Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, known in Japan as Persona 3 (ペルソナ3, Perusona 3) is the fourth game in the Persona series. The game was developed by Atlus for the PS2. An epilogue and enhanced version of the game was released as Persona 3: FES.
- Japan: 13 July 2006 for Playstation 2
- North America: 14 August 2007 for Playstation 2
- Europe: 29th February 2008 for Playstation 2
Persona 3 begins with the Main Character returning to the city after ten years. He is quickly brought into SEES when his awareness of the Dark Hour is revealed and that he can summon multiple Personae into battle. With their help, SEES is able to explore Tartarus further and defeat Greater Shadows that appear every full moon, believing that by killing all twelve of them, they will be able to end the appearance of the Dark Hour. However, SEES learns they have been misled; by destroying the Greater Shadows, they have freed parts of a being called Nyx who will bring about the end of the world if it is fully restored. It is revealed that the Kirijo Corporation was attempting to do this ten years ago, but Nyx was released prematurely in a laboratory accident that also created the Dark Hour and Tartarus. Aigis, a robot designed to fight Nyx, battled the being but was unable to fully defeat it, instead dispersing parts of it into the Greater Shadows, and installing the last part into that of a young boy nearby, revealed to be the Main Character.
SEES encounters Ryoji, a teenage boy who tells him he is Death incarnate and that if they do not kill him by December 31, he will unwillingly usher in Nyx and the end of the world. The player is given the option to kill Ryoji at this point; if taken, the game explains that members of SEES lose memories of the last year, and show them leading normal lives until inevitably the end of the world occurs. If Ryoji is spared, then the game continues, and on January 31, SEES climbs to the top of Tartarus to face Ryoji, now in his true form of the avatar of Nyx. Though they defeat it, the avatar is able to still call forth Nyx; the moon splits open revealing a strange device that begins to kill people across the Earth. The Main Character uses all of his Social Links gained from SEES and other friends to create a seal to lock Nyx away forever, though sacrificing himself to do so.
The world returns to normal, though the memories of the past year are lost to the SEES members. As they finish school, they come to realize that they each promised to gather on the school's roof should they make it to graduation day. There, they find the Main Character lying in Aigis' lap, smiling at the brief reunion with the other SEES members before he dies.
Persona 3 combines elements of standard console role-playing games and dating sims. The game takes place over the course of a Japanese school year. Each day goes by broken up into several periods such as "Morning", "Afternoon" and "Evening", with the Main Character going to school and then participating in selected activities during free time. The player may opt to use the free time activities to buy equipment and items at stores, talk to other non-playable characters, or spend the remainder of the free time either to build a Social Link or to improve the Main Character's attributes, such as by gaining courage by singing karaoke. Thus, the player must manage which activities or Social Links to improve in order to build up the Main Character for the exploration of the Tartarus. Certain in-game events will occur on prescribed days; Major Shadows will appear on full moons, there will be midterm and final exams within school, and school holidays give the player more time to work on other activities.
At night, the player may opt to enter Tartarus, or otherwise allow the characters to rest and recover. Tartarus is a 250-floor tower which the player must eventually climb by the end of the game. Tartarus is broken into several "blocks", and various blocks are inaccessible until the Major Shadows are defeated on each full moon, thus limiting the progress through the tower. Most floors of Tartarus are randomly generated in a roguelike manner, with a random distribution of treasure and wandering Shadows, but each includes a stairway to the next floor and many also include a one-way only teleport point that allows them to escape to the first floor. Other levels contain mini-bosses that must be defeated in order to progress; these levels also feature a fixed teleport point that allows the player to travel to any other similar teleport point that has been previously accessed, thus allowing the player to skip blocks when returning to Tartarus. The player may opt to keep the party together or have each member explore the level, recovering any treasure found and fighting monsters individually. As the party explores, their health will worsen, and a member that ends up "tired" or "sick" will perform poorly in battle and may drop out before battle is complete; the only way to recover from these states is spend one or more nights without exploring Tartarus.
Combat is a turn-based affair. Each character can person a standard melee attack with their weapon, summon their Persona to unleash an attack or spell, or use recovery and battle items. The player only directly controls the actions of the Main Character. The other members of the party can be guided through specific tactics assigned to each of them, such as maintaining the health of the party, or going all out with Persona attacks. Each foe has strengths and weaknesses; by striking a foe with an attack it is weak against, it will cause the foe to be knocked down, and the attacker will gain one more immediate attack; this can lead to a chain of attacks against each foe if the attacks are selected appropriately. If all remaining foes are knocked down, the player can opt for an "All Out" attack, with the remaining members entering a cartoon-like fight cloud, inflicting higher damage on each foe.
- See also Status Changes in Persona 3.
- Yukari Takeba (岳羽 ゆかり)
- Junpei Iori (伊織 順平)
- Mitsuru Kirijo (桐条 美鶴)
- Akihiko Sanada (真田 明彦)
- Fuuka Yamagishi (山岸 風花)
- Aigis (アイギス)
- Koromaru (コロマル)
- Ken Amada (天田 乾)
- Shinjiro Aragaki (荒垣 真次郎)
- See List of Persona 3 Characters for more.
Due to the popularity of Persona 3, several related media releases followed. There is a loosely connected anime, a Persona 3 Manga, and several side games, such as Aegis: The First Mission, Megami Tensei Chaining Soul: Persona 3 and Megami Tensei QIX: Persona 3. It also spawned an enhanced epilogue and its modified combat engine appears in Persona 4. An updated PSP port, titled Persona 3 Portable was announced to be coming November 1st in a recent Famitsu. It now features a new, female Main Character, and a female version of Orpheus as her Persona.