Now that everyone has had time to reflect upon the critically acclaimed Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, Atlus USA is ready to reveal its true power. Persona 3 FES is a "director's cut" of the original dungeon crawler/dating sim and contains enough new material to justify a $29.99 re-release.
"The Answer (also known as Project Aigis) is a new, final chapter to the game that contains an estimated 30 hours of playtime."
The upcoming release consists of two chapters on a single disc: The Journey and The Answer. The Journey (originally known as Episode Yourself) is an enhanced version of the story told in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 that includes new quests, social events, Persona, costumes, synthesis combinations, and a Hard mode. The Journey also contains an upgraded Weapon Fusion system to help deal with the new challenges. Atlus promises surprises as well, so completionists who've sunk countless hours into Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 will have to return to the hallowed ranks of the Special Extracurricular Execution Squad to find out what they're missing. This journey won't leave its partakers bare, however. Returning heroes will be able to transfer many statistics and items from their previous save file into The Journey, but must nevertheless start at level one, day one.
As in Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3, the core story revolves around a group of plucky Japanese high-school students who love, laugh, and learn while the sun shines, and combat hellish monsters from beyond during the void between days. Like most monsters, the protagonists’ primary opponents reside in their high school -- or at least an extra-dimensional fortress called Tartarus that appears every Dark Hour. Besting these unholy spawn requires the help of Persona, occult creatures who manifest during periods of extreme emotion. Characters attain the stress necessary to summon Persona by pantomiming "ritualistic suicide" with faux pistols. Even without mentioning the off-kilter religious allusions, the game contains enough proper nouns and symbolism to furnish a dissertation.
The Answer (also known as Project Aigis) is a new, final chapter to the game that contains an estimated 30 hours of playtime. It is immediately accessible as a stand-alone adventure, but also accepts data imported from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 or The Journey. The new chapter occurs one month after the events of The Journey, and focus on the lovely-yet-synthetic Aigis's investigation of the fallout from her earlier adventures. Along the way she faces a new breed of "time skips" that trap her allies within the same, endless day, and sheds light upon the shadowy corners from the parent game’s mysterious ending.
The Answer is a more traditional console RPG than The Journey, focusing more on dungeon exploration and story than dating game shenanigans. The difficulty also receives a shot of tradition, featuring hundreds of new, semi-random floors filled with bigger and scarier monsters than anything within the Journey. The difficulty is magnified by Aigis's inability to access the Persona-cataloging compendium from The Journey.
Persona 3 FES draws deep from previously employed songs, but provides seventeen new tracks to top them off. English voice actors add to the aural delight, despite protests from several fans requesting language tracks in Japanese and Spanish.
Japanese gamers have been playing Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES since April 19, 2007. It is scheduled for release in North America on April 22, 2008 and is rated "M" for Mature by the ESRB.