The Persona 3 Thread

P3P on hard as a girl is shaping up to be my preferred Persona 3 experience. I really like the changes they made for the portable version, the female character is more interesting to me than the male, and the combat mechanics just sing on hard. It's perfect.

And her character portrait is so cute!

Yeah, she's totally adorable. And probably my favorite character to find new outfits for since Leanne in Resonance of Fate.

What are the main differences between the various difficulty levels? I'm about to restart playing P3P using the female character and I'm curious what might be different... as in the unobvious stuff like "combat is harder."

From looking at the descriptions in the title screen, Beginner and Easy have decreased difficulties in the battles and let you replay battles if you loose. Hard and Maniac have increased difficulty in battles and increased prices in the Compendium. Maniac also doesn't let you carry anything over for New Game+.

What I love about the game on hard is that the battles are difficult enough that I have to consider every aspect of gameplay when creating a strategy. Playing FES on normal, I didn't really have to pay attention to much more than elemental weaknesses and resistances to get by. Playing P3P on hard, I'm having to pay attention to those things but also to my character's equipment, the items I have on hand, and so forth. It just strikes the right balance where I really have to use all of the game's systems in order to get ahead, which is how I like it.

According to MegaTen wiki, the difficulty settings are as follows:

  • Beginner: Enemy damage is significantly toned down, and the player is given 30 Plumes Of Dusk to continue in case of a game over.
  • Easy: Enemy damage is toned down, and the player is given 10 Plumes Of Dusk to continue in case of a game over.
  • Normal: Standard difficulty. Enemies deal average damage
  • Hard: Enemies deal 1.5 times more damage than normal and can gain a higher chance of Enemy Advantage when not taken by surprise.
  • Maniac: Enemies deal 2 times more damage than normal, can gain a higher chance of Enemy Advantage when not taken by surprise, and certain weapon fusions cannot be performed. Moreover, when starting a New Cycle from any difficulty level to Maniac, no data from the prior game carries over to the new one (character level and social stats start at 1, the Persona Compendium will only have records of recently-gained Personas, and the doors for Vision Quest and Monad will not be present early in the game).

This list seems to be incomplete, though, because, on Hard, Compendium prices are higher as well.

I agree with clockworkhouse's praise for Hard mode. It really heightens most things about the game!

Cool to hear. I'm on the fence about which difficulty I'll use. It's probably going to be either hard or easy. Hard for the aforementioned reasons, easy if I decide I more just want to focus on story and social aspects. I've probably had my fill of the combat mechanics.

Finally got PSN card today. Persona 3 FES purchased, downloaded, and installed. Might start tonight when wifey goes to bed. Probably should finish some pile games first but screw it. Heard too much good about this game for too long. Tired of waiting.

Oh yeah. Any basic, general, non-spoiler tips for a persona newb, but SMT DS/SJ vet?

Stele wrote:

Oh yeah. Any basic, general, non-spoiler tips for a persona newb, but SMT DS/SJ vet?

Social links are important. You don't have to go to Tartarus every night, don't stress when you can't go.

The best way to level up Personas is to build your social links up and then fuse new Personas.

Don't spend a lot of time in Tartarus leveling up your characters or your Personas. Your time is precious, and your social activities are often more important in the long run.

You're familiar with elemental types and weaknesses from Devil Survivor and Strange Journey, right? They're all pretty much the same here. Just know that exploiting a weakness works a bit differently in this one than in those others: here, when you exploit a weakness, your character gets to take another turn right away. (As a side note, I love that in each of these games mentioned exploiting an elemental weakness has a different reward.)

Edit: You can switch Personas once per turn. You can even switch Personas after you've cast a spell with one. I didn't realize this until a couple hours into my first playthrough, and it makes a huge difference.

I am really interested in this - especially for the chance at an easy mode. Pulling my hair out with Devil Survivor.

Like you, Clockwork, I just bought a PSP. I saved away some money when possible and got a new one, seeing as Persona 2 dropped in my lap as a Christmas present. I have already made this a favorite thread, and want to be one of the cool kids too.

Just bought this on the US PSN store after reading the thread. Had to buy a US PSN card to charge up a fake PSN account like I did in order to get the Tell Tale Walking Dead as neither are released in the Australian PSN.

Getting it mainly off the back of missing RPG's and loving the look/style of Catherine graphically.

