Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 52
  2. Negative: 0 out of 52
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 90
    A story telling masterpiece.
  5. 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.
  6. 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]
  7. P3 proves RPGs don't need big budgets to be all-around awesome. [Sept 2007, p.96]
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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]
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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]
  16. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is one of those rare games where every single element comes together to deliver something truly special.
  17. 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.
  18. Another reason not to put your PS2 into retirement just yet. [Apr 2008, p.85]
  19. 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.
  20. At times shocking and always intense, Persona 3 is not a game you are likely to forget.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Blending some unlikely, arcane ingredients into a flavorful and original epic, Persona 3 is a rare supernatural delicacy.
  25. 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.
  26. Persona 3 is one of the most polished and enjoyable PS2 titles I have ever had the joy of playing and reviewing.
  27. If it isn’t the ‘true’ definitive RPG of the PS2 generation, it’s certainly one of the top.
  28. Persona 3 is quite the interesting experience. It's not often one has to maintain a social life in an evil-battling RPG.
  29. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is a surprisingly good RPG that is deep enough for veterans of the genre and yet accessible for newcomers.
  30. 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]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 70 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Feb 14, 2014
    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.

    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
    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
    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 »