Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 is the third game in the series of dark supernatural RPGs.
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Story & Themes
The game mechanic is based on the manifestation of characters’ innermost thoughts as either “Shadows” or “Personas.” Shadows are negative emotions, fears, or aspects of the personality that manifest as dangerous beings. Characters must face their own Shadows and come to terms with these malevolent inner thoughts, at which point a Shadow will become a Persona—a trained and tamed version of those thoughts, working with the character to defeat enemies. Personas are positive manifestations of a character’s thoughts.
Persona 3, like other Persona games, features a unique protagonist and storyline. The protagonist is silent and unnamed. He arrives in a city 10 years after losing his parents in an accident, and is quickly introduced to SEES (Special Extracurricular Execution Squad) after revealing that he has the ability to summon multiple Personas. SEES travels to an alternate dimension called Tartarus, located in a 250-floor tower, in order to defeat Shadows. Unfortunately, the teens have been misled; destroying the Shadows is inadvertently freeing a being called Nyx who will destroy the world if fully reanimated.
Spoilers ahead! At one point the SEES members encounter a teenage boy named Ryoji who tells them that they must kill him by December 31 or else he will unwillingly usher Nyx (and thus the end of the world). The player must choose to kill or spare Ryoji. If Ryoji is killed, the SEES members lose their memories and lead normal lives until the world inevitably ends. If Ryoji is saved, however, the game continues. SEES makes it to the top of the Tartarus tower and fights Ryoji (whose true form is Nyx) and the protagonist must use the Social Links he’s gained from his friends and acquaintances to seal Nyx away.
The game ends with the world returning to normal and the SEES members losing their memories of the past year. They gather on the high school roof right before graduation, where they find the protagonist, who smiles at their brief reunion before he dies, having sacrificed himself to save the world.
The enemies in Persona are all modeled after real-world mythological figures. Human genitalia is not considered as taboo in Japan, and thus characters do not react to these demons as Americans might.
- Do you think the games point the player in the "right" direction? Are some endings worse than others?
- Do you feel that the Personas and Shadows are a realistic way of thinking about inner turmoil and acceptance? Would you use a visualization like this to come to terms with your own inner turmoil?
- What do you think of the Evokers? Why are they shaped like guns? Did this bother you?
- Did you relate to any of the characters? Do you think they are realistic depictions of teenagers?
- Did you choose to kill Ryoji or spare him? Why did you make that choice?
Action/Adventure, Role-Playing (RPG), Simulation
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Cannot be played online