RPGs on the PS2 - and that, in itself, is a huge accolade.
  14. The RPG and turn-based elements might put you off those who aren't fond of the genre, but the game excels in storytelling, story arcing, animation and character building so well that it's worth taking a chance even if you're not a fan.
  15. This game is a lot of things: thoroughly unique, frequently challenging, and sometimes quite disturbing. But most of all, it's a fantastic experience on many levels.
  16. It's idiosyncratic, heart-warming funky and one of the most refreshing RPGs to appear on PS2. [Mar 2008, p.102]
  17. Regardless of whether or not you like RPGs you should pick it up, because it's one of the most enjoyable games we've played in a long time. [Sept 2007, p.70]
  18. Persona 3 does the franchise proud. The only "problem" that might make someone think twice about jumping in is the focus on character interaction over combat, but if that isn't a problem for you, you'll enjoy Persona 3 a lot.
  19. 90
    A story telling masterpiece.
  20. It’s by no means a perfect game and it’s stuck in an over-populated genre, but it’s just so enjoyable and refreshing that it really doesn’t matter. Persona 3 is yet another must have for JRPG fans, as the PS2 slowly shuffles itself out of the limelight.
  21. Another reason not to put your PS2 into retirement just yet. [Apr 2008, p.85]
  22. Blending some unlikely, arcane ingredients into a flavorful and original epic, Persona 3 is a rare supernatural delicacy.
  23. Persona 3 can be summed up in words like quality, fun and scope. With dozens of hours of play, high production values and good visuals, Persona 3 is one of the best games available for the PS2.
  24. 90
    We can't recommend Persona 3 highly enough, although a lack of even an option for controlling your whole party directly is a real shame.
  25. Don't overlook this game based on descriptions alone, because you'll be missing out on an experience that is unlike anything else. [Sept 2007, p.58]
  26. P3 proves RPGs don't need big budgets to be all-around awesome. [Sept 2007, p.96]
  27. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is a surprisingly good RPG that is deep enough for veterans of the genre and yet accessible for newcomers.
  28. Overall, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is one of the most impressive RPGs to be found on the PlayStation 2 console in quite some time.
  29. With an engaging story, great characters, top-notch production values and highly original game-system this is a truly unique RPG-experience. Respect, Atlus! [Mar 2008]
  30. If players can get through the first hour or so of tedium where there is very little player interaction, Atlus has provided another stunning RPG experience.
  31. 86
    You might well think that Persona 3 is a mishmash of very "Japanese" ideas, and you'd be right. But it's all down to the execution of these ideas and this game has managed to combine some very peculiar elements into a very delicious package.
  32. Persona 3 is quite the interesting experience. It's not often one has to maintain a social life in an evil-battling RPG.
  33. At times shocking and always intense, Persona 3 is not a game you are likely to forget.
  34. Persona 3 holds its themes together with solid gameplay and cool characters, and thoroughly rewards you for the time you invest. [Aug 2007, p.96]
  35. In a world of generic RPGs with cookie cutter plots and characters, Persona 3 is like a breath of fresh air—a game that marches to a different drummer and is worth playing because of it.
  36. 85
    Delivers a refreshingly new take on the MegaTen concept while staying true to its roots. It's daring and innovative, yet not too unapproachable for roleplaying fans weaned on more traditional fare.
  37. 85
    One of the stronger PS2 titles to be released in recent memory, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is a must-have for any RPG fan who's looking for something a little different from what else is available.
  38. Between an RPG and a variant of The Sims, Persona 3 is a title that shouldn’t be missed by anyone who craves for a different experience. The story is not only good but also intriguing and the amount of things that you have to do and manage can be a little overwhelming. [March 2008]
  39. But the story really does take too long to unfold, the battle environment is far too repetitive and often boring, you don't have as much control as you would like (only controlling one character isn't much fun), the soundtrack gets ridiculously repetitive at times, and there's no actual world map you can physically explore.
  40. Persona 3 is an amazingly unique title for the Playstation 2. Even if you're not a fan of dungeon crawls, Persona 3 deserves your attention for its maturity alone. Gamers that are sick of typical JRPG settings will love the new atmosphere and relish the creepy style.
  41. 83
    Amazingly deep, with tons of replayability in both the dungeon crawling and social link directions, Persona 3 is an incredibly engaging title.
  42. Polished, completely original and as good as a lot of things that Square Enix have ever done. [May 2008, p.76]
  43. 80
    Persona 3 is an RPG unlike any other, and one that really gets under your skin. When you’re not playing it, you’ll still be planning what you’d like to do when you are, and wondering just what your friends will get up to next.
  44. So there you have it, Persona 3 soon warms up to be a memorable experience after a slow burning introduction. For those still hanging onto their PS2 before jumping into the next generation, it’s an essential acquisition for genre fans.
  45. Shooting yourself in the head never looked better.
  46. If you like games that step outside the bounds of normality – games that defy reality and present the strangest imagery imaginable – Persona 3 is your RPG. But if you prefer the lighter Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy style of games, stick with those. Persona 3 was not made for that audience.
  47. While dark and moody and supernaturally-tainted, Persona 3’s obsession with the day-to-day school humdrum of its main characters’ lives delivers some unique game play ideas, but also transform it into a love-it-or-hate-it affair. Recommended only for SMT fans.
  48. Persona 3 is a fairly unique game, in that it combines stale and tried elements to make them fresh. The presentation is good, and the environments are crisp. This is definitely a game only for the true RPG faithful.
  49. Games with distinct souls are rare things, but Persona 3 succeeds in displaying a mesmerising personality that touches the many well-crafted aspects of its curious and singular approach. [Nov 2007, p.94]
  50. In the end, Persona 3 is a tedious excursion that made me waste hours of my life that I will never get back and left with my right eye bloodshot for staring at the TV screen as my contact lens ran out of moisture and it solidified to my cornea.
  51. 64
    It doesn't look very nice, gets repetitive going to school every day and killing demons nightly, and "Rogue Galaxy" is still available and better. [Issue#162, p.88]
  52. 60
    Persona 3's daily structure is both a blessing and a curse. A benefit of the system is that you genuinely look forward to seeing what new characters or events are revealed the next day. Yet having to visit a single dungeon, even one with hundreds of floors, is not always appealing.
User Score
8.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Feb 14, 2014
    9
    I suppose the biggest problem I had with this game was that I played Persona 4 first. Because of that I feel my experience of the game was not what it could have been.

