Monday, November 30, 2009

P3:FES vs. P4

I wrote up a rather long comment on Spoony's site earlier and decided to post it here as well:
P3 had an interesting desegregation of story and gameplay in how it had the player playing *only* the main character. It limited things like direct control over the other characters in battle, didn't allow you to directly make the other party members cast spells out of battle (Dia and Recarm mostly although you could request them to heal you), and you could only change a person's equipment by talking to them.

Although these things certainly make it more like the player is actually the MC immersed in the game's world, it also wasn't really that much fun. It also broke with JRPG conventions, and was not particularly liked by many gamers.

P4 changed all these things to the more expected traditional form. I think that's for the better personally, although it really didn't matter that much. It also streamlined and improved things a lot of people didn't like (square button fast travel, etc).

As for which was better, I played P4 before playing P3:FES, and have to say I liked P4 better. P3 definitely had a more "epic" story and darker setting. The Journey was interesting and challenging. The Answer was soul-crushingly difficult. The ending to both parts of P3 was pretty awesome as well.

Where I have to give P4 credit though is mostly because of the characters. It might be because you could form Social Links with everyone who joins the Investigation Team and get to know more about them, but for some reason they just really were awesome. The bad endings were genuinely sad, and the good ending was genuinely heart warming (as cheesy as that may sound). I also found the Social Links to be more interesting and better implemented in general. P4 is easier than P3 though on Normal difficulty because of changes to the battle system and because of the Social Link enhancements your teammates get though which for an SMT game is in my opinion a strike against it.

People complain about the repetition of Tartarus in P3 and point to the different dungeons in P4 as an improvement which is something I have to disagree with. The dungeons in both games were essentially just palette swaps of previous ones, and while P4 has shorter/fewer floors to climb there's really not that much difference between the two. If you don't enjoy dungeon crawling you probably won't like either game. If you enjoy it, or don't mind sitting through some, you will probably enjoy both games.

That's my take on it anyway. Atlus needs to put some more games out on something other than the DS already. :P

Also, I really need to get a DS. :P
So there you have it! P4 > P3, but both are good and you should play them.

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