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on September 29, 2011
This is definitely not an easy title to review considering that this game will greatly appeal to some and will be hated by others. If your first experience with the Persona series was from Persona 3 or 4 then there is a chance that you may not enjoy this entry into this unique Shin Megami Tensei spin-off series. You may also not enjoy this game if you are not a fan of long in-depth RPGs.

The reasoning behind my strong warnings for this game isn't because there's a problem with the story since it's actually pretty well done. Like other reviewers have stated before me the plot takes place in a contemporary setting and follows the exploits of a group of high school students that are trying to put a stop to the plans of a being referred to as Joker. Essentially, Joker is making every rumor being spread around come true which is causing all kinds of havoc. I haven't beaten the game so I can't tell you how deep the plot of the entire game is but trying to put an end to rumors becoming reality is the initial premise.

Okay, now onto the "problems" with this game. I put the word problems in quotes because the possible "problems" with this game will actually be appealing to some and will be off-putting for others. First and foremost, for those that don't know this is a remake of a PS1 game from 1999 that was never released in the United States until now. It was the only entry in the Persona series that wasn't and because this is a remake of a PS1 game there are some shortcomings associated with this game. For starters, aside from some really nice anime and CG cut-scenes the graphics in this game are not up to par with today's standards by any stretch of the imagination. They are very low grade 32-bit and while some old-school gamers may find this graphical style to be nostalgic most casual gamers that grew up with the last generation of consoles (GC, PS2, X-box, etc) will be turned off by this graphical style. The other possible shortcoming that this may possibly have for some people is that like a lot of retro RPG's, information isn't spoon-fed to the player. If you don't have a walkthrough handy with this game it is possible that there will be quite a few occasions where you'll be wandering around for and hour or two trying to figure out where to go next.

Alright, now onto the next "problem" with this game which is the actual gameplay. At it's core this game is a dungeon crawler that uses a turn based battle system with quite a few twists. The best way I can describe the battle system in this game is by saying that it's a mixture of the battle systems in Pokemon and Final Fantasy. Like most turn based RPGs Persona 2: Innocent Sin gives the player the option to fight demons using regular attacks or using other skills. The attack command simply has a given character attack a demon with their weapon of choice whereas the skill command allows the character to attack a demon or group of demons using one of their Persona's numerous skills. A Persona in the Persona series is simply a demon under one of your characters' control. Each character in the game has a Persona from the get-go but you'll want to get more Personas because the Personas the characters in the game start with can only get so powerful. The Personas increase in rank as you use them while your characters level up in the usual RPG fashion by simply defeating enemies and gaining experience. When a character's Persona reaches its maximum strength capacity it is indicated by them reaching "Rank MAX." When this happens it is generally a good idea to get a new Persona for that character and how to go about doing this may be where certain people may be turned off while others will be overjoyed that the game uses the negotiation mechanics that were a trademark in older Shin Megami Tensei games.

Aside from the option to fight enemies the game also gives the an option listed as "Contact" in the initial battle menu. In short this option allows you to use a character in your party to negotiate with the demons for spell cards, items, and information. What you really want here are the spell cards since they allow you to summon new personas. There are many different types of spell cards and the kind of spell cards a given demon will yield is determined by that demon's arcana such as Lovers, Strength, Chariot, Fool, etc. The different Personas you can summon are determined by the kinds of spell cards you have. For example if you want to summon Pixie you need X amount of Lovers cards or if you want to summon Poltergeist you need X amount of Devil cards. Now back to how demon negotiation works. Each character has 4 different character-specific ways they can negotiate with demons and these different negotiation methods can be anything from dancing to discussing what it means to be a man. The demons will react to these actions by getting angry, happy, scared, or eager. The ways the demons react will determine whether or not the demon will give you something or attack with hostility which in essence grants them a preemptive strike in battle.

The demons may also ask a given character questions and the answers to these questions will also cause the demons to react in one of the four possible ways listed above. And that's pretty much all you need to know about demon negotiation. The only other unique thing in the battle system in Persona 2: Innocent Sin are the fusion spells. A fusion spell is an attack that is caused by using certain skills in a certain order. Once a fusion spell is used it is stored in a list of fusion spells that can be accessed through the initial battle menu. This is so you won't have to worry about using those skills in the same order again if you wish to pull of a fusion spell you did in the past. And that's the battle system. Phew that was a lot of typing.

