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Persona 3 FES: Persona fusion and Social Links

Persona 3 FES wallpaper
(Image source: Atlus.)

In Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES , the player’s avatar is an orphaned teenager who’s just been transferred to Gekkoukan High School. Capable of unleashing a Persona with extraordinary abilities, the player character is invited to join the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (SEES), a secret organisation dedicated to vanquishing the Shadows and solving the mystery of Tartarus, a tower that appears during the equally mysterious Dark Hour.

As the game is from a developer from Japan, a rapidly aging, youth-fixated country, the members of SEES are naturally high school students. The sole exception is the SEES advisor, whose role is to crack awful jokes and provide exposition. As a general rule of thumb, adults in P3F are hopeless, helpless, ineffective or unreliable.

There are two types of character advancement in P3F. The player character gains HP and SP as he gains levels by battling Shadows but abilities are gained by improving the Tarot-inspired Personae.

Personae may be improved in two ways. The conventional method involves simply levelling up the Persona by gaining experience in battles. This is slow and the player is explicitly told this is not the best way to go.

Two in harmony

The player character has two great advantages over his SEES teammates. Unlike the others, he can call upon multiple Personae, the number of which grows as he gains experience. The “why” is another mystery in a game filled with them.

The second advantage is Persona fusion, a superior method of Persona-advancement. Fusion involves combining two or three Personae to create a new Persona which will inherit some of the abilities of the parent Personae. This is the game’s most engrossing system and players could while away plenty of time crafting versatile or specialised Persona.

On the downside, there’s a random element governing skill inheritance that makes Persona crafting a little frustrating. There have thus far been two optional quests that call for Persona with a specific skill and it can be annoying trying to complete such quests. Patience and persistence will be required.

The social and the arcane

Persona fusion also takes into account Social Links that are connected to the Tarot arcana the Persona is from. This is the major gameplay link that ties together the two wildly different aspects of P3F: dungeon-crawling and high school sim.

For example, Personae from the Magician arcana will benefit from the Social Link involving a certain classmate. Get close to that classmate and future Magician Personae will get a dramatic boost at creation. The deeper the bond, the bigger the boost.

Improving a Social Link in P3F involves hanging out with NPCs and generally being a sounding board for them. This part of the game is really about making dialogue choices to tell NPCs what they want to hear. Once you max out a relationship for a Social Link, you have no further need of those NPCs and need not interact with them anymore.

So, in essence, P3F requires the gamer to manipulate people for personal advancement.

This isn’t a game; this is training for a career in politics.

Posted in Games, Persona 3, PS2.

2 Responses

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  1. howlin mad murphy says

    do you have a list of what arcana each social link has?

  2. Gobi says

    I don’t but GameFAQs will have what you want. I will point out, however, it’s not really necessary.

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