The addition of a female protagonist to a Persona title is a welcome one, though admittedly not one that seemed to carry over into modern titles after it’s appearance here in Persona 3 Portable. We have a feeling this might change in the near future, after all the world has moved on since the 2010s, but we’re certainly thankful that they chose to include this option here. Unfortunately the base game, Persona 3 and indeed FES, did not have the option to change away from the male protagonist, so it’s restricted to the Portable entry. Thankfully however, the developers saw enough sense to make changes to the newly available story route, which goes a long way to making a second playthrough a worthwhile venture. So, what exactly are these changes, and which should you choose first?
Female Protagonist Exclusives
The following differences will be found when choosing to play as the female protagonist in Persona 3 Portable:
- Menu artwork and battle sprite are changed.
- Protagonist equipment choices are different.
- Addition of another Velvet Room attendant.
- Social Links have been changed, including romance options.
- Male SEES members now have separate Social Links, to facilitate individual romance possibilities.
- The remaining party members also have individual Social Links. This makes the Female route more like a ‘modern’ Persona title, with every member available.
- A few other romance options become available, which we won’t spoil.
- Incoming dialogue significantly changed throughout the game.
- Response options to dialogue are changed significantly.
Choosing Your Protagonist
Deciding which protagonist to pick in P3P can be quite tricky. Should you decide to stick with the male protagonist, then you’re essentially getting the base Persona 3 experience, buoyed by the quality of life improvements that Portable brought to the table, albeit missing a few cut scene videos. This is still an enjoyable experience, and should you manage to relate to the story throughout, the finale will hit home very hard. That’s not to say that the female version hits any less, however the male version does have a certain something about it, perhaps due to the males clearly sombre nature.
We would actually argue that the female version is a much more complete game overall. The ability to activate a Social Link with any party member is very enjoyable and adds to the overall experience significantly. Similarly, having the occupants of the Velvet Room expanded upon is good fun too. Besides which, experiencing the entirety of a Persona title from a female perspective is novel, and it’s value should not be underestimated. The work that has gone into detailing the female end of the relationship spectrum is impressive to say the least, even just from a friendship perspective.
Both routes deserve your attention if we’re honest, but we’ll end with this recommendation; if you want to experience Persona 3 in all of its original glory, then go with the male route, however if you’re hankering for a version that feels a little bit more like Persona 4 or 5, then pick the female route. Either way you’re unlikely to feel disappointed, and having two routes to choose from is just an excuse to play it more than once!