Now while the battle system in Persona provides the player with a lot of options it might make the player feel torn between fighting demons and negotiating with them. Some people may love having to make this decisions while others may find it frustrating to have to manage when they negotiate and when they fight. I should also add that the encounter rate in this game is quite high and all these options for each battle can really cause each one to drag out. This ultimately makes every dungeon a multi-hour affair and many people may not be willing to spend the time enduring long battle after battle in order to just progress the story but like always, some people may love this. Now I'm playing this game on "Easy" mode simply because I'm assuming that I would have to deal with a greater possibility of my party getting one-shotted on the "Normal" difficulty setting which has happened to me in other Shin Megami Tensei games such as Digital Devil Saga.

Onto the final aspect of the game I wish to talk about which is the music, and all I can say about this is that it's awesome. The game gives the player the option to switch between the original PS1 soundtrack and the remixed soundtrack which was made exclusively for the PSP release so you really can't lose here. Unlike the PSP port of Revelations Persona, Persona 3 for the PS2, and Persona 4 for the PS2, all of the music is instrumental for the most part instead of having the J-pop style. The music in the game spreads across multiple genres from energizing electronic rock to beautiful piano-focused tracks.

In conclusion I think Persona 2: Innocent Sin is a great game for those that like dungeon crawlers and a psychological story that takes place in a modern day setting. The developers really put a lot of work into this remake including the new soundtrack, new cut-scenes, and a new Quest Mode. I recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of old-school RPGs, a fan of the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, or open-minded. ROCK ON ATLUS!!!

PS: I am open to all criticism especially since this was my first review. Hopefully it wasn't too painful to read lol.
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I'm a good way into the game now, so I figure I might as well write a brief review.

First of all... if you are well versed on RPGs, then immediately set the difficulty on Hard. It will not actually be 'hard' but there will be a slight bit of challenge in battle. On 'normal' the battles are easy and excruciatingly boring. Even on hard, the baddies will usually hit for 1-6 damage unless they use a powerful Persona ability.

Okay. First thing I noticed was that the music is amazing. I'm talking about some of the best music in a handheld video game period. The music is a more modern rock-centric style. Lots of guitar, some distortion, but all really high quality and very catchy. The music fits the setting very well. There are also some fun little additions such as an actual classical piano piece (Debussy I believe) that plays in the Velvet room (it plays after the first piece ends). Battle music is fast paced and works well without being too repetitive.

Graphics are a pretty standard PS1 port style. Though some areas have been tweaked, overall the flow is a lot smoother than PS1 and the camera can be rotated to eight points. The characters are standard 2d PS1 style sprites (think Xenogears) and the field is isometric 3-d. Battles take place on pretty boring and bland fields with some swirling, sinister looking 'clouds', but you're really focusing on the action I guess.

Installing some of the data onto the memory card really speeds up loading times. Especially the battle loading speeds. Before installing you had to wait 3-8 seconds for battle to start once you saw the white flash. With installation, the load is about 1-3 seconds. Also speed in battle has improved. There is no real slowdown when contacting demons or executing attacks like before installation.

Battle is simple turn based, yet is fun. Encounter rates are high-ish. There is a FFX style turn indicator on the right so you can plan out your attack. You can change your turn order, but often this pushes the demons' attacks higher on the turn order. If you interrupt battle to re-input commands, then the turns start at that person's turn. It's still turn based, but this allows some customization. Especially useful for Fusion spells.

The real fun is in making contact with demons in order to gain cards, pacts, money, items, or information. You select a character or multiple characters and have them perform an action towards a demon. My favorite would have to be Tatsuya's impression of a fighter jet. I recommend NOT using a guide since it's fun to see demon's get angry and call you names, or become frightened and cower. I even found that despite getting a demon to become 'eager' and give me valuable cards, I would later get that demon riled up in order to see their reaction. But remember, if all you do is contact demons and gain cards and pacts, then you won't level up. So you have to beat some up at some point!

Summoning and using Persona's is a lot of fun, and this is where the game really shines. Each character can use one Persona at a time. You gain a level up bonus that is unique to each Persona. To get new Persona's, you collect Tarot cards and trade them in at the Velvet room. Using different Persona's gives access to different techniques as well as different Fusion spells (important spells combining 2+ Persona techniques to unleash a more devastating attack - very useful in those tough boss battles). Often a character's regular attack is ineffective, so using Persona's is mandatory. As you use Persona's they gain ranks and eventually gain more abilities. You can trade in maxed out Persona's for items or cards when you are done and then summon a new version of that Persona (using your cards though) and get them to max out again. A useful way to gain items or stats.

