Giving orders to your party members is a staple of the RPG genre. Or rather, it’s a staple of most RPG games, because the original release of Persona 3 featured ‘Tactics’, which was the method through which you may instruct your members in how to act, rather than giving them direct commands. With the advent of Persona 3 Portable this was changed, allowing you to give direct instructions to all members, should you prefer it. What they didn’t do however, was signpost this option very well. Following then is a summary of exactly how to activate this feature, and a little piece about whether or not it’s worth returning to the Tactics system from time to time.
Controlling Party Members
In order to change party member control, you must access the Tactics menu, available whilst in battle. By rotating the choice wheel through Attack, Skill and Items, you will eventually be able to access the Tactics menu. Here there are multiple choices for tactics, and you must choose the Direct Commands option if you want to control exactly what your teammates do.
Member Tactic Options
- Act Freely – Teammate will decide his/her own actions.
- Full Assault – Teammate will focus on attacking.
- Conserve SP – Teammate will avoid actions that use SP.
- Heal/Support – Teammate will concentrate on healing skills.
- Direct Commands – Teammate will follow your direct orders.
- Run Away – Teammate will escape battle.
Are Tactics Worth It?
The best example of adequate member instructions, for us at least, has to be modern Dragon Quest titles. Even as far back as DQ8, choosing for a member to ‘Fight Wisely’ often allowed them to function through the vast majority of the game, including all but the most difficult of boss battles.
Unfortunately, the situation in Persona 3 Portable isn’t quite as good, though in fairness this was their first usage in the series. The issue isn’t with their ability to carry out the instruction, after all they’ll most certainly do so, but it’s about understanding when to stop. Depending on the version that you’re playing, you may want to focus on saving SP, targeting weaknesses or focus on healing, and whilst they’ll certainly do these things, it becomes a bit of an issue when they prioritise any of these over simply finishing off one remaining enemy that has low health.
On balance, we’d say that it’s a useful system in Persona 3 Portable specifically. You can toggle it on and off whilst undertaking grinding, exploration or loot gathering journeys, allowing you to simply focus on keeping things running smoothly with your protagonist. For reference, this will also work well with a full suite of differing persona, to allow your singular choice to adapt to any given situation.