Persona 3 Reload | Junpei
Persona 3 Reload
Title Persona 3 Reload
Developer Atlus
Publisher Sega
Release Date February 2, 2024
Genre RPG
Platform PC, PlayStation 4|5, Xbox Series
Age Rating Mature
Official Website

I was pretty excited when I first saw that the remake of Persona 3 was actually real. It had been rumored in leaks for a long time, and I was very curious to see how the newly announced Persona 3 Reload would be handled. Would it be a faithful remake, or something more in line with what Square Enix is doing with Final Fantasy VII. Turns out this would be very close to the original release, but they added some new quality of life elements as well as some nifty things found in the latter Persona 3 Portable release. I’ve spent quite a while with this one and it’s time to share my thoughts on it. Did I love this release as much as I did Persona 3 FES when I played it years ago? Let’s find out!

Persona 3 Reload | Time

The story takes place as our protagonist arrives at Tatsumi Port Island. He is on his way to the dorm when some rather strange things begin to happen. The moon changes color, streets fill with blood and there are strange coffins everywhere. When he arrives at the dorm he is greeted by a strange young boy and asked to sign a contract. Not really knowing what is going on, he does so and the power cuts back on to reveal his dorm mates standing around in shock. They asked him if anything strange happened on his way over, and basically try to ease any concerns he may have. Soon he realizes there is much more going on here than meets the eye when shadows attack the dorm during the mysterious Dark Hour, which was the phenomenon going on when he arrived. During a desperate time he awakens his own ability to fight these shadows, his Persona. After the attack is over his classmates ask him to join their team and fight to save the world; he agrees and is made their leader. Now they will struggle to defeat these shadows and end the Dark Hour for good.

Persona 3 Reload | It Begins

This is still my favorite story in the Persona franchise. I love all of the characters and seeing all their stories being told in this new engine, with a better English voice cast was really great. I fell in love with them all over again – well I love Yukari the most, but that’s another matter altogether. If you haven’t played any other version of this game, this is a great way to experience the story. I know some will say Persona 3 Portable is better because of the Female Protagonist, but this is the canon story and the way it was meant to be told. I would go into why I think this has more impact, but it’s spoilers so you’ll just have to see for yourself.

Persona 3 Reload | Chidori

Graphically this game looks fantastic. They took all the style from Persona 5 and infused it with Persona 3’s. This worked out much better than I could’ve ever imagined. The character models, environments and enemies have lots of details and you will notice new things about them each time you play. The Personas themselves are especially well done. Thanatos, Alice and many of your other favorites have never looked better. Your party members have several different outfits to choose from as well. These will unlock as you find them scattered about Tatarus or from doing requests from Elizabeth, and yes the famous Battle Panties made the cut for all three of the girls in the game, they look great! The game ran at a solid 120fps on my main rig and 60 on my laptop with no issues. These systems run on a 3060 and 3050 mobile respectively, but I didn’t have any technical issues on either machine. This is a very good port from Atlus.

Persona 3 Reload | Tartarus

Persona 3 Reload really delivers in the audio department. The new soundtrack is fantastic, the newly remastered tracks sound just as good as the old ones in some cases and better in others. I do wish Atlus had offered more features here since they sell battle themes from the other Persona titles. It would’ve been nice to have an Atelier series style menu where you could pick tracks for each occasion and maybe even have the classic OST if you wanted. That being said there is nothing to be disappointed about here, and the new vocal tracks, “It’s Going Down” and the opening “Full Moon Full Live” are simply amazing tracks you will be singing long after your playtime has ended.

Persona is one of the very few series I play with the English dub, and I have to say the new cast here did an excellent job of capturing the same emotion and feeling with these characters as the old one did. Every voice here is on point, fits the character well and in most cases I couldn’t even tell that much difference from the old cast member. Fuuka got a massive upgrade in this department, her new voice actor really gave her a lot more personality, and I was really pleased with her performance. The Japanese audio is here for those who want it, and I love we get a choice in these games now, even if I do usually stick with the English cast.

Persona 3 Reload | Aigis

Gameplay in Persona 3 Reload is divided up into two sections: Your daily school life, and doing some dungeon crawling in the home of the shadows, Tartarus, in the evening. As you make new friends you will gain social links. The more time you spend with each friend, the stronger the link will grow, allowing the creation of stronger Personas to take on many challenges you will face going forward. There are some social links that can be done in the evening, but most of the time you will either be crawling the dungeon or spending time with your dorm mates to unlock new abilities for them. This is something new for Persona 3 Reload and these buffs really turn the tide of battle in your favor, so I strongly suggest you take the time to do them.

Persona 3 Reload | Yuko

Tartarus itself has changed a lot since Persona 3 Portable. Not only does it have a new look that’s simply amazing, but there are also new floor types and items to find here as well. You will find most of these in locked chests which you will have to gain Twilight Crystals to open. You can find these lying around Tatsumi Port Island, by completing quests for Elizabeth, or even in Tartarus itself. I feel like these chests added a bit of spice to the formula here, since lots of folks think this the most boring part of the game. I personally always loved the combat, so I had a blast climbing all the floors again.

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Combat here is still turn based, but there are some new additions to it as well. When you hit an enemy weakness, not only will you get another turn but you can do what they call a Shift. This will allow you to pass that turn to any other player that hasn’t had one this turn. Persona 5 players will know this as the Baton Pass. This added a new level of strategy to the fight, and in some cases made them a bit easy. They also gave each party member some super moves called Theurgy Skills. These are powerful moves that can turn the tide of battle in your favor instantly. Your party members will end up with two each that unlock as the story progresses. The protagonist gains more, but you will have to fuse certain pairs of Personas to unlock his.

Overall I have to say Persona 3 Reload is the type of remake I look for. It’s pretty faithful to the original, but adds enough new features to make it feel fresh. I enjoyed my run here just as much as I did when I played this for the first time on the PlayStation 2, years ago. The $69.99 price tag may seem a little steep, but I got 100 hours of great gameplay here, so I feel like it’s worth your coin. If you’ve never played Persona 3 you should pick this up ASAP, don’t put off playing this classic any longer. For veteran players, this one is still well worth your time and you will have a great time here.

Review Score

Game was provided by the publisher for review.

Steve Baltimore
Steve started with oprainfall not long after the campaign moved from the IGN forums to Facebook. Ever since, he has been fighting to give all non-mainstream RPGs a fair voice. As the site admin, he will continue to do this and even show there is value in what some would deem "pure ecchi." He loves niche games and anime more than anything... well, except maybe Neptune.