The story is top notch and will keep you interested. There is a TON of dialogue and lots of interesting character interaction. The characters are all pretty interesting and you really get a feel for their personalities and even can sympathize with them. The story doesn't seem really outlandish once you get into it. Basically this Joker person is going around and making peoples' wishes come true. This is through the use of rumor. When a rumor gets going, it actually becomes true. So there is a rumor that Seven High's school emblems are cursed... and then they actually do become cursed. Some rumors help your party too. Such as a rumor that you can spread about a Ramen shop selling weapons, or another shop being a mafia fencing operation, or a secret labyrinth on the second floor of a night club that houses some good items. So spreading rumors can be beneficial, though often you have to make a choice as to which you spread (the shop sells good weapons at fair prices, sells amazing weapons that are expensive, sells average weapons for cheap, etc... then the shop will sell the selection indicated by which rumor was spread).

So for a deep and complex game with a great story, interesting characters, and a wonderful remixed soundtrack, go with this! I got the special edition with the soundtrack and I am happy I did.
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on September 23, 2011
After leaving a rumor filled school one day, you decide to pick a fight with some punks from another school... & start getting attacked by their "Personas", Or other self. After 3 persona are introduced, everyone faints & has the same dream of meeting a man with a white butterfly mask.
After waking, only you, a girl, & one of the punks seemed to have noticed anything during or after the fight & fainting spells, So you all decide to make a bet.
Rumor has it that anyone who calls their own number will have any wish granted by one called "Joker"... what better way to check (or ask) if the strange dream you shared is real?
And it Is true... One can have any wish granted...At a price. What happens if you don't answer fast enough? Your erased from all memory & become A life-less, Dream-less, shadow of what you hoped to be... (in short: you just died).
And it happens the Joker isn't content killing only the 3 who played his (her?) game, & It's got a special Revenge planed out just for you... but what did you do to make it so ticked-off? as far as you know, your "Innocent" of any crimes, So it'll let you off for now... at least until you remember your "Sin". (Yes, that Is a bad pun. just ignore it).

now here's the odd addition to the game play: RUMORS
The before mentioned Joker also seems to be able to make rumors become truth. Rumor starts that your school emblem is cursed, pretty soon all the students still wearing one are now bed-ridden or covered in bandages. If you start a rumor that the old lady at the ramen shop sells weapons if you order a special dish... she just says she doesn't... But get the rumor to spread some more, go back to the shop & say hello to a (FREE) sword, leather gloves, & a ...guitar case?.
Spreading or suppressing rumors has major effects in this game, so to keep favorable rumors around, you need to bribe the cops, & to get rid of ones that aren't too helpful, normally requires you to win a fight against Joker's peons.

Persona 2 is closer to the first persona then 3-4. Some of the characters are from the 1st game, & the old school in 1 is also mentioned. The graphics & maps are much the same as 1, but you can now walk diagonally indoors(like in 3/4).

Demons are harder to recruit. It has the first game's gauge (the box that shows if their happy, mad, etc.), but it now takes more encounters to recruit or get stuff from them. Negotiations also are a bit... different.
Example: you can have a character start dancing to impress a pixie... suddenly 3 lights come on, the background music starts playing a special tune,& said character will dance & start talking! (Its more time consuming... but still kinda neat).

Battles are also different: the demons don't just stay off to one side as you continually set them all ablaze from the other. they now come after you!(It's like the Devil Survivor game). So unlike 1,3, or 4, this may actually require strategic thinking (instead of just keeping track of weaknesses). Your people are now mingling in a crowd of demons, so you can try to surround one for a unified attack (the order & attacks you choose may get a special 2-on-1 Persona attack), or you can just concentrate on the one devil that's trying to get away. But spells that affect a area might not be able to hit that one + all the others enemies at the same time.(I'm sill going to set them all on fire somehow, Bwa-ha-ha!)

