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I mean, Persona 5 may as well be the best possible starting point, especially given how I do have a ps4. But Persona 5 Royal is coming out on the same system, and I do want to try out the two preceding games (I reckon no one wants me to start with the first two Persona games). So, I’d like to know which games I should get, how I can get them, as well as tips for getting into the games themselves.

As for things I already know in terms of gameplay.

General

Spoiler

These games will have to be a time investment. And they are not the easiest games out there, even if they are easier than their older SMT brethren.

Also how it’s half dungeon-crawler rpg and half Japanese high school life sim.

The music will get in your head.

Switching personas, as well as combining them to make stronger ones.

Persona 3/FES

Spoiler

Party members are AI-controlled, and that may not be a good thing.

You need good grades to date Mitsuru (or whoever the redhead is).

FES has a female option, I think.

Persona 4/Golden

Spoiler

Maybe nothing else that is not “better and easier than P3”.

Persona 5

Spoiler

Arsen sucks.

 

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Just play Persona 5.

My main warning for Persona... the DRPG aspect of the game is VERY poor

Dungeons have the trappings of DRPG design, but really kind of (other than music) are kind of generic  until each game's endgame dungeon, at which point they go straight into the DRPG's BS territory without quite hitting any "fun hard" spot.... there are no GOOD puzzle/exploration DRPG dungeons and there are no medium dungeons, for the "usual" dungeons it's mostly just used to divide combat areas and put chests slightly, but not really out of the way. 

Use status effects and prepare for status effects to be used against you. Instant death is a status effect, especially in Persona 3.

Other than that combat is fun enough, but its clear that Presentation and story is first place.

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1 minute ago, Azure in a Roundabout said:

Why just Persona 5?

Avaliability, but also a couple things.

 

Leaves you with time... I think I would 100% suggest 1 persona, 1 SMT, then lokoing at "classic" DRPGs rather than a marathon of all persona or all SMT... seeing as many mechanics and different approaches to a subgenre as possible appeals to me more than loyaltly to a series.

Persona 3 and 4 are wedded to the "day of the week" system which has upsides and downsides, but personally I think that it kind of makes the game lose tempo at the time whenthe plot points SHOULD be escalating. I mean they do, but they don't feel like they do it as much as they could be.

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2 minutes ago, Azure in a Roundabout said:

Yeah, I suppose I can do that.

Word of advice. Max the teacher's social link asap. Her bonuses are stupidly overpowered. 

 

Also, max the politician's social link asap. Not only is it powerful, but it also becomes unavailable at a certain point.

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1 minute ago, Etheus said:

Word of advice. Max the teacher's social link asap. Her bonuses are stupidly overpowered. 

 

Also, max the politician's social link asap. Not only is it powerful, but it also becomes unavailable at a certain point.

Does maxing it out also mean you romance her? Because I have seen that, too.

But I’ll surely do the one for he politician. Just need to know how you increase the links.

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3 minutes ago, Azure in a Roundabout said:

Does maxing it out also mean you romance her? Because I have seen that, too.

But I’ll surely do the one for he politician. Just need to know how you increase the links.

At social link rank 9, you're given a dialogue choice to romance or stay friends with each of the women.

 

You can romance all of them, one of them, some of them, or none of them. That's really up to you, but the romance itself isn't a requirement to get social link bonuses.

 

(I romanced best girl Makoto, by the way).

Edited by Etheus

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Honestly persona 5 is my favorite in the series. its a great way to start out. don't be afraid to use some helpful guides on your first playthrough as there is a lot to take in. if your just playing for fun and not worrying about outcomes to much dont worry about it to much but if you want good growths whether it be your personas or social skills there are guides to help you with that.

Cannot say more positive things about the game. my first playthrough was 98 hours and i plan to do my 2nd playthrough sometime this year when i have time. 

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I played 3-5. 

If you favor well designed dungeons and a dark plot, go for 5.

If you favor simulation aspects like fatigue, go for 3.

If you favor none of these, go for 4.

Edited by Rosalina

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4 hours ago, Azure in a Roundabout said:

Party members are AI-controlled, and that may not be a good thing.

You need good grades to date Mitsuru (or whoever the redhead is).

FES has a female option, I think.

Its actually P3P that has the FeMC, and it even has the option to give you control over the moronic AI party members. Whether P3P or FES is the best version of Persona 3 is a bit of a debate, the general consensus is that P3P has better gameplay plus the FeMC route, but FES has far superior aesthetic (with anime cutscenes and with P3P having to drop 3d overworld movement for basically point and click menus) plus "the answer". The FeMC route follows the same overall story, but has some changes in the details and adds new social links for her, while "the answer" acts as an epilogue gated behind extra gameplay

Personally I'm more of a P3P fan, its just a lot more playable, I like the option of the FeMC, and I am fine with the graphical power lost to portability, plus with "the answer" not having any of the life sim feature and simply the pre-P3P gameplay I don't consider that much of a loss.

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If you own a PS3, then you can download Persona 3 FES for ten dollars. It doesn't have the ability to play as a girl, or the ability to control party members, but I still consider it the ideal way to play because the world can actually be explored. It also has the The Answer campaign, but that's just a grindfest in which I'd just recommend watching cutscenes on youtube to get the story. You can also get the original release of Persona 4 just as cheap, but that's a straight up inferior version to Golden so I don't care for that option.If you own a Vita or a Playstation TV, then you've got access to Persona 4 Golden and P3P which can be downloaded to those systems.