I've never played and Persona games, pretty much my JRPG experience has been tied to the Final Fantasy games which I loved (this is considered a JRPG right?), should I be reading any more of a primer before playing this other than what ClockworkHouse has written above? Or is that about all I need? And am I best to just play on normal if I want a bit of a challenge but nothing to get too frustrating?

So I guess the priority is pushing up the social links (vs. working on the stats or leveling), right? as in always take the opportunity to gain social links when asked? Also should I be trying to fuse all possible personas that I can? It's so complicated with the different classes and personas and the considerations for what skills are inherited.

Its pretty addicting, and makes me interested in how the native vita version of Persona 4 is going to turn out.

indy wrote:

So I guess the priority is pushing up the social links (vs. working on the stats or leveling), right? as in always take the opportunity to gain social links when asked? Also should I be trying to fuse all possible personas that I can? It's so complicated with the different classes and personas and the considerations for what skills are inherited.

Its pretty addicting, and makes me interested in how the native vita version of Persona 4 is going to turn out.

I haven't really consulted any guides or anything so this is just from my personal experience, but here's my take:

You'll level up your main character over time without really having to do anything extra, so don't stress that part. You will get much higher level personas through fusion than grinding. Since that rules out those 2 forms of stats, the stats you should focus on are your social link levels and your Charm/Courage/Academics stats. My personal approach was social link after school, stat in the evening. You can raise your social link faster if you currently have a Persona of that type. When fusing Personas, my main goal early on was to make sure I had a persona of the social links that I was working on and to make sure I had all of the basic element attack types covered. Later in the game you need to worry about your own resistances as well.

^ That's it in a nutshell.

Is the only way to get Personas in Tartarus with cards?

I'm afraid to fuse my first couple away, especially since the starting one hasn't learned all its skills yet. But I got a couple of Pixie cards and the 2nd one disappeared, so I feel like I need to fuse since I keep seeing Pixie cards.

Also I went down to the gym the first day they told me about team tryouts. (4/20 or 4/21 maybe?) But all I could do was watch practice. Now I glanced at one of the social links FAQs and it mentions joining teams on 4/23? But I'm already on the 25th. Kinda forgot to head back down there, and Kenji kept inviting me out for more talks. But my housemates have been asking the last couple days if I was going to join a team.

I do have about 5 saves I rotate through though, so I could go back a couple days. Is it really important to join a team? Should I go back and do it? You meet more people that way? Will they show up later anyway?

Stele wrote:

Is the only way to get Personas in Tartarus with cards?

I'm afraid to fuse my first couple away, especially since the starting one hasn't learned all its skills yet. But I got a couple of Pixie cards and the 2nd one disappeared, so I feel like I need to fuse since I keep seeing Pixie cards.

Yes. You only get Personas from fusing and cards, unless something happens later than where I am in the game. I was afraid to fuse at first too and it was a mistake. You can always use the compendium to get back anything you used for fusion anyway. Don't worry about learning all of the skills because leveling up the old fashioned way will take way too long, if it ever happens at all.

Stele wrote:

I do have about 5 saves I rotate through though, so I could go back a couple days. Is it really important to join a team? Should I go back and do it? You meet more people that way? Will they show up later anyway?

Joining teams/clubs is how you forge new social links, so, yes it's important. Can you not go join the team now though? I didn't think it was a tiny window you had to use, but I could be wrong.

Oh right, compendium, duh. Hasn't' been introduced to me yet but I'm familiar with it from other SMT stuff.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Stele wrote:

I do have about 5 saves I rotate through though, so I could go back a couple days. Is it really important to join a team? Should I go back and do it? You meet more people that way? Will they show up later anyway?

Joining teams/clubs is how you forge new social links, so, yes it's important. Can you not go join the team now though? I didn't think it was a tiny window you had to use, but I could be wrong.

Maybe? It's now Sat night or Sun morning on my game, so clubs didn't meet on Sat and no school Sun. Just wondering if I should continue onward and still be able to join on the 27th? They made it sound like tryouts were short-term. Figured there was a window in which to join.

I'm hesitant to check a full FAQ. Just looking at the social link one didn't have many spoilers.

Man, the Hierophant boss is kicking my ass on hard.

