Persona 3 Portable: What Does Character Choice Affect?
- The Male Protagonist – P3’s Original
- What’s Different About The Female Protagonist?
- Which Protagonist Is Canon?
- Should You Pick The Male Or Female Protagonist In Persona 3 Portable?
Persona 3 Portable was the second rerelease of the vanilla Persona 3, and while it mostly focused on implementing updates and making the game easier to play on the go, it added an unexpected new element as well: a second, female protagonist.
Added in the hopes of bringing more female fans to the series, P3P released in 2009 and introduced the female protagonist to the Persona world. But with a new character came new changes, both big and small. Not sure whether you should pick the male or female protagonist in Persona 3 Portable? We’ll help you decide.
The Male Protagonist – P3’s Original
When the original Persona 3 launched for PlayStation 2 in July 2006, your only option was to play as the male protagonist.
Personality-wise, the male MC is vastly more stoic than his female counterpart. He has far more opportunities to express apathy in conversation and often only speaks when spoken to.
There are a handful of characters who react lukewarmly to him but are much friendlier toward the female protagonist.
But, as the prototype game for what Persona would go on to become, there are some things about the male protagonists that newer players may not be familiar with.
In the male protagonist’s story, you’ll have no social links with your male SEES teammates. You get to know the male members of SEES through the story of the game, but you don’t have the option to hang out with them outside the story.
Instead, you’ll have an assortment of classmates from around Gekkoukan High School to fill the social Links.
And when it comes to your social links with female characters, while later games give you the choice between a platonic and romantic relationship, Persona 3 Portable does not.
If you play as the male protagonist, you end up dating every single female social link, without the option to decline.
Battle Style And The Velvet Room
While in the original Persona 3, the male protagonist was able to use a litany of weapons. However, for P3P, he's down to just one – his one-handed swords.
And though both protagonists have Orpheus as their initial Persona, the male MC's is slightly different than the female MC's, visually. The male protagonist has a silver-themed Orpheus, and it's weapon has a more masculine appearance.
When you arrive in the Velvet Room, the male protagonist does not have a choice for which of the Velvet Room Attendants he'd like. The male protagonist will always have Elizabeth.
With his path featuring the original theme and soundtrack for the game, the male protagonist has a lot of classic aesthetic that fans of the series will love.
The UI and your bedroom at Iwatodai Dorm will be themed in blue.
When it comes to extracurriculars at Gekkoukan, the male protagonist will have the option to choose between a few different sports clubs.
The male protagonist can choose to partake in swimming, kendo, or running as his after-school athletic activity. Later in the year, you can also choose to join the music, art, or photography clubs as well.
What’s Different About The Female Protagonist?
With vanilla launching in 2006 and FES following in 2007, Atlus took the two years between then and P3P’s launch to do a bit of an overhaul for their new female main character.
The bulk of the changes come in your dialogue responses throughout the game. The male protagonist is more somber, while the female protagonist comes across as more upbeat.
While the major story beats are the same no matter who you choose, the dialogue you experience will be affected by the choice.
The tone shift may be an important detail for some, considering the dark nature of P3’s story.
You’ll see your character talking more with the female members of SEES, instead of being closer to the male characters like your character tends to be in Persona games.
Life At Gekkoukan
While the majority of your academic progress will be the same between protagonists, the two have different extracurricular options.
The female protagonist is able to join one of two sports clubs: either the volleyball club or the tennis club. The social link for the athletic club for the female is filled by Rio Iwasaki instead of Kazushi Miyamoto in the male MC route.
Unlike the male protagonist, though, the female protagonist does not have the option to join a culture club. The Fortune social link the male protagonist meets at his culture club is instead filled by Ryoji Mochizuki for the female MC.
You have social links with every member of the team as the female protagonist, as well as with the team overall.
Speaking of your social links, the female protagonist’s social links are vastly different. Now, you can begin social links with the male members of SEES, while the male protagonist could not.
In tandem, the female social links have been tweaked in the female MC route as well, as the female protagonist cannot date the female social links. However, you'll find them much friendlier to the female protagonist in general.
Additionally, as the female protagonist, you’ll be able to date one of the male characters. And while the male protagonist was made to date everyone who was interested, the female protagonist can reject romantic advances if you’re not interested in dating that character.
Battle Style And The Velvet Room
When it comes to the dungeon-crawling aspect of the game, not only have the battle sprites been updated, but you’ll be going through Tartarus using different weaponry than the male MC.
While the male protagonist uses a one-handed sword, the female protagonist instead uses her naginata, a sword with an exceptionally long pole used originally by samurai.
And wouldn’t be a Persona game without Personas to summon. With the female protagonist’s route, you’ve got a choice between two Velvet Room attendants.
While the male protagonist defaults to Elizabeth, the female protagonist can choose between Elizabeth or Theodore. They serve the same role, so your choice is ultimately up to preference.
Just one of many changes between versions, Theodore did not feature in Persona 3 or Persona 3 FES. He is exclusive to the female protagonist in P3P.
There were a handful of small but noticeable changes made to experience the game in small but meaningful ways. One of these is that the UI changes to pink when you're using the female protagonist, instead of the default blue of vanilla P3. Your bedroom will be pink instead of blue now as well.
The game’s sound director, Shoji Meguro, came up with ten new songs for the game's big rerelease, and you’ll find most of them in the female protagonist’s soundtrack. The soundtrack changes from month to month in the game.
Finally, there are a few scenes that change if you’ve chosen the female protagonist. The core of the story remains the same, but there are small tweaks made to the female protagonist’s route to accommodate her different social links and dialogue options.
Which Protagonist Is Canon?
Though which protagonist you opt to play as is ultimately up to personal preference, many players consider the male protagonist to be the canonical protagonist for Persona 3.
Not only was he the only choice in the vanilla version of Persona 3 as well as in FES, but many fans of the series feel that his solemn nature is more befitting of the story.
Additionally, in external or spin-off games that draw on P3P, the male protagonist is featured the most widely. He’s the protagonist in the anime movie adaptation and manga, and he’s mentioned by the members of SEES in Persona 4 Arena.
He’s also a playable character in Persona Q, Persona Q2, and Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight. The female protagonist is only playable in Persona Q2.
Should You Pick The Male Or Female Protagonist In Persona 3 Portable?
Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer for which protagonist to choose for your playthrough.
If you’re looking for the most standard playthrough of Persona 3 as the story was originally intended to be told, though, the male protagonist may be more your speed.
He’s recommended for newcomers to P3, or those looking for a thematically darker playthrough. His is the original version of the game.
With the male protagonist featured so heavily in P3P’s predecessor games, the female protagonist is recommended for players returning to P3’s story now with P3P who want to experience it a little differently than before.
Additionally, the female protagonist is the better choice if you’re looking for different social links, including new social links for male SEES members. Fans tend to think she has the best social links, so if this is important to you, it may be a big factor in your decision.
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