Before launch, Final Weapon had to the opportunity to start Persona 3 Reload and gather our impressions. Unsurprisingly, Persona 3 Reload knows how to impress with its vivid artstyle, compelling gameplay, and a nostalgic setting that feels new again.
Persona 3 Reload Impressions – An Incredible Introduction (Saras)
In 2017, I began my Persona journey with Persona 5. The game quickly became my all-time favorite, and I would slowly become invested in the rest of the series. The original Persona 3 always intimidated me with its outdated game design and strange mechanics, so I decided to wait for a remaster or remake. With over five hours spent in Persona 3 Reload, I am in awe of what will undoubtedly end up as one of, if not the best Persona game in the entire series.
ATLUS mastered Unreal Engine to make one of the best looking JRPGs of all time. Even though a lot of student NPCs are very similar to those of Persona 5, the main characters and social link characters look beautiful. The narrative is also very compelling so far. There are a lot of mysteries at play and the story certainly moves a lot faster compared to other entries in the series.
However, the main draws of any Persona game are the gameplay and characters, and both are immaculate so far. The gameplay feels incredible, and while I haven’t been introduced to the Theurgy mechanics yet, I’m excited to see how the gameplay evolves and differs from prior games. Moreover, the unique topography and layout of each Tartarus area brings a refreshing change of pace.
Lastly, the characters are so far one of the game’s biggest highlights. The protagonist, Yukari, Junpei, Mitsuru, and Akihiko are deeply compelling, and I understand why people have been hyping up the SEES for the past decade. The social links are also among the best in the series, with Yuko Nishiwaki already being one of my personal favorite characters. I’m very excited to see how these characters develop over time.
Returning to the World of Persona 3 (Soul)
I was incredibly hyped during the Persona 3 Reload reveal, as I’ve been wanting to experience the game with vastly improved visuals. Still, the beginning of Persona 3 Reload managed to surprise me. The all-new ray traced lighting, stunning animated cutscenes by WIT Studio, the vividly revamped UI, and so much more make Persona 3 Reload feel so incredibly different from the original games.
However, the game retains a sense of familiarity and nostalgia from the choice of colors, locations, and gameplay systems that make Persona 3 what it is. Thus far, much of the dialogue and story sequences are extremely similar to the original, but the new cutscenes, revised content, and greatly improved visuals make me feel like I’m playing Persona 3 for the very first time again.
What’s more, the game’s combat feels much more refined and eye-pleasing, and I’d argue that its a major step up from Persona 5 Royal as well. I’m very much looking forward to delving deeper into the combat system in the eventual Persona 3 Reload review, since there are so many quality-of-life changes to add up to an amazing experience.
So far, Persona 3 Reload is a dream come true for us at Final Weapon, and it’s likely going to be a game-of-the-year contender for RPG fans. It’s going to be a wild ride for Saras as a newcomer to Persona 3, and Soul will have a lot of thoughts to share at the end of his revisit in Tatsumi Port Island. Persona 3 Reload is a can’t miss game, with the early hours quickly captivating us and keeping us locked in to face the Dark Hour.
Persona 3 Reload is available now worldwide for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam and Windows. ATLUS provided Final Weapon with review codes of Persona 3 Reload for review purposes.