Shin Megami Tensei: Persona PSP Review

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Back in November 1996, Revelations Persona graced the Playstation 1. Unfortunately, my family didn’t have a Playstation then (had a NES but lost it when I was 3 cause us kids were terrible sharers). We didn’t get another game console until the end of 2005 and that was the Playstation 2. So I never had the chance to play Persona and at the time, I wasn’t interested in video games.

Once I heard of the Persona series around the time Persona 3 was coming out or was out, I don’t remember. I didn’t have a great interest in it. But for some reason when Persona 1 was coming out on PSP, I had to pre-order it. I was so excited when it was coming in the mail that day, I ended up getting an IBS attack (if my emotions are over heighten, it can trigger an attack).

I was so thrilled to have a Persona game in my hands. I heard quite a bit of the series and I wanted my try at the game.

First off, I am a terrible Persona player. I had to play on Beginner when I discovered difficulties playing on Normal.

The PSP version of Persona is a complete remake of the PS1 game. Upgraded graphics, new soundtrack, cel-shaded cut scenes, voice acting and the Snow Queen scenario. The Snow Queen scenario was in the original release of Persona but it was taken out of the American version of the game. You could get to it in the American version but the game would crash once starting it.

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The story isn’t as confusing I thought it would be. Simply this, parallel worlds. I love the idea of parallel worlds when it’s done correctly. And Persona 1 does it right. I won’t go into detail on the story because I want it to be a surprise for you.

Combat is quite different from other RPGs I have played. Everyone has their own unique weapon and persona but everyone carries a gun. I have never encountered that in a RPG before. Also, it is trial and error to figure out each enemies’ weakness. Over time, it becomes annoying and then you give up trying to find it and you end up just attacking however you please. Fighting enemies were harder than the bosses. I’ve died to more enemies than bosses which should never happen in an RPG. I ended up trying to obtain their spell cards over fighting them.

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Bosses are a pain. Either they are too easy or too hard. I find myself getting annoyed with how much HP and defense they have and say to myself, “Why aren’t you dead yet? Wait… This is an Atlus game…”

Getting spell cards is tricky. Whenever talking to an enemy, you have to watch their emotion diamond in the upper left corner. Their emotion can be one of four: Happy, Eager, Anger, and Scared. You want the enemy to overwhelmed with Eager in order to get their spell card. Good luck with that though. Each character has their own way of interacting with the enemy and once again, it’s trial and error.

Spell cards are used to make new Personas. In order to fuse cards, you need to find the Fusion Room with Igor. Igor is your man to get your new Persona. He’s creepy looking but he knows what he is doing. I found myself using the option “Guided Persona” since I didn’t want a crappy persona in my group. I also found out that I couldn’t equip them on my own, I had to have Igor equip them for me. That was stupid in my opinion.

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Whichever fifth party member you pick (whether it’s Brown, Elly, Ayase, Reiji, or Yukino), you will keep them for the rest of the game. SO BE WISE! You cannot switch out that fifth member. I didn’t know that until my fourth(?) restart of the game and I was stuck with Ayase.

The graphics aren’t too bad but I really didn’t care for them. But one would think if this is a remake of the original PS1 version of the game, why do the graphics still resemble PS1 models? A nostalgia factor, I guess. As I said, it didn’t bother me.

When running around in buildings, it switches from third person to first person. I thought that this was quite neat. Though I ended up looking at the map the whole time instead of the actual halls I was running in. A neat idea, but it was meh… I don’t know how to describe it.

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The soundtrack is amazing. As stated early on, the soundtrack had a complete overhaul. Luckily when I preordered the game, I was given a 2-CD soundtrack and stuck it on my iPod. I could give you a list of all my favorite tracks but I would just give you the whole soundtrack instead. The soundtrack ranges from goofy music like Satomi Tadashi Drugstore song to a serious tone like ICU Panic.

I found this game too difficult for my liking. I heard Atlus games were hard and I found out the hard way. For any casual RPG players, I am on the fence about recommending this game to them. But for you hardcore RPG players that like a challenge, this game is definitely for you.

Shin Megami Tensei: Persona

3/5

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