    It is clear that this game is the game before Persona 4 as all the same mechanics are there, just in a far more raw form. I did really want to like this as much as I did P4, but I just could not get past the flaws that I think I wouldn't of noticed had I not played P4 first.

    Story wise it is on par with P4. The narrative is deeply engaging, but perhaps a little too transparent at times.

    Most of the characters are well developed and interesting, however not as flushed out as in P4. I never felt any deep connection to any of the characters, at least not to the same degree as I did for the P4 cast. I suppose it could be because there are perhaps far too many character and your time is spent to spread out to really feel a strong connection to each individually.

    Combat is practically the same as P4 however clearly an earlier stage. The inability to directly control anyone except the main character is deeply annoying at times. If anything, it helps you appreciate the P4 system even more.

    In game visuals are on par with P4 but the Anime cut scenes are clearly inferior.

    Soundtrack is OK, but doesn't feel as ...... personal as P4's.

    To round up. I know this sounds like me bashing on the game, but in truth I'm not. P3 is a fantastic game and if not for it, P4 would never have been. I just wish I could go back and play them in the right order.

    Overall:
    A great game, that is a little rough around the edges, but worthy of any JRPG fan's collection.
    Full Review »
  2. Dec 29, 2013
    10
    Excellent music and great characters make this game truly satisfying from beginning to end. The game can be extremely unforgiving if someone wants to get 100% completion on their first play through but, do not let that deter you. The boss battles are very challenging and the combat is fluid and makes leveling up less of a grind.10/10. Full Review »
  3. May 2, 2013
    10
    ATLUS always impresses me with their games. This one is no exception, in fact, this is probably my favorite RPG as of right now. All the attention to detail and things to do besides just explore and grind in the tower make it a stellar experience with tons of replay value. Full Review »