Posted By Austin Yorski about 10 months, 2 weeks ago
Thumb Wars Special! – Persona 3 vs. Persona 4, 7.8 out of 10 based on 13 ratings
Taylor and Austin debate Atlus JRPGs and the future of the Persona series.
Persona 5 fan art/speculation/madness: Atlus.com
Feel free to follow us on Twitter @austinyorski and @TaylorsShelf.
Austin Yorski is a jack-of-all-trades around BT. He goes by Austin or Yorski (but not both) and has a degree in literature/religion from Florida State University. Also, he can collect all 120 stars in Super Mario 64 whilst blindfolded.
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Now, I haven’t played a single MegaTen game, but I’ve heard about it for a long time. I’m watching Devil Survivor 2 The Animation, and I do plan to pick up Overclocked. By the way, Taylor, Devil SURVIVOR is a different subseries from Devil Survivor. Then again, I can’t blame you since too many subseries will inevitably lead to confusion.
Austin, are you sure that Person 4 is so far removed from the general MegaTen series? Persona, maybe, but that’s a limited comparison, but have you heard of Devil Children? By it’s very nature, it sounds like it’s an entire series devoted to being more different from MegaTen than Person 4 ever could. Then again, it could just follow the same themes, only scaled down for kids. Also, you’re mispronouncing Susano’o. It’s supposed to sound like “Suzanne-oh-oh”.
Now that I’m done with my nitpicking, I think that Austin made a better case for Persona 3, but I have to agree with Taylor about preferring more lighthearted games. And now I want to get Persona 4 just so I can date Rise.
The BT Podcast has spoiled me, I can listen to it on my ipod in the car or when pretending to work. If only that were true of this opus (big sad eyes look at you)
Both games are great, but while Persona 4 is great, Persona 3 is on the short list for my favorite game of all time. I agree that Persona 4 is good for allowing you to control the other party members(though the AI in Persona 3 is pretty good and the others usually did what I needed them to do). I actually liked the fatigue system and having little to do at night since it caused the game to balance the dungeon crawling part and the social sim part well. I went to Tartarus and did a little bit at a time two or three times a week in P3. In P4, the fact that going to the TV world takes up the whole day and the lack of fatigue means you’re best off doing the whole new dungeon in one or two trips, followed by a month or more of social links.
Storywise, I actually felt the characters in P3 were much better. They developed more throughout the game, they had separate subplots that forced them to develop, and most importantly, the bond among the members of SEES seemed much stronger than that between the characters in P4. By the end of P3, SEES really felt like a family, while P4′s investigation team felt like the MC and his fan club. P3 had relationships among the team members that didn’t involve the MC, like Yukari and Misturu’s friendship or Akihiko’s big brother-like relationship with Junpei and Ken. In P4, despite everyone acting like Chie and Yukiko are practically lesbians, they barely look at each other after Yukiko is rescued. Kanji’s crush on Naoto goes nowhere because Naoto is a possible love interest, Yosuke and Chie’s semi-love/hate relationship goes nowhere because Chie is a possible love interest. Meanwhile, the characters generally have nothing to do after they’re rescued except say generic lines during the mystery discussions and do goofy things during slice of life vignettes. There are no subplots outside of the minor ones in social links, and while P3′s characters underwent truly life-changing events to have their personas evolve, P4′s characters evolve their persona by spending a month or so solving a minor problem and talking about their dreams and insecurities with the MC while he offers brilliant insights like “I agree” and “Don’t be so hard on yourself”. Also, the game completely breaks the old rule of Show Don’t Tell. The shadows tell you straight up what their character’s insecurities are with no subtlety or demonstration or examples.
Also, while I’m generally not a fan of urban/hip-hop music, P3′s soundtrack was much, much better than P4′s. A lot of P3′s music captured the mood of the scene perfectly and used a wide variety of styles to do so. I didn’t mind P4′s soundtrack having JPop in it. I minded that a lot of it was just generic videogame background music(I’m really ann. It seemed there was less of it too–no music during rainy days, no music during sunny days in the summer, barely any music during the late-gsme fog.
I liked in P4 that you could go up against the boss anytime because that gave you the oppurtunity to try it and make sure how you stood up against it. Persona 3 became really stressful for me because if you screwed up in the end you had to go back to another save, wich made me overlevel instead, making the game easy as hell. Even beat the last boss on the first try… P4′s bosses also felt more memorable because of what they symbolized, where most of P3′s bosses had cool designs and were interesting gameplay-wise but lacked any personality.
And it seems that it really differs between us because I didn’t feel like most of the Sees team were a family, let alone friends at all, while in P4 the teamspirit were incredibly solid, the different characters bounces of eachother great with banter and jokes, doing things in the events together, studying together.
Also P3 had no male teammember social links wich made me feel pretty distant from them and all the girls social links always ended up in romance, wich means, if you want to see how it ends with more than one, you have to become a cheating bastard.
About the shadow part, it kinda makes sense that the supressed sides of the members would yell in frustration and the whole dungeons are more or less giving you small parts of the problem throughout, making it more interesting to go further to see more of their emotions, with the end confirming what it’s about. The more subtle part comes afterward and it’s more about the characters figuring things out themselves than the MC telling them what they should do. Sometimes a listener is more helpful than a talker.
And well, those smaller problems with the characters were much more interesting and meaningful to me than any of the P3 “My girlfriend/best friend/dad died!”, yeah i know the theme is death but man, it really didn’t do much for me, maybe it is that I’ve haven’t had that kind of experience, but it just didn’t resonate as well with me.
P4 is about truth, self discovery, Identity, to be true to yourself and watching those characters gradually figuring things out about themselves were really great, not only laying bare their problems but commenting on them in a realistic fashion. And that’s not only restricted to the teammembers social links. Every social link I did in the game felt accomplishing, interesting and fun to do (except maybe the devil), while in P3 I don’t think I can remember almost any of them.
