#1 Posted by natedawg_kz (234 posts) -

I've always wanted to get into the Persona franchise especially after watching the early episodes of the endurance run that Jeff and Vinny done of Persona 4, it looked interesting to say the least. I plan on getting a Vita soon and picking up Persona 4 Golden and i was wondering if there is any point of playing the earlier games in the franchise?, Do the games have a continuous story?, would i be missing anything important if i didn't play them?

I thought this would be a good place to ask since i say a lot of people with Persona avatars.

#2 Posted by Turambar (6784 posts) -
@natedawg_kz said:

I've always wanted to get into the Persona franchise especially after watching the early episodes of the endurance run that Jeff and Vinny done of Persona 4, it looked interesting to say the least. I plan on getting a Vita soon and picking up Persona 4 Golden and i was wondering if there is any point of playing the earlier games in the franchise?, Do the games have a continuous story?, would i be missing anything important if i didn't play them?

I thought this would be a good place to ask since i say a lot of people with Persona avatars.

The game references some things from Persona 3 for comedy sake, that's about it.  No plot continuity outside of existing in the same world.
#3 Posted by Levius (1131 posts) -

Well Persona 3 and Persona 2: Innocent Sin are excellent games, so I guess that's the most important reason. There isn't any ongoing story apart from some minor nods so you won't miss anything there. They're all playable on Vita so why not?

#4 Posted by psylah (2177 posts) -

Persona 1 and the Persona 2 games were VERY different from what you've seen of Persona 4. Persona 3 is the most similar. If you plan on playing Persona 3, I suggest you do so on the PS2 version, and to do it before Persona 4. Persona 4 handles its combat better.

#5 Edited by natedawg_kz (234 posts) -

@AmatureIdiot said:

They're all playable on Vita so why not?

I heard that the Persona games are quite long? i wanted to make sure that they are worth it before i dive in

#6 Posted by SirOptimusPrime (2008 posts) -

Persona 1 and 2 are vastly different games from 3 and 4, so know that. They're more like the straight SMT games, with standard-ish JRPG battle systems and some funny little extras sprinkled on top. I'd recommend playing them, but you don't have to play them.

Persona 3 FES is easily where to start. Just download it on PSN for $10 and do The Journey, then eventually you could get around to P4 - in that order. I didn't have a problem going from 4 to 3, mostly because I knew what I was jumping into, but there's the possibility that you might.

#7 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2298 posts) -

@natedawg_kz: I just clocked in a playthrough of persona 3 portable at around 66 hours.

#8 Posted by killacam (1284 posts) -

I was in the same boat. I picked up 3 on PSN this summer and it is amazing.

#9 Posted by Levius (1131 posts) -

@natedawg_kz said:

@AmatureIdiot said:

They're all playable on Vita so why not?

I heard that the Persona games are quite long? i wanted to make sure that they are worth it before i dive in

Yeah, Persona 3 is a least 65 hours,as previously mentioned, and probably a lot longer first time. Persona 2 probably takes about 40 hours. I think they are worth it as the length helps build the characters, and they are comparable to the lengths of these sorts of games.

The caveat is Persona 3 is similar to Persona 4 with a much slower story so you may burn out if you play them back to back, and Persona 2 is very much a product of its era, i.e. very frequent random battles, isometric visuals ect. But man Persona 2's story goes in the most insanely brilliant directions.

#10 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19339 posts) -

@AmatureIdiot said:

@natedawg_kz said:

@AmatureIdiot said:

They're all playable on Vita so why not?

I heard that the Persona games are quite long? i wanted to make sure that they are worth it before i dive in

Yeah, Persona 3 is a least 65 hours,as previously mentioned, and probably a lot longer first time. Persona 2 probably takes about 40 hours. I think they are worth it as the length helps build the characters, and they are comparable to the lengths of these sorts of games.

Persona 3 is only 65 hours if you're talking about the PSP version. Unless you're really rushing through things, Persona 3 FES is about 80 hours. Took me 100 and something hours to get through FES, not counting The Answer. About 70 something hours for Persona 4. P2: IS took me 38 hours and Persona 1 took me around 23 hours, though that was for the bad ending (good ending adds quite a bit).

#11 Posted by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

@AmatureIdiot said:

But man Persona 2's story goes in the most insanely brilliant directions.

Gotta back the man up. Very few games can say that they have a well thought out reason for diving into a spaceship named after the Mayan Hell in order to fight a magical flying Hitler.

#12 Posted by EvilKatarn (465 posts) -

Persona 2's story isn't awesome merely because of crazy Hitler either. The main characters are easily some of the best written in all of Persona.

Chie can galactic punt all she wants and Fuuka could gasp a thousand gasps, but they can't beat the charm of the P2 cast. At least not for me.

#13 Posted by Dixavd (1358 posts) -

But if you don't play Persona 3 then how can you participate in the very important argument over which is the better game, persona 3 or persona 4?!

