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Persona 3 Portable is a PSP port of the PS2 game Persona 3. The basics are the same as that game but there are now new improvements and tweaks to the Persona 3 system (including some from Persona 4) and a new scenario involving a female main character. The basic story of a group of high schoollers fighting monsters during the night using Persona is still the same and fans of the original game (or Persona 4) will feel at home here. The story is good and basically unchanged from the original release for the male character. The new female main character changes the social links from the male character, so now you can date male characters (as you'd expected) It's a nice change and makes it a tempting buy for players who've played the original or Persona 3 FES.
The main gameplay is split between daily life and exploring the labyrinth Tartarus. During the day, players can spend time with NPCs and raise social links. This in turn allows the player to power up their fused Personas and make the nighttime exploration of Tartarus easier. These are different for the male and female characters, so it adds to the replayability of the game. There's no difference between the two in terms of battle really
The basic battle system from Persona 3 returns but with the one addition that the original game was crying out for. A simple turn based system, which emphasises exploiting enemy weaknesses, it works extremely well. In the original game, other party members were AI controlled, but P3P adds the option to control the other characters manually from Persona 4. A great addition. Another is combo attacks, which appear randomly when you knock an enemy down. The other additions aren't quite as important as the direct control option, but it's nice to see Atlus add things from later games.
In general, the new additions make P3P an easier game than the original release. There are addition difficulty levels for those who find it too hard or too easy making it perfect for all kinds of players.
Graphically some things have been downgraded. The town aspect is now just a simple point and click affair. It sounds like a big downgrade, but it's not. It works really well for what is a portable game. The dungeon part is unchanged however and looks pretty good. The battles have some slight graphically downgrades but it still looks good.
The sound is also unchanged in general (bar the new voiceovers for the female character game). The voice over in the original game was great and it's good to see it here too. The music is unchanged bar the new soundtrack for the female character, which is actually quite good to listen to. A japanese voiceover option would of been nice but for a PSP game, I'm not complaining!
The PAL release I bought came with a poster, artcards and a hardcover artbook. For the money, this is probably the ultimate PSP RPG. Well worth the money, even at full price!