View Full Version : tell me something about smt: Persona

12-09-2009, 05:40 PM
couple of friends recommended me to play these games, are they actually that good?
the only atlus game i've played is riviera: the promised land for psp, and it was AWESOME
i LOOOOOOOOVED the fact that the player's able to change the voices to japanese, and as the game nearly ONLY includes voice output, i really enjoyed to play it..

as i told my friends this, they recommended persona to me; are these games alike?
i know the battle system isn't, but like having good stories, japanese (constinuous) voice output, and so on?

you may also recommend to me other games like riviera.. it felt soo much like watching an anime and playing it on the other hand
inb4 bad english as always

12-10-2009, 11:13 AM
Persona games are going to blow your mind. Some of the other members are sure to give you a sweet actual review. But my advice is play them. 3 and 4 for definite, I've not heard anything about the remake on PSP of the first one.

12-10-2009, 01:15 PM
I'm getting the PSP remake of the first one for Christmas so I can't say anything about it yet. I have started playing Persona 3 again though after not having enough time to play it when I got it and putting it aside for a long time (I don't think I even made it to the first full moon then for those who have played it). I'll put my opinion on it as simply as I can though; aside from FFXII and probably Valkyria Chronicles this is the best RPG I have played in almost ten years.

In fact, despite growing up playing RPG's almost exclusively I'd say I've been pretty apathetic about the genre at best since FFIX came out, largely because few of them did anything new and the ones that did weren't half as good as games like FFIX and FFVI. Then I heard about Persona 3 being, essentially, part RPG and part relationship simulator. After getting over my initial "huh?" reaction I picked it up. Despite not getting the chance to dive into it for two years or however long it's been, it was well worth the wait. The game is amazing. Hands down one of the best RPG's in literally a decade, and I can't wait to finish it and track down a copy of Persona 4 eventually.

12-10-2009, 02:12 PM
There's a difference between games published by Atlus, and games developed by Atlus. The Shin Megami Tensei games are actually developed by Atlus, and most of the other games they bring out in the US are not. Good thing the series that Riviera comes from falls on the 'still really good' side of the non-Atlus-developed stuff.

Riviera is developed by Sting, and is the first in their series of "Dept. Heaven" games. This series in particular wants to focus on creating 'original' gameplay experiences, so essentially there isn't anything out there that is similar, gameplay-wise to Riviera. Since you played it on the PSP (it was out on the GBA first), you can check out its sequel: Yggdra Union (http://www.atlus.com/yggdraunion/) (which was also on the GBA first and just got re-released on DS in Japan). Continuing on, the 4th episode in the Dept. Heaven series (but the 3rd released game) Knights in the Nightmare (http://www.atlus.com/knights/) was released in English for the DS earlier this year. Knights is certainly my favourite one so far, and all 3 of those games are quite different from each other.

If you want something 'like' Riviera, those would be your best bet, since it's from the same series of games.

As for Persona, the 3rd and 4th games are a little different from the first two. Persona 1 (which I assume you have your sights on, on the PSP) does not have the relationship system, and the method of recruiting demons is more akin to the core SMT franchise where you have to negotiate with them first. In Persona 3 and 4, you get new demons by drawing them from cards.

The real reason I really like Persona (and other SMT games) is the customization offered through the recruitment of demons, and the strategy required in combat that most RPGs do not have to this degree. This is a game that you can not get through by just mashing 'Fight', no matter how strong you are. There are enemies that are not only impervious to a certain kind of damage, but will absorb or even reflect the damage back on to you. There's a chance that you can be wiped out from a simple random encounter if you are really unlucky and have the 'wrong' customization set up. On the other hand, if you do have yourself set up well, you can breeze right through a battle.

I also dig the spell vocabulary, which is mostly consistent between the games. Agi, Bufu, Zio, Zan/Garu, Hama, Mudo, Dia...

