Persona 3 Reload is a faithful remake that retains the charm of the original game with additions and changes that elevates it to new heights.
We were given the opportunity to play a demo of Persona 3 Reload at Tokyo Game Show 2023, where there was 2 available modes to try, being the New Moon and Full Moon modes.
We got to test out the Full Moon mode, which starts players off at the point where S.E.E.S. finally recruits enough members after the protagonist decides to join forces with Junpei and explore Tartarus, the main dungeon of the game, and source of the Dark Hour, the supernatural phenomenon that causes tragedies using apathy syndrome. I was accompanied by 2 other party members, Junpei and Yukari to explore the 1st floor of Tartarus.
One thing that immediately stood out to us were the visuals of the gameplay. Everything feels exceptionally polished and visually appealing. From manoeuvring the dungeon with your character to accessing the menu during combat, everything feels very seamless and responsive.
It makes sense as Persona is one of ATLUS’s most popular franchises, and Persona 3 is widely regarded as the source of a lot of modern Persona charm. With a big reputation like this, it is clear that they had to pull out all the stops to honour a game of this pedigree.
We’re fairly confident that most avid fans of the franchise would agree that compared to Persona 5, this game runs noticeably better. The demo was fairly linear, thus not much can be explored in terms of combat, but at least you’re able to control each party member just like in Persona 3 Portable. Considering the original only had Chibi sprites, it feels fresh to see full scale models of the characters in this remake.
I was also able to see all-out attack portraits Junpei and Yukari, complete with their very own color themes, which was likely inspired by some of the more stylish elements from Persona 5. Speaking of the all-out attack, Shuffle Time plays right before the character strikes their final pose, which can feel awkward, considering how the music changes during Shuffle Time as well.
There are also some nice changes to Shuffle Time itself, the classic system from Persona 3 & 4, where you can choose a card that grants certain bonuses such as EXP UP, Skill Cards, or even acquiring a new persona. In the original, the bonuses you receive are random, as the cards are flipped on its back, but it has changed to allow players to select the bonuses they want, a nice change.
The game is currently being showcased at Tokyo Game Show 2023, and is set to release on February 2nd, 2024 on Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam.