Customer Reviews: Shin Megami Tensei: Persona - Sony PSP
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Platform: Sony PSP|Edition: Standard|Change
Price:$29.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on October 5, 2009
Over a decade ago, at the tender age of 13, I purchased "Revelations: Persona" for the Playstation. The game received very good review scores, and the Playstation console was somewhat starved for Japanese RPGs in America at the time, so as a fan of the genre, I figured I couldn't go wrong.

What I didn't expect was just HOW different Persona would be from the standard JRPG, such as the Final Fantasy games. With a good localization and a user-friendly interface, the game could have helped me to overcome the initial culture shock that I experienced and enjoy a deep and unique role-playing experience.

Unfortunately, the translation/localization was beyond shoddy, and at times even offensive (one of the characters' ethnicity was changed to African-American for the US release - a change that was not handled with much tact), and the already intimidating interface was hampered by convoluted menus. Needless to say, the game didn't click with me at the time, and it wasn't long before I banished it to the back of my closet.

Fast forward over a decade, when after playing through Persona 2 and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 FES (both EXCELLENT games), I decided to give the original Persona another shot. Although I was much more open-minded going in this time - and dedicated to finishing the game no matter what - the game's faults still stood out and made for a very frustrating experience. I got much further than I did when I first purchased the game, but I was still turned off by the horrible interfaces and clumsy translation. I put the game away, and turned my attention to the soon-to-be released Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4.

It's late 2009 now, and Atlus has released the definitive version of Persona for the PSP, promising a vastly improved localization and more user-friendly gameplay, along with a handful of other improvements. Is this version good enough to allow me to finally enjoy this game? In a word: YES!

First of all, the presentation is phenomenal. The game opens with a beautiful and imaginative intro that perfectly sets the tone for game. The actual in-game graphics haven't changed much, if even at all, and they are easily the weakest aspect of the game. The music (created by the composer of the music in Persona 3 and 4), on the other hand, is entirely new, and much more fitting, helping the game to establish its unique identity early on. The translation, as promised, is brand new, and exceptional overall.

The menu interface has been streamlined, making inventory management much less frustrating than it was in the original version of the game. Character customization now requires very little effort, and battles can be completed much more quickly. The process of creating Personas (a vital part of the game) has also been streamlined, allowing you to instantly view all the possible Personas that you can create.

As a huge fan of the Persona series, I'm thrilled to finally see a respectable version of the original game in English. To have the gameplay improved on top of the localization only adds to the already immense value of the game, making Persona one of the absolute "must buy" games for the PSP. I can proudly place this version of the game alongside its sequels on my shelves, while the original release will remain in the back of my closet, gathering dust.
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on September 5, 2011
This really is a great game. At first, i was kinda upset about the graphics but after playing for 6 hrs i started to really get into the story because some interesting things start happening around that point (no spoilers though lol).

Then, as you get farther in, the combat just gets better and the amount of attacks are astounding (compared to P3 and P4 all of the personas have a lot more diverse attacks instead of bufu/ ice and buffula/ med ice and then bufaga strong ice etc. the point is theres more than just elemental attacks in this game, but don't get me wrong P3 and P4 are awesome games as well) Overall, this game is great because it sucks you into the story if you can get past the crappy graphics and the first 6 hrs of "easy" dungeons it really becomes a blast. After a while, it just becomes fun and i cant wait to see where the story goes I know this is a game ill play until the end :) Hope you decide to experience this rare treasure of a game as well.
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on June 25, 2015
This edition of Persona is an enhanced port from the PS1 original, which, for North America, was heavily edited, featuring some completely different artwork, no references to Japan at all (the game was instead set in America featuring American names), and an easier difficulty level. An entire section of the game, titled the 'Snow Queen' sidequest, was entirely removed as well. This PSP port brings all of this content back for this North American release, fully translated and un-edited or censored. The port also features additional voice acting, new cut-scenes and a new UI. The gameplay is like earlier versions, a first-person dungeon crawler with an overworld map you can use to get around to other areas, visit shops, save, etc. I have to say the battle system is nothing truly involving, and it's almost a no-brainer. I say almost, because unfortunately you can have a character die very quickly if you're not paying close attention. So although you can skip battle animations and opt to put it on auto-fight, you might as well just fight manually. Because if a character goes down, the rest of the party can easily follow suit and you can lose a lot of progress in a careless instant if your party dies and it's been awhile since you saved in the overworld.