#14 Posted by TooWalrus (13197 posts) -

I fully intend to play Innocent Sin when I buy a Vita next month, but I'll just say if you jump into Persona 3 FES, you won't be disappointed.

#15 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2298 posts) -

@Dixavd said:

But if you don't play Persona 3 then how can you participate in the very important argument over which is the better game, persona 3 or persona 4?!

Well if he goes right into Persona 4 he would have made the right decision! (Just kidding. I love both games.)

#16 Posted by Little_Socrates (5677 posts) -

Persona 4 Golden is terrifying with all its changes. Persona 4 is rock-solid and is just one of the absolute best games ever made. Or it is just barely deceiving you into believing that while it just barely holds itself together. Golden threatens to scatter the former to the winds.

#17 Posted by Oscar__Explosion (2298 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

Persona 4 Golden is terrifying with all its changes. Persona 4 is rock-solid and is just one of the absolute best games ever made. Or it is just barely deceiving you into believing that while it just barely holds itself together. Golden threatens to scatter the former to the winds.

You say that but then you see this video and know that the game is still fantastic.

#18 Posted by FTomato (234 posts) -

@natedawg_kz: Persona 3 is highly highly recommended. I'd also suggest playing Persona 3 Portable over FES - it has a dramatically better combat system, and some other assorted improvements. The visuals aren't as good as FES, but they're perfectly serviceable. It also looks great on the Vita and works very well as a portable game, if that helps.

I wrote more about this in this thread: http://www.giantbomb.com/shin-megami-tensei-persona-3-fes/61-20683/is-this-substantially-better-than-the-portable-version/35-562456/

I haven't played Persona 2, but while it's a good game, it's quite different compared to P3 and P4, so you should probably play one of those first.

#19 Posted by tourgen (4500 posts) -

@natedawg_kz: you're probably going to get many people saying you should play Persona 3 FES. I don't recommend that. The Persona 4 story stands on it's own and it's much better than P3. Also Persona 3 is just not as good a game, in every way. The combat is the real bummber though. You can only control the main character and the AI for your allies is pretty bad. It's a very easy game though so I guess if you have 60-80hrs to burn..

#20 Posted by ImHungry (377 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: Slightly off-topic question, but why is P3P so much shorter than FES? My FES Journey playthrough clocked in at just over 100 hours. Is all that time saved just from the navigation of the town through menus or has other content been cut? Curious because I've been thinking about replaying P3 and wondering which version I should use.

#21 Posted by phantomzxro (1577 posts) -

yeah you can just jump into persona 4 because the earlier games don't connect. Persona 3 fes is on PSN and Persona 3 portable is also on PSN which you could throw on your vita to play. If your getting your vita pretty soon i say pick one of those to get you ready for persona 4. Because both are great games from there you can see if you want to drive deep into the older games which are very in style and gameplay.

#22 Edited by egg (1467 posts) -

Don't the Persona titles have randomly triggered encounters? If so then why would anyone choose to get into them if they aren't already? It would be like seeing a game you know is bad and wanting to get into it.

#23 Posted by Nottle (1914 posts) -

@egg: In 3 and 4 you see your enemies on the field and you can get the jump on them. I can't speak for 1 and 2 but I also don't see how random battles make a game bad.

#24 Posted by NekuCTR (1663 posts) -

Whichever Persona you play first will always be the best. I played P4 first and could never appreciate P3 as much as most others. If you want to get immersed in a moody atmosphere with a tons of drama play P3. If you want to have a fun time in Japan, and meet some awesome characters play P4.

#25 Posted by sonicrift (298 posts) -

I played Persona 3 Portable this summer and loved it. Persona 4 Golden looks like a much more advanced game. If you're thinking about playing it, you might find P3P more enjoyable if you play it before P4G. P3P's world navigation is all done with a cursor instead of having your character walk around. Instead of actors with actions, you'll see characters talk with their portrait conveying their emotion filling the centre of the screen. Persona 4's battle system is a little more fleshed out, too.

#26 Posted by Phatmac (5726 posts) -

You can buy persona 3 fes for 10$ on psn if you wish.

#27 Posted by FTomato (234 posts) -

@ImHungry: I don't believe P3P is missing any content other than The Answer. Regardless, if you're interested in replaying P3, you should play as the female protagonist in P3P.

P3P lets you control your allies as well, and it looks great on the Vita.

#28 Posted by GrantHeaslip (1593 posts) -

@SirOptimusPrime said:

Persona 3 FES is easily where to start. Just download it on PSN for $10 and do The Journey, then eventually you could get around to P4 - in that order. I didn't have a problem going from 4 to 3, mostly because I knew what I was jumping into, but there's the possibility that you might.

Good to hear, because this is my plan. I just need an opening in which I can dive into a 80-hour game.

