Yep. I've once again found one of those amazing games that sucks you in and doesn't let you go. Good thing it's summer, because I'm only four minutes shy of hitting the 42-hour mark in Persona 3 Portable. It's another rare game that's shattered my expectations about an obscure PS2-era JRPG. I've also realized another thing: the only games that are exceeding my expectations on the PSP are Japanese games. Crisis Core, MGS: Peace Walker, and now P3P.
It's hard to say just what's so good about P3P. It's got a pretty standard-however zippy-battle system, some repetitive dungeons, and a strange day-night system that has you attending school and hanging out with friends. If this doesn't sound all that attractive, that's pretty normal, those were my preconceptions, after all. But Persona 3 is much more than just your average grinding JRPG, it's an immersive and addictive experience that will keep you coming back, hour after hour, day after day. The battle system isn't really special, it's just got a couple of attractive gimmicks(all-out attacks and co-op attacks are always great fun to land), but more importantly, it goes by a lot faster than most RPG battle systems- battles come up often, but they're finished quickly, so you don't usually spend too long with one enemy.
But It's not the battle system that makes the game so immersive, it's the great, complex characters and incredible amount of back story to discover. It's something I've never experienced, having never played previous Personas, but this is a very innovative and engrossing game mechanic. Some say it's a dating Sim tacked on to an RPG, but it's a little more than that, in my opinion. For starters, most of the social links in the game are with characters of your character's sex. Also, the game isn't about getting a girl, it's an option that's more likely to get to know the characters of the story than to bring shallow thrills from virtual dating. The characters don't feel stereotypical, either, you've got Yukari, the bright, popular girl who's in your grade, Junpei, a perverted, immature, and hilarious comic relief character, Mitsuru, the rich, uber-smart senior who never ceases to impress, and Akihiko, another senior and a boxer. There's dozens of other characters, and it's safe to say that all the characters have more to them than meets the eye, and you'll discover many of their secrets along the way either through the main story or through the optional social links, which also directly affect your power to create new Personas, a sort of summon that characters bring out by means of a gun-like object called an evoker, fired through the user's head. Don't worry, this mechanic isn't nearly as gruesome or dark as you'd expect, and the game only looks at this in detail a little, in the beginning of the game.
Not really a review, as I'm not finished the game, and a review would be much more well-written and in-depth, but those are my current thoughts on Persona 3: Portable.
If there's a review someone would like me to write, send me a PM, I'll do my best to get it done. I have the way, just not the will. If someone wants a review, just tell me, it'll be a big incentive to write one.