The Persona franchise was originally an offspring of the Shin Megami Tensei series, which was one of the most outstanding JRPG series of all time. They equally rivaled the likes of Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, and fast forward to today, Atlus has spared no effort with the quality and creativity put into the Persona titles. So hence why we have prepared together a list in which we will talk about the Best Persona games as well as rank each of them accordingly to our personal experience with them.
- The Persona series is one of the very popular series in today’s gaming industry. The main point of each of the persona games is that you will be playing as the main protagonist.
- Exploring dungeons and fighting otherworldly creatures while playing as the main protagonist is all part of the game. The game belongs to the genre of JRPG.
- Altus has spared no quality when it comes to the Persona franchise. We are going to be listing down the 15 Best Persona games that you can play in 2023.
- Persona 3 Dancing In Moonlight: This game allows players to choose their favorite characters of their liking and makes them participate in different dance performances.
- Persona 5 Dancing In Starlight: This game is similar to the previous game but the only main difference is the Cast and Sound Tracks that are used by Persona 5.
- Persona 4 Dancing All Night: This game also allows players to take part in different dance festivals but the main thing that sets this game apart from the previous two is the use of a Canon Story Mode.
- Shin Megami Tensei Persona: There are two versions of this game: a PS1 version and a PSP version. The PSP version is said to be a more definitive edition of the game has a much better translation of the story.
- Person Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth: This game is a crossover of Persona 3 and 4 where they feature characters from both the series and you can choose whichever one you like from the two.
- Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth: This game not only features casts from Persona 3 and Persona 4 but also Persona 5. Takes a step further from the previous title.
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin & Eternal Punishment: This Persona title is not known for its gameplay but rather it is known for the Bizarre Storytelling that it features.
- Persona 5 Strikers: This Persona title story is a direct continuation of the Persona 5 story. A new enemy emerges and your group has to get together and put an end to them and their plans.
- Persona 4 Arena Ultimax: This Persona Title belongs to the fighting game genre which contains a variety of characters to choose from. Each character has their own unique playstyle and the player can choose the playstyle they like.
- Persona 3 FES: In this persona title you play as the protagonist and perform different activities in order to increase your character’s stats. From attending school to diving into the dungeon each of these activities helps you in increasing your overall stats.
- Persona 3 Portable: This Persona 3 game was released for the PSP. The main difference is a new female protagonist that you can choose. As you can tell if the protagonist is changed the main story also sees some type of change.
- Persona 4: As any other persona game title you play as a protagonist in this game being introduced to new party members and performing different activities with your party members.
- Persona 4 Golden: This is a better version of the normal Persona 4 as it includes new characters and new story arcs.
- Persona 5: This is one of the best Persona games that have been released during the series’ lifespan. You play the Protagonist who is known as Joker. Who is a part of the Phantom Thieves group.
- Persona 5 Royal: Persona 5: Royal is an even better version than the normal Persona Title. The game brings about many different changes in the Normal Persona 5 title.
The general consensus of each game is that you will be playing as the protagonist, whom you can name at the beginning of the game. You will explore dungeons and fight supernatural creatures or demons using party members and the Persona abilities, as well as explore some life-sim beats along the way.
We will be discussing each of the mainline titles ranging from the First game all the way to the fifth one, including the spinoff titles such as the Dancing and 3DS games. Not to mention we will also be ranking the definitive editions too, such as Persona 5 Royal, so without further delay, let’s look at each of the Persona entries.
