Persona 3 Reload Review | Xbox Series X

These are the things that go bump in the night while making you painfully sad, but they can die, too.

By R3GR3T, Posted 09 Feb 2024

By now, we’ve all heard of Atlus and their internal team known as P Studio. Now, this is where things become a little bit more confusing when you consider that Atlus is already a game development studio, but P Studio is the real star of this show, mostly due to their work on the Persona series. This team has been going at it since 2006, and they haven’t stopped bringing us sequels for the Persona series. We already know about the recently released Persona 5 Tactica, but this same team is also responsible for breathing new life into some of their older titled… Like Persona 3, which is now Persona 3 Reload since its release on 2 February.

Persona 3 Reload, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Fantasy, Adventure, NoobFeed

Now, calling Persona 3 Reload a ‘remake’ of the original doesn’t quite do the game justice; it’s more a reimagining of the original with a few much-needed changes and some polish that helped it stand out. Aside from the better visuals, Persona 3 Reload has a lot more to offer, like new social events, an online activity tracker that will show you what other players chose to do, new relationship types, and even a text tracker that can help you keep up with what’s going on. Though this is far from a dating sim, and this is where Persona really shines as a series because it wouldn’t be Persona without some fighting in the most badass way possible.

As for the world of Persona 3 Reload, P Studio still maintained their track record of flipping the script for their releases and this one is no exception. Persona 3 Reload takes place in what looks to be a perfectly normal world, with you playing as a high schooler, though there’s no such thing as a perfect world, and things start getting really weird right from the start for you. You arrive at Iwatodai Station with an ominous green glow covering everything around you. To make matters worse, there are coffins scattered all over the place. So, your first task is to make it to the dorms for a quick introduction to some of your future schoolmates, and suspicions aside, they seem pretty normal.

 Things take an even more ominous turn as a strange boy makes you sign a contract when you arrive at the dorms, and things go back to normal after that. Nothing odd or out of character for the first few days; you go to school, get a feel for moving around, and meet a few people… Normal, right? Well, it’s a nice calm before the chaos as you get to explore a little bit, feel your way around, and maybe even build a Social Link or two. However, before you know it, things will take a very sudden turn as the dorm falls under attack from the Shadows during the Hidden Hour. Things will move rather quickly from here as you’ll finally get a taste of combat in Persona 3 Reload.

Persona 3 Reload, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Fantasy, Adventure, NoobFeed

First things first, it’s only natural that you’re not just another random high school kid who’s just making his way through life, and Persona 3 Reload makes that abundantly clear. So, after a very short-lived battle for the dorm, you’ll finally get to meet the real people who will serve as your starting teammates. However, we can’t share too much, or that would spoil the intrigue of the story, and that would kill the game for you. So, without too much back and forth, prepare for a really wild ride because of Persona 3 Reload.

The most important aspect of the Persona series is the fact that each character has a Persona from which they can draw power. However, while most people only have a single Persona that will grow with them, you’ll have multiple that can grow with you and based on your Social Links. Granted, this can become very confusing without some detail to shine a light where needed. For now, you’re pretty much screwed without the power of a Persona to help you fight the Shadows, and in this case, you’re going to need several to survive the dangers of Tartarus, but more on this real soon.

Life in Persona 3 becomes a bit more complicated when you need to start picking your Personas to battle alongside you when you’re introduced to the card system. Each Persona is tied to a certain Arcana card, such as The Magician, The Fool, The Lovers, and several others, and as you can probably guess, these change their roles as well in an RPG sense, but the standard layout is still Tank, DPS, and Healer. Keeping this in mind does open up a whole new world of flexibility for team building since your teammates are pretty much stuck with what they have, but your character can fill any gap or even tilt the scales.

Persona 3 Reload, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Fantasy, Adventure, NoobFeed

As mentioned before, your Persona will rely quite heavily on your Social Links and how well you do during certain social activities. Social Links are essentially how well you do at making friends, but in doing so, you can unlock new Arcana Cards and new Personas to use in battle, not to mention this can also raise the level of those Arcana Cards, which will add to your overall Persona Strength. However, your Social Stats also have a part to play when it comes to your Persona strength and future activities, these range between Charm, Courage and Academics. Luckily, raising these stats is easy enough, and there’s more than enough you can take part in at school and even after school that will affect these stats.

With all the talk of Personas and the various things that can make them stronger, it’s only natural that some fighting in Persona 3 Reload is inevitable. So, when you’re not surviving the daily struggle of school life, you’ll head back to that same school that becomes a completely different place known as Tartarus during the Dark Hour. It’s definitely as ominous as it sounds, but fear not because the real struggle is coming. To put it simply, Tartarus is essentially a tower climb where you’ll go from floor to floor to reach the top and find out what’s causing the Dark Hour. However, this is much easier said than done, and you’ll need as much aid as your Personas can give you and your teammates, of course.

