Thoughts on the Persona series

I love the Shin Megami Tensei games, but I can’t stand how much the Persona series gets so much attention. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the Persona games (at least the main titles anyway), in fact I like Persona 4 a lot, but I could never stand how the Persona series gets more attention than the main Megami Tensei series (which is the father of the Persona series and better too).

Not to mention how much attention has been giving to this game even after Persona 4.

Persona 3 alone got not only an enhanced rerelease, a manga, and a PSP port (the latter of which I found to be butchered), but also 9 more games, about 12 drama CDs, 4 novels, and 2 stage plays, and a series of three animated movies, all based on the game. Not only is that far more related media than the main Megami Tensei games usually get, but it’s all going way too far and only serves to present the game as more of a commercial enterprise. That being said, Persona 4 also got an enhanced port on the PlayStation Vita, and 5 more games based on it (2 of which are fighting games, and even a goddamned rhythm game for Satan’s sake), and aside from its own manga it got 5 novels based on it, two animated series’ (one based on Persona 4 and one based on Persona 4 Golden), an animated movie based on one of the animations, and, just like with Persona 3, two stage plays! What the fuck? I love the game but it’s stupid how it got lavished with all this unnecessary spin-off material that, again, only serves to carry forth the game as a commercial enterprise. I must wonder how much Persona 5 spin-off material we’ll get after Persona 5 gets released.

Oh trust me, it’ll happen with this game.

The original Persona game doesn’t get nearly as much attention as those two games. Megami Ibunroku Persona (aka Revelations: Persona) was released in 1996 and went on to get a novel, a manga, a mobile phone game in 2006, and then an enhanced remake for the PSP (titled Shin Megami Tensei: Persona) 3 years later. The second game, Persona 2: Innocent Sin, didn’t appear to get anything other than a follow-up entitled Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, neither of the games received any spin-off media. Something else to keep in mind: the earlier Persona titles did not have Social Links, which involve you spending time with your friends and/or taking them out on dates in order to increase experience that fused personas earn and unlock new personas, whereas the later games since Persona 3 do have them. While I admit that the Social Link feature is a novel feature in the games and I have had fun with it in Persona 4, I can’t help thinking it’s no wonder Persona 3 and 4 are so popular, and not because the feature is novel.

All that aside, like I said before I don’t hate the Persona games (although I probably do despise spin-off media including games based off of the games despite not having seen or played it, but more on that later), I just can’t stand how much attention the Persona games get compared to the father series, especially considering the games use a lot of the same assets as the main games. Seriously, most of the personas in those games are named after gods and demons that have previously appeared in Megami Tensei games before, and in the later games they use the same artwork that they had in earlier Megami Tensei games (even the earlier ones had new designs for them, and featured personas based on entities that did not yet appear in a Megami Tensei game). What’s with that? It’s not a bad thing, and I don’t complain too much about it, but why not make original designs for all personas in the game not just personas representing the characters?

As for the additional games and media that keep getting made for Persona 3 and 4, even if they aren’t so bad, I hate what those media represent to me regarding Atlus and the Megami Tensei series. To me, they represent the idea that video games can exist either as a commercial enterprise or to be made into commercial enterprises, and for games in the Megami Tensei series, this is unacceptable to me.

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