I do agree that the P3 characters evolved more with the story, but that dosen’t make them any more compelling in my eyes.
P4′s soundtrack were also great, mostly keeping a bit more jazzy feel to it with some Jpop, keeping to the bright aesthetic and feeling more retro, wich makes sense compared to P3′s more modern urban sound. That the music stops during rainy days made it more atmospheric (and I love rain) and during the last months things got pretty darn unsettling with the more ambient backgroundmusic and foggy visuals. “I’ll face myself” captured the accepting-shadows-moments brilliantly, “reach out to the truth” was peppy as hell, “heaven” made me teary-eyed and “the almighty” is up there with “battle for everyones souls”. It’s hard for me to decide wich soundtrack I like the most though, but I think P4′s is more of my tastes.
Dude, almost everything you say is “bad” about P3, like not having memorable social links with team members ect, are all solved with P3P and playing as the girl.
Seriously, play as the girl. Or are you not man enough?
Don’t have a psp so haven’t played that version. If I had it I’d probably give girl a try.
It’s interesting how you note that P4 is so vastly different than P3 Austin because it was meant to be. In the design books for the games Soejima says that he went out of his way to make it totally different from P3, from color to character look and feel.
Yellow was chosen against P3′s dark blue, the characters have more of a “manga” feel than an anime one. I even think he said the whole team tried to make it the exact opposite. So from story to setting to music, everything was made with that in mind.
If I had to choose I would take P3. It is older and has some annoying elements, but everything feels so cohesive. It is a story of your main character, you don’t control the other characters you lead them so you give them commands. The game has weird music especially during fights that differs from most rpgs well the main character has headphones, he’s listening to that music. The themes of Jung and the cards seem to work their best here in P3 where everything seems to fit together.
P4 is still great and I love it but I gotta’ hand it to 3.
“Soejima says that he went out of his way to make it totally different from P3, from color to character look and feel.”
Interesting. I haven’t read that, but it certainly explains a lot. As I said in the video, I wouldn’t mind if Persona 5 was even more lighthearted, as long as it is tonally cohesive.
I prefer P3 over P4.
Getting to the dungeon doesn’t eat your whole day.
Climbing Tartarus is something you can do whenever you want without unknown timelimits or being forced to be at the top of the section when the event happens, or having to deal with an “empty from content” period once you finish your dungeon early. Generally the bosses and events are much better spread through the year. Also the goal in Tartarus through most of the games is just to level up for the event (unless you are doing the Elisabeth quests) and the camera angle was so much better.
Also, I kinda prefer my party being controlled by AI, and P3 had much more detailed orders to give them. Having your party being controlled by AI, makes the battles flow much faster and makes them feel much more alive!
On Persona 4 the AI feels somehow dumped down, and somehow there are so much fewer commands to give them! They didn’t have a guard command despite being importand, they didn’t even have a “Knock the enemy down” command! No wonder everyone chose to give direct commands!
I didn’t like the PSP version of P3 because of the complete absence of graphics. All the additions where welcome (especially the defense option) but most cut-scenes suffered greatly and I actually gave up on it near the end and started over P3fes on my BC-PS3.
both are incredible games but i think i prefer persona 3 slightly (fes version) i think the inclusion of the answer gives it an edge.
Persona 4 was my first experience with the SMT franchise and it is, if not my favourite game of all time, at least one of my favourite games of all time. I adore it.
My brother and I are currently in the process of playing through P3P, so I can’t comment too much on P3 yet, but I can say some things. Before we started playing P3P, we originally tried to play P3:FES since P3P is a little pared down so it can fit as a PSP game. However, we gave up on P3:FES very, very quickly because of one glaring flaw: the inability to control your party members’ actions in battle.
Not being able to control your party members’ actions in battle in any way, shape or form is potentially my biggest video game pet peeve of all time. I *hate* it when games do that. Yes, it is more realistic, which I know is what P3 was going for, but it’s bad gameplay design, especially in a game like P3, where one screw up in battle can lead to a game over. In the few hours we played P3:FES, we died countless times. If the deaths were our fault, that would be one thing, but they weren’t. Every single one of our deaths were because our party members were being brain-dead idiots. Either they wouldn’t heal me when it was needed, or they kept on using the wrong attacks on enemies. In a game where if your main character dies it’s game over, not being able to control your party members is a massive problem. The fact that I loathe it when any video game does that only makes it worse.
Yes, P3P fixes that issue, but P3P is also a stripped down version of the game. We are playing P3P and it is a very good game, but that is because they fixed the original by adding in the things P4 did way better.
Plus there are other things that I prefer in P4. Personally, I prefer the tarot cards over the evokers, but that’s just a stylistic thing. I also prefer P4′s separate, uniquely themed dungeons over Tartarus, which gets kinda same-y after a while.
All in all, I think P4 is a better game because I can go back and play it any time and still have a great time. The mark of a great game is that you can go back to it years later and, despite its flaws (and P4 does have some flaws), it doesn’t feel dated. P3, on the other hand, while still a fantastic game, shows its age and feels dated compared to its successor, at least to me. As such, I believe P4 to be the better game.
And here I am to offer the Defense of Teddie.
And don’t worry, it’s more then I actually found his constant bear puns amusing. :p
Recall the nature of the games plot, and the motivations of the antagonist (The real one.) That he gives people what they want, a fog of lies to cover up all the unpleasant things in the world.
Now look at the nature of the TV world. It is composed of the thoughts and feelings of the people from the normal world. Teddie exists in that world comprised off all the things people love and enjoy, in a sense he’s an embodiment of the very things people use to cover up the darker things, a mask as it were. Basically his front is everything bubbly and cheery, the only thing that actually makes sense considering his origin.
