This remake of the first PS1 Persona game "Revelations: Persona" begins at St. Hermelin High School with the MC and a group of friends betting in a classroom whether they can see the future or not. They try to summon Persona through a ceremony and a few of them are knocked out. When they go to visit their classmate Maki at the hospital, a brief but powerful earthquake is felt and the whole town is filled with demons. Fortunately, they find themselves with the power to summon Personas to their aid ever since the dream they had during that ceremony. They find themselves in another world and must hunt down a man named Kandori to find out how to get back.
Just before reading on, you should note that I haven't played the original game and therefore, any comparisons I make here are based on what I've read around the internet.
Those who have only been exposed to the Megaten series through Persona 3 or 4 will probably take some time getting used to the first person perspective while exploring dungeons. The controls are kind of awkward as you move around like a robot, rotating on the spot before you can move in the direction you want. Thankfully a new mini map now records where you've explored which means you shouldn't have to spend as much time exploring as you may have in the original.
Then there is also the part where you must "chat up" the Demons before you can create Personas with them although, if you're playing the free MMORPG, "Imagine" then you maybe familiar with it already. Using different members of your party you have to satisfy their interest gauge but you only have a limited number of turns to do so. Knock up the wrong gauge such as anger and your chance over. There's so many things you can say to them - each party member having about four things, it can take a while to get it right. This is a lot more time consuming than the later Persona games.
Enemy encounters are random and there's a fair bit of level grinding but auto and the new animation skip enabled, you really don't have to do much and the battles don't last long. Despite that however, the encounter rates are still a bit too high for my likings.
The PS1 port doesn't look too bad on the PSP. As with the original game there is mostly no voice acting with a few small exceptions. I've never played the original so it's nice to see what the first Velvet Room looked like. Personas that appear briefly over the protagonists' heads don't quite look as impressive as they do in 3D but the battle animation and voice effects generally play out well if not a bit rigid.
Meguro's remixes of the original sound track, emphasizes on the pop style he used in P3 and P4 to (as noted in his blog entry) make newcomers to the Persona series feel at home, with Kawamura back for the vocals although not all of the original tracks were remixed. In fact as Meguro noted, not all of the original songs made it in because some compromise had to be made to quicken the loading times and, it stands out as you hear tracks such as "Bloody Destiny" and "Let Butterflies Spread Until The Dawn" re-used a lot.
Opinions about the remixes are pretty much divided amongst long time fans of the MegaTen series and after listening to both, I have to admit the original had a darker low key tone to it that makes the game even darker than it already is, while with Meguro's remixes, the mood is somewhat lightened. Not to mention there's a greater variety in style between the tracks too but then again, there were four composers involved in the original game - Hidehito Aoki, Kenichi Tsuchiya, Misaki Okibe and Meguro himself. Saying all that however, I still like Meguro's approach - Especially the piano in "Ice Palace". Some of the tower dungeon tracks sound very dramatic and the new pharmacy remix sounds much catchier than the old as "cheesy" as the lyrics are.
There are also the new Anime cutscenes by Kamikaze Douga which again, aren't voiced but generally looks well animated.
I'm sure a lot of players like me, will probably be playing this because of Persona 3 and 4 although I've been paying attention to the MegaTen series since the first NES game in 1990. To those of you who fit in that category, you'll want to know there is no high school life sim which means no chatting up the guys and girls but, you can still use the negotiation system to "chat up" the Personas to obtain them which, is more time consuming than the current free MMORPG Megami Tensei Imagine. It will also probably take you some time to get used to the awkward first person way of exploring dungeons.
Other than that you've still got your dark scenarios, exploiting weaknesses in battle, a multi-branching storyline and Persona fusing in the lovely Velvet Room complete with a singer and pianist this time. Players who have been asking what the butterfly symbolised will also finally get an answer.
While Persona PSP hasn't got much of a make over besides some new cutscenes and remixed music, I think it was still fun to see how the Persona has evolved to where a much more streamlined P3/4 title is. Westerners will have a chance to play the "secret" Snow Queen quest which wasn't in the original English version and it's also great how it will have the same two disc soundtrack the Japanese got with pre-orders. Well... At least the American version anyway.
Time Played 56 hours
- Keeps track of dungeon exploring.
- Auto mode to repeat commands and skip animation speeds up levelling.
- Multi-branching with different bosses, good and bad endings.
- Good remixes of the original soundtrack by Shoji Meguro.
- New PSP cuts scenes are fairly well animated.
- The repelling items actually work.
- Negotiating with Personas to obtain them is quite time consuming.
- Fused Personas don't have all skills that are listed immediately.
- Controls for interacting with NPCs and environments still awkward.
- Can't preview stat changes when buying new gear at shops.
- Random battles.
- Elly's random English phrases in the Japanese version.