The Persona series has gained increasing popularity in the West over the last decade. This has led to a growing interest in the series, with Persona 5 being a major video game release and re-releases of older games receiving significant attention. As a result, it is now easy to find people to talk to about Persona 5 and Persona 4, as well as watch videos and read articles about the games. The popularity of these two games in particular has solidified their position as the most talked about and recognizable entries in the modern Persona series.
Persona 3, though not as widely discussed as Persona 5 and Persona 4, is a game worth playing. It was first released on the PS2 in 2006, but as a Persona game, the focus is not on cutting-edge visuals but rather on the friendships, conversations, and overall atmosphere of the game. The game is about time and being a teenager, just like Personas 4 and 5.
Being the first “modern” Persona game, it broke from its predecessors and established the template that the series has followed ever since. It does have its rough edges, such as the single enormous dungeon, which can be challenging to navigate. The game may also feel sparse and less vibrant compared to more recent games in terms of its cast and after-school activities. However, the game has a tight focus and a more earnest story, and features a dog, which is a plus.
When it comes to deciding which version of the game to play, the author recommends the handheld port, Persona 3 Portable, which was first released on the PSP in 2009. The author believes that it takes the heart of the Persona experience and re-crafts it for a portable platform in a way that Persona 4 Golden couldn’t match, making it a modern marvel of game redesign.
Having been very difficult to get hold of for years—at least in an official capacity—Persona 3 Portable is out now on PC, Switch, Xbox and PlayStation. Thank me later.