Persona 3 Portable vs Persona 3 FES: What are the main differences between the games?

An image of official Persona 3 Portable artwork.Atlus

When Atlus announced they would finally be bringing the majority of the Persona franchise to modern consoles, the reveal that Persona 3 Portable would be ported was met with controversy from fans of the much beloved Persona 3 FES. There are some major differences between Portable and FES, so here’s everything you need to know about both versions of the game.

The third entry in the Persona franchise has had quite an impressive history. It was originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006, followed by an enhanced edition, Persona 3 FES, in 2007. In 2010 another version of the game, Persona 3 Portable, was released worldwide.

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Persona 3 Portable was created exclusively for the PlayStation Portable and due to the nature of the console, there were significant differences between Portable and FES – which had previously been regarded as the definitive version of the game.

If you’re new to the series and are wondering what the key differences between the recently re-released Persona 3 Portable, and the much-loved Persona 3 FES are, then we’ve got you covered.


What are the differences between Persona 3 Portable & Persona 3 FES?

A screenshot of Persona 3 Portable gameplay, showing the difference in presentation compared to FES.Atlus
Persona 3 Portable has a more static presentation compared to Persona 3 FES 3D overworld.

Initially, the most noticeable difference between the two versions of Persona 3 is their presentation. Persona 3 FES contains full overworld navigation in an explorable 3D world, allowing players to move around outside of dungeons in a third-person perspective. Persona 3 Portable streamlines this navigation for point-and-click gameplay, where instead of moving your character around each area, you simply use a cursor to interact with people and objects.

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Portable also has a lack of anime cutscenes compared to FES, with many of the impactful moments being played out through in-game dialogue and static images.

Combat was enhanced for Portable and players were given the option to control their entire party, whereas you could only give direct commands to the protagonist in FES. Some combat mechanics from Persona 4 were also carried over to P3P, particularly the ‘one more’ weakness system where if an enemy is knocked back in battle, the player will be rewarded with an additional turn.

The new port of P3P also offers more difficultly settings than FES, as well as the ability to quickly save at any point in or outside of dungeons.

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What additional content do Persona 3 Portable & Persona 3 FES have?

An image of Persona 3 Portable's protagonist selection screen - a key difference from FES.Atlus
P3P and FES both have additional content.

Aside from the presentation and gameplay differences mentioned above, the other core distinction between these two versions of Persona 3 is the additional content they have to offer.

In Persona 3 Portable you have the choice of a male and female protagonist – each containing unique dialogue options and social links that effectively provide enough new material to warrant a second playthrough. When first booting up the game, newcomers are encouraged to play the male protagonist route first while veterans who have played FES are recommended the female protagonist.

While Persona 3 FES only has a male protagonist, it includes an endgame chapter called ‘The Aftermath’ – this is an additional story campaign that picks up from where FES ends and is highly recommended for those who want to experience the entire story in full. Unfortunately, this content was omitted from Persona 3 Portable.

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Which version of Persona 3 is best to play in 2023?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both versions of Persona 3 and the pros and cons of both will differ depending on the individual player.

In terms of accessibility however, anyone looking to play Persona 3 FES would have to find an original copy of the game for either PlayStation 2 or PlayStation 3. Persona 3 Portable is now available on all modern consoles – making it the easiest version of the game to find in 2023.

That’s everything you need to know about the version differences between Persona 3 Portable and Persona 3 FES. For more JRPG content, check out our articles below:

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