I fucking love Persona 3. On any given day I may say it’s my favourite entry in Atlus’ supernatural teenage life sim RPG sequence, or on the very least tied with Persona 5 Royal. That’s why Persona 3 Reload, which remakes the 2006 recreation from the bottom up, is such a deal with. I spent round 45 minutes with the upcoming remake throughout a hands-on preview, and I’m intrigued by how new it feels whereas additionally unapologetically sustaining a lot of the PS2 recreation’s unique construction. However my transient preview additionally comes with one obvious caveat: I don’t suppose the music of this recreation wanted to be remade in any respect.
Persona 3 Reload is visually gorgeous. It maintains the darkish, blue-and-black coloration scheme with all of the manufacturing worth of Persona 5. That is good, as a result of extra video games ought to appear to be Persona 5, and seeing how Persona 3’s visible motifs and themes are being modernized is thrilling. The unique PS2 recreation set a baseline for the franchise’s visible identification, however Persona 3 Reload seems like idea artwork lastly realized and explored. It’s a visually gorgeous recreation, with each spell, strike, and summon popping off the display with beautiful animation, stylized cut-ins, and give attention to colours and contrasts. Persona 5 actually solidified the sequence as a stylistic visible powerhouse, and seeing Persona 3 remade with these design objectives in place is a delight.
What’s previous is new once more in Persona 3 Reload
Outdoors of the visible overhaul, I used to be stunned at how intact Persona 3’s unique recreation design pillars are in a remake almost 20 years faraway from the supply materials. In case you’ve come into the sequence with Persona 5, it’s best to know forward of time Persona 3 didn’t have the crafted dungeons its successor did. As an alternative, the celebration travels by means of Tartarus, a seemingly neverending tower of procedurally generated flooring overrun by demonic shadows. Navigating Tartarus isn’t about puzzle-solving or following an overt plot. It’s a grind of climbing up the hornet’s nest and making an attempt to take out as many enemies as you’ll be able to on the way in which. Finally, you’ll attain a barricade that forestalls you from shifting ahead, and that’s how you realize you’ll be able to’t do something till the following huge boss reveals up on the total moon. In comparison with Persona 5, it’s structurally extra akin to the limitless, sprawling, procedurally generated Mementos than it’s to a Palace’s crafted design. In case you’re in search of a extra crafted expertise the place each dungeon has a definite vibe and plot beat, Persona 3 isn’t that.
Whereas the argument may very well be made that this seems like a missed alternative, I don’t suppose Persona 3 Reload may have utterly restructured dungeons with out additionally upending how key Tartarus is to its story. The tower is an anchor to the plot that you just return to each night time and whereas sure, it’s arduous and monotonous by fashionable requirements, that grind was a part of the youngsters’ bonding course of.You may’t restructure Persona 3’s dungeon design with out essentially altering its story. Whereas I’ve solely performed a really small slice of a really massive recreation, I’ve a respect for a way carefully it sticks to the supply materials whereas discovering methods to bolster components that want tweaking. Tartarus is simply too inherent to what Persona 3 is to alter.
However that brings me to issues which have modified. Persona 3 Reload has a completely new voice solid, and whereas that deeply wounded me as a long-time fan of these unique actors, I’m pleased to say the brand new crew understands the task. Zeno Robinson’s work as resident goofy dumbass Junpei Iori was a standout throughout my time with the sport, and I’m wanting ahead to listening to extra of everybody’s tackle these beloved characters. However the voice performing isn’t the one factor that’s modified on the audio aspect, and so now we flip our consideration to what was simply my least favourite a part of the demo: the brand new soundtrack.
Persona 3 has my favourite soundtrack within the sequence, which persistently brings nothing however bangers. The place Persona 5 was closely influenced by jazz and funk, Persona 3 is way more embedded in hip-hop and J-pop. It’s received a bunch of songs which have caught with me, like the long-lasting daytime vibe of “When The Moon’s Reaching Out Stars” or when Lotus Juices’ punchy rap vocals are available on songs just like the battle theme “Mass Destruction.” I used to be actually wanting ahead to listening to these songs as a backdrop to all of Persona 3 Reload’s visible splendor…however man, I’m not feeling the remade soundtrack.
“Burn My Dread” (Taylor’s Model)
It’s a phenomenon I’ve been feeling with Taylor Swift’s remade “Taylor’s Model” albums, which have been born out of a company dispute round who owns Taylor Swift’s music, however whereas they’ve introduced some nice new songs alongside the remade ones, a few of these new recordings simply aren’t doing it for me. The unique composition is there, and the proficient individuals behind the unique tune are nonetheless taking part in and singing their hearts out, however its clearly re-recorded, and it doesn’t hit the identical method the originals do—the model of “Mass Destruction” that performs throughout battle made me grimace with its ironed-out combine and extra timid vocals. When the whole lot else within the recreation is getting remade from the bottom up, I perceive the inclination to re-record these songs. However I’m listening to those unique variations now and so they nonetheless maintain up. Did Persona 3 Reload want to do that? I don’t suppose so, and I hope different songs fare higher within the remake course of.
Music apart, I’m actually intrigued by Persona 3 Reload’s dedication to the supply materials and figuring out when and the place it must iterate on the PS2 recreation. There’s nonetheless lots of previous stuff lacking when it comes to content material from the Transportable and FES variations of the unique recreation that make its standing because the “definitive” version contentious, however on the very least, it seems like a worthy model of a stellar recreation to this point.
Persona 3 Reload will come to PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Collection X/S on February 2, 2024.