Xbox Series X/S Review: Persona 3 Reload

Is this the remake Persona fans were hoping for?

Dive into the Dark Hour and awaken the depths of your heart. Persona 3 Reload is a captivating reimagining of the genre-defining RPG, reborn for the modern era with cutting-edge graphics and gameplay.

Persona 3 is a classic in its own right. It’s been ported to PSP, which in turn got ported to consoles last year. I had the pleasure of playing the original and loving it, but always wanted a modern remake. Luckily, my request was granted…but was it a case of being careful of what you wish for?

The game is a traditional JRPG but it does mix things up with its Personas that can be activated by putting a gun to your head and pulling the trigger. It looks like you’re blowing your brains out but it’s actually called an Invoker and is done at the beginning of each battle. These can vary and also level up alongside you, which gives you more abilities over time.

The story is completely out there. There’s a hidden hour of the day that occurs at midnight known as the Dark Hour. The majority of people are transmogrified into coffins during this, but a choice few are not affected and are usually killed by enemies known as Shadows. You and your group are Persona-users, so you can fight back and learn more about the Dark Hour and why a giant tower called Tartarus has appeared in place of your school during it.

It’s an intriguing story, to say the least. Tartarus itself is level upon level of enemies with a layout that changes every time, so you can’t get used to it. Outside of the Dark Hour, your character will attend school and can hang out with friends or attend after-school clubs to increase your Social Link with certain characters. This also boosts your Personas or unlocks new ones, so it’s well worth doing.

In terms of a remake, Persona 3 Reload plays it safe but does a good job in improving the visuals of the original and portable versions. The remake does lack the content from Persona 3 FES which included a new chapter called “The Answer” as well as an optional female protagonist. I was a bit surprised by this but considering “The Answer” didn’t really add all that much to the story, it doesn’t feel like as much as a big deal as it sounds. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if they later added it in as DLC…

The visuals are a nice step up and the framerate is solid throughout. Load times are next to none and the voice-acting is pretty good too. The soundtrack has some good tunes, although some like the ones you experience in the day do get old after a while.

The Verdict

Persona 3 Reload may play it a bit safe as a remake and it does lack the FES content, for now at least. But it does bring this great game to a whole new audience, while doing just enough to warrant long-term fans to pick this version up too.

Score: 8.5