Persona 3. You've probably heard of it when browsing some PS2 game boards. It was on the GameFAQs top 100 for a pretty long time on its release, and now it's falling into a cheap range for interested buyers. But what about that title there? Wasn't eyecatching, if not a lot, then a little? The content of this game will probably make up for that steep price range. The full package of Persona 3 contains the actual game, and two neat little paraphernalia: a 32-page art book and a small CD soundtrack. However, these two are negligible. DO NOT buy the whole package, the book and CD are NOT worth the extra 10 or 20 dollars, as there is a bigger book for sale, and the soundtrack given is only a small portion of the ACTUAL soundtrack which spans over 100 tracks. Thus, it is suggested that one should buy just the game itself if buying online.
On to the actual content of the game. The game is a day-by-day role playing game with relationship building factors that help throughout the entirety of the game. Unlike most games however, this one is finite. There is an end date for the storyline, and there are various days supplied (but not implied anywhere in the game) that will allow you to catch up gameplay-wise. The storyline is probably the more touching part of the game that separates it from being a regular day-by-day progression game, which would have caused many gamers to go into a tirade of boredom.
Picture this. You are a teenage orphan moving into a new neighborhood, with little to go with you but directions to go to your new school. On the way to the school, you notice the sky grows dark green, and the moon glows a phosphorescent green-yellow, the entire street level is awash in blood, and the people around you are encased in closed coffins, oblivious of the hidden hour of the day in which Shadows hunt down the minds of innocent people for an unknown ulterior purpose. Complex enough? It gets better. Play it to find out.
As stated before, the game is separated into day-by-day events, which prompt you for action after the end of most school days. During that time after school, you can do a variety of things to help yourself: buy weapons and equipment for your team mates, go out with a girl, go out with buddies, help people, eat out, sing karaoke, and of course, many other things too much to list. Many of these activities contribute to certain stats which are divided into "Knowledge", Courage", and "Charm". These of course affect some of the advantages unlocked later in the game. This is the day-life of the game.
The night life, however, is incredibly different. A huge towerous labyrinth rises up at the Dark Hour every day, and you can opt to enter this tower, called the Tartarus, and train there and hone the abilities and experience of your Personas and your friends' Personas. This tower is divided into numerous blocks with a specific number of floors for each block. The floors are randomly generated, which gives this game the mark of a dungeon crawler. Portals can be activated to save your progress up the floors, while the game' actual save file can be saved at a save point at the base of the Tartarus and at the dorm.
The game's combat system is less liberal than most turn-by-turn games, to say the least. One, the only character you control directly is yourself, the main character. All the other characters are governened by AI, which can be manipulated by the use of "Tactics." Also, the only Personas that can be switched are yours alone: you can actually create and fuse your own Personas, and similarly switch through them during battle to your own personal choice. This way, there are infinite possibilities for using Personae during battle.
All in all, the music of the game is very contemporary, and incorporates a lot of hip hop, techno, and rock music, even in enemy battles. The graphics are standard, even for 3D models. The artwork as a foundation is outstanding, and epitomizes the essence of Japanese animation.
If you're into the anime scene or the whole role playing with planning thought process, this game is for you.