I beat him once, actually, quite handily, and then died to the Lovers boss who charmed my whole party so that we killed each other. However, every attempt since then has gone more or less the same: the boss casts Prophecy of Ruin which afflicts all or most of my party with Fear. My party may or may not get to act and chip away at his health a bit. Then the Hierophant uses a strike attack that hits all party members; since they're all afraid, it guarantees a critical hit, and the Hierophant gets to take a second strike attack against a downed party, which usually kills everyone. If the main character gets to act, I can use a Me Patra Gem to cure the Fear status, but if I do that, the Hierophant just re-casts Prophecy of Ruin and starts the cycle over.

I'm going to look to see if I can fuse anything that grants protection from Fear, and at the very least get Strike Wards for everyone else. But man, it's been rough going. That time I beat the Hierophant before? In a bit of a fluke, he didn't cast Prophecy of Ruin even once.

Stele wrote:

Oh right, compendium, duh. Hasn't' been introduced to me yet but I'm familiar with it from other SMT stuff.

SixteenBlue wrote:
Stele wrote:

I do have about 5 saves I rotate through though, so I could go back a couple days. Is it really important to join a team? Should I go back and do it? You meet more people that way? Will they show up later anyway?

Joining teams/clubs is how you forge new social links, so, yes it's important. Can you not go join the team now though? I didn't think it was a tiny window you had to use, but I could be wrong.

Maybe? It's now Sat night or Sun morning on my game, so clubs didn't meet on Sat and no school Sun. Just wondering if I should continue onward and still be able to join on the 27th? They made it sound like tryouts were short-term. Figured there was a window in which to join.

I'm hesitant to check a full FAQ. Just looking at the social link one didn't have many spoilers.

You should be able to go pick a sports team and start that Social Link at any time after the 23rd. To the best of my knowledge, there are no windows where a Social Link becomes available and then disappears. Some of them only start after certain dates (and later, when you hit certain levels on your social stats or on other Social Links) but nothing ever becomes unavailable.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

You should be able to go pick a sports team and start that Social Link at any time after the 23rd. To the best of my knowledge, there are no windows where a Social Link becomes available and then disappears. Some of them only start after certain dates (and later, when you hit certain levels on your social stats or on other Social Links) but nothing ever becomes unavailable.

Good to know. I shall proceed.

I went ahead and went to Tartarus Sat night anyway. Fused my first couple demons away. Got another, and fused up to a level 5 Magician, which I had a social link of 3 for already... and the Persona gained like 3 levels and 2 spells immediately. That's a nice twist that isn't in the SMT DS games, but I like it a lot.

Guess I'm still very early and there's lots and lots of game ahead of me, but I'm enjoying it so far. Even graphically it looks fairly good on the PS3.

This is my first time through P3, but don't you have to have reached a certain part of Tartarus before each full moon? Or am I mixing up this dungeon deadline stuff from Persona 4?

You don't have to, but Elizabeth gives you quests to reach the next gate before each full moon. So it's not a requirement, but it's a good goal to aim for and there are some rewards for doing so.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

You don't have to, but Elizabeth gives you quests to reach the next gate before each full moon. So it's not a requirement, but it's a good goal to aim for and there are some rewards for doing so.

Oh, okay.

I forgot about the quests she gave me and had a small case of frostbite when I read her reply that I had missed the deadline on those.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

4
Edit: You can switch Personas once per turn. You can even switch Personas after you've cast a spell with one. I didn't realize this until a couple hours into my first playthrough, and it makes a huge difference.

This has been huge, especially once I remembered the bolded part. In fights with familiar enemies on the first Tartarus, my MC usually killed everything before the rest of the party got a chance.

Anyway, finished the first full moon last night (May 10ish?). And apparently I've spent way too much time in Tartarus, or just amm really slow because my playtime shows almost 9 hours. And I remember from the other topic someone being in July or Aug after that much time?

I do think I had one time where I couldn't save but had to take a break so I hit the PS3 button which pauses. But when I came back it was unpaused. Apparently when your controller goes into sleep mode, the overlay disappears. So my in-game reported time may be skewed by a number of minutes, maybe even an hour.

Also when skimming the JRPG thread for P3 mentions, I saw some stuff saying that it was very difficult, if not impossible to max all social links on one playthrough. I guess I should probably give up on that idea at this point and have a little more fun?

I mean I was looking at the Max Social Links FAQ on gameFAQs and I've already missed a couple of the events. I did want to try to get the Elizabeth quest it mentions, which means I have push Courage up by the end of June.

