Shin Megami Tensei: Persona


Sam Marchello

The Mystery Machine rides again
The Mystery Machine rides again.

When I had heard that Atlus was making an enhanced port of Persona, I was incredibly skeptical. The original PlayStation version has haunted me for many years with its awkward translation and possibly one of the most horrendous maps I have ever encountered in an RPG. I had debated pre-ordering this title considering the terrible experience I had prior, but after seeing all the significant changes that have been made, I can easily see myself becoming engaged in the world of Persona again.

Atlus has really spruced up the translation, so much so that the story is actually cohesive, and the personas, skills and contract system actually make much more sense. I admit, playing the original Persona, I found myself so confused and completely intimidated by all the quirks that exist in the battle system, butPersona PSP has done a fantastic job at making the game unbelievably accessible for those whose first Persona games were 3 or 4 to pick up and play the game. One fantastic new addition to the game is the footsteps feature, so that when a player is in an area, the steps they make are highlighted in yellow to show where the they have gone and what areas on the mini-map have yet to be explored. The map has also been completely redesigned, making it so much simpler to get from point A to point B and not get lost or have to wait patiently at cross walks just to get where you want to go.

RE: Your birthday party. Gift: Your delicious brains. I luv brains.
RE: Your birthday party. Gift: Your delicious brains. I luv brains.

Many noticeable tweaks were made throughout the game, especially in the combat system. A new skip feature was added to allow players to skip through battle animations. While the magic system has not been revamped, it is important to note that Hama skills now actually do damage as opposed to being a dreaded insta-death spell. Another tweak made in the PSP version is that when positioning your party members on the grid, the game highlights the characters' range depending on the weapon they are equipped with. Set formations can also be switched during combat. Skill transfers can now also happen through the use of items. As your personas rank up, they begin to gain more skills and abilities. Once a persona hits its maximum rank of eight, they can be removed and they will present the player with an item which they can then use in the fusion process.

The Contract system also has been slightly revised as many of the actions have been renamed thanks to the updated translation. The more eager or interested the demon is, the more likely you'll be able to receive Spell Cards from the enemy. Spell Cards are used to fuse new demons in the Velvet Room, and you can upgrade each of the characters' personas, unlike in Persona 3 or 4. Some of the ways that Spell Cards can be achieved are based on the manners of the characters, such as Nanjo's bribing skills or Mark's sexy dance moves. Although, if I were a demon and were forced to be subjected to Mark's dancing skills, Id probably run to the hills in terror with tears in my eyes!

With the added cutscenes, tweaks to the battle system and an upgraded map, Persona PSP was easily my favourite games I saw at Atlus, and with the two disc spoils containing the amazing compositions by Shoji Meguro, there's no reason not to miss out on this game. For those who suffered the original PlayStation version and found themselves pulling their hair out, this may be the second chance we've all been waiting for.

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