Persona 3 Reload (Xbox Series X/S) Review

By Lilly Kirchner 12.03.2024

Review for Persona 3 Reload on Xbox Series X/S

"Persona!" Fans of the series by ATLUS know exactly what this is all about - the manifestation of one's deepest feelings (but in a good way). The series is well-known, and really started to take off in Europe with the release of Persona 3 for PlayStation 2 in 2006/2007. This entry soon saw an expanded version, Persona 3: F.E.S, shortly followed by another port for PlayStation Portable, Persona 3: Portable, that also included the ability to play as a female protagonist instead. This last version was ported to all major consoles in 2023, only for ATLUS to announce a huge surprise for fans soon after: the release of Persona 3 Reload, a complete remake of the game, to be released in 2024. Now that it is finally here, it is time to take a closer look at it!

The original title was already quite advanced for the time, but now Persona 3 Reload presents the story in a brand-new way. The first thing to stand out is that ATLUS no longer included the choice of a female protagonist. Naturally this doesn't render the game unplayable, but it is mildly disappointing that this choice has been lost, among many, in a move back towards base Persona 3's content.

The game starts with an impressive anime style cutscene, not dissimilar to what Persona 5's intro is like. The title then starts with some story setting, although for someone unfamiliar with the Persona series, or even Persona 3 in particular, this can be a bit confusing - not a lot is being explained right away to keep things mysterious and intriguing.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on Xbox Series X/S

The player controls the protagonist, a high school student that had to transfer to a new school for unknown reasons, and is on his way to his new dormitory when he encounters a bizarre situation. It is just about midnight, and suddenly the light changes and there are mysterious coffins strewn all over town on his way to the dorm. The protagonist, being cooler than liquid nitrogen, doesn't question this and simply makes his way to the dorm to find a mysterious boy presenting him with a contract to sign, which he duly does - without asking questions. He eventually meets the other students of the dorm - there aren't many, and there seems to be something going on here. However, being the laid-back soul that he is, he doesn't investigate further. For now.

Persona 3 Reload is littered with impressive cutscenes both anime 2D and in-game style. Overall, the graphics look great though can be simple at times, but it is great to see an old beloved title remade in a way like this. Even though it is an impressive remake, the overall feeling of the original title is still being preserved, which is an impressive feat achieved by the developers. Everything looks and runs smoothly as expected, and loading times are luckily incredibly short, thanks to the Xbox Series X's capabilities. In some areas, such as dungeons, the dorm or the school, the player has full control over the camera, however other areas only allow for limited control which is mildly annoying. Exploration is achieved by walking through different areas, stitched together via a nifty map screen, which is great, as it makes the whole situation more immersive.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on Xbox Series X/S

The battle system is the typical turn-based Persona-y style, with a team of no more than four active characters in battle at a time. Each character's Persona has its own special abilities and weakness, and characters can also use their own attacks with different types of weapons. The protagonist is able to keep and use more than one Persona - these can be acquired during Shuffle Time, which may happen after battles, and fused to create more powerful Personas.
Differently from other titles here is that both experience and items can be attained from winning each battle - however money, bonus experience or Personas can only be attained through Shuffle Time after certain battles during which the player gets to choose a special reward. This makes the acquisition of money a bit more difficult, which is a surprisingly nice challenge.

In this remake, a few more adjustments were made to the battle system which aren't so much changes as they are enhancements, such as using Shift to switch to another character when the enemy is knocked down, or theurgy, a special attack each character has. These allow for a brand-new way of strategising during battle.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on Xbox Series X/S

Outside the dungeon, the protagonist is encouraged to forge bonds with certain people - these bonds are an important part of the game and can have effects when fusing Personas. These side stories are mostly intriguing and are worth playing, but it can be difficult to follow all the hints that lead players to enable the creation of a new bond. Knowledge of the original title definitely helps here.

Most of the interactions and conversations are fully voiced, only a few unimportant bits make use of general sounds instead. This is, again, great for immersion, and the voice actors are doing a fantastic job!

Finally, the music might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is consistent and the sound is excellent. There are some new songs but most of the original soundtrack has simply been enhanced and remixed, so the feel of the original is still there. It is not as memorable as the Persona 5 soundtrack, but it is a sound (pun intended) background noise.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on Xbox Series X/S

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Persona 3 Reload is surprisingly addictive and the story itself very intriguing. Sadly, it is not possible to play as the female protagonist or enjoy the expanded story from F.E.S, but updated graphics, battle mechanics and sound all help to still bring this title to greatness. Anyone who enjoyed the original will enjoy this remake, and new players picking it up will surely be drawn in quickly, as well.

Developer

Atlus

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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