Persona 5 Trailer

February 5th, 2015 -

I’m not sure I can adequately express the excitement this trailer brought me. Persona is one of my favorite RPG series ever, and is easily in my top 3 of all time. If you’ve never played one of these yet, allow me to give some backstory.

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The series started back in 1996 on the PlayStation, an offshoot of the semi-popular Shin Megami Tensei brand. It was considered then to be a “sleeper hit” by Jeff Gerstmann, who was just hired as an intern at GameSpot. Like most old Atlus titles, the game was a first-person RPG, but it brought you out of the typical medieval times that were so common back then. Most JRPGs utilized a third-person perspective this late in the game, and the second entry followed suit, managing to do fairly well again with the critics back in 2000. Sadly, only one of the two entries in the duology made it stateside on the PlayStation. While Eternal Punishment was localized, Innocent Sin had issues due to the graphic nature involving Hitler/Nazis, as well as the ability to have a homosexual relationship. That’s right, BioWare isn’t treading new water – Persona has been doing it for over fifteen years now. In any case, despite the fact that each entry was well received by critics, it wasn’t until the PS2 that the games really started gaining mass appeal.

Persona 3 launched in America more than halfway into 2007, almost a year after the PS3 had launched. In case you aren’t paying attention, six years (seven in the states) since the last entry. 3 brought a lot of changes to what was common in the Megami Tensei games, particularly in battle. No longer could you talk to monsters during battle, but instead dealt with social links during the day. Decisions you made weighed heavy on how the game played out – for example, after school you may have the afternoon free – do you study, hangout with a friend, go to a club meeting, see a movie, etc.? Whatever you end up choosing takes up the rest of the day until evening, in which you may choose something else, such as going to the “dungeon” portion of the game, or sleeping (a test is coming up though – it sure would suck to not be prepared). While I love grinding in RPGs, after a while you get burnt out – Persona offers so many options that impact how you play through the dungeons while doing things such as talking to friends or trying to win over a girl, it’s hard not to become engrossed with both worlds this game offers. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you like replaying RPGs), there’s no way you can do everything in a single run. In April of 2008 though, a “director’s cut” version of the game released, called Persona 3 FES. While it added quite a few changes to the actual game (including the ability to do more of the activities than was possible in the previous version), there was also an epilogue added called “The Answer.” I won’t go into the details, as it’s very spoiler heavy, but it’s quite a substantial addition to the game and worth the purchase to those that already owned 3. The game also featured cutscenes done by Sunrise, which you may know for their work on Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, or a million other things.

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At the end of 2008 came Persona 4, which you’ve probably seen in some capacity, as it’s the most milked of the series. This entry brought the least amount of change, though it did take away things such as fatigue in dungeons, and gave full control of your party opposed to having the other party members acting via AI. The overall theme of the game was still heavy and dark (murder mystery), but the world and characters seemed much more lively than the previous. Presumably the high acclaim brought about the remakes of previous entries, as 2009 saw Revelations: Persona and Persona 3 both put on PSP, each with new content. Though 3 saw one of the biggest changes, with the addition of a female protagonist. Certain gameplay elements were lost along the way, but the game offered quite a bit of new development for people that had already played through 3 and FES. And since the duology hadn’t got much love in a long time, Innocent Sin was released on PSP in the states in 2011 with changes to the Hitler issue, as real people aren’t allowed to be depicted in fictitious work. Unfortunately, the 2012 update of Eternal Punishment wasn’t localized, so the PS1 version was re-released via the PSN.

Not to be forgotten though, 2012 brought Persona 4: Golden to Vita, which was a remaster of the PS2 title, adding a new character and new story/missions. The year also saw the release of Persona 4 Arena, which was a joint project between Atlus and Arc System Works (Guilty Gear, BlazBlue). While the game probably would’ve done fine as a simple fighter, the game added a new character to the line-up of 3 and 4‘s characters and came with a brand new story that takes place just a couple months after 4 leaves off (or a couple years after 3‘s The Answer). While the game can be one of the most difficult fighters you’ve ever played, it has difficulty options for those that simply want to experience the story as well. The game ends on a major cliffhanger, and had me wondering whether or not there would be a sequel or spin-offs. 2014 brought the closure for that (sort of…), with Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, as well as another game that would bring the cast of 3 and 4 together once more, but on the 3DS. If you are familiar with Etrian Oddyssey, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is essentially that, but… you know, with Persona stuff. If you don’t know what it is, think old first-person RPG, where you make your own maps and whatnot. It’s a lot of fun, though definitely different from the numbered series.

Persona 5

The next two games are due out this year, though I’m much more excited for 5 over Dancing All Night. I mean, can you blame me? An actual entry versus another spin-off of 4. Not to mention it’s focused on dancing… not to say that’s bad, or that the game will be bad. I still want to play it, though that means I need to finally buy a Vita. But as you may have noticed, there hasn’t been a new main series entry since 2008. The only HD game that P-Studio put out by themselves was Catherine, which was absolutely wonderful and brought a perspective that is rarely ever seen in games. But I’m beyond ready to go to Tokyo this year (at least twice, since Yakuza 5 will also be coming out (finally)) with a new cast of teens and their demonic apparitions! I know I didn’t really go into too much detail about the games themselves… this was more of a history of launches than anything, but if you’d like to discuss the games in-depth, feel free to get in contact with me or just comment below!

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