Shin Megami Tensei: Persona Review

The term

In Persona you play as an unnamed high school student.  While playing a ritual-like game, everyone in the room is knocked unconscious and a being bestows everyone the ability to summon Persona.  Shortly after this happens the members of the class determine that the city is being attacked by all sorts of demons.  You set out to find the reason behind this invasion and try to stop the cause.


Persona has retained the original Japanese portraits instead of the American translation of Revelations: Persona.  For instance, in Revelations the main character had red hair and pale skin tone while Masao was renamed Mark and changed to an African-American.  All of these localization changes were scrapped for the PSP remake.  This provides you with a truer Persona experience.

When you first start Persona you see yourself and your other classmates from the third-person perspective, something that you should be familiar with from the other Persona games.  Once you step out of the room, you discover that you are traveling in a first-person perspective.  It is an odd feeling at first going through the buildings this way, but it works.  While each separate building has slightly different textures, inside of each building the textures look so similar that maneuvering through the buildings can be confusing without using the map often.


Graphically Persona won’t impress you.  While the text looks better because the PSP produces higher resolutions than the PS1, the models for your characters look bland without much detail.  Some features distinguish the different members of your party, but sometimes it’s hard to tell who is available to interact with.

The music in the Persona games has always been fun and kitschy.  They have been a highlight of the titles.  While the music still has the same vibe, it doesn’t have the same energy as the later Persona games.  The battle music is darker than the previous games, and it almost borders on being boring.  It also loops much quicker than the other games.  The map music has an eerie ambiance to it, but it loops as well.  The voices in the game don’t match the look of the characters either, especially Nanjo.


When you go into combat, you again view the action from a third-person perspective.  The difference from this combat screen to other Shin Megami Tensei games, and a large number of JRPGs, is the fact that you are playing on a grid with each party on opposite sides of the play area.  Since your weapons can only attack in specific spots, you need to place your party in the most effective spots for the weapon/skill they are using.  There is some frustration with putting your party in the correct spots on the grid, as you can

One of the more unique options in Persona is the fact that you can interact with the enemies as you are fighting them.  If you make them angry, they may get the first attack.  If you make them happy, they may give you something in return and then leave or just be happy throughout the entire battle.  Making them fearful will cause them to leave.  If they become interested, you can gain a contact card from them.  These contact cards are very advantageous for two reasons.  First, if you encounter an enemy while having their contact card they will leave the combat.  Second, these contact cards can be used to create other Personas.


Negotiating with the enemies isn

If you have played a Shin Megami Tensei game, then you know their reputation for having high random encounter rates.  Persona continues that tradition in spades.  The encounter rate feels higher than any of the other Shin Megami Tensei games I

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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