Persona 3 Memories

So I just finished Persona 5. I'd like to say it was a long journey, but it wasn't really long at all, as I completed it in a little over a month. I do feel a little regretful that I didn't spend enough time with it, because it was an extraordinary game. It was everything I wanted from a new generation Persona game, and then some... It totally exceeded my expectations. I would even go as far as to say it is the best Persona game yet, not only from a gameplay standpoint but also the writing is absolutely perfect as well as the characters. But would I say it's my favourite Persona game? No. That title still goes to Persona 3. Here's why.

I played my first Persona game with Persona 4 back in 2012. I had heard about the series online a lot but finally made the investment when I found it in my local second hand store (R.I.P.). My thoughts of the game? It was really cool. At that point I hadn't really figured out what the Persona series was all about so it was a steep learning curve and in the end my play through was probably a little unsatisfying. However when I introduced the game to my cousin and he got into the series too, that was when my Persona addiction truly began. He studied the hell out of these games and tutored me when I began to play Persona 3 FES. He taught me pretty much everything I needed to know, and explained things that were more complex to me, such as Persona fusion and the more intricate parts of the battle system.

In my second year of University I moved into shared accommodation with some of the best people I've ever known. I brought Persona into their lives too when I proceeded to play it frequently on my PlayStation 2 in the kitchen/living room space. Some of my flatmates would enjoy watching me play it and even those who didn't at least knew the amusing battle music (oh yeah, baby baby etc.)
Over the next two years that I spent with those flatmates, I played so much Persona 3 that I'm surprised that they didn't get sick of it. Some probably did but others were always eager to watch me play more of it, and I'd even give them a heads up when the PlayStation 2 was being turned on for more Persona. Playing this game was a blast, half because it's such an amazing game and the other half because I associate it with such fun times with my flatmates. In fact, a lot of the enjoyment I gained from Persona 3 was because I associate it heavily with those fun times.
But good times sadly had to come to an end, as University ended, and around that time, I finally completed Persona 3 too. I fought the final boss of the game and lost while my flatmates watched, before visiting my cousin for some extra coaching (which was where I learnt about personas such as Thanatos and the dungeon at the bottom of Tartarus) and some aggressive levelling before finally fighting the final boss once more and finishing the game. The ending was sad, but I am one of the minority who felt that it made sense. It was a symbolic sense of closure to my time spent with the game.

One of my all-time favourite YouTubers HappyConsoleGamer helped me realise that a game doesn't necessarily have to be the best as long as the memories associated with it are happy ones. Persona 3 is a great game, but compared to Persona 5 (and even 4) it is far from perfect. The battle system is punishing and broken, the writing is pretty lacking, the social links are mostly forgettable and the voice acting in places can be absolutely abysmal, but the memories I associate with this game are what made my time with it so precious. Just listening to the music makes me nostalgic in a mixed up kind of way. I'm not sure whether it makes me feel happy or sad. But I know one thing for sure, the fact that I am feeling nostalgic about a game that I finished about three to four years ago is a sign that the effect this game had on me was really something special.

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