Unique to Persona 3 Portable is the character condition system. Somewhat similar to a status effect, which players may recognise as something like poison or paralysis, this focuses rather on the actual ‘feeling’ of the character, and here it’s even able to influence factors outside of battle. By designating a character as either Great, Good, Tired or Sick, your gameplay choices may be restricted and battle performance influenced. The system is almost universally disliked by the fanbase, mainly because it artificially restricts the amount of time that may be spent progressing through Tartarus, but with a little more understanding players may be able to use it to their advantage…
- Higher critical strike chance & Accuracy.
- Will take longer to reduce to a Tired state.
- Characters in Great condition can undergo a death in battle and not become Tired or Sick.
- When a new party member joins, they will automatically have the Great condition.
- Only the Protagonist can influence their condition to achieve a Great status, which can be done via sleeping in class, going to bed early, using the toilet whilst in Good status or by visiting the Shrine.
It’s worth noting initially that only the protagonist can actually be influenced, positively at least, towards the ‘Great’ condition, but every character can drop down the condition list whilst exploring Tartarus. Deaths or extensive time spent in the tower will lower this condition, and given that it almost entirely increases combat performance, this is something you’ll want to hang on to. This is especially powerful for farming rare enemies, because the increased accuracy and critical chance will make defeating them much easier. Bear this in mind when taking on requests in the Velvet room – waiting for Akihiko to join and have the ‘Great’ status, for example, will make completing the first few much easier.
- This is the regular condition of a character.
- Battle performance will be normal when in Good condition.
- A death in battle from this condition has a good chance to make a character Tired. Multiple deaths will certainly achieve this.
- Noted in the ‘Great’ tier, it’s possible to move the protagonist up from this condition, but not your party members.
By ‘Good’, what the developers really mean is ‘Normal’. This is the base state for any character, your protagonist included, that allows them to explore Tartarus whenever they want. At any point below this, party members will not be available to join you in the dungeon. Generally speaking having the ‘Great’ condition is better, however this cannot always be forced by one of the improvement options, so don’t waste too much time trying to make this happen. ‘Good’ characters will deal with Tartarus just dine, so don’t worry too much.
- Reduced accuracy.
- Characters take more damage & knockdowns recover more slowly.
- Non-protagonist party members will be unwilling to visit Tartarus in this condition.
- All characters automatically achieve Tired after the period of Full Moon in Tartarus.
- Too much time in Tartarus or deaths in battle can move a character from ‘Good’ to ‘Tired’.
Any player of Persona 3 Portable will both be rather annoyed, but somewhat used to seeing the ‘Tired’ condition. Most of the time this simply functions as a delay system, stopping immediate Tartarus exploration after Full Moon sections, but it’s also worth noting that poor performance in battle can force any character into this status, or even just extensive exploration sessions. In practice, ‘Tired’ will occur more if you’re struggling in battle and continually taking damage, making it even more essential to make use of the weakness and all out attack system. ‘Tired’ can be cured on the protagonist through the same systems that make them feel ‘Great’, but other party members will simply require time and patience to return to ‘Good’.
- Amplifies the poor battle performance of ‘Tired’ even further.
- Characters take even more damage, deal even less and will often not recover from a knockdown at all in the present battle.
- Possible to achieve in Tartarus with very poor performance and an extended exploration or grinding time there.
- Can be cured by visiting the Doctor, or simply taking time to rest.
- Party members will again be unwilling to go to Tartarus.
By far the worst condition available to characters is the ‘Sick’ version. It’s worth noting that there is a certain amount of RNG in Persona 3, because your protagonist may become ‘Sick’ whilst in the ‘Tired’ state at times. This can be cured in similar ways, though the quickest method is to visit the doctor. Characters other than the protagonist will need even more time to recover to ‘Good’ status, so expect to have them out of the party for at least a week or so. Generally speaking, just don’t go to Tartarus when members are feeling ‘Sick’ or ‘Tired’. There’s plenty of time to get your work in there completed, so it doesn’t need to be forced at all.