Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Image
Metascore
86

Generally favorable reviews - based on 52 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 84 Ratings

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  • Summary: In Persona 3, assume the role of a high school student, who was orphaned as a young boy, and has recently transferred to Gekkoukan High School on Port Island. Only days after he arrives at the school dorm, he is attacked by a Shadow. The assault awakens his Persona, Orpheus, his only chance at defeating this creature of the night. He soon discovers that he shares this special ability with other students at his new school. From them he learns of the Dark Hour, a hidden time that exists between one day and the next, swarming with Shadows that have been slowing claiming victims known as The Lost - poor souls who have inexplicably been turned into walking zombies. Under the supervision of school chairman Shuji Ikutsuki, he joins his new friends in confronting this evil threat... With your school as the primary battlefield, you are forced to juggle between two lives: student by day, defender against evil by night. And your greatest challenges await you on the eve of each full moon. [Atlus] Expand
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. Persona 3 is one of the most polished and enjoyable PS2 titles I have ever had the joy of playing and reviewing.
  3. 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.
  4. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is a surprisingly good RPG that is deep enough for veterans of the genre and yet accessible for newcomers.
  5. At times shocking and always intense, Persona 3 is not a game you are likely to forget.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 52 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 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. Expand
  2. Apr 19, 2011
    10
    anime in general needs to pick up this game as well as Persona 4. The Social Link system is an amazing way to mix up the action, and the end result is a perfect blend of dungeon crawling, monster collecting, and visual novel. The grind might be repetitive, but the boss battles are great and the story/characters are amazing. Definitely not an RPG to be missed! Expand
  3. JohnM.
    Aug 20, 2007
    10
    Few times in my gaming career have I been so drawn into the world of a game. Persona 3 engaged me on so many levels: challenge, story, depth of character, consequence of choice. All those things merge into an experience that surpasses its individual parts. Looking at each piece individually, everything seems fairly tame. A random, turn based dungeon crawl? A text-choice slice of life game? Anime cut scenes? Nothing by itself would amount to anything special, but together its really something every RPG fan should experience (moreso if you are an anime & RPG fan...this IS an interactive anime movie). The dialogue is clever, the voice acting is brilliant, easily on par with the current, excellent dubbings going on in the world of anime, and the characters are very intriguing. The pace is brilliant as well. Just when you start to wonder if there is anything more than random dungeons in the game, you are rewarded with extremely clever missions outside Tartarus (which hold up or surpass many of the setpiece dungeons in non-random dungeon crawlers). Not to say that the random dungeons themselves aren't fun. If you have a hankering for old school, seat of your pants, 'I wonder if I have enough heal potions to reach the next save point' gaming, this is it! But when you realize that you get that, and all these other things going on at the same time that you realize this game is special. On top of the great mechanics (which will be instantly familiar to Shin Megami Tensei veterans), you have this synergy of story, character, and atmosphere. They manage to spin even the ludicrous into the story in a way that doesn't make you cringe (like why does a 255 story tower appear in place of your school every night?) The protaganists approach it in the same manner you probably would, a definite WTF? approach. Even design choices such as having all AI party members works so well that I'd be hard pressed to play the game without it. It may be annoying at times when Junpei buffs you instead of smacking the bad guys, but those times when you are desperate, and one of your teammates saves you (I live to hear Yukari shout 'hang in there!' when she heals me :) ), it just adds to the bond you feel with your virtual buddies. At its core this game is a finely balanced game of resource management and dungeon crawling. But the atmosphere and story do such a good job of covering that up that you never notice. You reap the excitement from the challenging dungeons, and you are emotionally invested in the story and characters all at the same time. I'm sure I'm already approaching (or over...) the limit of how long these reviews can be, and I haven't even touched on how clever the scheme of working in schoolwork and dating into this game is. I will just say that those things too add to the sense of emotional investment in the game as a whole. After a single play through, this game has become arguably my favorite RPG of all time (a lofty post previously held by Suikoden 2). And the best thing is, the game feels infinitely re-playable! There are so many paths you can't follow due to limited time (its a long game, over 50 hours, but it goes very fast) that you could play it a second time and see tons of new content. And I must admit that I want to see what happens when I give into tempation in that one mission where .... oops ....sorry can't go on, that would be a spoiler :) Expand
  4. Nov 13, 2012
    10
    I played Persona 3 FES, so I will submit this review for both the original and FES. Persona 3 is right up there on my list of "greatest games of all-time" alongside Shenmue. The story in this game is simply the best ever, it's emotionally engaging, great voice actors and really puts you in some tough positions when you have choices to make. This is RPG at it's finest. I fell inlove with all the characters here and I never stopped. The gameplay is top-notch, dungeon crawling has never been more fun, the combat is the best I've seen for a JRPG, the use of Personas gives it a nice, unique twist to it. When you're not in combat, you're either in the dorm, at the mall, in school or exploring the other areas of the city. There is so much to do, and the game is extremely long, took me ~80 hours to complete this. Oh and lets not forget the soundtrack, simply one of the best, if not the best, of all time. If you love JRPGS, great stories, and great combat, make sure you purchase this game, you WILL NOT regret it. Expand
  5. JosephineA.
    Sep 26, 2007
    9
    Persona 3 is a very good game that I'll never be able to forget for years. I'm a huge fan of Shoji Meguro and Soejima Shigenori myself, and to know that those two great people were involved in this game is enough for me to try it out. Then what? I'll never regret it. Even though the graphic's not as good as FF series or those RPGs by Square Enix, the character art makes the player able to know their emotion and feelings. The music is good, too, so funky as well as sad at the same time. Especially "Kimi no Kioku", which has bittersweet lyrics but cheerful tune, makes me cry at the end. This game is love, it deserves two thumbs up for everything. However, the ending is somehow... disappointing. The bittersweet ending is nice, and to tell you the truth, is one of the best endings that ever touched my heart. However, it needs more touch. I mean, more choices for multiple endings... Or at leastone lovey dovery happy ending. Expand
  6. CassieB.
    Jan 17, 2008
    9
    I'm a huge fan of the Shin Megami Tensei series, so this game appeals to me as it is. But out of all the RPG's I have played this has got to be one of my all time favorites. Expand
  7. ChrisP.
    Sep 2, 2007
    5
    I've been a huge fan of the Shin Megami Tensei series until now, but Persona 3 has changed that. While absolutely brilliant at times, the game is far longer than it should be and completely flounders near the end. There is simply not enough content to fill 300 calendar days; before the game is even half over, all of the non-combat stats will be maxed out, leaving you with nothing to do during the Evening and Late Phases during the days you choose not to go to Tartarus. Since the entire month's worth of quests, bosses, and exploration can be completed in two days (and frequently just one), too many phases have to be skipped to no benefit. This wouldn't be that big of a problem if the load times were not so bad, but they are. Furthermore, by the end of the game, even the daytime phases will be wasted. There are too many restrictions as to what S-Link threads you can do on what days, so once you complete a few, you may be left with nothing to do on certain days of the week. Lastly, the last few hours of the game are drawn-out, cliched, ridiculously easy, and offers none of the vital explanations necessary to truly understand the game. The FES expansion released in Japan explains a lot, fills in some of the gaps, and gives the game another difficulty, but, as the game currently stands, the moments of brilliance are too spread out to justify the 70+ hour investment. It isn't ALL bad though; six or seven bosses can be a bit a difficult, some of the music is outstanding, and the S-Link stories are awesome. However, they are not enough to compensate for the terrible endgame. Expand

See all 21 User Reviews