HomeReviewsGame ReviewsPersona 3 And 4 Review: Two Great Role-Playing Games Finally In Italian

Persona 3 And 4 Review: Two Great Role-Playing Games Finally In Italian

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Two great JRPGs are back on Sony and Microsoft consoles, translated into Italian: here is our review of Persona 3 and Persona 4.

The Persona series has a very special history . In fact, it was born as a spin-off of Shin Megami Tensei, of which it maintained the main constituent characteristics, while showing itself to be less hardcore and more inclined to storytelling. Following the stratospheric success of the fifth chapter, it has become, in the minds of fans, the most popular saga of the two, to the point of completely distorting the original labels. The epic of Joker and his companions has reached such high peaks of fame as to in turn illuminate all the other Atlus products , including those of the related saga, of which remastering or new chapters have recently been proposed.

Let’s think, for example, of the excellent remastered of Nocturne, one of the most popular “megaten”, or of the excellent fifth chapter which has received unanimous approval from critics and fans. A substantial portion of the fanbase is now made up of “newly acquired” players who, enormously appreciating the narrative depth of Persona 5 (here the review of Persona 5 Royal), have decided to delve into the dark meanders of Shin Megami Tensei or discover the origins of the saga . The revival of two of the most significant chapters of the series is certainly dedicated to the latter users: Persona 3 Portable and Persona 4 Golden. A particularly significant reissue for our local audience, considering that it is the first opportunity to enjoy these two titles with Italian subtitles .

The importance of colors in the Persona series

The main difference between Persona and most other RPGs is the enormous work of psychological insight operated on the characters . As evidence of this, the same concept underlying the title refers to the theories of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung , according to which the “person” (in Latin “mask”) would be worn by the individual to become part of a social construct and be accepted, despite often being at odds with the real “I”.

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The deepening of the individual protagonists and their interpersonal relationships is one of the distinctive characteristics of the entire series, which assumes considerable importance to the point of becoming an integral part of the gameplay, through the system of ” social links” present in both chapters of this remaster.

In this regard, a fundamental role in the series is covered by the color and the color palette of each episode. As we know, color is often associated with a specific emotion, and Atlus has decided to dedicate particular care to this aspect. The dominant color in Persona 3, for example, is blue and its shades, in reference to melancholy and depression. Just think of the expression, by now customary in Anglo-Saxon colloquial language, “I’m feeling blue” (I feel sad) or of the same etymology of the “blues” genre in Afro-American music, originally a lament and a reflection of the slaves on their painful condition. The third chapter of the made in Japan saga is, in fact, one of the darkest .

The tone of the production betrays its origins: it is one of the episodes most similar to the Shin Megami Tensei saga for mechanics and atmosphere. From the first minutes of the game an almost horror vein is perceptible : from the desolate station, to the appearance of mysterious coffins in front of the protagonists, passing through the ” Ora Buia ” (Dark Hour) which occurs after midnight and foresees the appearance of filthy creatures of darkness.

Persona 3,Persona 4Persona 3,Persona 4

In short, Persona 3 is very different, in tone, from its more famous sequel. Even in the most cheerful and carefree moments, Atlus’ JRPG settles on a bittersweet look, permeated by a continuous feeling of suspension and anxiety. Yellow is instead the main color of Persona 4 , which has characteristics almost diametrically opposed to those of its predecessor. It is a light color that embodies joy and light-heartedness, and at the same time symbolizes the thriller , the mystery. In fact, during the events narrated we will have to deal with mysterious murders and, although the title does not lack darker or sadder moments, we are generally speaking of an experience with more light-hearted tones.

A remaster between lights and shadows

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The ” deluxe remaster ” of Persona 3 Portable and 4 Golden features some important gameplay additions which, although they seem minimal at first glance, have a significant impact on the gaming experience. Before going into the analysis, it is appropriate to make some clarifications regarding the version chosen for the third chapter, an aspect that raises some perplexities. Let’s make a small premise: there is no “perfect” edition of Persona 3 . The most up-to-date ones, Portable (used for the remaster) and FES, both have strengths and weaknesses.

Persona 3,Persona 4Persona 3,Persona 4Persona 3,Persona 4

In the latter we have a game world that can be explored in the third person, an additional chapter called “The Answer”, new Personae to be used in combat and above all well-made anime-style cinematics. However, it is not possible to control the protagonist’s travel companions, whose use will be delegated to a CPU that is not always impeccable and to the tactical menus. In the Portable edition, however, the aforementioned cutscenes are missing, and exploration is via static point-and-click menus , similar to those in visual novels. On the other hand, it will be possible to directly control each game character, making the gameplay more precise and reliable. The absence of the additional episode is instead compensated by the possibility of choosing a male or female alter ego, with slightly different social links and stories. It is also possible to face enhanced versions of the bosses encountered during the main campaign during the endgame. A remaster would have been the perfect opportunity to shut down the diatribes about the best version of Persona 3 once and for all, and introduce all the most successful aspects of both offerings, but unfortunately this was not the case .

