Replay value

I recently finished my second playthrough of Persona 3 Portable, which I first played as the male protagonist so that I could get a feel for the original game. So, six months pass and I have no new games to play. I figured it'd be fun to play as the female protagonist.

And believe me, playing as the female was much more fun. Female harems are so old--building a male one was entertaining. I'm tired of seeing female characters constantly blush and fumble over their words when in love because I feel it simplifies us into these submissive, bashful girls that have traditionally been the norm because that's what was expected. Some of the males were awkward (I'm looking at you, Akihiko) and some were flirtatious from the start (oh, hello there, Ryoji). I constantly laughed and awwww'd.

 Persona 3 Portable: Finally making harems fun for girls.

The female protagonist version added many social links other than the guys. As a boy, you couldn't start social links with your male friends, but as a girl you can become "besties" with your fellow females. (I suggest hanging out with Fuuka. You get to make stuff at cooking club that you can then use to aid you in building your male harem.) But more than anything, I'm glad ATLUS included the Koromaru social link.

Koromaru joins the team after his master at the shrine passes away. Koromaru defends the place and the team realizes he can summon a Persona. You can take him for walks as a male, but you really bond with him as a girl. As an animal-lover, I loved this idea. I've bonded with every animal I've come in contact with for more than a couple days. Having a pet dog is much more than simply taking him for walks and feeding him. And Koromaru isn't like any other dog--the team correctly considers him their equal. The social link with Koromaru could be better developed (I wanted to learn more about his old master), but it was touching.

No one leaves out Koromaru.

These additions are what make P3P's replayability so great. I wouldn't say it's on the level that I think the replay value of Tales of Xillia will have, but replaying this game was not a waste of time. I bashed my head against the wall during the Tartarus parts (I rarely felt motivated to go there; it's not like you're regularly saving people you know like in Persona 4), so these new social links were what made me go into "fangirl mode."

RPGs need character development; that's why I love them so much. Getting that extra bit of background and growth during social links is what makes the Persona games memorable.

And if you're motivated enough, you might want to play the game a third or fourth time in order to get all of those social links you missed. There's no way to do it all from the start.