Here are all our picks:
|Persona 3: Dancing In Moonlight||None||December 4, 2018||P-Studio||PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita|
|Persona 5: Dancing In Starlight||None||December 4, 2018||P-Studio||PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita|
|Persona 4: Dancing All Night||None||September 29, 2015||P-Studio||PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita|
|Shin Megami Tensei: Persona||None||December 14, 1996||Atlus||PlayStation, PC, and PlayStation Portable|
|Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth||Game of the Year||November 25, 2014||P-Studio||Nintendo 3DS|
|Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth||None||June 4, 2019||P-Studio||Nintendo 3DS|
|Persona 2: Innocent Sin & Eternal Punishment||None||June 24, 1999||Atlus||PlayStation and PlayStation Portable|
|Persona 5 Strikers||None||February 23, 2021||Omega Force and P-Studio||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PC|
|Persona 4 Arena Ultimax||VGX Award for Best Fighting Game||September 30, 2014||Atlus and Arc System Works||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Arcade game|
|Persona 3 FES||RPG of the Year||April 22. 2008||Atlus||PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and S|
|Persona 3 Portable||RPG of the Year||July 6, 2010||Atlus||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Series X and Series S|
|Persona 4||PlayStation 2 Game Prize||December 9, 2008||Atlus||PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3|
|Persona 4 Golden||None||November 20, 2012||Atlus||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and PC|
|Persona 5||Best Role Playing Game||April 4, 2017||Atlus and P-Studio||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Series X and Series S|
|Persona 5 Royal||Best RPG||October 31, 2019||Atlus and P-Studio||Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X and Series S, Xbox Cloud Gaming, and PC|
Persona 3: Dancing In Moonlight
- Release Date: December 4, 2018
We’re kicking things off by starting out with most of the spinoff titles. While these games have their own charm to them, they rank first on the list due to them being separate from the mainline JRPG titles. First of which is one of the dancing games based on the third main entry called Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight. The game is mostly fan service as it features all of your favorite characters who participate in various dance performances.
The gameplay is entirely rhythm-based, and you will need to press six different buttons in perfect cohesion to score points and achieve a high score. You will be rewarded with money at the end of each performance which you can spend to buy different cool-looking accessories and costumes for the characters. These include glasses, makeup, and tons of other hilarious outfits, which will make replaying them in different songs an absolute delight.
Moreover, the music variety is plentiful as it is composed of different remixes of iconic OSTs, many of which players will either dislike or love depending on their taste. I personally loved playing out performances to the Soul Phrase and Burn my Dread remixes, both of which I loved from the JRPG counterpart.
There is no actual plot progression, as the main setting involves our characters getting transported to a Night Club rendition of the Velvet room, where we are greeted by a familiar character, Elizabeth. After the initial intro, you are let loose to play the game as you wish by slowly unlocking more songs to partake in with characters.
Lastly, you can also take part in Social Events, which require you to complete different types of requirements during performances to access them. These consist of different conversation scenarios with the characters of the game that offer a much-needed break from all the dancing gameplay for players. It fleshes out a lot more of the cast and their personalities, which is especially pivotal considering Persona 3’s endearing fanbase.
Persona 5: Dancing In Starlight
- Release Date: December 4, 2018
Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight was released alongside P3D as the Endless Night Collection. The game is quite similar to the latter as it incorporates the same style of gameplay loop and progression. The only key difference being is the Persona 5 cast being featured as the main focus and the soundtracks borrowed from the game. There is enough soundtrack variety to keep you hooked with a few delightful remixes of popular scores.
The entire soundtrack is, of course, marvelously composed by Soji Meguro, just like the rest of the mainline Persona titles and to see his tracks get a fair bit of nuance added to them feels too good to be true. Lyn Inaizumi also joined to provide some new remixed tracks for iconic soundtracks in the game, such as her catchy intro for the game, “Life Will Change,” and the emotionally yet upbeat credits track, “With the Stars and Us.”
Storywise, the setting is relatively similar to the P3D, too, as you and your friends are summoned by the Velvet room twins from the original game into a club-themed dream world. You are now tasked with performing dance routines so that the twins can win the challenge against their sisters from the other world. It is obviously about Elizabeth and her crew in P3.
You can once again customize the majority of the characters with a plethora of awesome and recognizable costumes alongside some additional DLC outfits too. The social events add a lot more to these characters than you’d expect from their JRPG version, especially for characters who got less screen time because they appeared at the very end of the main story, such as Haru.
It will give you more insight into their personal lives, which is amazing to see the least. You can apply modifiers to every single song to make them easier or more challenging which is an amazing accessibility element. The only caveat is that the events are all non-canon, but aside from that, there is denying that picking up the dancing games, especially P5D and P3D, will prove to be entertaining for fans of both of these amazing games.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
- Release Date: September 29, 2015
Persona 4 Dancing All Night was released exclusively for the Playstation Vita until it was included alongside the Endless Night Collection bundle of P5 and 3 Dancing games. It is unfortunate that it isn’t sold separately on the PSN store since it is the only Persona dancing game that ranks above the other two as the best ones. The main highlight of the game that sets it apart from the rest is that it features a proper and canon story mode.