As for which one to play, that's tricky. I hear people suggest starting with Persona 3 since it's gameplay is the most brutal to go back to. The fatigue mechanic dissuades you from dungeoneering too long, but in my experience you can absolutely keep going with little risk if you know what you're doing. Persona 4 I always felt was more restrictive because you'll be in the mid to late game before you can restore your SP for a reasonable price. In general I always felt Persona 4's difficulty scaling with its mechanics was waaaaayyyyyy too concentrated in the first few dungeons and the game is only difficult in the early game except for some of its boss fight designs in the mid to late game. Persona 3 and 4 are equally inaccessible in terms of gameplay if you ask me. I only give the edge to Persona 4 gameplay in making some of the social links very worthwhile, namely your party members getting new, useful abilities.

Persona 5 really got difficulty scaling and gameplay integration with social links right. I love how status ailments can actually work on mid-boss type enemies and comboing them with specific attacks for Technical! damage. I also love how all the social links have extremely good and relevant bonuses that you can't go wrong focusing on any of them.

TL;DR: Persona 5 is the best of the three, but whether you should play 3 or 4 really depends on whether you own or could see yourself owning a system they exist on, since they're also fun games worthy of your time unless you really dislike turn based rpgs that ask you to grind - in which case I just recommend watching a let's play or something. Oh, and as for whether you should wait for P5 Royal, I'd say yes. We don't know how long the wait will be internationally, but it sucks to have to buy the game twice like the rest of us. On the other hand, if you really can't wait, copies of Persona 5 might end pretty cheap in the mean time, so you could get it and tell yourself P5Royal will be your New Game+

Edited by Glennstavos

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I’d say Persona 3 or 5 honestly. 3 has the perfect balance tonal between traditional SMT themes and it’s own tone that none of the other Persona games has. Persona 5’s also good due to it being the latest entry.

And, if by any chance you want to play any of the other MegaTen games, I’d wholeheartedly recommend Nocturne and SMT IV. Just in case. 

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I guess that depends if you have PS2/PSP/PSVita. I say Persona 4 Golden is the best starting point since it is beginner friendly yet provides a fair challenge but playing that game requires having a PSVita or Vita TV and I think both of those are hard to come by these days.

If you have a PSP then Persona 3 Portable is also an option especially if you prefer a female protagonist. It removed most of the problems from the original Persona 3 such as AI controlled allies however there is no free roaming since everything is point and click outside of the main dungeon.

For PS2 I still say Persona 4 is better. It is just more beginner friendly and really I just hate AI controlled allies. Plus I felt the characters you interact with in the social link events were more likeable than the ones in Persona 3. I remember disliking the majority of Persona 3's characters but loved the interaction I had with most of Persona 4's though but I suppose that's purely subjective. (Persona 5's social link characters outdo both of them though you questions).

But really if you don't own a PS2 or the Playstation handhelds Persona 5 is the best place to start. The beginning of the game provides plenty of tutorials to ease you into the game plus each Persona game tells its own story so you are not missing out on anything besides random call back/references in the background. But really no matter which game you start with early game dungeons can be really tough for first timers due to limited healing items to restore SP so you have to make sure to manage your magic skills well since figuring out the enemies weaknesses isn't always obvious.

I will also say there is also always the chance Atlus will port Persona 4 Golden and remake Persona 3 for PS4/Switch just to keep in mind.

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In terms of story and gameplay, I think Persona 4 Golden is a good starting point. It has a lighter yet still thought-provoking plot, and the difficulty for the first two dungeons aren't all that bad if you start with "Very Easy". (Just make sure to level everyone up. Your party should be at Level 16+ on the first dungeon.) Then get Persona 3 Portable by digitally downloading the game onto your Vita or PS Television. And if you want to know how the P3 and P4 casts move on with their lives, you can get Persona 4 Arena and its sequel, Persona 4 Arena Ultimax on a cheap PS3. Alternately, download them from the Playstation Store (availability may depend on region) on your PS4 alongside purchasing Persona 5 and any of P5's spin-offs.

Edited by henrymidfields

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After you've gotten into Persona a bit, you can check out the older Persona's and maybe even SMT IF (which has a english translation finally and is way more forgiving than most mainline SMT games) to see where Persona's ideas started.

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10 hours ago, Jedi said:

After you've gotten into Persona a bit, you can check out the older Persona's and maybe even SMT IF (which has a english translation finally and is way more forgiving than most mainline SMT games) to see where Persona's ideas started.

How are the old Personas actually?

I've not that much interest in the 3 & later ones, but 1 and the two 2s catch my pity as the "failed and forgotten attempts". I've heard good of P2's plot (with oddly a gay dating option in Innocent Sin, despite being made in 1999). I don't have a PSP, and P1 PS1 I know the whole localization shebang, but I think I could emulate them.

I plowed through SMTI iOS three times, and I've done all but Beelzebub and the Extra Dungeon in Soul Hackers, so I've experience with "old" pre-Nocturne SMT.

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On 4/26/2019 at 7:30 AM, Interdimensional Observer said:

How are the old Personas actually?

I've not that much interest in the 3 & later ones, but 1 and the two 2s catch my pity as the "failed and forgotten attempts". I've heard good of P2's plot (with oddly a gay dating option in Innocent Sin, despite being made in 1999). I don't have a PSP, and P1 PS1 I know the whole localization shebang, but I think I could emulate them.

I plowed through SMTI iOS three times, and I've done all but Beelzebub and the Extra Dungeon in Soul Hackers, so I've experience with "old" pre-Nocturne SMT.

1 is a bit rough but still playable, it’s dungeons are more maze like, akin to that of 1, 2 and IF

2’s duology is overall solid as well.

IFs protagonist even cameos in them.

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