If you're looking for something with Japanese voices, I think you're severely limiting yourself. It is a nice touch for those of us who have that kind of taste, but those games are rare. Riviera & Yggdra Union could get away with it on the PSP because they are graphically simple games (ported from the GBA) that have the space left over on the disc. I'm sure Atlus would do it more often if they had the space, but oftentimes they don't. I think most of NIS's 'graphically simple' games on PS2 (Soul Nomad, Makai Kingdom, Disgaea etc) include Japanese voices, so you can look into those too, though those don't have as strong of a recommendation from me.

There's another game NIS is publishing in February for the Wii and PS2 called 'Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love (http://sakurawars.us/)'. It's a strategy RPG that also features some relationship-building, and it's going to come on two discs--one with English voices, the other with Japanese. A good way to get around the space issue, but don't expect to see things like that happening often. I don't have a personal recommendation since I haven't played it myself, but I have played its more recent offspring Valkyria Chronicles and that's enough to get me interested. This might actually be your best bet for a 'game that's like an anime', since there are a lot of 'anime people' behind this game.

If you are just into 'Japan Stuff', then I would also highly recommend the Yakuza series. The 2nd game is all in Japanese, and it has a decent summary of the first game. So if you can find it, that's a good one to pick up for your PS2. And if you ever get a PS3, the 3rd Yakuza game (also all in Japanese) comes out in March.

Back on the point though: Persona is awesome. #4 is perhaps awesomest, #1 is also pretty cool.

12-10-2009, 10:15 PM
I've only played 3 and 4. I'm looking into getting the remake of the first one, and I played the beginning of the second half of 2 (seems interesting).

P3 is pretty fun. It's about this hidden hour where only certain people can move about. There are these things called shadows that attack and you and your party call out these things called Personas (not Personae for some reason) to fight them. The main character is special 'cause he can wield multiple Personas whereas in this game everyone can usually only have one. The phases of the moon have some significance. Think of that young adult book series called Midnighters, only the game's story is actually good. During the day you go to school and do normal high school stuff like socializing with classmates. You build Social Links and these make your Personas much much more powerful. If you get P3 make sure you get Persona 3: FES. It has the original game plus a tiny sequel thing. Or you could wait for the Portable version to come out, which has multiple changes like being able to choose a female main character. There's supposed to be enough differences between the male and female stories that make it very worth playing twice.

In Persona 4 it's pretty much the same, only instead of fighting shadows in this tower at night, you're fighting them during the day and trying to solve a series of murders and kidnappings with your friends. If you get this one I recommend you don't read up anything more on the story or the back of the box or anything for some nice WTF DID HE JUST moments in the beginning of the game. I didn't know anything and it was awesome xD

Persona 4 also had some minor improvements from P3 like being able to control your party members in battle and pulling up a menu to move around places much quicker. Also in P4 you don't have to date every girl you establish a social link with.

Between P3 and P4, you'll definitely put more hours (At least 100 if you get FES!) into P3 and it's an excellent game, but P4 doesn't get as bland when between major plot events.

12-10-2009, 11:47 PM
P3 Portable also lets you control individual party members (like you can in P4). Not being able to manually control your people in P3 was one of my few major complaints with it, which ultimately make me hold P4 in higher regard.

P3 Portable has not yet been announced for the US yet, so my post was focused on stuff that I know is out.

12-13-2009, 05:12 PM
okay guys, thank you for your engaged answers, i'll try to take everything into consideration :D
i think i'll start off with the persona 1 remake for psp

btw i had played yggdra union once, but i didn't really like it :(

Wolf Kanno
12-13-2009, 08:05 PM
Been busy with school and forgot to post in this but I'll give you my :twocents: as the forums resident Persona fan.

Persona 1 - The PSP version is definetly the way to go but I should definetly warn you that this title is radically different from the other entries and is designed to be more like a old school RPG. Steep difficulty curve combined with a customization system that may require Gamfaqs to be your best friend. The game has a tendency to only kinda tell you where you need to go but thankfully, the PSP version actually has a workable overworld map so you probably won't get lost as often as I used to in the original.

