Persona 3 Reload Review: Nostalgic game, now with Limit Breaks

Iwatodai Dorm OST is still a banger after all these years.

Persona 3 holds a very special place in my heart. I played it when I was a 13-year-old kid who did not have any grasp on what life meant; rather, I was just a naive teenager living out his high school life like the protagonist in Persona 3 Reload, Makoto Yuki.

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Fourteen years later, Persona 3 Reload moved my heart with its intricate story and real-life dilemmas about friendship and sacrifices. Here's my full review of Persona 3 Reload.


Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Persona 3 Reload isn't very different from the original game. It's still the same classic turn-based RPG that encapsulates players from the get-go with its simple yet satisfying mechanics like All-Out and the brand new Theurgy A.K.A. Limit Breaks but Persona-fied.

Aside from the JRPG aspect of Persona 3 Reload, you're able to do a plethora of activities ranging from working as a part-time employee, establishing Social Links with other side characters, watching movies, going to the arcade, and everything else you'd expect a typical high school student does.

If you're coming into P3R from the original or portable version, you'll likely notice a few changes in the gameplay. I'd have to write an entire article to enumerate all the fine details changed; let's just say that the gameplay and flow of the entire P3R have been revamped and feel better than ever.

From the modernized UI to the removal of the "Fatigue" system, Persona 3 Reload is the epitome of a Persona game. Moreover, I'd say this is the best version of Persona 3 I have ever played, and I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to dive into the world of Persona.

Gameplay: 5/5


Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Persona 3's story, in general, has been weak when compared to its successors, especially Persona 5. Some of the antagonists' motives feel out of place, and some characters lack a certain polish to their character arcs.

With the new Linked Episodes feature and a few new exclusive cutscenes in Persona 3 Reload, the characters feel more cohesive and tied down to the overall arching story of the game. The problem comes with the overall plot of the game, especially after you manage to eliminate all full-moon shadows. Without any spoilers, I'll just say that it's something players will not expect but is told in a very confusing and nonsensical way.

I love what the developers did by fleshing out all characters, especially the fully-voiced Social Links, as it adds more depth and emotion to the scenes. Then again, a certain antagonist was written so horribly that it made no sense, and the developers should have tried to iron out their character arcs first before proceeding with the final act of the game.

Story: 3/5

Related: How to try & fuse higher level Personas in P3 Reload

Sound Score

Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

There's not much to say in terms of the music and overall sound score. You get the classic Persona 3 music, which is all bangers, as expected from a Persona game. The remixes of the original music certainly add more substance to any activities you're doing, whether you're exploring the Tartarus or casually strolling the streets of the Iwatodai Strip Mall.

My favorite soundtrack has to be the Iwatodai Dorm, which I usually play during work sessions. As a big music geek, the massive improvement in the sound mix of the OSTs made me appreciate the nuances of the trumpets, snare, and cymbals.

Speaking of the overall audio mix, everything seems balanced on my Sennheiser headphones, and I noticed every aspect of the sound effects is mixed and balanced correctly, so you won't hear any overlapping details from each other.

Sound Score: 5/5


Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

I'm a sucker for visuals, and that doesn't mean everything has to be "photorealistic" as a modded Skyrim or GTA V. Persona 3 Reload comes with a cel-shaded art style, so you feel like you're playing a manga in real-time.

Other players may say that the game does look visually flat compared to Persona 5, but considering the overall theme of "Death" in the game, the overall visual was much easier on the eyes.

Each location has a lot of details that truly make it pop. A few examples would be the striking visuals from the Iwatodai Strip Mall and the baron back alley of the Port Island Station during the daytime. Those tiny details give the player a lot of information on what a specific location represents without actively giving it out.

The Tartarus also received a massive overhaul in the visual aspect. Each block is unique; however, there were some areas that were really confusing to navigate through, especially on the Arqa and Harabah blocks. The floors weren't as clear as I would have liked them to be, but luckily, the minimap is there to help.

Visuals: 4/5

Related: Persona 3 Reload Clubs – Best club and how to join

Verdict: Amazing JRPG pulled down by the antagonists

If you're new to the Persona series, then I suggest checking out Persona 3 Reload. Although the story is not as strongly written as Persona 5, it still presents its case as an amazing JRPG experience. The game does a fantastic job of providing players with a lot of different activities so you can play however you want.

However, I feel bummed out that Atlus opted to exclude The Answer arc and instead will release it as a DLC, as it gives a defining conclusion to the game. Don't get me wrong, the game does have an ending, unlike Asura's Wrath, but it doesn't give a concrete answer to what happened to this or that character.

If this review has you locked in on Persona, check out All Twilight Fragment Locations in Persona 3 Reload right here at Pro Game Guides!

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About the Author

Jay is a Weekend Senior Staff Writer for PGG and has been playing video games for over two decades now. He is a Mechanical Engineering graduate who transitioned into writing as he realized that his passion truly revolved around video games. With over two years of dedicated experience as a writer specializing in the video gaming industry, Jay's passion for video games is seen through his art of crafting meticulously detailed video game guides, news, and reviews. His expertise spans a diverse range of gaming genres, most notably ARPGs, JRPG,s FPS, and TPS. Jay's favorite titles and franchises include Final Fantasy, Dragon's Dogma, Soulsborne, and Call of Duty.
Find Jay Vijuan On: Twitter - YouTube

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Persona 3 Reload Review: Nostalgic game, now with Limit Breaks

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