Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
A deep and amazing RPG with some mature themes.
  • PSP
  • $39.99
  • 2010

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

As freaky, weird, and violent as this story is, there's actually a very positive message in it about the importance of maintaining good friendships and positive social relationships.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are a mixed bag -- some good, some definitely not. But both of the two protagonists you can control seem to be relatively good people and loyal to friends.

Ease of Play

There's a lot going on here to keep track of, so simply following all the details of the story and the gameplay may be the biggest obstacle for some players. But if you're accustomed to role-playing games, it shouldn't be too difficult to catch on here.


The battles are displayed RPG-style, meaning damage is depicted with numbers (hit points being depleted). There is a great deal of turn-based fighting, though, and some of the attack moves look pretty fierce. Blood is not seen during the fights, but you'll see it on walls and floors in the scenery. Sometimes a hero character will use a gun-like device to blast himself in the head in order to call forth his "persona" beast. When he does so, it looks like broken glass is flying from his head.


Dialogue includes talk about characters making "sexual advances" toward one another. Some of the female "persona" creatures are depicted topless, while some of the male ones have heads with a decidedly phallic shape.


Profanity such as "s--t," "bitch," and "damn" appears in the dialogue.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable is a role-playing game with a deep and engrossing storyline that is very mature in its content. The dark, spooky monsters are only the start of it. The heroes can evoke "persona" creatures from their brains to help them fight; these creatures are based on elements of the characters' subconscious minds, meaning they may be violent, sexual, or both. This makes the story more intriguing and interesting, but again, it does so on a very mature level. Also, even though it's only used as a device to call forth the persona creatures, seeing the good guys put a gun-like instrument to their heads and pull the trigger is kind of creepy and disturbing.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydundermifflin January 9, 2021


good for ages 12 up
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byhryhry September 24, 2010
Teen, 14 years old Written byPancake Prince ... February 22, 2021
Kid, 11 years old September 19, 2020

It deserves a teen rating

Amazing game. I am only 11, but I could stand the game normally. I am not very mature or mentally strong, but I could handle it pretty easily. The game is about... Continue reading

What's it about?

In SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: PERSONA 3 PORTABLE you play as a new student at a boarding school. During the daytime hours, the game plays like a high school sim, with you attending classes (and doing work in them) and chatting up other students to forge new social relationships. At night, though, most everybody turns into a monster and a mysterious dark tower sprouts up. You and the few other unaffected teens form a force to investigate the tower and fight off the monsters within, using creatures called \"personas\" that you can call forth from your subconscious. You can choose to play as either a male or female protagonist, and the story will change based on your selection.

Is it any good?

When most people play a role-playing game, they're looking for a solid storyline to interact with. In that department, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable will not disappoint. The daytime levels are entirely about story -- a story you can craft, depending on who you choose to talk to and what you choose to say. The nighttime parts are full of good old-fashioned turn-based fighting action -- with an ultra-creepy atmosphere and some profound psychological symbolism layered over the whole experience. This is definitely a game for mature players, but for teens who can handle it, it's bound to bring up all sorts of interesting topics for discussion. The game is so frought with symbolism that, in many ways, a lot of it is open to interpretation. This is the kind of game you will enjoy while playing and spend lots of time pondering when you're done.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationships between characters in the game. Who you choose to hang out with and how you choose to behave with them is mostly up to you. Plus, your social relationships affect your stats and abilities in the game. How does this reflect real life?

  • In the game you can play as a male or female protagonist. Would you ever choose to play as the opposite gender? If so, why?

  • What do you think of the sexual imagery used in the game? Does it serve a purpose, or does it seem gratuitous?

Game details

  • Platforms: PSP
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Release date: July 6, 2010
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence
  • Last updated: November 19, 2018

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Taking on New Roles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate