Here is a beginner’s guide to Persona 3 Reload.
It looks like 2024 is off to a great start, with the much-awaited reboot of Persona 3 on the horizon. The turn-based JRPG game developed by Atlus is a very well-established franchise in the gaming industry, with everyone’s first thoughts being Persona whenever someone mentions ‘turn-based JRPG’.
World and Setting
Source: Digital Trends
As mentioned above, Persona games always have a high-school setting, and the same can be said for Persona 3 Reload. The story takes place in 2009 and is set in a Japanese city known as Tatsumi Port Island.
The conflict arrives when several experiments took place long ago in the city which created ‘The Dark Hour’. This Dark Hour bends reality and is said to exist between one day and the next, so it can be thought of as a limbo of sorts.
The phenomenon affects Gekkoukan High School as well, which is where the main characters attend school, and turns it into a deranged-looking 250 towered labyrinth known as Tartarus when the 25th hour strikes the clock.
Source: justonegamr on YouTube
Tartarus is where the game’s main content resides and this is also where most of your fights will happen in your Persona journey. Players who have played turn-based games before will know that they have two scenarios: the overworld and combat. Persona follows the exact same formula where the overworld is where you will have full control of your character and initiate fights with enemies.
You won’t be able to fight enemies in the open world with your weapons, and instead you can ambush by being the first to land an attack on them which will transition the game into combat, and since you landed the first hit, you’ll get an advantage over the opposition.
If, however, you fail to land the first attack and the adversary manages to get their hands on you, then combat will also initiate but you’ll be at a massive disadvantage and all the players in your party will be knocked down for a short while.
This is where weapons come in, and you can wield a variety of armaments in the game, each with different powers, abilities, and wind-up times. The lattermost is especially important in the overworld, because if the weapon you wield takes 2 business days to reach the enemy, you’ll be at a clear disadvantage and the enemy will simply hit you first before you can land yours.
Source: SEGA Asia(EN) on YouTube
Once you enter combat itself, the game takes the form of a turn-based encounter and you’ll see several options pop up, like Attack, Persona, Guard and Item.
You’ll only see these options when it’s your turn and you’re free to take as long as you want to strategize on what to do next. Each of the options will lead to a different, very cool looking menu categorized according to what you need. Not to mention, you can have up to 3 companions with you in battle, and each of them will have unique abilities, attacks and moves.
The Weakened State
Enemies will have a health bar and importantly, they’ll also have a weakness that your characters can target for additional damage. Once an enemy is weakened, they’ll be ‘down’, which means they’re unable to do anything for a turn or so.
If all the enemies are weakened in the battlefield, your characters can choose to use an All Out Attack which initiates a very cartoonish and over-the-top exaggerated beatdown of all the enemies inside a smoke cloud, doing massive damage and finishing the encounter in certain situations.
Persona has also added a brand new feature called Theurgy, which are very flashy special moves that will either do huge damage to everyone in the field or benefit your team in the form of buffs and heals. Theurgys add more depth to the complex combat system in a very good way and it’s a welcome addition indeed.
Source: SEGA Asia(EN) on YouTube
So what does a Persona actually mean? In the game, they’re physical manifestations and creatures of a person’s subconsciousness and spirit, used to help the person in combat so you could think of them as Stands from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures. Having these Personas are essential for victory in fights as they each possess immense power, specific to the type of Persona they are.
A crucial element of the combat is figuring out what type of weakness the enemy has, and Personas help with this process, since you’ll get an extra turn if your Persona’s type is strong against the opposition. This promotes aggression and keeps the momentum in your favor as you do extra damage thanks to your Stand/Persona buddies.
Progressing through the game will let you unlock a plethora of Personas, so make sure to keep an eye out and experiment with a bunch of them to see what suits your playstyle!
Since you’re playing as a student in school, it should come to no surprise that you need to be responsible and active in your school life. Persona takes it a step further by literally having you act out your duties in school, and you can choose to hang out with your friends, attend classes, try not to fall asleep during lectures (this is the hardest part), study in the library to do better for your exams, etc. The list goes on and all of this adds a new perspective to the game which is very fresh and something you can enjoy while being laid back.
Of course, socializing has its benefits, as they help bolster your Personas and make them stronger, so make sure to get your extroverted side out and socialize in the game, and maybe even go on a few dates!
With all that being said, this should help you get your feet up and running in the colorful world of Persona 3 Reload. The new reboot will surely bring tons of new players to the franchise, and if you’re one of them, we hope this article helps you with understanding the basic gist of the whole game so you can have a good time!