The whole part about collecting demons to use as your personas would be cool but they don't add very much to battles. At least not enough to stir interest to experiment extensively with. I feel this aspect had a lot of potential to further customize the gameplay that simply wasn't utilized anywhere near to its full capability. You will spend a LOT of time going through mazes of blank, unremarkable hallways that all look exactly the same no matter what building you're in. At the time this game came out this might have been par for the course, but by today's standards it is tedious. Also you will often acquire a new person to your party that will join at such a low level, if you want to utilize them at all, you will have to spend a lot of time grinding just to get their level up to snuff with the rest of your party. There is no quick way to tank a low level character...but don't worry, there are oodles of random encounter battles to slog through.

Aside from all the flaws, there's still something unique about the game that kept me playing it. It's not terrible. The characters are interesting, and there's something about the atmosphere that I like. If you can tolerate the endless corridors & frequent random encounters, and the mind-numbing battle mechanics, there's a cool story going on. The characters may not be the most profound personalities ever developed in a video game but they're all unique in their own way, despite some blatant (and unintentionally humorous) stereotyping.
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on March 29, 2011
I haven't finished this game yet but I am having a lot of fun with it. I played Persona 3 and 4 and loved them both so I decided to get this one. It is a lot different than the other ones. You don't get to make social links, it's all dungeon crawling. But if like persona it's nice to see how the series started and if you like RPGs this game is fun and is very different from the rest. It takes place in one town and students are the ones investigating. No end of the world, evil empire, or anything like that. Out of all the main characters in the game, you get four permanent ones, and there are other four possible characters to take your fifth slot in your party. Once you accept the last party member then the others can't be part of your party. Whoever is in your party won't change the way the story unfolds but it adds replay value because it slightly changes the dialogue. The gameplay is turned based and you get a choice of either picking to attack with a weapon (sword, spear, etc.), gun, or skills you get from your persona. You have the choice of talking to the shadows and have a choice of how to communicate. If they get scared they might run and leave money, they are eager they can give you their spell card to create personas in the velvet room, if they are angry they might attack. It adds more strategy to the game. My main complaint is that there are a higher number of random encounters. It's not really a big deal because you can skip battle animations and there is an auto attack option. But it does get a little annoying. You get a number of different ending and Snow Queen quest that is an alternate version of the game. It's a good game and if you can get the soundtrack it's a good deal. You get 2 discs included of great music. There is barely any voice acting and the game isn't really a remake, the graphics are not much different. So if you don't like older games this might not be the game for you. But if you enjoy going back to play classics you should check this game out.
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on January 11, 2010
This game isn't a bad game, it's actually a really good port to a newer platform. The issue is that original game is pretty old and hasn't stood the test of time very well. This game originally came out in the early days of the PS1 and it shows. Don't be fooled by the cover artwork that puts new life into the game, this is an old game with old graphics. If you are a fan of the Persona series and want to see how it all started, give it a go if you can find it on the cheap. If you are not a fan of the series and you're looking for a good RPG on the PSP, look elsewhere. There's newer games for the same price that will give you a lot more value. So, in a nutshell, fans only.
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on June 9, 2012
So once upon a time, this game was released in the USA with a famously bad localization. Now we're getting a much more faithful translation, with a few improvements thrown in; and I think the enthusiasm this has generated among Persona fans is causing reviewers to overlook some fairly massive flaws in the game.

