Persona 3 Portable is a timely reminder of how far the franchise has come

P3P is a game I don’t have much experience with but was well aware of.

When I was first working my way through the Metaverse of Persona 5, fighting shadows and uncovering alias’, I would often hear from friends how good the prior games were and see opinion pieces online hoping the others would make a comeback.

I’ve been wanting to dive in for so long but neither had the means nor the capacity between my backlog and lack of the right hardware. Until now, that is.

Thanks to Atlus and Xbox Game Pass, I’ve been able to dive into the rich history of the Persona franchise, beginning with this portable hit that, arguably, got the hype train rolling in the first place.

The thing is, coming from Persona 5 and that being my first experience, this was a difficult game to submerge myself into. It’s more Danganronpa than Final Fantasy – not like that’s a bad thing – and less structured than what I’ve been used to.

The core Persona experience has clearly evolved, though the foundations are still clear to see. Relationship building, summoning, fusing, chatting in the Velvet Room and answering questions in class.

You still need to fight shadows, move between floors full of enemies, and alternate between the real world and a mysterious realm where anything is possible.

Compared to Persona 5, of course it’s not as fully fleshed out and developed. We’re talking about a game that released on PS2 versus one on PS4. And when you look at The Royal, the sub-activities make up a game in of itself, whereas P3 just sort of scratches the surface.

What is here is engaging, though, brought to life by an interesting set of characters. Rather than the vibrancy of masked, well dressed Phantom Thieves and Teddy Bears stuck behind televisions sets, we have a much darker tale. One full of death and despair

A hidden hour after midnight is driving people in the real world to do unusual things, act out of the ordinary, causing destruction. Death seems to be around every corner, and there’s one or two questionable relationships that definitely raise a red flag or two.

It’s a really well put together RPG with an intriguing story that takes some turns you would never expect. As you level, so your Personas grow with you and their abilities can be used on increasingly tougher enemies with varying weaknesses.

Interestingly, AI controls your alternating party members. You can set the general parameters whether you want them to be defensive, offensive or whatever a situation dictates. It works well and you can even, if you’re feeling bold, allow your party members to go off on their own and fight enemies individually.

The risks are obvious, in that your one party member might get overwhelmed. The benefit is that the party member will earn all the XP without sharing. It certainly presents an interesting dynamic.

Persona 3 is a challenge but it’s easy to get into and will get its tenterhooks into you quickly. Some themes have not aged at all well, some lines of dialogue are cringey and some themes go extremely dark.

Despite not aging well, this is still a good, solid game that will offer a 40-50 hour adventure we won’t soon forget.


Persona 3 Portable is a game that, on one hand, has themes that haven’t aged well. On the other, it makes for a compelling adventure that still holds up well today. The combat feels repetitive and sometimes it feels like you’re on an endless loop with the floors, but a core Persona experience stil manages to shine through


+ A well written escapade that feels distinctly Persona
+ Good relationship building and side quest opportunities
+ An uneasy, unsettling world that still holds up


– Floors and combat can feel repetitive
– Some themes have not aged well.

Persona 3 is out now on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox Game Pass

Played on Xbox Series X

Code Kindly Provided by Atlus

About the author

Sam Diglett

Sam grew up with a PS2, spending hours howling at the moon in Okami and giving students wedgies in Bully. Fortunately, she also likes Pokemon because otherwise life could have been quite annoying for her.
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