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on 3 August 2013
The original Persona, in spite of its terrible americanization has rightfully become a cult-classic for its Unique battle-system where one could create a wide variety of Personas, manifestations of one's inner-self that acts as movesets for your heroes to do battle, or even simply talk your way out of encounters using the delightfully wacky demon-negotiation system.
Luckily, the sequel, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment made its way overseas as well, sporting a much more faithful translation, or did it really? As it turned out, EP was actually the second half, with the first half, Innocent Sin, never making its way overseas. Until now that is.

From a gameplay standpoint, while this remake overhauls the menus and add features from EP like the ability to skip battle animations during random encounters, the core game remains the same with a battle system that feels like a slower paced version of Chrono Trigger with its high focus on combination attacks known as Fusion-spells. While it hasn't aged particularly well in this aspect, luckily the Persona creation and demon-negotiation adds some nice spice to it that keeps the numerous encounters from becoming stale. Where the game shines above all though is the story, and it hasn't aged a day since release. You are Tatsuya Suou, a senior at Seven Sisters High. After hearing a rumor that by calling your own phone-number, you can summon a mysterious being known as Joker who will grant you your innermost wish, you decide to test the rumor out and sure enough, Joker does appear, calling you out on a sin that you can't remember. From there on, it is your job to lead your gang of colorful characters through the world of rumors-turned-reality with your Personas in tow to figure out just what Joker meant and put a stop to whatever evil is twisting the world all the while facing both literal and metaphorical demons.
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on 16 March 2014
The second in the 'Persona' series of games that is as good as, if not Better than the Final Fantasy game series. A little more Adult orientated , this game/RPG takes you through a journey as a 'Persona User' trying to protect the people of the waking world from the 'Shadows'. With multiple paths leading to the ending, your decisions and actions guide the storyline to it's conclusion. A great game that will become very addictive with some story lines and conversations that will have you laughing as the authors really submerse you in the game. There appears to be more spins for 'Persona 2' on the Japanese Market and I would love to know if these are a spin-off or expansion of the English version here? The series continues in Persona 3 & 4.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 October 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, 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, you should check out Persona 3 (also available for the PSP as P3P) and Persona 4 (available for the Vita as Persona 4 Golden). I really cannot stress how amazing those games are.
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on 8 August 2013
Really great game! The story is phenomenal, the characters too. My only gripe can be that this game is too similar to psone's persona 2 eternal punishiment, share some location and some tune, but the intertwine of their stories is fantastic.
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on 12 March 2016
Hasn't aged too well, but it works nicely on the PSP, where it's harder to tell that the graphics are kiiiiind of blocky. A decent premise, good tunes, and the some of the familiar personas, and some new old ones, I guess. The battle style can feel a bit arcane and obtuse or even stubborn, but that's just the game's age showing, and it has its charm, in a way.
Note:
Nazis turn up later. With like, alien knowledge? So, make of that what you will.
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