So far I made all of Elizabeth's first round of dated quests for 5/7, although a couple I completed on the day. Am I wrong in thinking that you have to accept her quests to get the drops from enemies? I swear I killed a dozen turtles on Tartarus runs, but then on the final day I finally accepted the quest from her, went to floor 15, and the very first tuttle I killed got me the turtle shell. That kinda makes it tough to grind for items when you can only have 3 quests accepted at a time.

Anyway having a blast. Probably more to post later.

Stele wrote:

Also when skimming the JRPG thread for P3 mentions, I saw some stuff saying that it was very difficult, if not impossible to max all social links on one playthrough. I guess I should probably give up on that idea at this point and have a little more fun?

I would recommend it. It is technically possible to do on your first playthrough, but not only does it require you to be perfect every single night (and run tartarus in one night every month), it requires an additional bit of luck in getting the "bonus" academic points in a few nights of study, which is completely at the mercy of the random number generator. It's far easier (but still not particularly easy) to accomplish on NG+ when your stats are already maxed out and you can easily pull the personas you need to match with the SL arcana.

Stele wrote:

This has been huge, especially once I remembered the bolded part. In fights with familiar enemies on the first Tartarus, my MC usually killed everything before the rest of the party got a chance. :D

Good! That's how it should be at first. Things will get more complicated later when you have mixed groups of enemies, different powers on multiple Personas, and so forth. But yeah, through the first block, your teammates standing around and telling you you're cool is normal.

Anyway, finished the first full moon last night (May 10ish?). And apparently I've spent way too much time in Tartarus, or just amm really slow because my playtime shows almost 9 hours. And I remember from the other topic someone being in July or Aug after that much time? :?

That was SixteenBlue, and as near as I can tell, he's set some sort of world record for speed-running the game. Don't stress about it. It took me 40 hours to get to August.

Also when skimming the JRPG thread for P3 mentions, I saw some stuff saying that it was very difficult, if not impossible to max all social links on one playthrough. I guess I should probably give up on that idea at this point and have a little more fun?

I mean I was looking at the Max Social Links FAQ on gameFAQs and I've already missed a couple of the events. I did want to try to get the Elizabeth quest it mentions, which means I have push Courage up by the end of June.

You're right: it's very, very hard to max all the social links in a single playthrough. The best thing to do if you think you might do a New Game+ at some point is to focus on maxing out the ones you're interested in. Not only do you get to follow the story lines you're curious about, but whenever you max out a social link you get an item that lets you fuse the highest level Persona for that arcana. You can carry those items with you into a New Game+, so you can focus on the other social links you missed in your second game.

So far I made all of Elizabeth's first round of dated quests for 5/7, although a couple I completed on the day. Am I wrong in thinking that you have to accept her quests to get the drops from enemies? I swear I killed a dozen turtles on Tartarus runs, but then on the final day I finally accepted the quest from her, went to floor 15, and the very first tuttle I killed got me the turtle shell. That kinda makes it tough to grind for items when you can only have 3 quests accepted at a time.

Yep. Monster drops don't show up until you have the quest from Elizabeth. Likewise, you can't get many of the world items she requests unless you have the quest for it. What I've found works best is to focus on one at a time: pick one of the monster drop quests and get it done, then take the other one. Leave your other two quest slots for shorter quests like getting items from people on certain days, collecting stuff from the school, etc.

Glad you're enjoying it!

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Yep. Monster drops don't show up until you have the quest from Elizabeth. Likewise, you can't get many of the world items she requests unless you have the quest for it. What I've found works best is to focus on one at a time: pick one of the monster drop quests and get it done, then take the other one. Leave your other two quest slots for shorter quests like getting items from people on certain days, collecting stuff from the school, etc.

Well that is really annoying. I probably would have got the other two quests I didn't complete done if I had accepted them then. But I didn't want to have a full log. Not sure there's much reason for me to redo the first block at this point, so those may just be incomplete forever.

And sounds like you both give the same advice on completing all social inks... give up for now.

Losing my love for the game today. Out of about 3 hours of playtime only an hour or less has counted.

One time I just walked into this Phantom group who cast maragi 3 times and my current persona was weak to fire... bam, hour of game gone.

So I took a short break for food. Went back in... kept going back down to save after repeating 3-4 floors or so. Finally leveled up a 2nd time, and was ready to call it quits... and spent the next two floors desperately searching for an exit but I kept finding stairs up instead. Is there something where you find the stairs and you can't find the warp back down? Or does every floor not have a return warp?