Beneath that, however, lies all of the existential dread that he was created to cover up. And even though he started as little more then a mask, his entire social link shows him growing to be so much more.
The whole point of the game was to show that even though people may cover themselves up with lies, that still there is a strength and desire to face reality. That the lies aren’t all that people seek out. Teddy serves as a physical embodiment of that very concept.
Here’s hoping I made sense! :p
I think one of the reasons I didn’t find Teddie very annoying were because of Dave Wittenbergs voice. In the japanese version I got really annoyed of him because it felt like he was always yelling. Dubbed Teddie had much more range and I felt they really pulled it off nicely. Also, Teddie may not be very funny on his own but it’s his interactions with the other characters that makes it funny in my opinion.
guess I’m coming from still a third perspective, compared to the two of you. XD I’m a long-time fan of the series, beginning with Nocturne back in ’03, played the digital devil saga games as well as the first devil summoner before trying P3, which was, I concede, my first persona game. I’ve since played all the persona games as they released in America, and all other SMT games… and P4 is my favorite of the Persona series.
I agree with what you said about P4 being so different in tone from your typical game in the SMT series, but that’s exactly why it stood out so strongly for me. all things were fairly equal for me between P3 and P4 besides that fact. Both had enjoyable stories with a few cliches, but executed so well I didn’t mind, but P4 was more enjoyable for me because it was so fresh for the series. For instance, I can’t express in words how delighted I was to actually give my MC an unironic happy ending! this is the first SMT game ever… aside from maybe DS1… to make this possible.
Don’t get me wrong, I love dark stories and bittersweet endings, but SMT has been so fond of such endings for so long that it ran the risk of crossing the line into what TV tropes calls “Darkness induced audience apathy” for me. I know that if P5 climaxes the persona story that started with the first game, it’ll be dark and bittersweet again, and I’ll be able to enjoy that again, because Yuu and his buddies were able to earn their happy ending.
TL;DR- thought provoking video with interesting player dynamics. my opinion fell somewhere in between.
You mentioned that Persona “came before Pokemon” and started this type of companionship thing. Persona was actually heavily influenced by Jojos Bizarre Adventure, which is a manga that started in the 80′s (and is still running today) which pretty much created the whole idea of Spiritual avatars fighting with you. In jojos they are called “stands”. From that we got things like Persona, Shaman King, etc. It basically was the start of it all.
Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei came out in 1987. Stands were introduced in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure during Part 3, which began in 1989.
I think that Persona 3 works better as a story. In contrast, Persona 4 works better as a game. Both are still good examples of the medium, you need to pick your preference.
I think part of the debate is that the games are really different, and it is hard to compare the two. Still, my own two cents…
In terms of:
gameplay (s. links, battles, dungeons)
tone and pacing
Persona 3 is much more like the rest of the SMT franchise, that is very accurate. The crux of the story is, again, apocalypse, but the idea is introduced earlier. The cosmic horror aspects show up early, and the evoker/suicide method of summoning a Persona is immediately engaging. The idea of Nyx plays to the supernatural horror aspect, as do the shadows. The inability to negotiate with the shadows, the inevitability of it, helps establish the story early on. That, and the opening for P3. The opening is fantastic. You are immediately thrust into this bizarre world where water is blood, electronics fail, most of humanity is inside of a coffin, and a giant tower of death is in place of your school. That, and you are introduced to the evoker through shots of Yukari struggling to summon Io. In terms of Extra Credits, and the goal to establish your story/create engagement within the first few minutes–very good, very high quality.
P3, personally, struggles with the characters. Their motivations/issues stem from their past and present issues but once solved, don’t do a whole lot. Fuuka is kind of there, Ken has his moment of glory then vanishes, Akihiko I found a bit dull…none of the cast really stood out to me. Even Koromaru, he’s just…there. I am willing to suspend disbelief with him becoming a party member, but there isn’t much of an arc with him. I never felt engaged by most of the cast, and that’s an issue with a game that spends a large amount of time with the cast over the cosmic horror story. Junpei really is the exception, his character flaws felt the most human out of the P3 cast, and to me, has the most defined arc of the party. I don’t agree with saving Shinjiro and Chidori in P3P though… reasons later.
Gameplay, P3 does work–going away, FAR away from the inability to control allies, plays similarly to P4. Except for some of the bosses and Tartarus. While dungeon layout is generally more interesting in P3, the aesthetic is lacking. Tartarus is intimidating and the bosses provide challenge, but beyond that, is a little boring. Same thing for most of the bosses, their gimmicks provided more challenge than anything else. It is more difficult than P4 though.
I’m not a rap/hip-hop/pseudo hip-hop person. Those tracks in P3 did not appeal to me…and I thought most of the other tracks were not too stellar, but fit. And then there are the stand-out tracks, and my lord are those great. Kimi no Kioku, Burn my Dread, Brand New Days, Battle for Everyone’s Souls, Heartful Cry… those are great. Problem is, they don’t play everywhere…
This is probably P3′s strength for me. The tone is great–Memento Mori, remember you are mortal. Yes, the power of comradeship/friendship is there, but the underlying truth that everything is ephemeral is carried out. You will die. You are human, so you will eventually perish. How you deal with death and how you approach it define you as an individual, and to fear death, to run from death, is what can destroy humanity (also Erebus from The Answer). This rather bleak tone is consistent throughout the game…except for saving Shinjiro and Chidori. Keeping them alive contrasted with how Akihiko and Junpei developed, I felt, as their persona evolutions/growths occurred as a result of their deaths. Plus, keeps in tune with the finality aspect.
