Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES
Developer: Atlas USA
Publisher: Koei
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Words By:

I reviewed Persona 3 a while ago and was suitably impressed with how refreshing the whole thing was. It was a definite step forward for the RPG genre in my humble opinion. Rather like the latest DVD releases, Koei have decided to throw everything they had left over from that game into what is essentially a director's cut of Persona 3 (that’s the FES bit).

For those unfamiliar with the game, Persona 3 has players playing one part high school sim where you can interact with other students, gaining social links and training yourself up in combat and the second part, dubbed the “dark hour” is where all the fights take place. The story is occult-based and more than a little strange but that does help it stand out from the endless Final Fantasy clones.

So what is new with this disk? Well, you get the original game dubbed “The Journey” along with new personas, gameplay enhancements, new outfits, a hard difficulty setting and all sorts of other added goodies. For those with Persona 3 saves, the experience gained can be easily transferred to this special edition, which is handy if you’ve spent several hours tinkering previously.

The core gameplay has been tweaked to allow seasoned players to play through the game without it feeling overly familiar. Now you can dabble with new Persona specific weapons, interact with different students in the high school, collect rare items and generally do more things during the day.

The biggest addition to FES is the added chapter called “The Answer”. This is for all intents and purposes an extra episode which resolves the story and will give players around an impressive 30 hours of gameplay on top of the main quest. This is essentially more of the same and whilst still being impressive it isn’t quite as polished as the original game. There is still a ton of dialogue to wade through (which does get irritating) and plenty of new battles to fight your way through - the trouble is it does end up getting repetitive.

The main problem I found was that the developers seem to have focused entirely on combat with this extra instalment and as there is very little to do during the day-time sections (no high school or dating here) things can get a little samey. The environments of the dungeon rarely change and the enemies, despite being well designed, feel overly familiar. The game is still impressive but you do get the feeling you’ve played the same scene one too many times.

As a package though PES:FES cannot be faulted. The price is cheap considering how much they managed to cram onto the DVD and the game is still as absorbing as it was before. If you’ve played the original game and weren’t a massive fan there is little to change your mind here, but if you are keen to play more this is nigh on essential.

Best Bits

- Still looks and plays brilliantly,
- Plenty of gameplay for your money
Worst Bits

- It's good to talk – but not this much surely
- Gets a little ‘samey’

by: Pedro

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