Last Wednesday I had a bit of Déjà vu…out in the city (as in New York) and going to a posh hotel to play an unreleased SEGA/ATLUS title. Although in the Summer it was a bevy of titles, this event was focused on a title that would be coming out within a fortnight. February 2nd 2024 will reintroduce the world to the team at Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad from Persona 3. Persona 3 had the privilege of being the first 3D entry of the series and after nearly 20 years (it’s 18…but I rounded up for dramatic effect, OK!). It’s getting a complete overhaul for fans of the franchise who might only know The Investigation Team of Persona 4 or The Phantom Thieves of Persona 5!
Persona 3 Reload is a remake of the original Persona 3 (which means the female protagonist that was introduced in Persona 3 Portable is NOT present, but some features added from that and FES will be present). The demo from last Summer was broken up into two parts, a brief climb of Tartarus (a towering structure which appears during the Dark Hour, the mysterious 25th hour of the day) and the other is a Full Moon Operation (A monthly mission which occurs on…you guessed it nights with a full moon.). This latest preview differs from that demo because it had us playing for about a full week, where you can explore Gekkoukan High School, hang out at the dorms and climb Tartarus.
Persona games are known for it’s time management aspects and suffice this latest preview also had time restraints…we had a strict one hour limit with the title. In fact the ATLUS rep even jokingly proclaimed none of the demo players managed to hit the end card for this demo, so it looks like I had my mission for this event…to reach that end card!
Let’s just say…the record stood as I failed miserably in my attempt to impress this rep (The same rep which I jokingly said “I suck at all public facing demos” during the summer). The attempt started off well, I agreed to the first social link invite request I saw and got through them without giving the answers much thought (It’s a demo, it’s not my own personal run!). However once we got access to Tartarus, this is where my “speed run” grinded to a halt. Perhaps it was the high energy soundtrack (coursing through the very comfortable headsets that were being used at the event), or the fact I was also getting out the All-Out Attack on a semi regular basis…I was just chomping at the bit to smack every shadow that caught my eye just so I can watch that victory sequence where the SEES team walk away in triumph…like a boss!~ I also reneged the “not my personal run” rule that I had during the daylight hours…making sure every foot of each floor was explored and opening every chest.
When we were told to put our controllers down there was a bit of sadness in my being. There was still so much to see and do and now I have to wait…and frankly I really wanted to hit that end screen. But alas I’m going to have to wait till February 2nd to truly make some strong ties with the SEES team and the students of Gekkoukan High School. Perhaps I’m showing my bias with this final statement…but with Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth coming within ten days and Persona 3 Reload 7 days afterwards, it looks like SEGA/ATLUS is definitely staking its claim on Q1 of 2024!