We go from supernatural horror to mystery story with supernatural aspects showing up right at the end. Okay…and you summon your persona by shattering a tarot card. Not as consistent, but okay. As for the mystery…well, combines mystery with the supernatural aspect of the television world, so it can fit. It does contrast the rest of the SMT franchise, no doubt about that. P4′s story really contrasts with SMT Nocturne, Digital Devil Saga, and SMT 2. Is it a bad thing? Not necessarily, being different doesn’t make something worse–heck, Pokemon Black/White added a lot more story and it made the game more compelling. P4′s problem comes in the execution…
P4′s strength as a narrative comes here. Kanji and Naoto are extremely interesting characters, and well-written as people who are unsure of societal gender roles and rebel as a result, Kanji by acting as a bit of a thug and Naoto trying to repress any aspect of femininity. The rest of the cast deals with more human problems than P3, they are easier to relate to (even if Rise is an idol, but eh). Yosuke feels out of place and hated because of his family and is trying to figure out where he is in life. Chie is clinging to Yukiko for a bit of a purpose (Her story is a bit vague to me…). Yukiko is trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life and her role as heir to the family buisness. Rise is confused about her own identity and if people like her as an individual or the actress/idol. Teddie, well…he’s a bit bizarre. He’s trying to figure out who and what he is and, hey look tons of comic relief. And the bear puns. All of the bear puns.
Really, really high quality. I don’t remember too many of the random sidequests, though some were obnoxious, but P4 flowed better for me. The dungeons were much more varied in aesthetic and reflected the party instead of the more complex dungeon with the Reaper, but it’s just a giant tower. I felt that combat was improved considerably, the battles became difficult for reasons other than a gimmick (and not as time-wasting, Hanged Man…), and party interaction was improved. I felt that the kinks in P3′s design were worked out in P4.
I generally liked P4′s OST better than P3, but stand-out tracks are not that common. The boss themes were improved, I think, and the overall track appealed to me more. Then again, this is the really biased part because I’m not the hip-hop/urban person.
I’m going to go into direct comparisons here, as this is P4′s weakest area. P4 Golden’s opening sums up my issues with tone on P4 overall. We have this murder mystery story that borders into the supernatural and the opening shows… character shenanigans and aren’t they funny. Look, Yosuke’s stuck in a trash can, isn’t that hilarious? Laugh! LAUGH!
P4 has so much filler and slice of life shenanigans through some of the extra scenes that it becomes tiresome. Yes, we see the field trips. Yes, we see other character interactions but it feels so cookie-cutter. We need the camping trip, we need the hot springs, we need the school festival, we’re checking off the ‘make otaku happy’ checklist. At least the Tatsumi Port Island event has some story/character progression with Naoto interrogating the party, but we get drunk Yukiko/Rise for comedy. While a murder investigation is being carried out. Maybe this helps advance characters, but the theme gets confused. If the idea behind P4 is to admit one’s fears, flaws, and paranoia and work towards improving oneself, these slice-of-life tropes detract from the overall story. P3 is extremely consistent with the tone of the game, and it shows in the opening for both the original game and P3P. The symbolism of death, the inevitability of death, and struggling to overcome the fears/accepting death as reality shows in the openings. P4 and P4G… nope! There’s…almost nothing of substance in the openings, and the confused nature carries into the story. The tone of P3 is more focused, more direct, and more impactful. However, P3 is paced terribly. Tartarus up through the 12 shadows is paced well…then the reveal of the truth behind the Arcana shadows occurs, Ryoji shows up, and the game grinds to a screeching halt until January. Yes, there is the metaphysical question about death, acceptance, and the will of humanity showing up and the cast reacting to the events of November in-game…but in terms of gameplay, it’s painfully dull. There isn’t a moment like that in P4…even in the original version when you jump from December to March, the gameplay does not suffer from poor pacing.
Honestly, I think that P4 is the superior game even if it suffers in the story and tone, the gameplay is superior. Still, I think Nocturne is the best of the SMT franchise. It’s hard to beat deciding the fate of existence by destroying a giant disco ball. Also, those battle themes are phenomenal.
I actually preferred P3P the most
sad that we never got a P4P
For me, Persona 4 will always be the best, and I know full well I say that with nostalgia goggles on. P4 was not just my introduction to the Persona series, but it also introduced me to Atlus, the SMT franchise, and other aspects of JRPG’s as a whole. I love its characters, its settings and lighthearted tone, its crime-thriller story, and its battle system. I guess I consider it like many others consider FF VII; not a perfect game, but lovable and more than the sum of its parts.
I’ll admit it, I haven’t played a SMT game. The only thing really close is Catherine. That being said I am about to start them. I’m currently collecting the Persona games and then I’m going to move to the older PS2 games like Nocturne.
I might not have known everything you guys were talking about but I was taking notes and now I know which games to look for.
About soundtracks: i love soundtrack of PS4 SO MUCH! it’s my most played and most beloved album of all time. I just can’t stop listen – i want it again, and again, and again. And there is no songs that i don’t like too. The most awesome songs for me are dungeons theme (especially “Game”, “Sauna”, “Corridor” (it’s so depressive and sad..when you play Yomotsu Hirasaka and you know that this is the last few hours of your happiest time in your whole life…ehh) and “Heaven”) and “Borderline Of Madness” (this song just blown me away!). And, of course, all songs with vocals (they are so…warm).
Soundtrack of P3 is good, but… i just don’t want to listen it again. And, speaking of dark, i don’t remember any song in P3 that was even close in terms of darkness to songs of P4. And it’s just the weakest album of Shoji that i listend to (oh, wait, 2nd Raidou was the weakest!).
Soundtracks of P3 FES, Nocturne and DDS 1 & 2 actually better than 3 and 4, but they are just not that catchy as hell.
Ehh.. Persona 4, how i want to play in you again, but my disk of you work so bad (i know it’s pirate disk, but in Russia find a legal PS2 disk is really hard) – even 20-minutes long loading times in the launch can’t stop me when i played in you first time, but now you begin to lag like crazy(
P.S. Sorry for bad engilsh, not my native language.