First of all, the up-side. The modern-day Japan setting is a nice change from the normal high-fantasy worlds that most JRPGs inhabit, the story is more interesting than most, and the music is weirdly catchy (although some people just find it annoying; your millage may vary). Furthermore, the localization was great this time around, the Snow Queen quest was a neat gesture to fans (I mean, I'm certainly not going to play it; I'm thorougly sick of this game after only playing the main quest; but it's nice that it's there), and they added an automap feature, which makes the whole thing a lot less miserable than it would be otherwise.

Basically, this game is a first-person dungeon crawl. There is a third-person town map screen, but nothing happens there (except for lots and lots of tedious random encounters; more on that later)--it's just a way to get from one location to another. And there's nothing inherently wrong with "first-person dungeon crawl," but this is done very badly. The great problem is that the "dungeons" are incredibly long, incredibly complex, and incredibly *empty*. With no puzzles to liven things up (literally, there is one puzzle in the entire game), no secrets to find, and almost nothing in the way of treasure (what treasure there is is all located in small, self-contained "treasure rooms"), explorations becomes punishing monotony--select a corridor at random, follow it until it forks; select a fork at random, follow it until it forks again, select a fork at random ... ok, dead end, go back to the last fork ... hour after hour, featureless, empty dungeon following featureless, empty dungeon. On a more positive note, the game does have an automap function, as mentioned, so at least you're not going to get "can't find my way back to the exit" lost.

None of this is helped by the random encounter rate. If you're going to spend your time back-tracking through empty, identical corridors, it would be nice if you could at least do so *quickly.* But you can't, because the random encounter rate is through the roof, combined with tedious, slow battles. Much more so than in (say) the Final Fantasy series, you have to take random encounters somewhat seriously. A lot of monsters absorb, reflect, or resit certain types of attack, and "have everyone use their standard attack until the enemy dies" isn't going to cut it a lot of the time. If there weren't so *many* fights, I might applaud that, but as it is, it merely serves to drag down the game's already glacial pace even further.

One of the things that the original translation was infamous for was messing with the characters. Everyone was suddenly American, and they (somewhat more significantly) they turned one character into an Ebonics spouting black kid; it was all pretty unfortunate. With this more faithful translation, there's 100% less racism, but I'm here to tell you that the characters are still annoying cliches--just, you know, Japanese cliches instead of American ones.

Do I recommend this game? No; I feel that the negatives outweigh the positives substantially. And I came to this game as a Persona fan who wanted to see how the series started, so I was biased *in its favor*. If you're in that position, at least find it used somewhere, rather than paying full price.
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on October 14, 2009
This is a classic If-You-Like-The-Genre game. If you like Japanese-style Role-Playing Games (JRPG), then you will absolutely love this game. The Persona series is without a doubt the strongest JRPG series out right now. Sadly, Persona and Persona 2 (in it's complete form) never made it to America. So it is fantastic to see this product being released, even if I would rather play it on a console instead of the portable PSP.
If you do not like the JRPG will find this game to be very difficult, and likely extremely confusing. More a source of frustration, then enjoyment. Still, it's a fantastic game.
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on March 9, 2016
It's a good game for its platform and time period. Fun to play but easy to get stuck in an unwinnable battle where you have to quit the game or click a thousand times to get to the end while your characters slowly run out of health. :P It's probably just that I suck at it though LOL
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on March 9, 2016
Story wise the game is barebone and the later games really do workout better story telling and better character development... However the dungeon crawling aspects of this game are far more bearable thanks to this psp remake... In fact thanks to this it may have the best dungeon crawling elements in the whole series
Fast simple and done. Re-worked soundtrack is catchy and catchy. Character models are normal and clearly not racist anymore 'ahemMARK'
It's difficult but not cheap. It's rewarding and fair. The endings are a little tough to nail and the ice queen side story is very appreciated to have. I can't really nail down anything the game gets wrong, I generally liked my experience and it was the only Persona game that I've played more than twice.
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on January 10, 2016
The best version of the game that started it all. For an old game, it is chock-full of content, including 2 main scenarios with 2 endings (true and alternative) each, plus 2 optional dungeons. If you enjoy grinding and leveling up, you'll definitely get your money's worth with this one.
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