The events of the plot take place roughly a month after the ending of Persona 4 Golden. Surprisingly enough, the game even uses the canon name of our protagonist used from the anime adaptation of the game, Yu Narukami. You and the rest of the party members are invited by your friend Rise Kujikawa, who is now a pop sensation idol, to attend and partake in the Love Meets Bonds dancing festival.
However, there is more than what meets the eye here as Yu and his friends are again thrown into a mysterious and supernatural sequence where they must save the idols’ lives before they get consumed in the Midnight stage realm. You will need to partake in various dance performances to save the lives of the idol stars and to be able to continue the main story progression.
The cutscenes are mostly shown in a visual novel style format, with most of the key dialogue being presented in stills with high-definition backgrounds if you’re playing on the PS4 or PS5. It ranks above the rest simply due to the existence of an actual story mode, plus not to mention there is a dedicated progression system with the in-game store items slowly unlocking via completing songs in Free Mode and the campaign.
Most importantly, it is a befitting title for anyone who absolutely loved the cast of Persona 4 and wants to experience another adventure filled with this wholesome and cherished group of characters. The Endless Night Collection goes on sale often, so we suggest picking that up if you want to play Persona 4 Dancing All Night.
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona
- Release Date: December 14, 1996
The original Persona from the PS1 days hasn’t aged all that well, hence why it ranks at the lowest of our list and is one of the mainline games; that is an unfortunate thing, to say the least. But don’t get me wrong, as a fan of the classic Shin Megami Tensei games, it is pretty enjoyable for the most part as the setting is much grimmer, with the storytelling being a lot more supernatural-horror-like in comparison to other titles in the series.
The storytelling features you and your group of friends who get caught up in an otherworldly series of events after a fortune-telling game grants them the ability to use Personas. Many of the hardcore fans of the community appreciate what it does and how it manages to take players out of their comfort zone with the gameplay. But there is denying the fact that the OST and combat mechanics have aged a bit poorly for today’s standards.
Furthermore, it has two versions that you can play, either the original port called Revelations: Persona or the PSP one, so it can be a little confusing for newer players who want to play it for the first time. I personally played a handful of hours of the PS1 revelations version and found the localization to be offputting, and the lackluster encounter rate can be infuriating to deal with, to say the least.
Hence, it is recommended that you play the PlayStation Portable version instead. It is the definitive edition which has a few helpful Quality-of-life features as well as a revamped soundtrack. Although many might prefer the original’s OST, thankfully, it gets outweighed, thanks to the rest of the game. Furthermore, the PSP version has a much more accurate and faithful translation for its story, making it the best choice if you want to try it out.
Persona Q: Shadow Of The Labyrinth
- Release Date: November 25, 2014
As a long-time fan of the Persona titles, when I first heard about a crossover title between the third and fourth games, it was at that moment that where I immediately ordered a Nintendo 3DS to play it, among other titles. It is yet another spinoff game that deserves more appreciation for incorporating the mixed cast of both Persona 3 and 4 to deliver a charming and action-packed journey with your favorite characters from both games.
The imagination of this game is limitless as, at the very beginning, you are able to choose between either The Persona 3 or 4 protagonist. Both of the routes have some major changes depending on the choices that you take on their journey but worry not as both of these adventures eventually happen to collide into one as you slowly get past the opening hours.
The gameplay comprises you navigating the dungeons, which feature map-making elements as you traverse and pinpoint each one’s layout using the 3DS’s secondary touchscreen. These are all multi-layered puzzles that might be mentally exhausting to solve as you progress later towards the late-game events, but the uplifting moment-to-moment interactions of the characters are a selling point that no one can dare to pass up so easily.
Another key element of the game focuses on an aspect taken from Etrian Odyssey, another great JRPG that involves backtracking and maneuvering your way around the patrolling enemies in the complex dungeons. It will be imperative to do if you want to avoid some of the recurring fights filled with challenging enemies.
Another layer to top everything off comes in the shape of the team’s system, where you can customize a front and backline team with a sleuth of characters from both P3 and 4, making it intuitive to switch your members on the fly if you want to have a surefire fighting chance against each encounter and boss fight. Overall, Persona Q is definitely something you shouldn’t miss out on if you have a 3DS and are diehard fans of the series.
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth
- Release Date: June 4, 2019
Persona Q2 further evolves the idea of the powerhouse crossover system where players can take control of all the Persona 3, 4, and 5’s characters. This all-star team-up becomes insanely fun and intriguing due to the number of interaction possibilities of each character from the three entries. It is a fan-service juggernaut that is best played if you’ve gone through the titles we just mentioned if you want to understand all the callbacks and easter eggs.