P.P.S. Taku, sorry, i wanted to press “thumbs up”, but missed and… i’m sorry(
This podcast was great to listen to, I generally agree with Austin, Persona 3 is my preferred game to Persona 4, but I actually really like Teddie, I find his personality very likable. Junpei is also tied for my favourite character in Persona 3, so take from that what you will.
Austin I’d love to see you talk MegaTen in general with somebody. As I big MegaTen fan, and somebody who respects your opinion it would be a treat to listen to.
As I’ve processed the podcast for a bit, I realized some things I wanted to comment on.
Persona 4′s soundtrack is no more jpop then Persona 3. That said I think neither are really jpop, the one big issue with Persona 4 is that their opening is very jpop, and so is Reach Out to the Truth. My favourite song in Persona 4 ignoring the reincarnation rearrangements, is Backside of the TV, and I’m still sad that it wasn’t rearranged, and extended. The majority of actual tracks in Persona 4 feel really jazz fusion, and feels to me like the essence of Shoji’s style. Side note Never More Reincarnation is my single favourite album of all time.
I’m also the rare guy that stands up for the Persona 3 mechanic of not being able to control your party. I do believe it needed to be refined, but I think they could have created a more enjoyable system with the indirect control than simply dropping it. Maybe like how commanding demons works in Soul Hackers? I just think the idea behind it is sound, if I wasn’t to lazy I’d go pull out the interview where the game designer explained why they went that way.
Taylor, I hate you! I hate you for making me side with Yorski.
I’m a Persona 3 guy. It’s interesting as I also got into SMT with Nocturne (or Lucifer’s Call as it was known here) for exactly the same reason as Austin. I also played through every game that got localized in Europe since.
I won’t got into my reasons, as I think you two do a great job of arguing out the pro’s and con’s of each game.
I just want Taylor to know what he has made me do.
I don’t think we can be friends anymore, Yousif. How dare you side with the enemy!
Wow, this was kind of uneven. Taylor didn’t do a very good job of making his case. It was mostly Leon criticizing 4 and him being all “Yeah, alright”.
4 wins out in my book mostly for it’s characters. I’m going to try to keep this short, but here goes:
In 3, you were dumped into this school and had all of these characters thrown at you at once before getting shuffled into Tartarus. You had no chance to get to know them, and had little reason to care about them at that point. Even after they get their development, I didn’t much care for them. Heck, I never even got the idea that the cast were friends till the very end. A decent chunk of the conflict just comes from everyone lying and concealing information from each other. In 4, every character had at least their dedicated chunk of the game that was all about them. You got to know these people as the characters got to know them. Even after their arcs, the characters interacted with each other, smiling, joking and laughing. They acted like friends with each other!
Yukari was bland and kind of mean, mocking the others for little reason. Junpei had no development for 3/4 of the game, and even after he got a love interest we never found out anything about HIM, just how he relates to her. Akihiko mostly made vague references to his past but was never focused on. Mitsuru was more of a typical TV rich girl. Fuuka was a little grating, but she mostly suffered from lack of focus after her small arc. And Akamaru was a dog. The same dog you would see in every single work of fiction that involved dogs ever. Friendly, loyal, smarter than he should be. Say what you will about Teddie, but at least he was an actual character. If Akamaru were to be removed from the game, it would not impact the plot in any significant way whatsoever.
But the worst characters were Aigis and Ken, hands down. Unlike Akamaru, Ken actually does something-engineer the death of Shinjiro. After that, he is entirely superflous. He contributes literally nothing to the plot, and all of his lines could easily be said by another character. Worse, all of his character traits are TOLD, not SHOWN. “Look, he’s so mature!” How, exactly? He talks in a bit of a stuffy way, but that’s about it.
But man, I hate Aigis more. You complain about the improbability of a pop idol coming to town? How about a freaking robot girl going to school?! Her story of “Am I alive?” has been done by to death with robot stories for years. Plus her very existence is a huge plothole. If the Kirijo Group can create robot war machines capable of using Personas (which I thought were a reflection of your soul/conciousness, so why can robots use them at all?), why the hell are they relying on a rag-tag bunch of teenagers to fight monsters for them?! Just make more robots! They were strong enough to seal away Nyx before, so why stop making them, especially when the alternative is sending your daughter into the Tower of Doom?!?! And another thing, if Aigis could seal away Death before, why not do that again? They never even bring it up. Aigis is just blatant fanservice for otakus, and clashes severely with the relative realism of the series a little too much for me.
My last complaint about 3 is kind of an odd one, and is a little hard too explain. In 3, the main cast has no agency. Everything in the plot comes from other people telling them what to do and what their options are. They don’t really ask any questions and accept the way things are presented to them at face value, which the villains trick them. In 4, the party has no mentor character who knows what’s going on. They have to find out everything on their own. In fact, they don’t have to get involved in everything at all. They act because they WANT to. The story is pushed by THEIR actions alone.
And that was a rant. I’m sorry. I’ve had discussions on this topic with friends before, so I’ve gotten a little overzealous.
It’s a good thing I didn’t debate you, since you clearly would have won
I can definitely understand a lot of your criticisms. However, I do take issue with “You complain about the improbability of a pop idol coming to town? How about a freaking robot girl going to school?!”
The development of Persona-using robots is foreshadowed as early as Revelations: Persona, when Kandoria uses SEBEC to develop the DEVA system. In fact, you can find a paper by Kandori in Eternal Punishment called “Research and Theory on Artificially Creating Persona Users.” The Persona universe is largely grounded in realism, but futuristic technology has been an element since the very beginning. In addition, P4 Arena goes into more detail about the creation of Persona-using robots.
Also, I have an answer to the question, “robot war machines capable of using Personas (which I thought were a reflection of your soul/conciousness, so why can robots use them at all?)” The principle here is the same as it is for Teddie, who can summon a Persona despite being *Spoilers* a shadow: any being capable of sentience has the potential to develop a Freudian ego, which then can manifest a Persona.
