Persona 3 Portable is a highly unique entry in the series for a number of reasons, but one of the largest differences between the third game and its counterparts is the presence of a playable female protagonist. While the male option is the canon choice, the female option is a very enticing choice when beginning the game for the first time. Atlus recommends choosing the male MC for new players since his story is the way Persona 3 was intended to be experienced initially, but with the Persona series having grown so much since the original release of Persona 3, there’s a much stronger case to be made for the female MC.
All Gender Differences in Persona 3
While it may seem like a simple choice at first, your character’s gender affects quite a lot in Persona 3. The female protagonist was added to Persona 3 after the release of Persona 4 on PlayStation 2, so her route reflects the lessons that Atlus learned when making the follow-up title. The following things are different between the male and female routes of Persona 3 Portable:
- Social links with male party members
- Romanceable men
- Ability to max out social links without romance
- New social links
- New music and UI changes
- Potential (minor) story tweaks
- Altered dialogue in some scenes based on gender
The main story and plot of the game are exactly the same regardless of the gender you choose at the beginning of the game, but there are some minor tweaks that are possible depending on your social links and choices during the female protagonist’s route. Primarily, the fate of one major character can be changed, but even then it’s a really small difference and is really just a superficial tweak. Don’t worry about story changes when choosing your gender.
Should You Play as a Male or Female in Persona 3 Portable?
Unless you’re a Persona purist, you should play as the female protagonist in Persona 3. Her dialogue is much better, her social links are way more interesting, and playing her route makes Persona 3 feel much closer to Persona 4 and 5 which most people are going to be used to. With that said, there’s nothing wrong with the vanilla male route either if you want to go that route. Most people will agree that the writing is much stronger on the FeMC’s side, however.
Outside of minor dialogue changes throughout the game referring to your characters’ gender, the main point of differentiation between the male and female routes of Persona 3 Portable is the social link system. Your circle of friends will vary depending on your chosen gender, which encourages repeat playthroughs. However, most people won’t want to sit through a 100-hour JRPG again, especially when Persona 4 and 5 are waiting for them, so here’s what you need to know about each gender’s social links.
Male vs. Female Social Links in Persona 3 Portable
The major — potentially game-breaking for some people — difference is that the male protagonist does not have social links with male party members. That means you won’t be able to hang out with Junpei, for example, outside of story events. The male protagonist also cannot reach level 10 on any female social link without romancing them, which can lead to some awkward situations.
The female protagonist, on the other hand, can reject the men’s romantic advances and still max out their social links platonically. The social link limitations are the main reason why people prefer the female protagonist’s route to the male’s in Persona 3 Portable, so keep that in mind even if you typically play as male characters in video games.
The female character also has different social links that replace the male’s social links and vice versa, however, so you’ll miss out on some characters depending on the route you choose. For example, the Hermit arcana social link differs based on your character’s gender. The male protagonist befriends someone while playing the online MMO Innocent Sin Online in their bedroom, for example, while the female protagonist befriends an older classmate from a school committee. The Magician arcana social link is different as well, with the male protagonist befriending Kenji, a student who romantically pursues a teacher, and the female protagonist befriending Junpei, one of the male party members.
Are There Story Changes Based on Gender in Persona 3?
The main story in Persona 3 Portable stays the same regardless of your gender. The only thing that will change is the dialogue in some scenes, where characters will treat you differently if you’re male or female. The female party members tend to stick up for the female protagonist more, for example.
Some people will tell you that there are major story changes for the female protagonist if you make certain choices, but that’s simply not true. Yes, the fate of one major character can be slightly changed if you make very specific choices during your female playthrough, but as stated above, it’s superficial. It doesn’t affect the story at all and you really don’t even see the effects until the very end of the game. You don’t get a different ending, you don’t get any bonuses, and you don’t miss anything.
Persona 3 Portable is available now on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.