Persona 3 FES still manages to keep up with great story, contents, stuffs that's not found in the original.
-Dark but amazing story
-The Answer adds in another epilogue chapter to where it left off with 30+ hours
-Good voice acting
-The Answer is sadly a grind-fest, so it may vary if you want it or not
-Could use a help with character development for SEES member guys
So after playing Persona 4 Golden, I'd thought of stepping back to where the social link was introduced and such to how it did well so lets look at Persona 3 FES.
FES offers new things not found in the original such as the new changes to the social link system, new Personas, new scenes, new chapter called the Answer, new quests, etc.
In "The Journey", set in a city called Iwatodai, you'll be playing as the silent Protagonist (Default name: Minato Arisato or Makoto Yuki from the movie) and you'll be living in a dorm to stay. As you're on your way to the dorm, you'll be experiencing weird changes in the night where all electricity are shut off, color and atmosphere changes, bloods everywhere, people stuffed into a coffin then become the Lost, etc. and this stuffs are called the Dark Hour (As said later in the game). When you get to the dorm, you'll be meeting a strange boy in which whom you'll be encountering many times later in the game. As the boy disappeared in the shadow, you meet up with 2 lovely ladies, one who was frightened and the one who calmed things down: Yukari Takeba, a second-year student and Mitsuru Kirijo, a third-year student. Having your own room and next day, you'll be going to school at Gekkoukan High School as a second-year student with Yukari and you meet a new funny friend, Junpei Iori. Later on in the game, while in your slumber, you'll be sent in a place called Velvet Room, where Igor, a long nose guy with a skill to help you develop new Personas with his Fusion skill, will guide you through situations along with Igor's assistant, Elizabeth, who will help you with many things.
Later, you'll be joined in as a SEES (Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad) member. As a SEES member, you have the ability and potential to carry a Persona, "a manifestation of a person's personality," or a mask tamed and trained, you are introduced by Mitsuru to a place where Shadows (an enemy) are made called the Tartarus and it's only spawned at night. As time passes by, you'll be meeting new friends, encounter events, do daily activities, unfold mysteries for reasons, etc.
The story in "The Journey" is pretty dark, depressing but at the same time amazing. Character development with social link is pretty good. I wish there was a social link with your SEES members on guys instead of some random dudes or something. That's just me or something.
*MAJOR SPOILER ALERT*
In "The Answer", sets off after The Fall event and the death of the Protagonist, you'll be playing as Aigis, a special anti-Shadow robot with an emotion like humans. Looking back, no one knows as to what caused the death of Minato and why it happened, leaving Aigis feeling sad and depressed. Things gone weird when time stopped and you're stuck in a dorm sealed in with no way out. You meet a new character similar like Aigis structure named Metis. Metis, a robot with a childish personality, always protecting Aigis and calling Aigis "sister", tells about another world called the Abyss of Time, located in the dorm. It explains the reason for why the time stopped and how to get out. Aside from the situation, it also provides looking back and as you progress, it adds in more details for such different reasons. With the assist of yet again Igor and Elizabeth, you'll journey through different doors and find the Answer, to everything.
The story in "The Answer" is fine. Character personality however have changed, most significantly Aigis and Yukari. It does explain lots of things behind the reason such as the first time summoning a Persona, etc. The most important story part in this mode is the reason of Minato's death. It makes sense when you get close to the end of the game.
I will be talking 2 modes, The Journey and The Answer.
It's a dating sim/RPG, where you spend your time wisely living in a normal life with friends with certain arcanas through social link day and night; first introduced and as you level up, you will offer more experience and when you max out, you'll get a special persona for you to fuse, improve your skills but later on go to dungeons to level up. During the day and night, the important thing is to improve your 3 stats you need to increase: your Academic, Charm and Courage. Certain stats with certain level may require you either pass a test, start a new Social Link, etc.
It's your traditional role-playing game. Take turns, decide what is good and what is not, choose a Persona and much more. The game is heavy on experience grinding, you'll have to do alot of killing Shadows in order to level up for you, your party members and your Personas. In Tartarus, it consists of hundreds of floors for you to explore, grind and make your way up to the end.
During battle, you have the ability to use a Fusion Spell, once used in Persona 2. Varying on the Personas you carry, it'll inform you that you have 2 Personas that you can cast a fusion spell together to omit a special effect whether it's offense or defense. For the taking turn system, you won't have the ability to control your party members, instead you can command in many ways such as saving up your SP, stand by, etc. Be advice though that you and your party members have a condition to keep an eye of. It has 3 levels of conditions: GREAT, NORMAL and TIRED/SICK. When you're in GREAT condition, you'll be in dungeon mighty fine, NORMAL is just normal, but when you're TIRED/SICK, you'll be weak, which means damage and defense are reduced. Best way would be to either sleep, go to the bathroom or go to the nurse's office. For the fusion system, you'll be given a different forms with certain Persona requirement to fuse into one. And always, to make sure you get the best leveled Persona, you need to make sure you dealt with social links with different arcanas.
During fusions, the skills unfortunately are preset so in order to fuse a Persona with a best skills you need, you'll have to keep coming back and forth until you fulfilled your requirements.
In terms of social link, there is consequence. Back to the sim feature, a girl may get jealous and if you hang out with another girl, you'll likely get her mad and your relationship would be troubling so you have to resolve this issue with a proper answer. In a normal social link, depending on how you plan or answer, if you mistakenly pick a mean answer, you may encounter a reverse social link or even worse, a broken social link.
Gameplay still remains the same, except for features. Social Link is not needed to level or get a Persona, special Personas are either removed or alternated with a certain # of Persona to fuse, difficulty is spiked up, Aigis is your main character, you don't have to keep an eye of you and your party member's conditions, etc. The Answer is sadly a heavy grind-fest gameplay with less scenes so if you're into the story, you may not like this mode.
Not important, but it has a good art style and nice environment that feels right with the settings so you may love it or not.
I like the voice acting. Fits well with certain character personality. My favorite character would be Elizabeth being that she's enjoyable but often times clueless in the real world and she offers you a "special gift" in the end. Soundtracks fits well with certain mood settings and listening to the soundtracks is awesome and enjoyable.
As always, depending on how you play out with your character, you could be spending your gameplay time at 100+ hours overall. When you complete, you can enjoy the game with New Game+ and one that you'll face in the second playthrough.
It's a great RPG game on the PS2, with awesome story that is very emotional, awesome music, nice voice acting, nice gameplay and nice additional chapter. Though I listed 2 cons like it's not that bad, it still remains a great Persona game for you to enjoy, to love and to hate certain things. For the game price of $10 on PSN ($5 if you ran into a deal on PSN), it's worth buying it.