The battle engine takes a bit of getting used to... unlike most RPGs, your weapons have range and its actually more limited than you would think. Bascially, if your character uses a sword he can only attack what's directly in fron of him, a bow user can only attack enemies a great distance (back row) and so forth, guns have a greater range but it takes a while to acquire them but luckily magic can target everything but you have to be careful cause the enemies (and Personas) have strict elemental properties that give them their strengths and weaknesses (think Pokemon). The real draw to this title is the conversation system, unlike most non-SMT rpgs, you can actually talk to enemy monsters and negotiate with them. You can talk them into giving you money, leaving, you can scare or enrage them changing their combat capabilities or you can befriend them and attain their card which you use to create new Personas. This part is the driving aspect of the game. Each character has their own personality and thus their own way of communicating with demons meaning if one character is failing at negotiations it might be better to switch to another.

The main problem with P1 is that its plot is downright weird and more B-Movie than anything (which I think is great but some people like a more serious story *looks at NeoCracker*) and the gameplay seems restricted and very "old". I can't exactly recommend it as a first entry for the series as it requires eclectic tastes.

Persona 2 (Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment), this entry was split into two games and regretfully part one has never made it out of Japan outside of emulation. This entry throws out the original games stifling battle system for something really awesome. The normal combat proceeds like any normal modern RPG where your party is free to attack anyone they damn well please but the two biggest changes come from the introduction of Fusion attacks and the new conversation system. The game takes a chapter our of Chrono Trigger/Suikoden and allows you to combine abilites to create bigger attacks but unlike the titles listed, its relegated to what spells you have and the order you use them in. Basically Fire + Fire + Wind creates Fire Tornado spell, the spells have to be cast in that order (which is possible cause the game allows you to change the turn order of your party though it may take time to cast if the first caster is slow...) and as long as your persona has the spells you can cast this fusion spell meaning you can keep powerful abilites but still trade in your obsolete weak Persona's for better ones. The conversation system also returns and allows you to combine character to have them double team a monster on negotiations. Most of the conversations are hilarious.

The driving force behind P2 is called Kotodama (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kotodama), the mystic belief in the power of words or in this games case, the power of rumors. Basically, in the story, rumors are starting to become true and the game starts with a focus on a figure known as the Joker who has the power to grant wishes (Innocent Sin) or murders your enemies (Eternal Punishment). The game goes into some truly B-Movie bizarre territory but has enough grit and actually horrific moments to make it come off much more serious than its predecessor. If you can get your hands on the two games I highly recommend them as they are debatably my favorite entry in the series next to P3.

P3 is the "FFVII of the Persona series" streamlined, user friendly, and the entry that made the mainstream market notice the series existence. It is my other contender for best entry as it does bring in a lot of fresh ideas.

The conversation system is dropped and your party is restricted to using one Persona for each character while only your main character has the ability to switch out Persona's. You also can only control your main while AI deals with the rest of your party. Its not that bad as it sounds, the AI is actually really good as long as you remember to scan the enemies for their weaknesses. This even works on bosses whome you can't successfully scan so yes the AI can take care of itself, especially in the special edition FES version.
You play a group of High school kids who discover their is a "missing hour" in the day that most people are unaware of called the Dark Hour, in the Dark Hour, most people turn into coffins and sleep through it while monsterous creatures called shadow roam the world and feast on the life force of people they call into the Dark Hour. Those aware of the Dark Hour sometimes have the ability to manifest their psyches and create Persona's that can combat the Shadows. They do this by using an item called the Evoker (which looks like a gun) and shoot themselves into the head, basically ritualistic suicide of the conscious to bring out the true unconscious self. Combat uses the Press Turn system, basically if your character hits an enemy with an elemental weakness or critical hit it knocks them down (as well as big damage) and allows that character go have another turn. If you are able to knock all the enemies down you gain the option to do a big party attack that does huge damage to all enemies. Thus bringing the right party and Persona's is incredibly important (also types of physical attacks count as different types so what your characters ue as weapons is also important), so you have to constantly be fusing Personas and gaining new ones that help your cause. Just be careful about elemental weaknesses cause the enemies can exploit your weaknesses and get extra turns as well. There is a lot of strategy for combat.

