Written By mista sense on Monday, July 19, 2010 | 6:28 PM
Oh, hello, Sexy Videogameland is pink. This is because I'm in love. With a video game, naturally, because my heart is black and inaccessible to human beings.
You knew I'm a Persona person. In fact, many of you found my site because of a handful of series or genres I've written extensively about, and Persona 3 and 4 kind of fall into the "kinda wrote a lot about that" category. If you've always been curious about the games and own a PSP, there's no better time to get into it than with Persona 3 Portable. Hell, if you like RPGs and want something different, P3P is probably worth buying a PSP for, because you'll probably spend enough hours on it to justify the purchase.
Though readers of this site are probably the kind to know, I'm not going to assume you do: P3P Portable is a redux of P3 with several fine modifications aimed at portable platforms. Notably it's received the same kind of streamlining to the battle system that Persona 4 did, and there are some subtle modifications to the story that make it refreshing. Most notably, you can play as either a male or female protagonist (the original version allowed for only a male-focused story arc).
I hope I get some time to write more about how experiencing the game as a female character completely changes my experience. Characters I did not like when playing Persona 3 through the lens of a male seem much more sympathetic if I'm a female, for example. My gameplay preferences and priorities are different; the things I want for my character change.
There is a very specific gameplay framework that's capable of hooking me immediately; if you've heard about P3P, it's probably about how none of your friends can put it down. There really are few other games that tick all my boxes in quite this way (Pokemon does it, and so does a well-balanced iteration of Harvest Moon, but neither are this emotionally immersive). And yet I thought that I'd always gravitate toward managing the same elements the same way.
Not so. Maybe because I've played through P3 and P4 and I have a 'tactic' down that wasn't present when I first played P3 -- but there is something subtle nagging at me that tells me that changing my character's gender (and it's not just a palette swap; the story around her reacts) changes everything.
Anyhow, I'm not too far into things yet, I think I'm just in the second "chapter", so to speak, but I'm so glad to return to this game's world in such a well-done way. Like, seriously, I don't really write reviews these days and I don't ever tell you guys BUY THIS but buy this, unless you know a real reason why it ain't your thing.
SVGL's current theme comes courtesy of the lovely Sarah Becan, who was kind enough to make the banner for me. Clearly, she's as into Sanada as I am. Please check out her work.
Bonus Content: I was going to talk about the game's concept of 'personae', and how you have to be whatever your social partners are expecting in order to advance -- it gives the game a lovely, dark undertone. Then I realized I already wrote about that like three years ago. Still relevant!
[Today's Good Song: 'Road to Agartha', Herbcraft via Altered Zones]