Other than that, the only thing I can nitpick is, “Yukari was bland and kind of mean, mocking the others for little reason.”
Have you met any high school students recently? That is the height of realism! :p
OK, that last comment on high school students made me smile.
Persona 4 got me interested in the SMT series, and I have since played Nocturne, Strange Journey (which I loved, but don’t think I’ll play again, the second Raidou game, the Digital Devil Sage games, Devil Survivor and Persona 4 in pretty much that order. I can understand seeing 4 as kinda off in it’s lighthearted-ness compared to everything else, but I kind of like having a game where the protagonists actually unabashedly succeed for once in this series.
I have Arena and Persona 1 but haven’t played/finished them. Arena is just way down on my Christmas backlog, and I just can’t get into Persona 1. It’s just a bit too complex with it’s menus and systems. I need to get through it, even if only to say that I’ve beaten it.
If you have played the games as long as you’ve said, did you play the version of Persona where translation made it a school in America and changed everyone’s names/hair color/skin color?
Do they say why they don’t just mass-produce robot persona users in Arena?
“did you play the version of Persona where translation made it a school in America and changed everyone’s names/hair color/skin color?”
Yep! The original Revelations: Persona changed Mark’s race, the protagonist’s hair color, a bunch of names, and completely excised the Snow Queen route. The PSP remake is FAR superior.
“Do they say why they don’t just mass-produce robot persona users in Arena?”
Arena reveals that *Spoilers* the Kirijo Group made dozens of robots, but the process of training them is pretty messed up. It also requires a Plume of Dusk, a seemingly rare item in the Persona universe. Long story short, there are only three functional Persona-using robots: Aegis, Labrys, and Sousei Kurogami (the latter of which is from a semi-canon Japanese light novel which I have not read). Metis is portrayed as an Anti-Shadow Suppression Weapon at first, but she is implied to actually be Aegis’ shadow, if I recall correctly.
It’s hard to be objective, but outside of Teddie I thought it was pretty even. I proved the TV world is more compelling than the Tartarus and most of the rest was opinion, which is kind of hard to argue against. I’ll admit that it’s tough for to debate in real time, but I tried to share why P4 was special to me.
At the end of the day I think we can all agree that they’re both amazing games and hopefully P5 will blow all our minds
I find the two games to be polar opposites:
Persona 4: More lighthearted game, but a very dark layer underneath just waiting to crawl it’s way out.
Persona 3: Tries way too hard to shove how dark and edgy it is down our throats from the first scene (shooting selves in the head, blood, coffins, tartarus in general, ect). But in the end, it just boils down to love and friendship conquers all.
That said, both persona games are fantastic and Persona 4 is my all time favorite game (made better by Golden), but Persona 3 just falls behind just slightly, making it my 3rd favorite game.
What’s that? What’s 2nd place then? Well.. if I said it here, I’d probably be stoned by everyone for it… so I’m not going to say it. >_>
Well now I HAVE to know.
4 is my favorite game of all time, followed by the first Kingdom Hearts and then FF9. After that I’m not sure. Maybe TWEWY.
Meh. Alright. I’ll tell you. My 2nd favorite game of all time is…
Final Fantasy XI
Yes, the MMORPG. No, I’m not joking. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to hide underground for a few weeks until the angry, confused, insulted mob dies down.
We’re not angry with you, we’re just here to help. You clearly have been through a tough time and require professional medical care.
Tell me, when did you first realise you were insane?
I PUT MY PANTS ON TODAY!
If he’s insane I’ll gladly join him, I love FFXI.
So it begins… the bigest sh*t storm of our time
Its the year 2007, the future, the apocalypse has had an apocalypse. The only end to the Persona Flame war is to not get involved with it.
My vote is for 3. While 3 had the handicap of having AI controlled party members doing stupid things, the stakes felt higher through the entire game and not just at the very end. I felt much more driven to see the top of that tower because of the clear and present threat it represented to me and the entire world really, rather than a completely isolated pocket dimension with only a handful of lives at stake.
P4′s chain of “Surprise Necron” reveals at the end of the game completely kill any sense of tension or dread and it gave the game almost no opportunity to build up an antagonist.
Not to mention P3 gave us Mitsuru and
I really liked the last stages of 4 because I kept asking myself questions why things were like they were. I actually got the normal ending at first but I felt there still were som questions left hanging wich were answered in the true ending. And in the end I felt like the circle had been closed and it felt very satisfying to me.
I thought Persona 4 was leagues ahead of 3.
I like you.
Well I really don’t like either of them. I prefer Persona 2 Innocent Sin. *waits to be shot* I just really don’t like either of the new Persona games… I feel like Persona 3′s system just is interesting but doesn’t actually work they way they made it. The game doesn’t give me personally a sense of accomplishment. The story is about average and I got to say that the teens shooting themselves in the head doesn’t make any sense on how they summon the persona… no explanation does Sorry Austin. Persona 4? I just find the same problems with it other than it having a better story. Are both Artistic? yep in their own rights but I just personally find them to be bad. They have promise to perfect the system for them but I just don’t find the system as rewarding and as interesting as the rumor system but it has the potential to be better, the problem is They just didn’t do anything with it.
I have to admit though, persona 3 has kinda grown on me since I beat it. I think the most jarring thing for me, comming from persona 4 to 3 were how unrealistic it was in it’s concept of it’s teammembers.
