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Last year (2015) I cleared the game Persona 3 FES (for Playstation 2), and in the beginning of this year (2016) I beat Persona 4 (also for PS2). An extremely brief introduction for those who don't know about these games: the Persona games are JRPGs (japanese RPGs) about high school students that need to balance studies, outings with friends, and fights against supernatural phenomena where they summon a kind of "inner self" in the form of creatures called "Persona." Both the Personas and the enemies are based on mythological beings, angels, demons and such. The games contain charismatic and well-developed characters, engaging storylines, and humorous scenes typical of anime. From Persona 3 onwards, the games have a calendar system where we follow the protagonists during the course of one year, where we can observe several aspects of Japanese culture such as typical foods (these games even made me try my hand at preparing ramen! :P ), some locations, and even what days are holidays on Japan's calendar!
Persona 1 and 2 were first released for Playstation and later got PSP remakes. They are quite different from later Persona games. I haven't played them, though (barely played the beginning of Persona 2), and can't comment much on them.
In Persona 3, the protagonist and his friends fight with the goal of putting an end to a phenomenon known as the "Dark Hour," a hidden hour between one day and the next, which always happens at midnight. Only those who have the potential to use Personas can witness this mysterious hour in which their school transforms into a giant monster-infested tower known as Tartarus.
Persona 3 first came out for PS2, followed by a version with some additions called Persona 3 FES, also for the PS2. Later it got a remake for the PSP called Persona 3 Portable, in which one of the major additions was the ability to choose to play as a female protagonist instead of the male like in the original.
Below is a Japanese trailer for Persona 3:
And the same trailer, but in English:
Persona 4 is about another group of students. The main focus is on solving strange murder cases in a small rural town, and involves exploring a mysterious world inside a TV.
Persona 4 first came out for PS2, and later got an enhanced remake for PS Vita called Persona 4 Golden.
Below is a Japanese trailer for Persona 4 Golden:
And soon we'll have Persona 5! This time it's about a group of rebellious teenagers that are victims of society's injustices. During the day, they are students like any others, but at night, they are thieves who steal the hearts of corrupt adults in order to reform their targets and remove corruption from them. (seriously, we need to call them over here to Brazil, so that they can eliminate corruption from the hearts of our politicians here :P )
This page has several Japanese trailers for Persona 5, subtitled in English by Traduko Soft, a group of fans that are translators.
Edit (2016/08/06): here are some more translated videos, including the first 18 minutes of the game's beginning!
Persona 5 will be released both for PS3 and PS4. In Japan, it will be released on September 15, 2016, and in the United States on February 14, 2017 (right on Valentine's Day!).
Below are some pre-order links for Persona 5:
- Persona 5 20th Anniversary Edition, PS4 (JP): Japanese version, for PS4. A limited edition to commemorate the Persona series' twenty year anniversary, with several collector items: Five soundtrack CDs with special arrangements of music from Persona games from 1 to 5, a Persona 5 artbook, a DLC of Orpheus and Izanagi (the initial personas of the protagonists from P3 and P4 respectively), and another DLC that allows the Persona 5 cast to wear uniforms and equipment from the P3 and P4 cast.
- Persona 5, PS4 (JP): Japanese version, for PS4 (no bonus items).
- Persona 5 20th Anniversary Edition, PS3 (JP): the same limited anniversary edition, but for PS3.
- Persona 5, PS3 (JP): Japanese version, for PS3 (no bonus items).
- Persona 5 "Take Your Heart" Premium Edition, PS4 (US): US version, for PS4. Also a limited edition with items for collectors, but very different from the Japanese anniversary edition: one CD with Persona 5 songs, a Persona 5 artbook, a typical Japanese students school bag with the emblem of the school from Persona 5, a Morgana (a team member and mascot of P5) plush, and a steelbook case for the game.
- Persona 5, PS4 (US): US version, for PS4. The pre-order versions come in a steelbook case.
- Persona 5, PS3 (US): US version, for PS3 (no bonus items, and also it seems that there's no limited edition for the US version for PS3).
Edit: in case the "Take Your Heart" premium edition is sold out at Play-Asia, here are the Amazon links for the North American version preorders:
- Persona 5 - PlayStation 4 "Take Your Heart" Premium Edition
- Persona 5 - SteelBook Edition - PlayStation 4
- Persona 5 - PlayStation 3 Standard Edition
Out of all the above, what I really wanted (besides the game, of course) were the special DLCs. There's still no news on these DLCs for the US version, but it's been said that the matter will be addressed later.
Like with the previous Persona games, the North American version will have voices in English. Some fans (myself included) are hoping the game to eventually become dual audio (the option of both Japanese and English voices). Licensing issues and other complications seem to be in the way, but it seems that some possibility at least exists. According to a few official tweets (1, 2, 3), only English audio is guaranteed for the US version at launch, but they're considering the possibility of including the Japanese audio in some way, maybe as DLC. I like Japanese audio. So, if they managed to include a way to choose between English and Japanese voices in the US version, it would be perfect for me. I hope they manage to pull it off somehow.
My conclusion? Until recently, I had no interest in any PS4 game, but with the appearance of RED ASH (which I talked about last year), Final Fantasy VII Remake and now Persona 5, it looks like the time for me to buy a PS4 is coming...
Three pieces of news. Two good, and one... not so much:
The first good one is that, at a P5 US version showcase live stream that took place on November 16th, 2016, Atlus announced that Persona 5 had exceeded their expectations in Japan. So, they want to give it special treatment and make the English language version as best as it can be. This is good and all, however...
The "not so good" news is that the time they had wasn't enough to perfect the localization, and this caused the western version (US and Europe) releases to end up delayed to April 4th, 2017.
And the second good news is that Atlus announced that they will include the Japanese voices as free DLC starting from the new launch date :D !
If the delay is for the sake of making the end product as best as it can be, then I see no problem in waiting two more months (it's better to take time and release a well-polished product than to quickly release something rushed). The only thing I thought was kind of sad is that Atlus had done a lot of marketing around the February 14th release date, with puns about stealing hearts on Valentine's Day, which don't fit anymore. Oh well. Let's wait for the game to come out and let the Phantom Thieves steal the fans' hearts, on whatever date it happens to be. I'm sure they can do it!