Which Persona game should I start with?

dscross

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I rarely start RPGs these days, but with all the glowing recommendations I thought I might give the series a whirl? Which is the best to start with to get you into it? I have access to all of them, although it's unlikely I'll start with 5 because I'll need to buy that one.
 

Tanis

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Persona 3:FES is the easiest to 'get' into.

I, personally, find the first game to be a bit more engaging due to it's weird.
 

dscross

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Tanis said:
Persona 3:FES is the easiest to 'get' into.

I, personally, find the first game to be a bit more engaging due to it's weird.
Why not the first game then if you prefer that one?
 

meiam

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3-5 are very different from 1-2 (and all the story are stand alone anyway). 1-2 had less of the social component and were a bit more like traditional JRPG/dungeon crawler. 3-5 are easily better remembered and more unique, there all good (although 5 wasn't my cup of tea) and 3 isn't particularly outdated so starting there is fine (you can't control your ally though so its a bit of a pain).
 

dscross

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Yoshi178 said:
start from the beginning with Shin Megami Tensei 1 for PS1.
Any particular reason? Just for chronology's sake?
 

Tanis

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@dscross:
Persona 3:FES/4/5 are all a LOT easier to 'get' into.
All three feel more 'modern', which may be something you're looking for.
-Also, I say Persona 3:FES because the original Persona 3 had issues with stupid A.I.

Revelations: Persona (AKA: Persona 1) and Persona 2 (both parts) are very much 'old school' JRPGs with really quirky stories and heavy handed Japanese.

While I'd SUGGEST playing the Persona series in order, probably playing the remakes instead of the originals, I understand I'm also a bit older than many folks on the forum.

I mean, my first console was a NES and my first JRPG was Final Fantasy 1.
XD
 

Dreiko_v1legacy

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P3Fes for sure, there's lots of minor (and some major) quality of life improvements made to the formula over the years so if you start with the newer ones you'll feel like the old ones are missing stuff while otherwise it'll feel like you are getting new features.

1 and 2 are different so you can play those in any time in-between, they're much closer to classic SMT style games.
 

Aerosteam

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I disagree with playing P3 Fes, you don't even have full control of your party. Go for P3 Portable. The extra stuff in Fes is pretty skippable honestly, but just watch a video of the story stuff if it really interests you.

Then P4 or Golden, but go for Golden if you can. And finally P5.

P3 onward is so different from P1+2 it might as well be a different series. Still good games I'm sure, but the Persona of today is not reflected on them.
 

Nathan Josephs

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wow these opinions are trash. persona 5 is the most user friendly and aside from cute references they are stand alone stories like final fantasy games.
 

Drathnoxis

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Persona 3 was awful. Only play it if you feel like trudging through TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR[footnote]Oh wait, that enemy just used an instakill on my party leader and now it's game over for some reason, now I need to redo the last 40 minutes of progress, hooray![/footnote] boring pallet swapped floors of dungeon to get to the unsatisfying ending.
 

Ftaghn To You Too

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Don't play Persona 3 Portable first, whatever you do. Having a female PC as an option is nice, as is being able to command the party, but the loss of all of the cutscenes pretty much kills most of the dramatic moments of the game. Manage your commands for party members, and you won't have any trouble with the P3 system.

Start with Persona 3 FES. Don't play The Answer, just watch the cutscenes online. If you really dig it, then go back and try out the female campaign in Portable. Persona 3 has the best story in the New-Persona franchise, but the gameplay improvements in 4 and 5 will ruin you. Start with it first.

Then Persona 4 Golden. If you're incredibly invested in the characters, try the spinoffs. Otherwise they're skippable. Then Persona 5, which has the best gameplay in the series so far.

If you have loved everything so far, then you can either go back and try Persona 1 and 2 (preferably the remakes. The original localization of Persona 1 is only worth it for the cheap yucks) or go and dive into the mainline SMT series. I'd recommend either SMT IV for a slightly more forgiving start, or SMT 3: Nocturne: Featuring Dante From The Devil May Cry Series: And Knuckles. That game will likely kick your ass, so do it if the Persona games all felt too easy for you. All of the SMT games are standalone so you can start anywhere that isn't labeled a direct sequel, but these are the most common starting points.
 

Zeraki

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Honestly if you have a PS3 or PS4 just start with Persona 5 and decide if you want to check out the others later. It's the most polished game in the series so far, it's the most user friendly game in the series and it's a really good jumping on point.

Drathnoxis said:
Persona 3 was awful. Only play it if you feel like trudging through TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR[footnote]Oh wait, that enemy just used an instakill on my party leader and now it's game over for some reason, no88w I need to redo the last 40 minutes of progress, hooray![/footnote] boring pallet swapped floors of dungeon to get to the unsatisfying ending.
As you're screaming at Mitsuru because she unsuccessfully used Marin Karin again instead of using Dia on the protagonist.
 

immortalfrieza

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Ftaghn To You Too said:
Don't play Persona 3 Portable first, whatever you do. Having a female PC as an option is nice, as is being able to command the party, but the loss of all of the cutscenes pretty much kills most of the dramatic moments of the game. Manage your commands for party members, and you won't have any trouble with the P3 system.

Start with Persona 3 FES. Don't play The Answer, just watch the cutscenes online. If you really dig it, then go back and try out the female campaign in Portable. Persona 3 has the best story in the New-Persona franchise, but the gameplay improvements in 4 and 5 will ruin you. Start with it first.