#29 Posted by Cathryn (546 posts) -

If you're planning on getting a Vita, you should pick up Persona 3 Portable on PSN. The battling is less frustrating because you can control your allies and if you really love the game, you can also do a second playthrough with the Female protagonist, which gives you access to a bunch of new social links (male party members and others) and a lot of different content which is totally worth it. You'll miss out on some of the cutscenes, but you can always watch those on Youtube. IMO, it's generally worth playing Persona 3 first because while they aren't super closely connected, it's very interesting to compare the two, and most people tend to like both, even if they favour one over the other.

#30 Posted by Dan_CiTi (3310 posts) -

@Little_Socrates said:

Persona 4 Golden is terrifying with all its changes. Persona 4 is rock-solid and is just one of the absolute best games ever made. Or it is just barely deceiving you into believing that while it just barely holds itself together. Golden threatens to scatter the former to the winds.

Huh? Because Morrowind GotY Edition ruined the game...

And just play P4 Golden, if you like it you might be able to go back to the old ones next year or something.

#31 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19339 posts) -

@FTomato said:

@ImHungry: I don't believe P3P is missing any content other than The Answer. Regardless, if you're interested in replaying P3, you should play as the female protagonist in P3P.

I believe that's wrong. P3P is missing a lot of content, but all of that is in the form of presentation e.g. no animated cutscenes, no walking around the environment and I don't know if it has the events where you can take Elizabeth to walk around the mall or if it has those secret dorm video recordings. Playing a bit of P3P recently, it broke my heart when the awakening scene, one of the most memorable scenes in the game, was extremely dull compared to the anime scene in FES.

Though, I agree if you've already experienced P3, going through P3P as a female character to have a new perspective on things could be preferable.

#32 Posted by Cathryn (546 posts) -
@FluxWaveZ There are some subtler changes like direct combat control and I believe in the Male route the girls don't get jealous in P3P, but other than that, the navigation, simplified cutscenes and no Answer, P3P has all the same content as FES. Velvet person dates are still there, bonus vids, walking Koromaru, etc...

The significant loss is the cutscenes, but they can be watched on youtube. IMO, if you want one version of P3, you may as well get Portable as some of the unique social links are pretty awesome. Though for me, the female route is the definitive version of that game and there may be some out there who don't like it as much as I do.
#33 Posted by PixelPrinny (1030 posts) -

@Dixavd said:

But if you don't play Persona 3 then how can you participate in the very important argument over which is the better game, persona 3 or persona 4?!

Pfft, what argument? Everyone knows that P3 is the superior game. ;D

@Turambar said:

The game references some things from Persona 3 for comedy sake, that's about it. No plot continuity outside of existing in the same world.

If P4A's ending is an indication of the series heading to where I think (and hope) it's heading, we may end up seeing a broader continuity between the Personas than we previously were led to believe. Hint: The recurring butterfly throughout the games and who it originally represented.

Anywho, good luck getting into the series, OP. Lots of good tips and recommendations in here. Personally, I think you're fine jumping into 4 first and if you really like the mythos and all that, you can always go back to older games (if you're willing to forgive them some clunkiness). And hell, you could always branch out to other SMT games like Devil Survivor, Nocturne, Digital Devil Saga, or Devil Summoner if you really find the whole concept of personas and such up your alley.

#34 Edited by FluxWaveZ (19339 posts) -

@Cathryn: For me, the dive in presentation from P3P to FES is a major loss, such that I would have been disappointed had my first experience with the game was with P3P. Atlus also stated something to the effect that they were disappointed with the concessions they had to make with P3P and were glad that the Vita came along, so that the portable version of P4 wouldn't suffer the same fate. I'll agree with the masses and say that if one wants to experience P3, FES is the superior version. It depends on what one prefers from a game, though: presentation or gameplay.

@PixelPrinny said:

Hint: The recurring butterfly throughout the games and who it originally represented.

But Soejima's already stated in the P4 artbook that the butterfly represents Philemon and how he's always watching over the characters...

#35 Posted by Dynablade (166 posts) -

I would recommend playing Persona 2: Innocent Sin first because it gives a good idea on how the series has evolved. It has a great plot along with a fun cast of characters, then after your done by all means play P3P then Persona 4 Golden in that order.

I wouldn't recommend playing the original Persona on PSP as I feel it starts slow, the characters aren't as interesting compared to the other games, first person navigating through different places gets disorienting after a few hours, and the frequency of random battles gets on your nerves after a while. I'm only 4-5 hours into Persona playing through the Sebec building and I'm having a tough time figuring out what I'm supposed to do lol.

Bottom line: Persona 2: Innocent Sin -----> Persona 3 Portable----> Persona 4: Golden

#36 Posted by ImHungry (377 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ : Thanks for the info, I think I'll likely play through FES again if that's the case since I quite enjoyed the cutscenes(especially that opening) and I don't care much for the big changes you could get on the female playthrough. Also, I personally enjoyed not having direct control of my party even if it led to certain frustrating moments, I thought it was a really interesting take on RPG combat.