The writing and collaborators of FreeGameTips choose their preferred titles from this license that little by little has made its way into all markets.
At first glance, Persona contains the usual elements of the JRPG genre. The saga created by P Studio and edited by Atlus incorporates, however, a whole series of peculiarities that make it unique. Yes, there are turn-based fighting; yes, certain familiar mechanics appear here and there. However, the developer has managed to build products that are not only rich at the narrative level, but also very interesting in the playable field.
A more social dimension is applied to its conception as a Japanese role-playing game, allowing the player to interact with the characters in a way that clearly embraces the genre of visual novels. Its formula has been modernized and improved over the years, also with regard to the dungeons, a crucial element in the gameplay of these titles. On the other hand, the Persona names give the saga and are manifestations of the inner psyche of the protagonists. These entities empower them and allow them to fight the dark forces revolving around them. An alternate world full of dangers that requires the invocation of the mighty Persona.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona has traditionally been a niche game in the Spanish market. Despite their unquestionable quality, Atlus was slow to bring these products to Europe. In fact, the first installment of the saga, originally marketed in the first PlayStation (year 1996), saw the light in the Old Continent more than a decade later, in its version of PSP. More recently, with the release of Persona 4 Golden (the improved version of the fourth installment) and the arrival of Persona 5, the license has started to take off. Koch Media, the distributor of Atlus and SEGA in Spain, announced that Persona 5 Royal would be the first title in the series to be published in Spanish. This decision was highly celebrated, as the license leans heavily on the narrative. Until then, the English barrier had always been a stumbling block for players who do not speak English. Next on the horizon is Persona 5 Scramble: The Phantom Strikers for PS4, Nintendo Switch, and PC, a musou developed by Omega Force that will be released on February 23, 2021.
Persona is a saga that emerged as a spin-off of Shin Megami Tensei, a product that dates back to 1987 and was born in the heat of the NES. Despite their commonalities, this branch of the saga has acquired its own entity and already has five main installments behind it, not to mention the special editions, remakes and its own spin-offs, which even include dance games. . Without further ado, this is the verdict of the writing and collaborators of FreeGameTips. Do you agree with the results?
10. Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight (PS4, PS Vita)
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If rhythm and music is your thing, Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight (known in Japan as Persona 5: Dancing Star Night, yeah, what a mess of titles) gives you exactly what you’re thinking. Characters from the fifth installment of the saga gather to dance to the rhythm of the music as players focus on pressing the right buttons at the right time. Different indicators appear on the screen, so depending on what they indicate we will have to react accordingly. As in other similar installments, the gameplay is more than entertaining, while the musical themes review the soundtrack with more than twenty pieces. Of course, many of them are remixes, so that a somewhat more ambitious content could have been offered.
The title, also developed by P Studio, provides the demanding user with many challenges in the more advanced difficulty modes. Although it does not incorporate a story mode as such, we can enjoy dialogues that delve a little deeper into the main characters of the original game.
9. Persona Q: New Cinema Labyrinth (Nintendo 3DS)
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Among the different spin-offs of the Persona saga is this video game released on Nintendo 3DS, which was published in 2019 as one of the latest launches of the veteran Kyoto portable. This is a product that follows the guidelines of its predecessor, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, which was also released on that machine. As a dungeon crawler, the production of P Studio invites us to go through different dungeons. Even so, another of the main pillars of the title are its visual novel elements, not to mention its combat system, which collects certain elements from the main installments and reflects them in a more accessible way. Of course, those who want more challenges have the option to choose between the different difficulty modes available.
The story of Persona Q: New Cinema Labyrinth includes up to 28 heroes from Persona 3, Persona 4 and Persona 5. It all begins with the Phantom Thieves and an accident on the bus that transports them. From that moment, Joker and company will live a very cinematic experience, since they will enter different films. Their objective will be to get out of the quagmire they are in.
8. Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight
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In this Top of FreeGameTips there is space for both the main games and the spin-offs. Like Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight, Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight (known in Japan as Persona 3: Dancing Moon Night, again the title mess) is a musical game. In fact, they came out at the same time, so in this house we decided to analyze them in the same text. In short, the mechanics are the same, with the difference that the protagonists are those of the third installment. The formula, actually rescued from Persona 4: Dancing All Night, leads us to press buttons to the sound of music. As in the spin-off of the fifth installment, in this case the story mode has been dispensed with, although some dialogues and sequences are included. And why have we placed this particular installment above the Persona 5 version? Mainly because of its selection of topics.