My oh-so-helpful support keeps telling me to warp back down but I can't find one anywhere from floor 15-21. And so finally my mom calls, and I hit the PS3 button, thinking that freezes the game, which it seems to have done before. But when I come back from my phone call I'm some fight with a Reaper enemy that I've never seen before. Clearly it's some enemy designed to keep you from farming on a certain floor too long or something because it proceeds to hit my whole party for 1100+ damage to each of us (I have 150hp or so now)... and erase another hour of work, a level of xp, and god knows how much yen.

I'm starting to think this game just isn't friendly to short play sessions or frequent interruptions. As well as just the dumb luck when an enemy gets advantage and your whole party gets wiped. I mean sometimes I'm swinging at the enemy and they still hit me first.

Starting to think I should restart on Easy. Despite 95% of the battles being an easy cakewalk so far, the other 5% of time losing 30-60 min of progress is pissing me off too much to enjoy it.

I know you get some kind of continue item on Easy... is there any way to get any of those on Normal? Just having that option once in a great while could really entice me to keep playing on Normal. I know the game combat will be mind-numbingly boring on Easy. But I really don't have time for a 60? hour game if I have to actually spend 100+ hours playing it.

Stele wrote:

One time I just walked into this Phantom group who cast maragi 3 times and my current persona was weak to fire... bam, hour of game gone.

That... happens, and it can be really annoying. However, it doesn't happen very often. So long as enemies don't get the jump on you, you should get at least one turn to switch your Persona to something that isn't weak to their attack.

If it makes you feel any better, I had the same thing happen to me but with a single enemy far below my level who just so happened to match up poorly with my selected Persona.

Or does every floor not have a return warp?

Not every floor has a warp point.

My oh-so-helpful support keeps telling me to warp back down but I can't find one anywhere from floor 15-21. And so finally my mom calls, and I hit the PS3 button, thinking that freezes the game, which it seems to have done before. But when I come back from my phone call I'm some fight with a Reaper enemy that I've never seen before. Clearly it's some enemy designed to keep you from farming on a certain floor too long or something because it proceeds to hit my whole party for 1100+ damage to each of us (I have 150hp or so now)... and erase another hour of work, a level of xp, and god knows how much yen.

I don't know about PS2 games on the PS3, but the best way to pause is to hit the triangle button to go into the menu.

The creature you were fighting there is Death. He'll show up if you stay too long in a level or pick a cursed item from the shuffle. He's supposedly killable, but I haven't hit a level yet where I could even try it. In normal play, you will get a warning that Death is about to arrive so you can run for your life.

I'm starting to think this game just isn't friendly to short play sessions or frequent interruptions. As well as just the dumb luck when an enemy gets advantage and your whole party gets wiped. I mean sometimes I'm swinging at the enemy and they still hit me first. :?

That bolded bit? That's why I switched to the portable version. Diving into Tartarus can take a chunk of your time (30 minutes to an hour) where you simply can't save. My son interrupted my gaming sessions far too often for me to make progress in the game in a reasonable amount of time.

That's PS2 games for you, though. We've been so spoiled by quick and auto saves (and suspend on handhelds) that we forget what that generation was like with its hours-apart save points and crap like that.

As to enemies getting the jump: you have to hit them before they get to you, not just be swinging. The timing for this is a little different with each weapon, so try to keep an eye on that. The best thing to do is to stay out of range of enemies and hit them in the back. That guarantees a free turn for you and your team before they can act.

Starting to think I should restart on Easy. Despite 95% of the battles being an easy cakewalk so far, the other 5% of time losing 30-60 min of progress is pissing me off too much to enjoy it.

I know you get some kind of continue item on Easy... is there any way to get any of those on Normal? Just having that option once in a great while could really entice me to keep playing on Normal. I know the game combat will be mind-numbingly boring on Easy. But I really don't have time for a 60? hour game if I have to actually spend 100+ hours playing it. :mad:

Party wipes and losing some progress happens, but I'll be honest that I think you just ran into some bad luck here with getting killed by the phantoms and then getting killed by Death back-to-back. I'm obviously a bit biased since this is one of my favoritest games ever, but I'd encourage you to give it a bit more time.

The key to survival is to play carefully and cautiously and to remember that unlike in most RPGs, enemies really honestly can completely kick your ass at any time.