Honestly, it’s quite hard to describe what a ‘bad’ party member is in a Persona game. Oftentimes there can be quite significant emotional investment that goes into the teams that players build, to the point where actual battle performance takes a back seat. Thankfully the protagonist is almost always powerful enough to make up for your choices, but that doesn’t stop there being some real and genuine differences between your teammates. Let’s just say that they’re not all created equally, and the following three have been made a little less equal than the others…
In many ways Junpei is the comedy relief of Persona 3 Portable, often using his dim wittedness and candour to lighten the mood amidst an otherwise sombre tale. In battle his performance is unfortunately somewhat similar. Again, we’re not about to call him bad in any way, but his skill selection doesn’t quite stack up against other choices and he’s only very faintly focused in one direction, and there are better physical attackers on offer elsewhere.
Where other members have a few very specific goals in mind, like fully buffing the team or healing the entire group, Junpei has a strange collection of counter passives, one single party buff, some single target Fire spells and physical skills. We can see the argument that he’s quite good at the latter, especially with skills like Vorpal Blade being available during the late game, but this is literally all he provides and he’ll be reliant on others buffing and debuffing to make him competitive. At the end of the day, his skills read like a mish mash of unusual abilities, all of which combine and push him onto this list.
Party Member Summary
- Junpei has access to Fire spells, though only single target versions and he has no Amp or indeed a high Magic stat to make the best use of them.
- He has 3 whole skills taken up by physical counters, which are neither reliable nor desirable.
- Only has access to 1 of the 3 party buffs, meaning you’ll need to plug the gap with another member or the protagonist.
- Technically he can deal some high amounts of physical damage, however these can be achieved with better party members that bring more benefits as a whole.
Taking the second-to-worst slot is Ken, who we’ve started to semi-affectionately refer to as the healer chosen by people that don’t like Yukari. Such things will no doubt give you a clue about the skills that he possesses, and whilst it is true that he can also heal the entire group, everything else available to him is categorically worse than any other member.
For starters, he does have group heals, but he has a lesser selection than Yukari and doesn’t have access to any ailment removing skills. Next up, he has a couple of Bless spells, which rely on RNG to insta-kill a target whilst doing no damage. Finally, he has access to some physical skills, but doesn’t have the Strength stat to back them up. Oh and he has the medium single target Elec spell Zionga, for some reason. Nothing about this skill list makes any sense to be honest, nor would it do so for him to form part of an optimised battle team.
Party Member Summary
- Ken does have access to powerful group heals in the late game.
- Unfortunately, he doesn’t have access to any ailment cleanse to go along with his healing.
- Bless spells are present in his skill list, which are non-damage, instant death spells that only have a small % chance of landing, making them unreliable and functionally useless.
- He has access to a few good physical attacks, and a passive that doubles spear damage, but these are overshadowed by actual physically focused members.
Just when you thought you had seen it all, they go and give you a dog whose redeeming feature is that well… He’s quite fast? It’s certainly nothing in his skill list, that’s for sure. Perhaps we’re being a little too hard on the lad, after all he’s certainly more willing than almost any other party member, but that doesn’t win him any prizes at the end of the day.
Look, we’re aware that it’s the done thing to give each team member a different weakness type, and perhaps it was just luck of the draw that saw Koromaru draw the ‘Curse’ card, but having loaded him up with 4 of such skills is a bit cruel. Not only are these instant kill Curse skills next to useless, but his only other useful feature is the ability to deal good fire damage. This is passively buffed by Fire Boost and Amp, which are nice additions, but then he’s also been given the terrible counter passives akin to Junpei, and another singular party buff! If you’re aching for high Fire damage and nothing else then by all means, bring him along, but aside from that, skill lists don’t come much worse than this.
Party Member Summary
- Koromaru does have access to powerful Fire spells, which are increased by his passive Boost and Amp skills.
- His Curse skills are worse than useless, being identical in nature to the Bless skills of Ken, which have a % chance to instantly kill the target.
- Koro also has the same poor passives as Junpei, which focus around being able to repel physical attacks.
- He only has access to one party buff, being the group Agility buff Masukukaja.
- Outside of being strong with one spell type, Koromaru doesn’t really have a great benefit to the group.
Categories: Persona 3
My main memories of playing Persona 3 involved pleading with Mitsuru to stop spamming Marin Karin and heal my party, back when we didn’t have the benefit of full party control. That said, I always had her in my party when possible, usually along with Yukari and Akihiko. Funny you bring up Ken as the non-Yukari healer choice — I didn’t dislike Yukari, but I know a lot of players did. Ken got on my nerves a lot more, in fact, though he did have the excuse of still being a kid and having past trauma to deal with (but then pretty much everyone in that game did.)
That’s so true, it makes the world of difference being able to control your party members, though it’s a shame they didn’t balance things out following this change – Portable is a bit easy as a result. I think the party consisting of Mitsuru, Akihiko and Yukari are just too powerful and convenient really, which is a shame. Aigis works too, but that trio tends to let you go wild with the protagonist, which is where all of the fun can be had in a Persona title really.