As compared to the first one, in Q2, players will find themselves exploring the secrets of the Cinema Labyrinth, which are just discovered by our Phantom Thieves from Persona 5 during their venture in Mementos. You will come across many other allies in your journey to achieve endings in these orchestrated movies, like butting heads with the Investigation Team from Persona 4 and SEES from Persona 3.
Additionally, you will also be accompanied by the Female Protagonist that was introduced in Persona 3 portable alongside the canon male one, which we all know. It makes for some of the most wholesome and endearing character interactions as all the protagonists, and party members gossip around with each other during the dialogue scenarios. It is easily one of the best-selling points for any hardcore Persona fan to invest in it.
The combat and gameplay are all the same again, with the first-person dungeon crawling exploration combined with the tactical team-based real-time action. It has received a few improvements, but you might find yourself experiencing minor difficulty spikes as well as running into too many random encounters. It makes some parts frustrating, but all the more, the rich storytelling and fan service outweigh all of it for most players in the fanbase.
Persona 2: Innocent Sin & Eternal Punishment
- Original Release Date: June 24, 1999
Persona 2 was first released in Japan for the PlayStation in 1999; over a decade later, it managed to receive a port for the PlayStation Portable in 2011 with a cohesive localization. The game gets partially overlooked because it doesn’t add anything much special to it in terms of gameplay, but the storytelling gets appreciated by the hardcore fans while being divided on opinion by most of the newcomers playing it for the first time.
The game gets appraisal garnered around its twisted and methodical storyline as you investigate occultic and supernatural occurrences surrounding the culture of Japan. It features you interacting with the history of the Mayans and the various other superstitious prophecies about the world at its end. It ultimately sets the tone for a captivating narrative that will have players in bizarre situations, such as interacting with actual Nazis.
It tackles topics that would otherwise seem risky in today’s media writing standards which makes it all the more special from the rest of the games. Not to mention there are P2 Innocent Sin is followed by a sequel that is connected directly to the events of the first game, with the only key difference being the alternate timeline where you play as Maya instead of Tatsuya. She is initially one of your party members.
As a fan of Shin Megami Tensei 4 and Nocturne, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with these games as much as possible since their dark and gritty world-building and characterization distinguish them from the rest of the JRPGs released back in that time. It isn’t light-hearted at all in its themes, and some might even enjoy the combat mechanics that the game provides over the first one.
Most importantly, the hardcore fans of the game deeply cherish the storylines of both Maya and Tatsuya, so if you can overlook some of the outdated gameplay and graphics, by all means, consider giving both Persona 2 IS & EP a chance as soon as possible for their ambitious and fascinating storytelling elements. Furthermore, Eternal Punishment also has a plethora of changes to it, such as being able to negotiate and a few other helpful changes.
Persona 5 Strikers
- Release Date: February 23, 2021
Persona 5 Strikers serves as the conclusion to the journey of our beloved Phantom Thieves as they reunite together for a summer vacation road trip. Little do they know, a new threat emerges which is impacting several cities across Japan, and now it is up to them to save their reality from an inevitable collapse. You will also come across new characters such as Sophia, your adorable AI companion, and an eccentric Police Officer, Zenkichi.
It directly follows the continuation of the original Persona 5. So sadly, you won’t come across references to the Persona 5 Royal narrative in this spinoff. Our protagonist visits Tokyo once again, accompanied by his Metaverse Cat, Morgana, who is then greeted by familiar characters such as Sojiro, the owner of Leblanc. You are soon reunited with your friends and fellow phantom thieves, who then plan a road trip across Japan.
However, the short break doesn’t last as you are then introduced to a new rising entity from the metaverse, a realm that was believed to be destroyed at the ending events of the original P5. The group must now take down political powerhouses and villains across the country. You will explore various iconic cities of Japan, like the lush beachside town of Okinawa, the luxurious festivity stalls of Osaka, or the extravagant monasteries of Kyoto.
The gameplay and combat can have divided some divided takes from fans as it incorporates the fast-paced Musou hack-n-slash style of action. Players familiar with the Dynasty Warrior franchise might be familiar with the gameplay, but the key difference mainly resides with optimally using Joker’s personas and switching characters on the fly to expose the weaknesses of your opponents.