The game is so far, so good. But if your new to this series a little extra advice... or warnings(depends on you):
1) MAKE SURE TO GET THE SOUNDTRACK! After awhile, the music from the Persona games just keeps on playing over & over in your head, so just give in & play the soundtrack 24/7 too (the soundtrack to P4 is also great, play that one too=)
2) you may suffer urges to beat up pixies after hearing the battle themes. This is normal (at least I hope it is...).
3) When in doubt: set it on fire (It worked through most of Persona 3/4, & in Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne, Devil Survivor, & Demi-Kids. It'll work now too).
And 4) Wanting to use "Hee~Ho!" in everyday sentences after meeting a Jack-Frost, Pyro-Jack, Black Jack, King Frost, Or any other members of the snowman's family is normal... (& your family will eventually get use to it after 1/2 a year)... Hee-ho!
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on November 8, 2013
I played the 3rd persona on Psp and loved it , so I decided to work my way backwards and play the other first 2 . Their all stand alone stories . Persona 2 has a more darker tone and very eerie ambiance to the game . Its an rpg , very unique and diffrent but in a good way . One thing the Persona series has is great characters and this game has that unique memorable characters like Lisa , the American girl living in Japan . Great story old school rpg graphics but amazing none the less . It goes to show graphics aren't everything .
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on October 14, 2014
The Persona series has some of the best games ever made. Persona 3 and 4 manage to recreate the life of a Japanese high school student over the course of a year while also keeping the player entertained with monsters and summons. The level of immersion is quite impressive and social gaming gives you the impression that you are actually in charge of his life. Unfortunately, this social gaming is exactly what's lacking here as it was first incorporated in Persona 3. Which means that this game merely has the involved story and dungeon crawling aspects of the later games.

It's not fair to blame the game for not reinventing the wheel yet, but without the focus on your school life the game relies overly much on its plot and this was not always the highlight of the Persona series. While their plots are always serviceable the main enjoyment comes from the character interactions. Fortunately, the characters here are quite good (despite the late '90s attempt to turn their names into English ones since we can't possibly remember non-generic American names) and the plot is one of the more intriguing ones. Actually, it may well be the best of the series, having almost as much short term appeal as the murder mystery at the heart of P4 and as much overarching drive as P3 (and the story continues in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment). Apparently, the rumor is that every rumor you hear is actually coming true because of someone called the Joker, whose plans are not immediately apparent but are currently throwing the city into chaos. You play as a high school student (obviously) and a bit of a James Deanish rebel, with his own motorcycle and everything. Your party consists of an American girl, a gang leader, and two reporters.

The gameplay here is very different from later Persona games. While the basic combat is quite similar the game also gives you the option of negotiating with the demons you encounter to recruit them onto your team. This system seems quite basic, but there are so many different steps in the process that it is basically impossible to figure out what to do with the demons you can recruit. The magic system is much harder than it needs to be and makes the game a chore to play. The game is divided between a series of dungeons connected through a 2D map of the city. These dungeons are navigated by 2D sprites and are filled with unavoidable random battles. There is no map available either so finding your way places can be hard. Most of the dungeons (places like schools, nightclubs, etc.) will be filled with people who want to talk with you, and the dialog is as good as ever. It is fun to see what different people think, although since you aren't spending a year with them you don't really know anyone outside your party.

The game has been ported over from the PS1 and it shows. A lot of the gaming conventions are tired and clunky, but this reflects the state of the games in the late '90s rather than a defect. The graphics don't look too bad and the interface and control scheme works well. Generally speaking I think the game was ported quite well and doesn't feel so much awkward as just old. In one element this game most certainly fares very poorly: the music (traditionally a highlight) is the least memorable of any in the Persona series. I don't know why but the music here is very much a bland synthesized mess with little of the JPop style that made other Persona games so fun to listen to. This style started in Persona 3 but when they remade the first two games for the PSP they commissioned new music in this style. Persona 1 has good tunes. Persona 2 doesn't. I don't know why.

This game doesn't stand a candle to the later two Persona games, but given the changes introduced in Persona 3 that was always going to be a given. This game was good for its time and is still fun today. The plot is intricate and interesting and the characters well drawn out. If it wasn't for the overly complicated mechanics I'd consider it among the best PS1 RPGs. As it stands it's merely very good. Worth playing if you like a decent plot and characterization, not the best if you can't handle the persona system. But either way, if you have a PS2 you should check out Persona 3 (available for the PSP as Persona 3 Portable) and Persona 4 (available on the Vita as Persona 4 Golden). I really cannot stress how amazing those games are.
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on January 30, 2013
Shin Megami tensei innocent sin was a pretty neat addition because, the first on I played was devil survivor 2. So, I was pretty surprised by the game.

Demon Negotiations


characters that aren't completely cliches

easy turn based battle system with no ridiculous movement or attack ranges

an intresting story that goes from rumors to reality to cults and apocaliptic technology developed by the mayans

diversified "shops" with easily assecible equipment that suit you each arc in the story

story makes you stay on task with no confusion

many different "personas" that allow characters to have different spells, strengths and weaknesses

a typical dungeon crwler with varied locations

a rumor system that makes NPCs IMPORTANT!

a place where you can make new personas through tarot cards aquired from negotiating with demons called "The Velvet Room"
The type of personas you can summon is based on your team level plus five. So for example, if your level is ten then you can summon personas up to level 15.


