More Thoughts on the Persona 3 Replay …

As I continue to replay Persona 3 — specifically, FES on the PS2 — I have to admit something: Persona 3 can at times, and maybe even often, drag, even in the S-link portions (as opposed to the dungeons).

Of course, all of the Persona games from Persona 3 onwards can drag in the real world portions. This usually happens at the end, when you’ve done most of the S-links that you really want to do — unless you’re really interested in the ones that open late in the game, like Mitsuru or Naoto –, maxed out your stats, and done about as much of the activities as you really want to do. You have all the equipment and money you want, and are as prepared as you’re going to be for the new dungeons and, particularly, the final dungeon. For the most part, you’ve either done everything you want to do or have given up on getting those things done this playthrough and are now just slogging through the days until you can proceed with the final dungeon and finish this 40 – 80 hour run.

But in Persona 3, I was getting this about half-way through.

A big part of this is because you’re supposed to be splitting your evenings between doing the dungeons, doing the S-links, and walking the dog. So your evenings should be packed as you train to get to the right levels and thus to be able to finish the dungeon before the full moon and to be able to take down the full moon bosses. But I don’t care for the dungeons, and my PC is level 99, maxed out completely, and he and all of the party have the best weapons and armour available. So I generally take about a day or two or at most three out of the 28 to clear the dungeons and Elizabeth’s dungeon requests. That leaves me well over 20 days — if it’s not interrupted by events — to do everything else. Since there are, as far as I can tell, only two evening S-links, I had them both done well before the midpoint of the game. This meant that my evenings were, essentially, going back to the dorm, talking to everyone, seeing if the dog wanted to go for a walk — after it joined the team — and then going back to my room to sleep for the night, because I didn’t need to study. Oh, after declining a number of requests to hang out on Sunday because I reserved that for the dateable NPCs.

This got repetitive.

To its credit, Persona 3 is actually pretty good at breaking this up, with the Yakushima event and the school trip and other events, like investigations. To its detriment, it also does the exam thing, where your school S-links disappear to study for a week or so before the exams start. Since those are the most interesting S-links — including all of the dateable S-links — this can frustrate you, especially if you really wanted to advance one of those S-links.

However, the game is still interesting. The plot works well, and once you get to the full moon bosses the plot advances and makes you forget the drudgery of the previous few weeks. I’m just past the fake ending, into November, and so should finish it in the next few weeks.

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