The masterful soundtrack is once again reprised by the talented Lyn Inaizumi, who provides new remixes of beloved songs from the original JRPG title, as well as crafting new ones for the endgame fights. Most players get turned off by the idea of the gameplay or it being tediously repetitive. But if being personally honest, the game served as the perfect fan service created for diehard P5 fans, and just the fact that I got to experience another journey with the cast of characters made me cherish the series even more than I possibly could.
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
- Release Date: September 30, 2014
P4 Arena is a fighting game developed by Arc System works which are the same creators behind fantastic fighting series such as Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. This game feels so much more distinctive than the rest of the spinoffs solely due to its vast character roster, excellent gameplay mechanics, and story mode. The game has more content than most anime fighting games, but above all else, the story mode is worth the investment.
The gameplay is easy to pick up and learn as there is quite a range in character diversity and their learning curve to match your preference or playstyle easily. But take it with a grain of salt that as you compete in the online multiplayer battles, you will continuously run into wins and losses, which is one of the first stages of acceptance if you want to play fair and have fun while playing these games.
The story mode itself is actually split into two parts where you play as the SEES group from Persona 3 and, of course, the rest by our main stars of the game, the investigation team of Persona 4. The cutscenes in the story mode are composed of Visual Novel cutscenes as well as the usual fight sequences. Furthermore, it is worth noting that in the Ultimax version, you can also experience Tohru Adachi’s DLC story.
It is excellent for hardcore fighting series fans who love brilliantly designed mechanics or just want more out of Persona 4 and its wholesome fan service. The entire DLC is included in the Ultimax version, which has since been ported for PC and all newer-gen consoles. Plus, with a rollback netcode that will allow you to play smoothly without any sort of hitches, the game is worth it as a whole to pick up immediately.
Persona 3 FES
- Release Date: April 22. 2008
Persona 3 ushered in a new era for the series as Atlus slowly moved away from its traditional Shin Megami Tensei look to give it a much more distinctive look. The game was released all the way back in 2006 but later on received the FES version, which was essentially the director’s cut. This version of Persona 3 would contain a brand new epilogue where you control Aigis as well as all of the updates that were initially available to the original port.
You play the protagonist who arrives in Iwatodai, the city where he first grew up, to attend Gekkoukan High School as a transferred student. Once you arrive at the dormitory, you are introduced to several characters, such as Akihiko Sanada and Mitsuru Kirijo, both of which are the primary members of the SEES team. Strange occurrences happen, which lead you to discover the dark buried secrets of the “Dark Hour.”
It is essentially the period of time where reality is transformed, and abominations and creatures roam the night. The school becomes a vessel inhabiting all sorts of these beings known as the Tartarus. You are joined by your fellow classmates, Yukari Takeba and Junpei Iori, who assist you in exploring the confines of the place. It is up to the high schoolers of SEES to unravel the mysteries of the Dark Hour and Tartarus to put an end to it.
Persona 3 is quite different in retrospect from past titles where the Life-sim and RPG are much more complex than ever as you must partake in several activities to increase your overall stats, such as attending high school to gain points towards Academics. You will need to explore various opportunities to manage your free time during the day or dive into the dungeon crawling at night in Tartarus in order to progress the main story.
The SEES team and our protagonist are able to summon their Personas, which are entities they can call forth to aid them in combat and provide a fighting chance. Your protagonist is a wildcard and has the ability to possess multiple personas and acquire new ones through battle and negotiation tactics. Aside from not being able to control your party member’s turns, P3 is still amazing to this day for being the first of the “Big Three” titles.
Persona 3 Portable
- Release Date: July 6, 2010
Just only a couple of years later, a new iteration of Persona 3 was released, this time for the PlayStation Portable, with the primary key difference being a brand new female protagonist that you can choose, which of course, means there are a few alterations made to the central storytelling. The game received an overhaul for the exploration outside of the Tartarus dungeon due to the hardware limitations of the PSP and new characters too.
It mostly functions as a Visual Novel where you control an on-screen cursor to guide your protagonist to areas or locations around the map. The anime-like cutscenes are also replaced with static imagery alongside the usual sound effects, which often is a deal-breaker for any who will want to choose either this or the FES version of P3.
