Recently, the publisher Atlus announced that three games from its popular Persona series will go to modern consoles. Persona 3 Portable, Persona 4 Golden and Persona 5 Royal will appear on Xbox, including Xbox Game Pass, PlayStation 5 and PC via Steam. In addition, two earlier games, Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden, will also be available for PlayStation 4. However, some fans are disappointed that the Persona 3 Portable version was chosen for the re-release, and not the earlier Persona 3 FES. . Both are updated re-releases of the original Persona 3, but they differ significantly both in content and gameplay.
The announcement of these ports for Persona 3, 4, and 5 is an important opening in the franchise’s anniversary celebration, which was otherwise considered rather lackluster. The ads dealt with secondary topics, from new products to a concert with music from the series. Fans were disappointed, especially since it seems that no news about the long-awaited Persona 6 is expected. While some are happy to hear about the ports, especially given that the Persona series has remained PlayStation exclusive for a long time, others wonder if this means Persona 3 FES will stay on older consoles forever.
What is the difference between Persona 3 FES and Persona 3 Portable?
The original Persona 3 was released for PlayStation 2 in Japan in 2006 and worldwide in 2007. It quickly gained popularity and surpassed the sales of all previous parts of the Persona franchise, which led to the release of Persona 3 FES in less than a year. FES was advertised as a “director’s version” of the original game, and content such as a new social link for Aigis group member and the ability to walk a canine companion, Koromaru, was added to it. However, the biggest addition was a long playable epilogue called “The Answer”, in which players took control of the Aegis and explored the possibility of changing the famous bittersweet ending of the original game.
Persona 3 Portable, released in 2009 for the PlayStation Portable, did not include The Answer, but instead contained a number of quality-of-life changes. Members of the group, in addition to the main character, could be controlled during battles, a choice of difficulty was added and changes inspired by Persona 4 were made, including the addition of the “One More” system and the “Defense” actions. In particular, the main character has been added; there are new social links and romantic relationship options in her story. However, due to the hardware limitations of the PlayStation Portable, the animated clips from the original game have been removed, and world navigation has been greatly simplified. Although both versions of the game were popular, fans expressed disappointment that the “full” version of Persona 3 still does not exist.
The Persona 3 FES code is a Mess
On Twitter, several Persona fans put forward the theory that Portable was chosen instead of FES because of the Persona 3 FES code abbreviations, which Atlus did not want to work with it. In particular, the game’s code is extremely cumbersome because each animated video contains several duplicated models of each character, rather than reusing models from earlier scenes.
This is especially noticeable in the case of Nyx Avatar, the final boss of the game, which has fourteen different models for each phase of the boss battle. Fans assume that the Persona 3 Portable code is much simpler and easier to work with compared to FES.
Persona 3 Portable: improving the quality of life
While FES has added a significant amount of popular content, in particular The Answer, Portable has focused on making the game easier and more interesting. In particular, the player was given the opportunity to directly control the members of the group, except for the main character, in battle. This feature, which was officially introduced in the next Persona 4 game, was perceived by fans as a major improvement. Previously, AI-controlled characters made battles much more difficult, since by default they used weak or ineffective attacks, such as Charm or other spells that cause status effects, with a low chance of success.
Today, with the combat system so much improved in Persona 4 and especially in Persona 5, it’s unlikely that fans would be satisfied with playing a version of Persona 3 that didn’t allow full control of the group members. In addition, Persona 3 FES had a mechanic in which the characters got tired after a certain amount of time spent exploring the Tartarus dungeon. This made climbing the more than 200 floors of Tartarus extremely difficult, as players had to stop much earlier than planned. The gameplay of the original Persona 3 as well as Persona 3 FES was often described as disappointing compared to later installments of the series.