Then Persona 4 Golden. If you're incredibly invested in the characters, try the spinoffs. Otherwise they're skippable. Then Persona 5, which has the best gameplay in the series so far.

If you have loved everything so far, then you can either go back and try Persona 1 and 2 (preferably the remakes. The original localization of Persona 1 is only worth it for the cheap yucks) or go and dive into the mainline SMT series. I'd recommend either SMT IV for a slightly more forgiving start, or SMT 3: Nocturne: Featuring Dante From The Devil May Cry Series: And Knuckles. That game will likely kick your ass, so do it if the Persona games all felt too easy for you. All of the SMT games are standalone so you can start anywhere that isn't labeled a direct sequel, but these are the most common starting points.
This. You are definitely going to feel spoiled if you play the more recent games in the series before playing Persona 3 FES, thus making it much more difficult to enjoy it. Like any good game series is supposed to each Persona sequel significantly improves upon the previous games, so going from the first to the most recent is what will give you the best experience. I'd also advise playing the original SMT games first before playing any of the Persona games, because Persona 1 and 2 are much more along the same lines as opposed to every Persona game after it, so it's much more enjoyable to go forward from that point.

If you're interested in the social links and scheduling aspect of the Persona games though, start with P3FES, because the first 2 Persona games don't have it.

Oh, and go for the remakes where you can get them, with the exception of Persona 3 Portable which as Ftaghn says has a number of features taken away in exchange for other additions, experience the FES version first before touching that one. Persona 4 Golden in particular is much better than the original and adds a lot of stuff, it just barely manages to make up for the absolutely positively godawful new voice actor they replaced Chie's original VA with in the remake. They also replaced Teddie's VA, but the replacement actually sounds like the guy he's replacing and is competent as a VA in his own right, as opposed to Chie's new VA who... well, isn't.
 

dscross

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Tanis said:
@dscross:
Persona 3:FES/4/5 are all a LOT easier to 'get' into.
All three feel more 'modern', which may be something you're looking for.
-Also, I say Persona 3:FES because the original Persona 3 had issues with stupid A.I.

Revelations: Persona (AKA: Persona 1) and Persona 2 (both parts) are very much 'old school' JRPGs with really quirky stories and heavy handed Japanese.

While I'd SUGGEST playing the Persona series in order, probably playing the remakes instead of the originals, I understand I'm also a bit older than many folks on the forum.

I mean, my first console was a NES and my first JRPG was Final Fantasy 1.
XD
Well, I think my first RPG was Secret of Mana on SNES. Prob nothing like the Persona series.
 

Yoshi178

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dscross said:
Yoshi178 said:
start from the beginning with Shin Megami Tensei 1 for PS1.
Any particular reason? Just for chronology's sake?
Persona is a subseries of Shin Megami Tensei.

and for chronology's sake you should just start at the beginning
 

TilMorrow

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Persona 4 Golden, Persona 3 FES, Persona 5 is the order I'd suggest. P4 first as it's the most straight forward of them all acquiring new personas, equipment and leveling up wise and get accustomed to social link leveling is easier. Plus I feel the story reveals in P3 weaken P4's when you get to them. Then you play P3 for its story, slightly more event and mission driven social links, the slightly harder leveling and party composition. Then you play P5 which plays well off the previous two.

If they grab your interest play P1 and P2 afterwards, they're less involved in the stories of P3, P4 and P5 and frankly go balls to the walls nuts by the end of them but they do have some minor references in the future game.

Can't comment on the other Shin games as I haven't played any of them apart from Soul Hackers (which didn't really grab me as much) and they're not related to the persona series.
 

Kotaro

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I would recommend starting with Persona 3 FES. 1 and 2 are good (especially 2), but they haven't aged particularly well, and 3 is basically a soft reboot. Persona 4 is definitely the easiest to get into, and 5 is the most polished, but it's kind of hard to go back and play 3 after having the improvements made in both of them, so if you're going to play 3 at all, I would play it before 4 and 5. Just keep in mind the various versions of the games:
Persona 3 FES is an updated/expanded version that is basically superior in every way, and is the definitive version of the game. Persona 3 Portable added some stuff, but also removed some of the stuff that FES added, and also removed being able to walk around the world outside of dungeons (reducing it to maps and menus) and all the cutscenes were reduced to just dialogue portraits, so it's overall inferior to FES.
Persona 4 Golden added a huge amount of content and is without question the better version of 4, but not a lot of people have a Vita. If you have one, go for this, but if not, the original is still excellent.
For what it's worth, Persona 4 Golden is my favorite game of all time.
 

Elvis Starburst

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Nathan Josephs said:
wow these opinions are trash.
Well, it's a good thing they're not people's personal feelings on a game series or anything or I'd agree with you. That'd be silly.

I'll echo what most folk here have said. I honestly didn't like the extremely dark atmosphere of P3 (It depressed me a bit too much) and the main dungeon was a repetitive slog, but I can see why people recommend it. FES as usual. If you have a Vita, get P4 Golden. If you don't, P4 on PS2 is fine, but I rather like some of the voice actor changes in Golden (Chie will ALWAYS sound better in Golden, fight me). P5 is my fave Persona, but mostly because it not only perfects the gameplay loop, but dungeons aren't just randomly generated corridors. They feel amazing with their own feel. The whole game is absolutely drenched in style. I honestly don't think I'll be able to go back to another Persona due to just how amazing P5 turned out