Persona 3 Reload Review- The Answer To Life

Persona 3 Reload makes me relive the social life I never had.

Persona 3 Reload Review
Overall
4.5
  • Story And Setting
  • Gameplay
  • Visuals And Performance

Summary

Persona 3 Reload embodies the visual and atmospheric experience I always envisioned for Persona 3, and with some minor adjustments, it unquestionably establishes itself as the definitive version of the game.

Pros

  • Endearing and bold story.
  • Captivating themes.
  • Lush art direction and compelling graphics.
  • Fun gameplay and tight animations.
  • Brilliant characters

Cons

  • Performance hiccups
  • 250 floors of Tartarus feeling repetitive.

Persona 3 is one of the first games I’ve ever played, and with Reload’s release, I’ve had the pleasure of re-experiencing and reviewing the remake of my childhood game. Persona 3 Reload brings a plethora of new content while retaining its original spirit. It still honors the original legacy and themes of looming death and living life to the fullest.

Key Takeaways

Developer: ATLUS
Publisher: SEGA
Release Date: 2nd February 2024
Platforms: PS4/ PS5, Xbox One/ Xbox Series S/X, and PC
Game Length: 50 hours
Time Played: 70 hours

  • Editor’s Note: Our reviewer has spent a sufficient amount of time in Persona 3 Reload and with the overall franchise, making his opinions and comparisons trustworthy.

Story And Setting

review of persona 3 reload
Tartarus in Persona 3 reload [Image Credit: eXputer]
With a story as dark as The Dark Hour and a theme and setting about confronting death, Persona 3 has always been widely considered the darkest iteration of the Persona franchise, which still remains true in the remake as well. It consists of the same story and setting we all love and remember from the original Persona 3.

Having a good story is kind of a lifeblood for Persona titles and for me personally, Persona 3 Reload has the best story in any Persona game.

The story of Persona 3 Reload is about the hero (Canon Name: Makoto Yuki) transferring to Gekkoukan High in Tatsumi Port Island as a second-year transfer student. Upon his arrival, he experiences a strange phenomenon in which all electronic devices have been turned off and everyone around him has been transmogrified into a coffin. 

This phenomenon is later revealed to be a secret hour hidden between one day and the next and occurs every day at midnight, also known as the Dark Hour. 

Full Moon, Full Life

review of persona 3 reload
Beginning of Persona 3 Reload [Image Credit: eXputer]
The SEES- Specialized Extra-Curricular Execution Squad is my favorite friend group from any Persona game and seeing them again with a fresh coat of paint in Reload was a sight to behold as it reminded me of the countless hours I invested in the original Persona 3.

After the protagonist joins SEES, your objective becomes clear which is to get rid of the Dark Hour and save the world. Of course, I can’t go into much detail without spoiling some major aspects of the story. But one major change that a lot of returning fans will appreciate is the abundance of social events, an aspect that was somewhat lacking in the original Persona 3.

These social interactions allow the player to see the bond of SEES members grow more organically and see their interactions more frequently outside of Tartarus as well.

The SEES- Specialized Extra-Curricular Execution Squad is my favorite friend group from any Persona game and seeing them again with a fresh coat of paint in Reload was a sight to behold

The male characters of your team have been given their unique social link stories while most characters have the same social story story as the original. This is where the difference in quality was noticeable but both were unique in their own respect.

Having a good story is kind of a lifeblood for Persona titles and for me personally, Persona 3 Reload has the best story in any Persona game.

Gameplay

summoning a persona
Gameplay and Mechanics [Image Credit: eXputer]
The gameplay is where Persona 3 Reload really shines its brightest. If you are like me, who just recently replayed the original Persona 3 to prepare for Reload, you know exactly what I mean when I say just how outdated its gameplay feels now.

Since this is a ground-up remake, everything has been revamped and the gameplay is now very similar to Persona 5 Royal, with a few minor tweaks and additions.

Even though Tartarus has been revamped, being forced to explore the 250 floors was not something I missed from the original Persona 3.

