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Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES

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The clock strikes midnight, while everything technological mysteriously shuts off, including the MP3 player of the main character, or in other words, you. The sky turns dark and green as the moon glows within the ominous surroundings. There are suddenly coffins all over the place, and all of them are standing up instead of lying down on the ground. On the ground is what appears to be blood, or some kind of liquid that looks like blood that may not actually be blood. Nobody knows what it is. A map helps the character to find where he is supposed to go within all this confusion.

Shin Megarni Tensei: Persona 3 FES (SMT: P3FES or just P3FES for short) is a Rated M RPG that was released in North America on April 22, 2008. FES, said to have come from "festival", is a basically a special edition/Director's Cutlrerelease of the original Persona 3. It includes a ton of features and content that was not in the original, along with a separate playable mode which is the continuation to the ending of the original and explains several things that players could only wonder about. FES was also released at a cheaper price of about $30.

The game allows you to load up data from the original, provided you still have that data. Only several minor things are transferred over, none of which affect how you start the game. The story is divided in two parts, The Journey, which is the storyline and mode of the original, and The Answer, which is the added continuation. In the Journey, you play as the nameless main character, whom you get to name yourself, as he is, in a way, supposed to represent you. The game takes place in an unnamed city, though as a whole, the setting would be within Japan. In the morning, you are a normal, high school student, currently a junior, and in night, or more specifically, the midnight, you can choose to explore the single dungeon of the game and slay shadows.

The day is divided into multiple parts. There's Morning, Lunchtime, After School, Evening, Nighttime, and Midnight, which shall be referred to, in P3 terms, as the Dark Hour. The morning is for classes, and you only have one class per day, all of which will either be a lecture with little to tons of text to read, and on some days, you will be called on to answer a question, with usually 3 answers for you to pick from. Answering questions correctly will raise one of your social stats (Courage, Charm, and Academics), and answering them incorrectly will do nothing. On days without questions, you are given the choice to sleep or stay awake. Sleeping has a 75% chance of increasing your condition from Good to Great, or Tired to Good, etc. Staying awake increases your Academics. Lunchtime is only a time where Social Link characters will ask you if you have free time. After School is when you get to freely explore. You can start Social Links, which are basically friendships with other people, including classmates, club leaders, and people outside of school. You can also just head straight back to the dorm if you don't feel like doing so, and once you enter, the time turns to Evening. You can still head out, however, only the mall is accessible during this time. Nighttime is just when you enter your room and you are given the option to sleep or study. And last but not least, the Dark Hour. This only occurs when you choose to go to Tartarus in the Evening. A clock will appear on screen and hit twelve, the time then proceeds to the Dark Hour.

The battle system is turn-based, meaning that everyone will take turns in battle. You can view the turn-order at anytime during the battle with the Li Button. Enemies can be scanned for their information and status with the Ri and the selection of the enemy using the X button. Note that bosses will never have any info revealed to you even after scanning them. You may only control the main character, while all of your party members will be controlled by Al, with a tactics system to change what you want them to focus on in battle. The battle menu cycles through Attack, Skill, Item, Persona, Tactics, and Escape. The skills you can use are the ones your equipped persona has. The Persona command allows you to switch between the current personae you have in your stock.

The game is rated M because of multiple things, including language, violence, blood, and partial nudity. There are few cases of the part concerning language; however, it is still used. Violence is shown in the usage of the whole concept of pointing gunshaped tools at heads to summon a Persona. It shouldn't influence anyone to doing the same thing with real guns as that would be a very silly thing to do, and there have been people that apparently tried to do so. Partial Nudity is only in about one scene, and a few costumes. There isn't much you can do about the one scene though you can skip it if you wish to, and the costumes can be missed quite easily. Ignoring anything that might disturb you, this game is certainly enjoyable and can take up to 100 or more hours just to finish The Journey.





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