I mean, sure P4 had Teddie but he was from the tv-world, while P3 has highschool-girl-robots designed to destroy shadows and a dog becomes able to summon a persona and it’s all about a big corporation who tried to get control of the shadows while in P4 most of the things outside the TV-world was kinda normal. Well, I guess you got the fox, but it never got personas and such. I’m alright with it I guess, but it was kinda hard to swallow at first. I didn’t really feel much for Aigis either. Just kinda felt like another “machine finds life” story, but I suppose she probably got more development in “the answer” wich I haven’t played through yet because of reasons =P
For P5 I really hope they’ll blow our minds again, do something as radical as P2 to P3, or if not gameplay-wise then maybe as different in atmosphere as P3 to P4. Either way I just want it. I want it so bad.
Which one doesn’t have angsty teenagers shooting themselves in the head because it’s cool?
Haha. That sounds like a vote for Taylor!
If you’re interested in *why* they shoot themselves in the head, I wrote an explanation a while back: http://www.blisteredthumbs.net/2011/05/pp-persona-3-psychological/
I can kinda understand it from a philosophical standpoint, but in-game they don’t really explain it well. If it’s meant to invoke feelings of mortality in the characters, then why would they be apprehensive and dreading it after they’ve done it 100+ times?
I don’t remember any of P3′s characters being angst ridden, and when their lives did throw problems at them both the problems and their reactions seemed in sync. You seem more caught up over the imagery of them using the evokers to summon forth their personas as something other than what it was. It wasn’t an angsty teen thing, it was the evoker, which isn’t a gun by the way, ripping a facet of their personality out of their head to do battle.
If P3′s character could be considered angsty teenagers, then you’d have to apply it as a blanket term to every teenager, in every game, ever . . . the characters were just the broad, their reactions to stimuli that different from one another within the game – to the extent you’d be calling P4′s characters just as angsty, along with any other teenager in a game ever.
“Lawlemo” is the general reaction of people who’ve never played the game, but wanna be cool and bash on it, so they took some imagery from the game, knowing nothing about the context of it, and slapped that stereotype on it.
Personally, it’s persona 4 all the way for me, and I think it is mostly because I like the characters much more and best of all: NO Tartarus!
I’ve thought alot about it and both games has their problems, both games have very slow story-progression but P4 focused more on the characters. Persona 3 got really good near the end, but it kinda took until the fall to get me hooked. And I think the aesthetic in P4 is overall more in my tastes, with the whole studio-set look of the TV-world and the yellow and rainbows in the menus.
P4 intruiged me more and, IMO, delivered more, but Persona 3 , twas good.
I think we’re on the same page. I like the characters more in 4 and me and Austin both agreed the TV world design overall was better than the bland Tartarus.
“What are the chances of having a world famous idol, an ace detective and the main character with magical powers in the same town?”
And Persona 3 isn’t just as if not more coincidental? All the people effected by the event ten years before the game in one area still, and they happen to find Ken, and Yukari’s dad worked for the Kirijo group and the fact that the main character, being who s/he is and having what is inside him/her, being there at the right time when all this starts.
Both games are VERY coincidental.
Personally, even though I played a majority of SMT games before Persona 4, I enjoy it more than 3 and the main reason for that is the characters, both party and NPC-wise. The characters in Persona 3 are so boring in comparison. Yukari is bland being the trademark girl and is just too average. Junpei doesn’t have the development that Yosuke has, though he does get better after Chidori. Akihiko…well, he’s awesome, still a bit one dimensional, but awesome. Mitsuru is just boring as well, being the typical rich and perfect girl at first and when you do SL her, she has stereotypical problems, being in a marriage setup she doesn’t want to be in and struggles to choose her friends over family obligations. Koromaro is a dog who can’t speak, and while he may be awesome, at least Teddie has a character and is a lot more funny because he can actually speak and says some hilarious things. Aigis is certainly nice, but her development comes quite late, and Ken? Screw Ken.
Persona 4′s cast is just far more enjoyable in comparison IMO. Yosuke is the typical bromance awesome dude, he has his flaws, but also his good charms to him. Chie is probably the most bland of the characters in the party, being the knight and protecting and all about training, but when not doing her SL, she is enjoyable at times. Yukiko wasn’t as stereotypical as I thought she was going to be when I first played it, especially with her personality., and was pleasantly surprised to see that she just struggles to do her own thing away from her parents and her legacy. Both Kanji and Teddie are awesome and love to see them. Rise is my favorite in the series and while she can be a bit too flirty (not a bad thing for me ) at times, she has a genuine problem that I think idols too into their job has. When does the idol end and the person begin? Naoto is a bit bland at times as well, and her SL is probably the weakest, but her character never really felt boring and was still just as entertaining as the others.
Also, the party in Persona 4 felt more like a group of friends and a team than in Persona 3. There was just a lot more interaction and more events with them bonding, talking, working together, etc.
Then, we get SL characters, where P4′s just are so much better than P3′s in my opinion. Both have their weak ones and strong ones, but in P4 is never felt like job doing a character SL if I wanted to max them out. P3′s had a few that did, especially Bebe’s SL…got I hate him. P4′s were just so much more enjoyable than in P3 and even the weaker ones I still did enjoy them to a point.
And this is pretty much the big difference for me in terms of why I really enjoy Persona 4 much more than Persona 3.
For any faults I found in P3, Junpei never would have been one of them. Yosuke wasn’t a terrible character but he had nothing comparable to Junpei’s arch. Junpei too easily could have been an unlikable character, but in the end he turned out being more like actual people I’ve known than any character in either game. That, really, makes him one of the best in my book.
Teddie was annoying, there was nothing awesome about him. Give me a dog that can’t speak over that any day, Aigis can translate.
For character’s I’d give P4 credit are Yukiko, who I definitely liked better than a character like Mitsuru (who I really felt took on the leadership role, despite what she said about your character being the leader, in terms of your male or female characters). Yukiko felt more down to earth, but I’ve met enough very rich people in my time to . . . actually not feel Mitsuru was off the mark. Boring for some, maybe, but the character was grounded in terms of a person that someone out there could actually know. I guess Rise is the pop idol stand in for the rich girl in P4 though, and Rise’s inclusion in P4 never seemed right. Rise always felt out of place, distracting and her flirting got grating fast. I don’t know if they meant it to be flirting, but that’s how it came off, and it was annoying.