The limitations of Portable were justified at the time by the lack of memory of portable consoles, and make much less sense in terms of a remaster of the flagships of Sony and Microsoft. The absence of anime-style cutscenes, in particular, partially compromises the immersion in the game world , a fundamental component of a JRPG of this level.

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The budget price (about 19.90 euros) still makes the offer extremely attractive and it is a respectable title, capable of giving countless hours of entertainment. Nothing to complain, however, about Persona 4 Golden . This remastered version contains all the revised and corrected contents of the original and is, in all respects, the best purchasable edition of the Atlus masterpiece.

The additions

From a graphic point of view, the work is not dissimilar to what was done for Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Remaster. The modernization of the textures, the greater fluidity of the animations and the shortened loading times are certainly appreciable and contribute to giving a sense of superior cleanliness to the action . The additional options of the pack are not limited to the visual presentation but enrich, modernize and simplify the gameplay. Some changes have been made to make some playful choices less decisive or the experience less hardcore.

The difficulty selector certainly goes in this direction, offering options for players eager for a serious challenge, but also for those looking only for a narrative experience . Persona 3, in particular, presents a difficulty curve still similar to the Shin Megami Tensei series, and even at a “normal” level it can create more of a headache for users less accustomed to the genre. The possibility of changing difficulty dynamically is certainly appreciable and allows anyone to find the degree of challenge that best suits their needs.

It’s even possible to create a custom challenge rate, balancing factors like experience gained or damage done by enemies. The quick save goes in the same direction, i.e. the possibility of saving in every part of the game and not just by reaching a certain point . Part of the tension of two episodes lies in the delicate balance between risk and reward, which constantly confronts the player with the choice of continuing to explore the dungeons (with the risk of a departure and loss of their objects and personae) or escape for keep progress safe.

The quick save function is certainly an excellent feature, but it risks lightening the experience, balanced around the presence of save points. These are still present, so players more attentive to the preservation of the classic experience will still be able to experience the two adventures in the way they were originally conceived .

Persona 3,Persona 4Persona 3,Persona 4Persona 3,Persona 4

The fact that the user is given a choice is still an additional option, and absolutely welcome. The “Album” mode of Persona 4 goes in the same direction , which allows the player to retrace his steps and change some of his answers during the “slice of life” phase of the title. The ability to dynamically review decisions removes the importance of weighing interactions with characters, but could be appreciated by those who want a more relaxed experience with less decisive choices. The real gem of this reissue, at least for the Italian market, is the unprecedented work of localization in Italian. After spending a fair number of hours on both works, we can say that the translation, net of some very small inaccuracies, is really well done. Not only does he often manage to re-propose the various types of character registers , but he contextualizes some jokes using local idioms. Very hilarious, for example, the moment in which Junpei, one of the main characters, defines an outing between boys as “the sausage festival”, with a joke suitable both for the character of who pronounces it and for the context in which it is said .

Person and today’s market

Beyond the changes made in this reissue, it is appropriate to reflect for a moment on how enjoyable two titles with different years on their shoulders can be today. Needless to deny it: despite a respectable remastering, Persona 3 Portable shows the signs of time. The dungeon tilesets are extremely repetitive and some grinding mechanisms could be dated for those accustomed to today’s RPGs. However, the charm of the setting and a truly unique plot will amaze those who want to discover the mysteries hidden behind the Dark Hour.

Persona 4 has aged much better and, if you wanted to opt for only one of the two products, it would undoubtedly be the game to take into consideration. The mechanics are more refined, and the Golden version featured in this compilation can easily be compared to the more famous Persona 5 for the amount of content and depth of gameplay . At such a low price, this is an opportunity not to be missed. In any case, the high historical value of both titles outweighs the imperfections and defects due to age.

Relive the evolution of a franchise like Persona, seeing how mechanics such as the social link system or the acquisition of new demons have developed, is a must-see for any fan of the saga, even for those who started with Persona 5.


Persona 3 Portable & Persona 4 Golden
Persona 3 Portable & Persona 4 Golden

Analyzed Version PlayStation 5:  This remaster is designed for all those who have not had the opportunity to get to know the old titles of the saga. Going into more detail, in strictly numerical terms, the re-release of Persona 3, in our opinion, deserves an 8, while the review of Persona 4 Golden even a 9.5. The vote you see at the bottom is therefore the result of an average between the two aforementioned evaluations. Behind a non-latest generation graphic component, deep plots are hidden, worthy of being experienced and capable of leaving their mark on the mind of anyone who wants to live them to the end. Don’t be put off by the exterior and dive into one of the most significant JRPG sagas in history.

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