Surviving Tartarus is pretty straightforward for the most part; your climb will start at the first floor, and you’ll need to steadily fight your way to the top. Though you might be in a pickle if you’re not prepared with the right skills or healing items, both are vital to your team’s survival in Persona 3 Reload. So, to start with the most essential thing in your quest to the top, you’ll need some way to restore your team’s HP and SP. You’ll need to remember that strange balance in power with the Personas to cover the HP side of things. SP is a bit trickier as this is also what you use to use skills. Obviously, running out of SP means no more skills, and that will cause your easy HP restores to go out the window. This is why it helps to have a healthy balance of skills and items to keep your party going for longer.

Persona 3 Reload, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Fantasy, Adventure, NoobFeed

Next up on the preparation checklist for your rounds in Tartarus would be equipping your team. Weapons, Armour, Footwear, and Accessories all play their own vital role in the RPG scene; keeping your team well-equipped will allow your team to do more damage, take less damage, and gain various other boosts and special effects that can give you an advantage in a fight. Speaking of, Persona 3 Reload still gives you a few ways to gain a decent advantage in a fight, and even sneaking up on a Shadow is sometimes enough to give you the upper hand. Sooner or later, you’ll learn about the joys of sneaking up on enemies before a battle to give you the first attack, but things only get better.

On further advantages, you can leverage a few more, such as Weaknesses, Shift, One More, and the classic All Out Attack. Weaknesses come in handy when you have several elemental attacks and damage types you can use, though these come with the caveat of having to go through some trial and error to figure out what works best. Shift and One More are where the real magic happens because of how well they work: As with any RPG or JRPG, it’ll usually be turn-based combat, but if you can knock your target down, you’ll get One More, which essentially allows you to attack again. Now, to add insult to injury, you can Shift that second attack to another teammate instead, and you can probably see where this is going… Knocking down all the enemies on the field allows you to throw a fat coup de grace on the field in the form of the All Out Attack, where your whole team will attack all the enemies at once for a nice stack of damage.

No good deed goes unpunished or unrewarded, and managing to end the fight with an All-Out Attack will also net you a Shuffle Time. It’s nothing too serious, but it does give you a few randomly drawn cards between Minor and Major Arcana, and you get to pick one as a reward. The rewards will range between Money, new Personas, Major Arcana that will serve as a wide EXP boost, and even healing for your party. However, you’ll need to stop and end the day at some point because it’s impossible to keep climbing forever.

Persona 3 Reload, Review, Screenshots, Role-Playing, Fantasy, Adventure, NoobFeed

Welcome to the wonderful world of teleporters. These nifty devices will usually appear after every 5th floor and serve as checkpoints for you to carry on from, but there are also one-way teleporters, too, if you need a quick escape. While the teleporters are nice, you can’t rely on them too much as you never really know when you’ll have a way back. To make matters worse, Tartarus is the only place in Persona 3 Reload where you can’t save your game either. A little planning and preparation go a long way in this regard and will keep your party alive for longer than the Shadows would want.

On the visual front for Persona 3 Reload, P Studio still maintained their signature look and felt to the series with the use of vibrant colors and the fast and loose UI design. It might not have the most ground-breaking visuals or special effects, but it’s not a low poly release either. There are loads of details where needed, and that’s what brings all the Persona games to life when combined with the UI. However, the game really shines with the unique character and Persona designs. Granted, some of the Personas look a little contradictory to what they do, but that’s the beauty of it all; you’ll never really know what to expect, but everything pulls together in the best ways.

Persona 3 Reload has a lot of visual polish, but it’s nothing without voice acting and the amazing music to go with it. As can be expected, there’s the all too familiar relaxed electronic jazz we know and love in the Persona Series, but there are other scenes that use different music, too. Depending on the scene or area, the music can easily jump from soft melodic to opera just to match the area you’re in. However, the real star of the show in Persona 3 Reload is the voice acting; this is literally the most vital part of the story at hand. Each character’s part was perfectly played while driving the story forward.


Overall, Persona 3 Reload is a lot more than just a remake; it’s the reimagining we all needed and got. With the game getting a lot of polish and some new features, there’s never a dull moment when you’re jumping between school life and the Dark Hour, and the nostalgia might just make you want to dust off your old consoles to binge through the Persona series again. While Persona 3 Reload can be a bit slow to get off the ground, it’s well worth the wait simply because when it eventually takes off, you might not be able to keep up with everything going on.

Jay Claassen (@R3GR3T_3NVY)
Senior Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Atlus
Developer(s): P Studio
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Turn-Based, Fantasy
Release Date: 2024-02-02

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