While the fundamentals are still the same, a few much-needed QoL changes, make Persona 3 more sublime than any of the past Persona entries.

I’ve Been Waiting For This!

review of persona 3 reload
All Out Attack [Image Credit: eXputer]
One of the features worth mentioning about Persona 3 gameplay is the Shift mechanic, which is basically the same as the Baton Pass mechanic from Persona 5, as it allows you to shift your turn to other party members after downing an enemy with its weakness to keep the flow going.

Eurgy attacks also spice up the combat by allowing the players to deal devastating damage or gain much-needed buffs during combat. Each Eurgy attack features a unique, lustrous animation that I never got tired of watching even after 70 hours.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in terms of gameplay. Even though Tartarus has been revamped, being forced to explore the 250 floors was not something I missed from the original Persona 3. In terms of dungeons, I believe that Persona 5 dungeons greatly outshine Tartarus as each dungeon was unique to its ruler.

Each Eurgy attack features a unique, lustrous animation that I never got tired of watching even after 70 hours.

Even though Tartarus is divided into multiple sections, exploring this dungeon in its entirety can feel extremely repetitive at times. Tartarus is extremely improved when compared to the original Persona 3, but it’s not perfect and still leaves a lot to be desired.

Visuals And Performance

review of persona 3 reload
Gekkoukan High [Image Credit: eXputer]
Persona 3 Reload sets the bar high for turn-based anime-style JRPG titles with its lush graphics and tight animations. Some of the attack animations, especially Eurgy attacks are quite the sight for sore eyes and the characters we all love from the original Persona 3 have never looked better.

Tartarus’s design has also been revamped and even though it is much better than the original, the bottom lines remain the same: It still lacks the distinct and lush art design of Persona 5 dungeons.

Burn The Dread

persona awakening
Awakening of your Persona [Image Credit: eXputer]
For my review, I tested Persona 3 Reload on both my RTX 3060Ti and my Steam Deck because I prefer playing JRPGs on the go and unfortunately, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. 

Persona 3 Reload sets the bar high for turn-based anime-style JRPG titles with its lush graphics and tight animations. 

The performance is at its worst in Tartarus and Velvet Room, with framerate going as low as 20 fps on Steam Deck. However, outside of this, it maintains a stable 50 FPS.

Unfortunately, these issues also carried on in the PC version, but with far less but still noticeable framerate drops. For a game of this caliber, I will say that having performance issues is rather inexcusable.

Verdict 

review of persona 3 reload
Done and Dusted [Image Credit: eXputer]
Persona 3 Reload is a representation of how I always hoped for Persona 3 to look and feel with an endearing story, bold themes, lush graphics, fantastic OSTs, and timeless writing.

While it does fall short in its day 1 performance and the repetitive nature of Tartarus, I can’t let it overshadow all the things Persona 3 Reload does right. It’s obvious to see just how much love Atlus has poured into the development of this remake and now it may not be possible to view Persona 3 without Reload.

This has been my review of Persona 3 Reload. While you are here, consider checking out some of our other articles.

Next:

This is box title
Get This Game

If you are a fan of the Persona games or turn-based JRPGs in general and wish to experience a dark and emotional journey of confronting death.

Dont Get This Game

If you are not of fan of the turn-based genre.

Do I Need To Get This Game

Yes, if you enjoy turn-based titles and have enjoyed previous Persona games then playing Persona 3 Reload is an absolute must.

Alternative Games
  • Persona 5 Royal
  • Like A Dragon Infinite Wealth
  • Xenoblade Chronicles Series
  • Final Fantasy
  • The World Ends With You
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Hammad Ijaz is a Guides Writer on eXputer who is into all sorts of gaming genres. He has this pure passion for enjoying games to the fullest and then reflecting that passion back into his writing. Along with a gaming experience of 10+ years, he has many years of writing experience as well. Hammad further solidifies his status as a true gamer by showcasing hundreds of hours of game time on Warframe, Witcher 3, and Elden Ring. Feel free to explore his extensive gaming library on Steam.

Experience: 3+ Years

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