15 years later, the most hated epilogue in video games deserves another chance

good endings they are hard to come by. After spending hours with a game and falling in love with the world and the characters, it can be nearly impossible to keep landing in a way that satisfies players. Even person 3 it does just that, finding meaning by investigating what it means to end. But what happens when the story continues?

‘The Answer’ is an epilogue to the story of person 3 included in the game FES re-release on PS2. It’s often derided as an added chapter that ruins everything good about the base game. But in the spirit of person 3In the end, ‘The Answer’ uses the game to make the player suffer in a way that mirrors the epilogue’s theme of pain.

misery loves company

Metis is a new character in ‘The Answer’Atlus

‘The Answer’ is a miserable thirty hour experience. The variety of activities and the choice given to the player have been removed. Gone are the social ties and the ability to date your group members. Gone is the daily calendar that makes the player choose which activities they want to include in the busy school schedule. All that remains is grinding.

Grinding is, in many ways, the worst part of an RPG. In the battle of story vs. gameplay, grinding doesn’t help gameplay. Some say it’s part of the JRPG DNA, dating back to the early ’90s when games required you to level up for hours as a gate of progression. But to me, this feels like hard work.

In other places, the Person The series takes the misery out of grinding through its time management systems and social links. However, ‘The Answer’ dismisses all of this and forces the player into what can only be described as a fest of routines.

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The main stage for person 3The epilogue of is the Abyss of Time, a place that only contains eight gates. Seven of these lead to large dungeons similar to the massive Tartarus from the base game. In general, there are more floors in ‘The Answer’ to clear than in the base game. However, ‘The Answer’ justifies its misery. Using the game as narrative, the misery the player experiences in their many hours of work only enhances the epilogue’s conversation with person 3.

parting ways

The shadow of the protagonist is a constant presence throughout the grinding process.Atlus

A title like ‘The Answer’ demands an immediate response, what is the question? Yes person 3 is a game about the inevitability of death and the choice to live independently, so ‘The Answer’ asks a much simpler question. How do you grieve? How to overcome the death of another? As easy as it is to prepare for your own, it’s a million times harder to accept the death of those around you.

Taking place on March 31, two months after the completion of person 3, ‘The Answer’ picks up with the remaining members of SEES trying to continue with their lives after the death of the protagonist. With the end of the school year approaching, it means everyone will be moving out of the dorm that has been their home for the past few months. Aigis struggles to deal with his inability to save the protagonist. To separate himself from his emotions, he announces that he won’t be returning to Gekkoukan High when the summer is over.

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During one last celebration, the members of SEES discover that they have been trapped in a time loop. Metis, an android who refers to Aigis as her sister, claims this is their doing and attacks them. In self-defense, Aigis summons her character, but instead, she summons Orpheus. This is the protagonist’s personality, which Aigis gains in addition to the protagonist’s wild card ability.

Discovering the source of the time loop, the Abyss of Time, the group enters in the hope that things will return to normal.

Going forward

The group struggles with their desire to see the protagonist one last time. Atlus

Throughout the thirty hour experience of ‘The Answer’, the protagonist pursues SEES. Each member struggles to let go and wishes they could have changed their destiny. But the dungeons lead them to meet a Shadow in the form of the protagonist. He appears through every door constantly making his presence known.

Each gate in the Abyss of Time ultimately leads the group to an individual member’s memory of the first time their personality was awakened. But Aigis is faced with a recurring dream: she chases the protagonist desperately trying to grab them, but they keep getting further and further away. A final confrontation with the Shadow Protagonist reveals that Metis was right to blame SEES for the time loop.

Both the time loop and the Shadow Protagonist are manifestations of SEES’s desire to see the protagonist one last time. Having been heroes throughout person 3, when faced with the opportunity to close the time loop or travel back in time before the Protagonist’s death, the group fractures. Yukari, after desperately trying to keep her composure from her, breaks down and confesses that she just wants to see her friend again and doesn’t care about the cost to her. Aigis and Metis manage to keep the party together and visit the time the protagonist sealed Nyx on January 31st.

Each member of SEES learns to handle their grief.Atlus

Right now, ‘The Answer’ brings out a traditional JRPG spin similar to Final Fantasy IV either IX the bad guy you’ve been up against all along just works for a bigger bad guy. But person 3 it once again manages to play into genre tropes and subverts them to hit the player in the gut with the emotional weight of the story. Nyx is revealed to be neither inherently good nor evil, but rather a being unleashed by the creature Erebus who is constantly reborn through humanity’s collective pain.

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Aigis and the party defeat Erebus and let time move forward as usual, not prying into the past. Metis is revealed to be the emotional side of Aigis given form, as he sought to separate himself from the pain he was feeling. At the same time, Yukari gives up on the idea of ​​stopping Erebus’s return. Humanity will always grieve, but that is only because they have lived long enough to feel loss.

The hours spent traversing the dungeons are a reflection of the characters’ struggle to move forward in life. But ‘The Answer’ ends with a message of consolation. Grieving is not something you can beat, but it gets easier.

persona 3 laptop will be released for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC via Steam and the Microsoft Store in 2023. Available now for PSP.

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