However, there have been a few Quality-of-Life improvements made to the overall mechanics of the game, which many prefer and like, mainly being able to control the turns of your party members now. It is such a convenient feature that subsides that rare chance where your AI-controlled party member might do something wrong and end up making you lose the entire fight during critical situations from the original versions.
There is also the absence of “The Answer” Epilogue, but thankfully the new changes made to the story reiterate that scenario to befit the true ending of the game rather than shift it towards another event. The Female protagonist playthrough has completely different romance routes that you partake in, which provide a much-needed refreshment as compared to any other persona title.
If you’re someone who likes to control your party member’s actions and want to experience a makeover to the formula of the game via the new protagonist, by all means, play this version of P3. But if you are looking to get the complete package of the darkest and most intriguing stories in the franchise, then we highly recommend overcoming the hardship of the original and playing the FES version of Persona 3.
- Release Date: December 9, 2008
Persona 4 is much more vibrant, and one could even say it has the most popular cast of characters out of Persona 3 and 5 to some extent. It still retains the dark and gloomy vibes at some story beats, but in order to compensate for that, you are also given a lot more accessibility in gameplay and how you can shape it. It isn’t restrictive as Persona 3 in terms of progression, as you are given days in order to fully complete a dungeon or story arc.
You play as the protagonist who arrives in the cozy countryside town of Inaba outside of Tokyo, where he must live with his uncle, Dojima, a police officer, and his daughter Nanako. The opening hours of the game set a tone where everything is cheerful and bubbly. But soon, you are introduced to a dark secret where a serial killer is on the loose with a spree of murders that occur during the foggiest days in the town.
You are slowly introduced to the party members as you journey into the game, with each one joining your investigation team after completing their story arc and corresponding dungeons. The life-sim traits are back and more expanded than ever with five types; Knowledge, courage, expression, diligence, and understanding. There are tons of different ways to increase these social stats, which will benefit in more ways than one.
Increasing the bonds with the characters of Inaba and party members will be crucial to gaining more exp when crafting new personas in the velvet room, as well as strengthening your party’s skills during combat encounters. The dungeons can feel a bit repetitive, but thankfully all of it gets outweighed by the exceptional twists and turns of the main narrative as well as the memorable characterization of the cast, making it a solid entry in the series.
Persona 4 Golden
- Release Date: November 20, 2012
Persona 4 Golden is the definitive release of the entry and includes a ton of new changes as well as revamped mechanics to make it a more streamlined experience than ever. It was exclusively released for the PlayStation Vita, but after much demand, it was also ported over to Steam too. The game is set to re-release on all newer gen consoles later next year, including the Nintendo Switch, which has fans hopping on the hype train at full speed.
Persona 4 Golden introduces a whole new story arc with new characters such as Marie, a mysterious attendee of the Velvet room, as well as adding in a social link for Tohru Adachi, which adds a new light to his character from the original version of the game. The most prominent new changes also include new story events where you hang out with your party members who were not present before, among other elements too.
The game has a much more satisfying and conclusive finish to it, with the new winter arc featuring new narrative beats to spice up the pacing. The combat has also received improvements, such as the Tag-team and scooter attacks of party members to deal extra damage in between turns. There are various balancing adjustments made to spell costs, boss fights, and being able to choose which skills to inherit during Persona fusion.
While Persona 3’s main themes were mainly about living your life to the fullest and the cycle of life and death, Persona 4 has a much more balanced approach to its darker tones while embracing what it means to find your “true self” and escape your insecurities. It is the key reason why sometimes there’s a minority of the fanbase who adore the cast of this game even more so than the latest title, Persona 5.
Most importantly, if it is your first time in the series, the game is excellent as a starting point, making it the best persona game out there for beginners and especially for newcomers in general to the JRPG genre. P4G is available on Steam, and with so many changes over the original, it is undoubtedly the superior version to play.
- Release Date: April 4, 2017
Persona 5 is regarded as one of the best JRPGs released in the past few years, and with it already being near perfect, its Royal version made it an unparalleled masterpiece which we will discuss separately. The game focuses on the Phantom Thieves as they steal the corrupted desires of society and change their hearts. You play as their leader, Joker, who is your protagonist in the game.
The game starts you off right in the heat of things as you are seen escaping a Casino in an altered reality. Things do not go as planned as you are soon captured by the authorities and are left to explain your actions to a prosecutor, Sae Nijima. You will soon recall the events that took numerous months before, and thus you will properly begin the game with your first arrival in Tokyo as a transfer student for Shujin Academy.
