PS2 Review: Persona 3 FES

The great Persona 3 gets an upgraded version and a new episode, is it worth getting?

Lead a group of high school students with a dangerous extracurricular activity: exploring the mysterious tower Tartarus and fighting the sinister Shadows during the Dark Hour, a frozen span of time imperceptible to all but a select few. However, the end of their quest is no longer the end of the story-witness for the first time the aftermath of the final battle and the students’ struggle to find meaning in their new lives.

Persona 3 FES for PlayStation 2 Features:

More than just an expansion – Persona 3 FES contains an enhanced version of the original game, loaded with new Personas and cutscenes, a weapon synthesis system, additional quests and events, a hard difficulty mode, and the ability to change your characters’ clothes.

30 additional hours of gameplay – Take the role of Aigis in a brand new Persona 3 episode that plays as a full game with an original story, extra cutscenes and objectives, and seventeen new music tracks.

Incredible value – The enhanced version of the acclaimed Persona 3 game and the brand new episode make for 120-plus hours of gameplay.

The first time I played Persona 3, I wasn’t expecting much. To me it would have appeared nothing more than just another PS2 RPG. How wrong I was. It was so different with its weird and gripping story, good gameplay and memorable cast of characters. The game was also incredibly long and had a good conclusion, but it did leave a few questions unanswered. Roll on Persona 3 FES, an expansion to the game which also has the full improved game added.

If you had already played Persona 3 and you have a save, you can transfer your data over to FES. The game gives you two choices to begin with, The Journey is the original adventure but with some improvements to combat and a bit more polish. While, The Answer is the new 30 hour episode that takes place after the original game. It’s difficult to go into detail about The Answer without spoiling the ending of The Journey, so I’ll try and be a bit tactful.

Essentially, you take the role of Aigis in The Answer instead of the main character in Persona 3. The story opens up and reveals answers that were much needed and it doesn’t disappoint. The only thing that’s annoying is that it’s nearly impossible for me to tell you about it, if I did then it would ruin your own experience of The Answer, which is the best part of the FES expansion.

Combat is improved slightly, although The Answer seems to be more focused on it than Persona 3 was. Both games are incredibly text-heavy, so prepare for lengthy conversations, most with voice-acting. There are a handful of fantastic anime cutscenes in the game that are pleasing to the eye, even if the story is very strange. For those of you who hadn’t played Persona 3, here’s a quick summary of what its about:

In Persona 3, you’ll assume the role of a high school student, orphaned as a young boy, who’s recently transferred to Gekkoukan High School on Port Island. Shortly after his arrival, he is attacked by creatures of the night known as Shadows. The assault awakens his Persona, Orpheus, from the depths of his subconscious, enabling him to defeat the terrifying foes. 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. These monsters have been steadily claiming victims aptly nicknamed “The Lost”—people who’ve inexplicably become mindless zombies. Under the supervision of school chairman Shuji Ikutsuki, he joins his new companions in confronting this threat to humanity…

Visually, the game looks like it did before…which isn’t too bad, but it could have used a bit more polish in my opinion. Voice-acting can be hit and miss, but mostly good. Despite everything that the game has to offer, it’s the story and anime cutscenes that you’ll remember more than any other aspect.

The Verdict

I may have given Persona 3 FES a lower score than the original game, but it’s only because the improvements over the first are minimal, although good. The Answer helps to clear up confusion over the story and its probably one of the most memorable PS2 RPG’s there is, it just probably won’t be a huge hit like a Final Fantasy title, which is unfair but the way of the industry. Any RPG nut should really pick this up and delve into the 120 hour adventure.