Persona 3 Reload Preview

Persona 3 Reload Preview

Persona 3 Reload is well on its way to becoming the definitive way to play the title, thanks to smart large-scale and small-scale improvements.

Persona 3 Reload is an upcoming remake of one of Atlus’ most influential JRPGs, and the studio is bringing the game into the modern era by matching the scope and ambitions of Persona 5. Everything is remade from the ground up, including additional side content, improved graphics and character models, an entirely new and heavily utilized voice cast, and much, much more.

Game Rant recently attended the Sega Summer Showcase in NYC where we were able to play two 15-minute gameplay slices of Persona 3 Reload. The first saw us traversing the first few floors of Tartarus, while the second put us on the monorail early in the game, ending in the boss fight against the Arcana Priestess.

Immediately, the improvements over the base game are evident. Persona 3 Reload‘s graphics and characters are much more evocative than the base game, and everything reads much more cleanly. Persona 3 has arguably not aged the best, and Persona 3 Reload modernizes the experience with a crisp presentation. When combined with the excellent Persona-style soundtrack, immersion in Persona 3 Reload is second to none.

Perhaps the biggest victory of these improvements is in modernizing everything but retaining what makes them special. Makoto Yuki was just as aloof as one would expect, Junpei’s cockiness rings through, and Mitsuru is just as commanding. Even the boss that we faced, the Arcana Priestess, is immediately recognizable, yet so drastically improved that many fans are bound to drop their jaws. There’s always a balance in preserving the nature of something older while modernizing it, and Persona 3 Reload strikes that balance perfectly.

Indeed, given Persona 3‘s themes of life, death, creation, and destruction, one could argue that the duller color palette, settings, and designs in the original were intentional. Perhaps they were, but Persona 3 Reload manages to use cooler colors and general setting designs to modernize this message as well. Down to using a Persona, exploring Tartarus, or just traveling the Monorail, everything felt vibrant but somehow fitting to the darker themes. As many no doubt know, using Personas in P3 sees users point a gun at their head and imitate shooting themselves, as directly tied to the messages around their theme, but sometimes this constant use and dull presentation was a drawback in the original. In the upcoming remake, this is presented better and sometimes with additional flair, just to add to that core message of facing their mortality and overcoming their fear of death. That, if nothing else, speaks to the care and detail taken in this remake.

Persona 3 Reload Tartarus Screenshots

Both segments of this preview had a significant focus on combat, and it’s clear that the turn-based roots of the franchise are alive and well in Persona 3 Reload. It was easy to pick up, enjoyable, and an excellent representation of turn-based combat. Using items, attacking, and properly using effective Persona skills were all as simple as they should be, especially given that menu navigation in the base game, even in combat, was a bit convoluted. Indeed, a lot of what will impress fans about Persona 3 Reload is the obvious improvements, graphics and whatnot, but what will really sell this as a remake is the small things: navigating menus, in and out of combat, is much more intuitive; utilizing the most effective skill, even cycling through those, against any enemy is easily telegraphed; and the world around the player feels much more alive.

Of course, thirty minutes of gameplay for a Persona game isn’t enough for any form of final opinion on the subject. However, if this 30-minute preview is anything to go by at all, then Persona 3 Reload will stand side by side with Persona 5 and immediately be the definitive way to enjoy the title upon release.

Persona 3 Reload releases February 2024 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Game Rant was provided travel and lodging for the Sega Summer Showcase in NYC.

MORE: Persona 3 Reload Will Have an Entirely New Cast

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