Your main character is given one year to live at the start of the game and lives out his days as a semi normal high school student and fihts demons at night. In the day time you have to listen to lectures, pass exams and make friends. The heart of the game comes from the bonds you build with your daytime cohorts. Each friend you make is associated with a Tarot Arcana (same as your Personas) as you get closer to your new friends, you gain experience bonuses for leveling your Personas thus giving you better chances at completing Tarturus and story missions. You basically have to manage how you spend your time, do you do sports today or take that cute girl from the Student Council on a date? Should your spend your evenings studying to raise your grades or should you venture into Tartarus and level your party? The theme of the game is Memento Mori which roughly means "remember you are mortal" and the choices you make each day matter and cannot be unmade once you have made them. So basically its one year in the life of a student who fights demons and discover the truth behind the "Dark Hour".

P4 takes the system from P3 and vastly improves some of it while hindering others. The "social" aspect of the game is much more fleshed out and allows for better options and replay value. You can actually get part time jobs and earn money and some of your social links actually raise your social stats as well. The game is far more story driven than P3 and thus the social aspect can feel hectic and downright daunting at times. Instead of the one huge dungeon and minor story dungeons from P3, there are multiple big story dungeons that have amusing themes.

You can control your whole party now (which is good cause the AI for this game is terrible) but even better you can actually control what your party members retain ability wise so you no longer have to deal with a party member replacing a good spell with a status spell that you know will never hit... They also bring in a system that allows you to avoid the elemental weaknesses to a degree. The difficulty has also been revved up a bit as well.

Course I feel the combat part of the game has some issues, you will be grinding for money alot cause its expensive to buy equipment and fuse Personas and since shadow barely drop money and the items they drop to sell for money is never enough to compensate for the huge price increases, get ready to grind and become acquainted with your part time jobs. It gets really ugly towards the end of the game. Also, the game streamlined physical attacks into one property and then decided to make only a few enemies actually weak to it crippling one character from the get go. They also changed the rules of knockdown as it is now a status called dizzy. If you knock an enemy down they can get back up their next turn and still take their turn unlike P3 where getting up counted as their turn. If you hit the enemy with their weakness while they are on the ground this knocks them into the dizzy status and allows you to go on as business as usual. This is okay for normal encounters as it allows you to do big damage and win quickly but becomes a problem in boss fights as most don't have weaknesses, so trying to exploit a knockdown for healing and buffing becomes a moot gesture cause the boss can quickly get back up and raise heavenly death upon you. Its a shame to see a well polished system get nerfed a bit and overall, the system really benefits the game more than you so prepare for more MegaTen deaths.

There are more changes in this game but I'm running out of time so in a nutshell P2 and P3 are must play, P4 is a pretty good title as well, P1 is the iffy "love it or hate it" title. ;)

Markus. D
12-13-2009, 09:16 PM
It's a nails RPG in terms of how hard it is (Megaten is the term I believe), y'know... some encounters will go smoothly and all of a sudden BOOM! Your party just wiped, this also occurs with bosses, there's constant rise in diffuculty in P3/4

12-15-2009, 08:43 PM
whoaa, thanks again for these answers, especially to wolf for his long answer; i'll take all these things into consideration!
in fact a week ago i started to play persona 1 for psp, seemed alright to me, but i'm kinda unable to find free time to play the game
sheesh, when i was a child there was so much time for gaming left :/

12-15-2009, 10:04 PM
sadly as you get older time speeds up leaving you with less and less free time to do anything...

youth is wasted on the young...
(Smashing Pumpkins quote)

Wolf Kanno
12-16-2009, 09:10 AM
whoaa, thanks again for these answers, especially to wolf for his long answer; i'll take all these things into consideration!
in fact a week ago i started to play persona 1 for psp, seemed alright to me, but i'm kinda unable to find free time to play the game
sheesh, when i was a child there was so much time for gaming left :/

Believe me, if I could get Dissidia and MGS: Portable OPS out of my PSP and hide them I could finally get back to P1.

If you have anymore questions feel free to ask. :D

Also, if you want to see the openings for the games and get a feel for them you just need to click on the links in my sig to see what the series is like.