Why You Should Play The Persona Series
The Persona series is a brilliant set of games that skilfully combines music, art and gameplay.
Pic: Unsplash / Nikita Kostrykin
A brief history, starting in ’87…
Persona is a series of Japanese role-playing game that is only available on a Sony Console. It is a spinoff from the parent series of Megami Tensei, which started on September 11, 1987, with Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei based off the novel of the same name which was only released in Japan. The company are still releasing games to this day, the latest being Persona Q2. Persona 5: The Royal is due for release in 2020 in the west, and Shin Megami Tensei 5 is now in development.
So why should you give it a try?
The gameplay is unique and enjoyable
The Persona series is a JRPG game, a Japanese role-playing game, meaning they usually involve turn-based combat, similar to Final Fantasy. I hated those games before playing Persona, but after being pestered about it for several months, I finally caved in and played the game. I loved it. I believe it has overwhelmingly perfect aesthetics and unique gameplay aspects such as using your Persona to use magic attacks with special damage types (+ almighty which isn’t weak or strong to any types) and as using simple weapons and guns for physical damage. You can also fuse two or more personas to create stronger ones, an ability only available to the main character, to combat the increasing difficulty across the game, which increases substantially near the end of the game.
The soundtrack is sublime
The game has been praised all around for its fantastic soundtrack throughout the games, starting around Persona 3, and has spurred its own dancing game spinoff alongside Persona 4 and 5. The popularity of the game in Japan and niche groups in the west has brought about live shows displaying the music across the latest three games.
Unfortunately, the songs with lyrics in them can be questionable at the least. The singers are Japanese native speakers and know very little English so that song lyrics can be misheard easily. The most famous of which has been turned into a niche meme of “I will burn my bread” misheard from “I will burn my dread” from the opening song of Persona 3, “Burn My Dread”.
Some other questionable lyrics which have created controversy as someone had misheard the lyrics to hear a derogatory term for people with learning disabilities instead of the intended lyric of “Retort it”, which, in the song, comes as an ad-lib part.
The art and UI design in Persona 5 is amazing
The latest mainline instalment in the Persona series, Persona 5, has an amazing aesthetic of art and UI, which is comic book and collage inspired. The primary colour of the game is red, which contrasts with white and black in the dynamic menu screens which adds to the total enjoyment of the game, even in the most mundane area of any game the menu screens. This aesthetic carries over into the main game where the primary colours are red on black and white. The characters, especially students of the Shujin Academy, have these colours on their uniform. The character’s phantom thieves costumes also display the colour scheme.
All in all, I believe that anyone who can play Persona 3 on the PS2 and any of the other games onwards should play. It will give you hours of enjoyment with considerable replayability with its multiple endings and alternate storyline, in the case of Persona 3.