Kanji and Akihiko . . . I wouldn’t do without either of them. They get compared too often for my taste, but I love them both. Great fun, great characters and great action.
Shinjiro is still one of my favorite characters of all time, and the only times I liked Ken were when he was wrapped up in Shinjiro’s story. He’s a great social link to explore as either gender, both have decent pay off and I believe a lot of people consider him all but canon, as far as relationships go, for the female character option. I don’t feel like P4 offered a character death moment on his level for me. Chidori was another one, there was never a character death moment that felt as a part of the story, and her character progression wrapped up with Junpei’s was glorious.
Stega is worth mentioning because, while P4 does end up throwing other Persona users at you by proxy of Shadows and the murder mystery . . . the outright competition with Strega was something I missed in P4.
Aigis, what can you say, P4 didn’t give me a robot body guard, and it instantly loses points because of that. He social links were amusing, never more than that, but I still liked having her around. In a way her trying to learn things added more appropriate comedic relief than anything Teddy or most of P4′s comedic moments offered. Then again, it’s kind of hard to compete with gun fingers.
I didn’t like Yukari. I won’t ever argue that. Yukiko and Chie were infinitely more interesting and more likable characters.
For the MC and FeMC versus the Protag . . . well, I’m sorry, there’s two of them, two looks at the world, and only one Protag. I liked the protagonist well enough, but I missed my hands in the pocket running as the MC, and his general look that I just found overall more appealing. The FeMC as well, I liked P3′s stylish uniforms and the FeMC’s path through P3 definitely had the most personality. It made playing as her a really different experience than as the male, part of what makes it worth playing through again. The Protagonist has nothing equivalent to this, though, I do think he was more options (like getting jobs) in P4 and I would have liked some of those in P3.
Fuuka. I adore Fuuka, though I wish she’d used someone else as her food tester. Oh god, sweety, you’re adorable but you cannot cook. I always had trouble liking her at first, it was the voice actor, but playing through the Japanese version I realized that voice actor out of the picture . . . I really did like the character. She was a good friend, and while I never explored her social link from a romantic point as the male character I always felt protective of her – probably due to her introduction as a Persona user in P3.
My absolute favorite character from both games (even if her existence in 4 was little more than a cameo), and the character my MC dated in P3 was Chihiro. Ken replacing her as the Justice social link as the FeMC annoyed me to no end, because I never could stand Ken. Chihiro and the Justice social link are probably one of my favorite non-main character and non-main story related portions of P3 to explore. I don’t recall P4 having a social link I got as wrapped up in from a character that was not a main character.
I always felt terrible at the end of P3, given what happens, if I’d played through as the MC because of Chihiro . . . just leaving her alone, she doesn’t even get a goodbye from him or know what really happened. ;_;
That’s something I will agree with, in that the FeMC of Persona 3 is so awesome. She’s got a great design, great relationships, an awesome weapon in a Naginata and of course the option to get with Shinjiro. I also love her soundtrack a lot more compared to the male MC of Persona 3, save for Wiping All Out. Take Mass Destruction over that any day.
She is my favorite female protagonist in gaming.
Oh I just want to ask do you guys think 5 should go back splitting normal attacks into three categories: Slash, Strike and Pierce, or stick to Physical attacks for all characters? I think if it goes back to former it should be more balanced than 3, with only two characters that use strike and one of them dies but it was worse in the PSP version since you could only use a sword. I want the option to use gloves, bows and chairs.
“Oh I just want to ask do you guys think 5 should go back splitting normal attacks into three categories: Slash, Strike and Pierce, or stick to Physical attacks for all characters?”
I wouldn’t mind if they added that complexity back into the system. They could even add Nuclear, Force, Earth, and all of the other elements from Persona 1 back into the combat. I don’t think they will though, since the sub-series is trending towards accessibility.
1:02:06 that review wouldn’t happen to be from Fraser would it?
Nocturne was my first SMT game and it was also because of Dante but I went on to Persona 3 FES and Persona 4 because of how much fun I had with Nocturne.
One of the features I believe that got me hooked was the Demons/Personae I love being able to fight and/or use all those mythical figures from different cultures in battle.
I figured you’d discus what Persona would be seen in 5 like perhaps ones that haven’t seen light since the first few SMT games or so and what possible persona would teammates have and such.
interesting Debate on the two game’s personally i have never played any of the Persona game’s but i have played a number of the other Shin megami tensei games and liked them a lot. but after listening to you guys i think i may try and get persona 3 and 4. Also i am a HUGE fan of Legends of dragoon …and really wish they would make a second one just kinda a side thing i thought i would throw it out there.
I know someone that called the “Persona” series as “Shin Megami Tensei”. To quote him:
“You have to play the third Shin Megami Tensei game, it’s great and very character driven” “Try it on hard mode, the difficulty is kind of lacking”
If I only knew that he was referring to Persona, and not the main series. So I went though “Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer’s Call” on hard mode in one sitting. 22 hours later I was rather disappointed, the pacing was off and the game gives you no reason to care about any of the characters.
But the game had it’s moments, mostly in the demon recruitment system and the fusion system was kind of interesting.
BTW, Fuck that matador.
Anyways I still have not played the persona games, I’m waiting on a new CPU so I can emulate my old PS2 games.
Funny how people always talk about the Matador being the introduction to how brutal the game is but when I had him in my party he didn’t last as long as I hoped, I used him for bosses which worked out fine until I noticed he was as durable as tissue.
Yeah but i was trying to do a speed-run of the game on hard, running from one place to the next, so I was extremely under leveled at that point. It is not quite how difficult the matador is, but that is the point where the difficulty curve steps up.
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