Random encounters that happen on every step (might drive you insane)

you can only explore every dungeon once (theres only one dungeon you can go in twice)hint* the loohcs (backwards)

Characters can only equip certain types of personas

The exp system is broken which leads to some characters being under leveled because the story removes them from your party

NO NEW GAME PLUS! Once the story line is over, the only save file you can download is the one before the final boss

rumor system is typically made up of rumors that help unlock different shops, or rumors that allow you to fight unique demons thats IT!

Shin Megami Tensei innosent sin is a turn based game which also, has a sequel that hasn't been ported to the psp in America yet called, Persona 2 eternal punishment.

The story starts out with a group of high schoolers playing a game that could grant your "wish" by dialing your own cellphone number called the "Joker Game". However, when the Joker comes, he almost kills the highschoolers out of vengence. However, fails to because of each high schooler's "persona". After near death, the group of high schoolers "The protagonist", Micheal and Lisa decide to investigate around the town which leads them to remember their "innosent sin" and what happened the night ten years ago.

The game itself would have gotten a better review with better graphics, less demon encounters, and a New Game Plus. But, I can understand the bad graphics because this was a ps1 classic. If you love persona games, then this game is a must to buy. While if your new to Megaten Persona games, then buy the game if its twenty dollars of less, or rent it if its more.

If you like persona 3 or 4 games, then you might hate this one and persona 1 because of the long dungeons and random encounters.

(So, think before you buy)
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on January 5, 2012
I'm one of those rare people who have played the Persona games in order. While I played this version originally in a different form, I enjoyed this one much more (especially since I can actually understand the dialogue...) Playing this game really brought me back to why I enjoy the Persona series as a whole (I personally find the most popular--P4--to be a bit of a letdown in comparison to the others...), but it's not without its flaws.

-Interesting and deep story.
-Unique characters with intricate relationships.
-It's not always about duking it out with monsters--you can chat with them, too.
-Cameos from characters in the previous installments is a definite win!

-I really hate the random monster encounters.
-There are a LOT of dungeons to crawl through in succession, which can get boring at times.
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on November 8, 2015
Persona 2: Innocent Sin for PSP is a remake of the PS1 title of the same game. It is also the first in a duology of games bearing the "Persona 2" Title. The other being Persona 2: Eternal Punishment. Innocent Sin previously was not released outside of Japan, although Eternal Punishment was. Atlus opted not to translate the PSP remake of Eternal Punishment and instead released the original PS1 title on PSN for digital download.

Story and Characters:
Rating: 10/10
The game follows a bunch of teenagers in Japan when rumours start to become true. The canon name of the protagonist is Tatsuya, though you can name him whatever you like. During the course of the game, I grew very attached to them and honestly loved them. Unlike its successors, there is no normal school life, no social links in Persona 2.

Rating: 8/10
Typical JRPG combat here, with the inclusion of demon negotiations similar to those in the mainline Shin Megami Tensei games. Another interesting mechanic is fusion spells, where two or more party members combine their attacks into one strong attack. Worth noting that the game is pretty easy, real late game I didn't even bother fusing more Personas because I didn't need to.

Rating: 10/10
The PSP remake of Innocent Sin has a choice of the original music or the new remix OST. Personally, I prefer the remix OST but I very much like that Atlus gives the choice, something that was lacking in the remake of the original Persona. Whichever soundtrack to listen to, the music is quite excellent.

Rating: 7/10
Nothing mindblowing here, but it looks good for a game that originally came out in 1999. The UI is much improved, this is increasingly evident as I am playing the PS1 version of Eternal Punishment at the moment.
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on December 20, 2011
One of the most underrated franchises from the PS2 era. Fortunately, they have been brought over the big pond and localized for we Americans on the PSP. Fantastic story, fun and relatively simple combat.
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on March 26, 2015
Great game! For those moving backwards from 3 or 4: It doesn't have the whole day by day high school simulator, you obtain persona's differently. You interact with the monsters in the fashion of the other SMT series entries.

I feel like it aged rather well if your a fan of turn based gameplay. I love the option of switching the soundtrack between the classic and the more modern rendition. The only thing that bothered me about the game is it seemed ridiculously easy. Even on the hardest difficulty one could auto-battle in most situations.
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