blog #videogames ##Persona
It's now been more than 10 years after I played this for the first time when it just came out in europe and my opinion on Persona 3 has barely changed. The japanese school-life sim aspect was truely novel at the time, and it was only that novelty that allowed me to look past the game's glaring pacing issues. Ironically Atlus remedied these somewhat in the original release of Persona 4 a couple years later, only to backtrack and make them even worse in the most recent Persona 5. I honestly don't know what the developers at Atlus are thinking here.
Where to even begin. I loved Persona 3 & 5 and naturally was looking forward to this game a lot. While I didn't outright dislike playing it, it's still hard for me to deny that it disappointed me. The series always had pacing issues that never sat well with me. The earlier games held it at more or less tolerable levels, while Persona 5 has so many narrative events disrupting the bits of gameplay that even more than a year later I still can't bring myself to even think of replaying the game. With its prequels on the other hand I always jumped right into NG+. The smartphone chat app parts are the worst, characters in those would always say the same things irrelevant to the plot - what a waste of time. Others praise the new dungeons designs, while I still prefer the procedurally generated random dungeons employed by previous games. Now there's narrative events even inside of dungeons, breaking the flow of gameplay even more, enemy encounters are ironically nearly unavoidable. Apparently the stealth mechanics are there for the player to get surprise attacks on enemies, because fighting enemies is almost always the better choice to clear hallways for later re-treating and to gain precious exp. Sneaking past enemies just makes the game even slower, while running away barely works since there are very few save zones and enemies have the tendency to follow you for a long time. The tl;dr here is that the manually designed dungeons are very streamlined, with poor pacing and little tactical value since fighting every enemy is the only real option in most cases. Dungeons in P3&4 always had me considering whether I'd fight or avoid an enemy so those presented much more engagement for me.
The graphics look pretty good thanks to a nice art style. The characters have very static faces though, since the game still uses art portraits to display emotions. People somehow praise the "stylish" menues, while I find them offensive to the eye. To each their own I guess.
The soundtrack is great, but leaves something to be desired. I'm not a fan of the standard combat theme, and the soundtrack while exploring the overworld didn't feel as diverse as was the case in Persona 3 and 4. The few tracks the game has for those parts get old rather quick.