7. Persona 2 Eternal Punishment (PlayStation)
Sony’s first console was a machine that received great role-playing video games beyond the Final Fantasy saga. On PlayStation, Persona was born with a first installment that was successful enough for the studio to consider launching a sequel. And in the absence of a single Persona 2, the developers designed two different products set in the same universe. Eternal Punishment is a kind of sequel to Persona 2: Innocent Sin. The first of them was marketed in 1999, while the second product reached the Japanese market just a year later.
Three months after the events narrated in Innocent Sin, this production maintains one of the hallmarks that have converged throughout all these years: that of the mute person. Maya Amano, who also appeared in Innocent Sin (and was playable) is the main character in this adventure. The events take place in an alternate reality, in the fictional city of Sumaru. There, this reporter investigates the curse of the Joker, which according to gossips turns rumors and gossip into reality. The journalist will be drawn into this world and will end up dominating the invocation of the Persona.
6. Persona 2: Innocent Sin (PlayStation, PSP)
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Despite the fact that European gamers were unable to access Persona 2: Innocent Sin in 1999, Atlus fixed that bug with a revamped version released on PSP much later. The saga continued to develop on the same basis as the original installment, that is, merging the social elements with the exploration of dungeons and turn-based combat. As in other chapters of the license, the protagonists are students who go about their daily lives like any other: they go to high school, attend classes, etc. However, behind this apparent normality is a peculiarity: they live adventures in the shadows, a double life.
In Persona 2, the player takes on the shoes of high school student Tatsuya Suou, who must face the aforementioned curse of the Joker. Inside his mind, deep inside his psyche, he finds an inner power that allows him to invoke the Persona. Meanwhile, the Joker searches the young man’s mind to obsessively torture him. Time has not passed in vain, and although mechanically it was a very innovative game for its time, nowadays it is a bit tougher, since the most modern installments have polished the roughest aspects of the saga.
5. Persona 4: Dancing All Night (PS4, PS Vita)
Dance, dance, dance all night long. That is the premise of Persona 4: Dancing All Night, the forerunner of the rest of the musical products based on this saga by Shin Megami Tensei. The fourth installment of the main saga gave rise to several spin-offs, among which is a fighting game (Persona 4 Arena) and this production. What was said in the upper paragraphs about Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight can be perfectly applied to this video game, since it was the one that launched the playable formula. However, the main difference with respect to the other games is that the dance has more plot content.
This production draws on the genre of the visual novel to offer numerous dialogues and sequences that immerse us in adventure. In fact, those who don’t want to get stuck in one of the musical challenges can opt for the option of just living the story. Although the Persona 4 storyline ended in the main game, the protagonists return long after Golden’s epilogue. Rise has decided to return as an idol and must live a new adventure in a world where music is vital.
4. Persona 4: Arena / Ultimax (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
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Arc System Works is today one of the most recognized studios in the field of the genre of fighting in two dimensions. The success of Dragon Ball FighterZ, which turned three recently, is by no means a coincidence. Before the Japanese studio got down to work with the saga of Goku and his friends, they also dared to license Atlus. They worked on two different installments, both published on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In 2012 (2013 in Europe) they released Persona 4: Arena, while in 2014 the sequel, Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax, was released. The also creators of BlazBlue and Guilty Gear seamlessly integrate the characteristic elements of the Persona series. Therefore, the fighting system retains certain aspects of BlazBlue, but Arc System Works plays with other mechanics to take into account. In essence, the characters can use their Persona, something that adds a differentiating component compared to other games of the genre.
The particularities become even more evident in the story mode, which takes up the genre of visual novels. Unfortunately, the title is not translated into Spanish. Considering the sheer number of lines of dialogue, it can be a stumbling block for anyone who wants to enjoy its attractive narrative layer. The Grand Prix program is the trigger for the plot, which leads us to handle each of the characters through different chapters. The sequel plot takes place right after these events.
3. Persona 3 / FES (PlayStation 2, PSP)
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Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 put aside PlayStation to debut on Sony’s 128-bit. The first game for the then new generation of consoles deepened in the original formula and gave more value to one of the characteristics of the saga. As we have commented, the student life of the protagonists has always been present in one way or another. However, in this installment it was implemented within what are the playable mechanics themselves. Now, players must not only establish relationships with other characters, make friends, have romances, but it is also necessary to focus on day-to-day activities: taking exams, studying, socializing, doing homework, etc. During the day we can be exemplary students, while at night we have to face the demons that dwell in the shadows.