The story of Persona 5 focuses on themes of oppression and false power as you are forced to obey the unjust laws and tyranny of the higher order. You will be fighting to change the twisted mind of a high school volleyball coach to take down politicians and other abominations in the metaverse. It is the place where you will be exploring to enter the methodically crafted palaces of the villains in the story.
Not to mention players also explore Mementos, which is essentially a seemingly never-ending labyrinth that will gradually unlock the further you progress into the game. It can get fairly repetitive to get through the entirety of Mementos, especially since there are multiple layers in each area of it in order to reach the very end. Fortunately, everything else in Persona 5 completely outweighs that, from the stellar gameplay to the flashy visual style.
The soundtrack is wonderfully composed with a mix of upbeat and funky Jazz with some melancholic tunes to befit the more dubious and hard-fought scenarios. The feeling of taking down one of the endgame bosses and listening to “Rivers in the Desert” for the first time is a video game memory I will never forget. Even with the inclusion of the Royal version, the original Persona 5 is still a treat to play for newcomers to the franchise.
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Persona 5 Royal
Now it brings us to the final and top of our Best Persona games list, which is Persona 5 Royal. Similar to Persona 4 Golden, Royal serves as the definitive release of the game, bringing in a handful of new changes and overhaul to make it feel like a brand new title over the original entry. It is one of the highest-rated games on Metacritic, citing it as one of the greatest JRPGs to grace the industry, one which is surprisingly exceeded over its former shell.
The game provides a whole new semester for you to experience with two new characters; Takuto Maruki, the counselor for Shujin Academy as well as Kasumi Yoshizawa, an acrobat star at the school whom you encounter throughout the story and becomes your companion later on in the game. Not to mention, the game also overhauls Goro Akechi’s social link, allowing you to interact with him in a completely different way.
In addition to all of this, players can explore new areas around Tokyo, such as the lively Kichijoji host a variety of new activities for you to partake in, such as playing darts and pool with your party members or relaxing with them at the local jazz bar. The new Thieves Den records all of your feats in the game and rewards you with a plethora of concept artwork, interactions, songs to listen to, and much more at your convenience.
Most importantly, the dungeons are vastly overhauled as they now feature new setpieces for players to venture with many streamlined puzzles that even take advantage of Joker’s new grappling hook ability. So for someone who’s put countless hours into the original game, you will be surprised just how much the palaces have changed. Mementos have also received a makeover to make their progression feel more incentivizing and livelier.
On the deeper spectrum, Persona 5 Royal’s storytelling invigorates the formula even more complex than before in their past titles. The new villain makes you feel remorseful and sympathetic about your actions, almost solidifying him as one of the best-written characters in the entire franchise. It makes you question the moral ambiguities of the Phantom Thieves as you head toe-to-toe in one of the most climatic endings and boss fights.
Overall, it is a game that I heavily look back upon as the greatest of all time, with the new music in the endings nearly tugging my heartstrings. It is Atlus’ magnum opus title, one that many newcomer JRPG fans will undoubtedly adore when it hits the PC platform, and with a narrative that will go down as one of the most brilliantly written stories ever crafted in the genre.
The Persona game series is a mixed bag of sorts regarding their general gameplay presentation. The newer titles mainly focus on a life-sim with dungeon crawling and RPG mechanics that will easily leave you investing in more than a hundred hours on end. Most of the playerbase is comprised but fans who insanely love the new trilogy of Persona 3, 4, and 5. But the older games have somewhat aged well enough to some extent.
The gameplay in the older games leaves much to be desired as graphics and visuals aside; they still maintained the ruthlessness and lackluster progression as players can sometimes struggle to get past the difficulty aspect. It is one of the main reasons why Atlus opted to switch to a much lenient and forgiving gameplay design so that more players could experience and enjoy the series.
All of the Persona games in our list represent the unique traits that set them apart from most JRPGs in the industry, and with the big three soon arriving on numerous consoles and Steam, their popularity is about skyrocket even more than anyone could imagine. Fans have been clamoring for the release of these games for as long as anyone can remember, and now they will finally be able to experience their fantastic adventures.
For now, this concludes our detailed list of the Best Persona titles that you can enjoy right now in 2022. Let us know what your favorite game is in the series, and if you’re playing on PC, do you plan on picking them up? Let us know all about it in the comments section below!
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