Persona 3 is the most traditional of the games listed. It is also the leader by far. A group of students are working to rid the area of “Shadows” and solve the mystery of why people keep disappearing. Most of the fighting happens during what is called the “Midnight Hour” which is a special time just as the clock strikes Midnight that only a few people are aware of.
These people are also able to use a special ability called the “Persona.” The Persona is a part of the self that is able to fight the Shadows using special abilities that are based on the elements (Fire, Ice, Wind, etc.). The main character is extra-special as he is able to use multiple personas. You form a team and work your way through a mysterious tower that only shows up during the Midnight hour, and changes it’s layout each time you visit.
While not fighting shadows during the Midnight Hour, you go about daily life. You are the new kid in a Japanese high school. You go to the mall, join clubs and teams, and hang out with your friends. When you strengthen your relationship with certain friends, your personas also get stronger.
The fighting is done in a turn-based system, which is great for a beginner because you have time to think about what attack you will use. However, when initiating the fights, you are supposed to try to sneak up on the Shadows. If you aren’t used to video game walking, this can be somewhat difficult. (OK, it was the worst part about the game for me. I kept running in circles and going too far in one direction or the other. I don’t think I was ever able to sneak up on an enemy. At the end of it all, I am still not very good with video game walking, but then again, I’m not so good with real-life walking either…)
The relational aspect is a lot of fun and seemed to come really naturally. Now parts of the story line do include references to Japanese culture that I didn’t get. This is where the strategy guide starts to come in handy. The strategy guide defines the Japanese terms that an American may or may not know.
The strategy guide really is worth the money for this game. Not only do you get to learn a little about the great nation of Japan, but it tells you what each Persona’s abilities are, what each enemy is weak to, and which answers will benefit your relationships and which will cause harm.
All in all, the game is a lot of fun. It’s a great game to watch if you don’t think you’re quite up to the challenge, but if you have been playing a few games and are looking for more of a challenge and a “real” game, this is a great choice! If you have never played a video game before, get your boy to play with you. You can get introduced to the wonders of gaming and the two of you can have something to do together.