As always, I’m thrilled to get to talk about one of my favorite games at Kotaku. Persona 3’s social links were so dramatic, poignant, and interesting, they still haunt me. I talk about some of the ones that really stood out to me, while also getting into how they affected the main storyline as well. What’s really cool was this was initially part of a Persona 3 retrospective I did at Default Prime. But when that site went defunct, I took the small section devoted to social links, greatly expanded it, and made it a whole new piece which I really enjoyed getting into. It was like revisiting an old friend. Angela and I played Persona 3 and 4 together all the way through, and that’s like 200 hours of gameplay right there. It’s a lot of invested time to spend in a world, lol. I’m glad for any excuse to revisit. Thank you Kotaku!
From the essay:
Persona 3 is one of the best JRPGs ever developed. The story was moving, the gameplay made turn-based combat relevant again, the music was a catchy fusion of jazz and vocals, and the social interactions, epitomized in the community links, exemplified its fresh take on the genre. That sense of community is what I feel to be the most important aspect of making Persona 3 verge on JRPG perfection, and I’ll be delving into what makes them so great.
Friendships are hard. They take time to develop and it’s no different in Persona 3. You have to commit to a friendship and approach each relationship in its own unique way. Be too frank in answering certain questions, and the friendship stalls. Say the right thing, and a potential date starts developing feelings for you. I loved social links because it flushed out the world and made the NPCs more than just vessels for conveying game information (go here, or, this villain is blah, or, tutorial in the form of, etc. etc.). These characters had a life of their own. Some of their arcs were tragic, others, hilariously poignant. Social links were an exploration, a journey of human nature, and the whimsies of friendship that often had me looking back on my own relationships.