In this third installment we control a mute character who has no name. The protagonist has been transferred to the Gekkouden female residence, where upon arrival he discovers the presence of a child. At that moment he uncovers his powers, but then the image merges with one of the girls who appear in the adventure. Persona 3 received a revamped version known as FES, which includes The Answer, an exclusive epilogue, as well as other new features.
2. Persona 4 / Golden (PlayStation 4, PS Vita, PC)
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The game that closed the stage of Persona on PlayStation 4 is one of the titles preferred by many fans of the saga. Judging by the position in this Top, it is also for the editors of this house. And is not for less. Persona 4, a production that also has several spin-offs – already mentioned in this article – is a first-rate JRPG. It was released in 2008 in Japan and the United States, while European users had to wait a bit longer, until 2009. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4 may seem conservative in its approach, but it actually improves and reinforces the novelties that are implemented in the previous chapter. Not surprisingly, for the first time, players can control not only the main character, but also the rest of the teammates.
We highlighted the importance of Social Link, a mechanic that allows us to interact with other characters and improve our links with them. In Persona 4, this is taken even further, since if the relationship is strong enough, some characters may die to protect us. When it comes to the dungeons, the layout of each of the floors is still random. We can explore them during the afternoons, always accurately measuring the moment, since our protagonist also has other activities on the horizon. Of course, the dungeons are full of monsters, so we must deploy all our powers. Enemies are visible at all times, so it is possible to avoid unwanted combat.
The story of Persona 4 puts us in the shoes of a mute character, who leaves his native Tokyo to move to the town of Inaba with his uncle, a detective (the hero’s parents are working abroad). Peace is not to last long: the first night he dreams of the Persona and the next day he meets his classmates. But classes are canceled when another student discovers the corpse of a television presenter. From that moment, the protagonists will embark on an adventure.
Persona 4 Golden was developed for the PS Vita, although it was recently released on PC via Steam. It is an improved version in which even the main story is restructured. New content is added, some mechanics are improved and the graphics look better than ever. It is, in short, the expanded version that you have to play.
1. Persona 5 / Royal (PlayStation 4)
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The subtitle of our Reviews of Persona 5: Royal is quite illustrative of what this installment has meant within the saga and the JRPG genre. We wondered “how to improve the best”, and the answer is that the improved and expanded version has more than succeeded. Not surprisingly, we gave it a 10, which at FreeGameTips is awarded to all the products that we consider masterpieces. At the beginning of the article it has already been mentioned, but although Persona 5 went on sale in Spain entirely in English, Royal already did so with the texts in Spanish. Once this barrier has been destroyed, all Spanish-speakers can now enjoy the fascinating adventure that we have at hand, a video game in which P Studio has put all its good work in order to design a video game that sets the bar very high.
The plot of both versions is basically the same, although Royal adds more content, adjusts the combat and renews much of the original product. Persona 5 is the achievement of the playable scheme that was redefined with the third installment of the saga, a product that continues to treasure and exploit the usual ingredients: an institute, rumors that lead to new realities, characters with whom we must establish a relationship with through numerous conversations … It maintains its component of visual novel, introduces again the combat by turns, in which of course we can invoke our particular Persona. Again, we control different characters in the battles, although it is necessary to be very careful during the fights, since the death of the protagonist causes the end of the game. Instead, we can resurrect the companions. The combat system offers an agile approach that contradicts all those who claim that the approach to action is the answer to modern times. This game proves otherwise.
At the playable level, the Social Link mechanics are rooted in the narrative design of the title. By establishing a bond with the companions and other characters that we will meet during the adventure, we will obtain certain advantages, but we will also learn the stories of all of them. Do not forget that Persona 5 maintains its nature as a visual novel.
If in previous chapters we traveled to fictional places, this production takes us to the great Japanese city, Tokyo. Iconic locations such as Shinjuku, Shibuya or Akihabara are represented, although they have passed through the filter of their spectacular and unique visual art. What is fictional is the Shujin Academy, the school in which the protagonists are trained for their future as adults. As in other installments, the protagonist (to whom we must assign a name) will travel to other alternative realities, Metaverse and other heterogeneous spaces that will end up developing plot lines that, as is usual, are loaded with social criticism. Persona 5 is undoubtedly one of the essentials of the generation and the number 1 of this Top.