Despite their eventual damage capabilities, Physical persona find themselves victim to a rather strange power curve in Persona 3 Portable. Early on you’ll likely find that they perform rather poorly, owing mainly to a lack of enemy weakness and the innate strength of generating additional turns. They do gain power as the game progresses and eventually become very reliable ways to deal with both basic encounters and boss fights, however more than any other type they do reward those that are willing to experiment with fusing more than others. In fact, you can find powerful physical options at pretty much every point in the game if you’re willing to dig a little deeper, and the following four are a selection that we’ve found particularly powerful throughout the Tartarus ascent.
Credit to Cyrus917 on GameFAQs for the save file that allowed screenshots to be taken. Negative credit to developers that refuse to let screenshots be taken on Vita ports of PSP games.
During the early portion of the game, you’ll likely find that weakness to Pierce attacks is actually somewhat prevalent, and outside of one particular party member you may find it difficult to take advantage. This is a weakness that really doesn’t continue too much as the game progresses, and after the mid game you’re unlikely to see it very much at all, however Neko Shogun is ideally positioned to take advantage of this, and more besides.
Double Fangs is the Pierce skill that Neko has access to, which deals light Pierce damage twice to an enemy, and is particularly powerful in the first few blocks of Tartarus. Alongside this, Neko knows Assault Dive, and whilst this isn’t necessarily a big deal at this point, enough levels will reveal the excellent Swift Strike skill, which deals physical damage to all foes and can strike twice. Finally, whilst the animation is a bit of a pain to see, this persona will also learn Regenerate 1, which heals you for 2% of your HP every round. All of this combines to make Neko Shogun the ideal early game physical persona.
- Innately knows Assault Dive, the light single Bash skill.
- Innately knows Double Fangs, the light single Pierce skill.
- Innately knows Regenerate 1, which restores 2% of your total HP per round – useful but a bit weak at this low level.
- Learns Swift Strike at level 24, which deals light damage to every enemy and can hit twice.
The mid game portion of Persona 3 Portable will see your party member choices expand significantly. Physical attackers, magic users and a few hybrids will make themselves known, and you’ll likely be spoilt for choice for a time. Thankfully, whilst the bosses can be quite difficult, the basic enemies do not tend to offer too much of a problem, which is a blessing when Tartarus blocks start to get longer and longer. Here we tend to favour a powerful auto attacker, and there’s no better choice for this than Setanta.
Mainly this is achieved by a few useful ‘auto’ buffs that this persona learns. Auto-Tarukaja and Auto-Sukukaja will provide a buff to both Attack and Agility automatically, which will last for three rounds of battle. Couple this with a high strength stat, and you have the ideal basic attacking persona, but if you’re looking for a little more value then Setanta also knows Twin Shot, a powerful Pierce skill, and the medium Elec skill Zionga. Those auto buffs make it the ideal choice for any physical skill cards that you can get your hands on, and it’ll even learn Power Charge at level 29, which almost doubles the power of your next physical skill used.
- Innately knows Twin Shot, a medium Pierce skill that hits twice.
- Learns Auto-Tarukaja at level 31, which gives the protagonist an attack buff for the first three rounds of battle.
- Learns Auto-Sukukaja at level 33, which gives the protagonist an Agility buff for the first three rounds of battle.
- Also Innately knows Zionga, and even learns Power Charge at level 29, which nearly doubles the attack power of your next physical skill.
Now, we are of course aware that you will need to complete one of Elizabeth’s requests to unlock it, but Nata Taishi is entirely worth it to do so. In fact, we’d argue that most of the request unlocks are useful in some way or another, but this is a particularly powerful example, ranking up there with Thoth for the best of them. If you’re looking for a persona to clean up your random battles towards the end of the mid game, then look no further.
As you might imagine, having given it the random battle slaying moniker, its skills are all about group damage. Swift Strike is innately known, which means you’ll already be doing pretty well, but levelling it to 41 will reveal Herculean Strike, which deals a massive amount of damage at this point in the game, and it’ll smash anything not resistant into dust. Regenerate 1 is also known, along with the group agility buff Masukukaja, so there’s some utility to be found, but Nata Taishi is mainly here to destroy groups of enemies by force, based purely on a few skills and high physical stats.
- Innately knows Swift Strike, which deals light physical damage to every enemy, possibly striking twice.
- Innately knows the group Agility buff Masukukaja.
- Learns Regenerate 1 at level 38, which restores 2% HP every round.
- Learns Herculean Strike at level 41, which deals big damage to every single enemy.
Were you to hunt around the forums for the true ‘min max’ P3P players, you’d likely find them discussing the virtues of two particular persona for physical damage in the late game; Siegfried and Melchizedek. Were it not rather obvious by now, the latter of the two is the choice for us. Both require the maxing of an Arcana – Strength for Siegfried and Justice for Melchizedek – and there is technically a difference, because the former specialises in Cut and the latter Bash, but they’ll likely perform fairly equally depending on the player. Melchizedek will perform better at it’s base power too, rather than relying on further enhancements or fishing for ‘Great’ status to make the best of it.
Skill wise, the main event here is Akasha Arts, which deals massive damage to every enemy, potentially hitting twice, effectively making it the ‘heavy’ version of Swift Strike. At it’s base level Vicious Strike will already be known, which is effectively the same skill but without a possible second hit, however taking it to level 69 will unlock God’s Hand, which is a single target attack that deals severe damage. This is technically the strongest single target physical skill that doesn’t rely on striking twice, making it much more reliable. Once these skills are paired with Auto-Matarukaja, and even a fully HP party heal in Mediarahan, you have an absolutely fantastic late game physical persona.
- Innately knows Vicious Strike, which deals heavy physical damage to all enemies.
- Innately knows Mediarahan, the full HP group heal.
- Innately knows Auto-Mataru, the passive that automatically increases attack power for 3 rounds at the start of every battle.
- Learns Akasha Arts at level 64, which deals the same heavy damage as Vicious Strikes, but can hit twice.
- Learns God’s Hand at level 69, which deals severe damage to a single target.