During my visit to the Tokyo Game Show 2023, I had the exciting opportunity to dive into Persona 3 Reload. Persona 3 holds a special place in my heart among the Persona series, but oddly enough, it’s the one I’ve been least inclined to revisit, all thanks to a single word: Tartarus.
Tartarus, the randomly generated dungeon in Persona 3, haunts my memories with its monotonous layouts, sparse save points, and relentless enemies capable of instantly ending the game with a single blow to the protagonist, regardless of the state of other party members. Its formidable 264 floors were not an experience I ever intended to endure again, yet fate had other plans during my TGS demo.
The demo plunged me into the heart of Thebel Block, right at the end of April. I assumed control of Yukari, Junpei, and the main character, while Mitsuru provided invaluable external support.
To my astonishment, Tartarus felt vastly improved from my previous encounters. While the familiar repeating chambers and corridors persisted, the addition of dynamic elements like gates and shifting walls imbued the place with an eerie, otherworldly ambiance.
In the heat of battle, the interface had undergone a stunning visual makeover, resembling the layout of Persona 5 but with an added touch of graceful curves and a soothing blue and white color scheme.
The all-out attack animations were nothing short of spectacular, as were the cinematic sequences that accompanied the summoning of each character’s persona, with every battle concluding in a striking image of our heroes walking away while Tartarus’ walls shifted and transformed behind them. And as for the music—well, it remained as awe-inspiring as ever. The entire experience exuded an undeniable sense of style and finesse.
In terms of gameplay, it remains largely unchanged from what I’ve observed. You experiment with various attacks to uncover an enemy’s vulnerability, gaining an extra turn upon hitting it. If you manage to stun all foes by exploiting their weaknesses, you trigger an all-out attack, typically wiping out all enemies and securing victory.
However, this can lead to frustration when encountering enemies with vulnerabilities your party composition or equipped personas can’t exploit.
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Scheduled for release on February 2, 2024, Persona 3 Reload will be available on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S platforms.
Source | YouTube