Persona 3 Reload (PC) Review

By Steven Mattern 21.04.2024

Review for Persona 3 Reload on PC

The gaming industry has seen its fair share of remakes and remasters in recent years, giving many titles a new lease on life. One such title in need of a boost was Persona 3. Since its original release in 2009, the title has seen a couple updated releases, most notably Persona 3 Portable in 2009 for PS Portable. Persona 3 Reload aimed to make the biggest leap in scope. Did it succeed?

Starting with the best improvements over the prior versions of the game are the battle system and UI. The UI still looks distinctly Persona 3-ish, while taking cues from later games to grant a strong sense of style. The 2D artwork and menus are very well presented with vastly improved clarity and legibility against Persona 3 Portable and Persona 3 FES. The text and use of colour allow to differentiate this title from looking like "Persona 5 but blue," and that's appreciated.

The battle menus have seen the most improvement, making it easier to use Personas and use new techniques. The most commonly used new mechanic is 'Shift', known as 'Baton Pass' in Persona 5. After hitting a weak point on an enemy or landing a critical hit, a different party member can be given the extra turn, allowing for more options to keep a chain of hits going. This is easier to carry out thanks to an 'Assist' button, making the game automatically find an effective attack or item for the currently active party member to use. In addition, 'Theurgy' abilities (character-specific special attacks) are added to the mix, which makes options in battle feel somewhat more varied. This does come at the cost of difficulty though until late into the game.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on PC

Despite these efforts to bring up a more modern standard with intuitive menus and battle system, there are still aspects at the game's core that are holding it back. Chief among the elements of Persona 3 that lag behind is the dungeon-crawling experiences. While ATLUS chose to keep the random nature of Tartarus, a multi-floor ever-shifting tower, much was done in this remake to embellish it with new art and tile sets. However, these rooms and hallways still feel right at home on PlayStation 2, as not much in the way of granular detail was given to them.

Each biome felt very distinct, but one-note and monotone. The puzzle-like nature of Persona 5's palaces cannot be found here, instead floors become very repetitive and lack in gameplay variety. Curated spaces would have helped a lot to spice up exploring in-between battles. The lack of intricate detail extends outside Tartarus as well, and the game world is broken up into very small and cramped spaces and little work was done to make them feel cohesive.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on PC

The story in large part holds up today, but the way its paced is largely held back in the past. Marked days in the calendar don't happen often, and the pace of the story drags for it. Making progress in the story is hard capped at certain points until specific dates, and this felt jarring when the Social Links and other minor story events are not as engaging. An ideal scenario would be exploring Tartarus and daily life in equal parts. Unfortunately, the sections of daily life were less compelling.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on PC

The new English voice cast does a fantastic job, and more scenes have recorded dialogue where there was none before, making scenes like during Social Link events more meaningful. Many Social Link events read rather basic on the page, and part of this has to do with the silent protagonist angle the game takes, as with every other game in the series. Conversations with confidants often feel too one-sided. The story does have great moments and the plot picks up late into the game, but getting there feels sluggish at points as the Social Link events and coincidental interactions aren't engaging enough.

The PC port is very well put together, with no bugs or glitches to be noted. Unreal Engine 4 is a good choice for this remake. Naturally however, graphics options are slim in number, but that is a given considering the art style. The only hiccup here is that pushing the framerate beyond 60 fps leads to some problems, but other than that, a solid 60 fps is easily reached.

Screenshot for Persona 3 Reload on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Persona 3 Reload does much to bring it up to modern sensibilities with a well optimized PC port in most cases, but more could have be done to shake off more of the baggage from the original release. The new menu systems and battle features carried over from more recent titles elevates the game the most and the new voice cast does an admirable job with largely the same script. The pacing still feels held back by the original story design and the main concept of Tartarus, but as a remake of what many consider a PlayStation 2 classic, it is a recommendation for JRPG fans.






Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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