"Once, I dreamt I was a butterfly.
I forgot myself and knew only my happiness as a butterfly. Soon, I awoke, and I was myself again.
Did I dream that I was a butterfly? Or do I now dream that I am a man?
Yet there is a distinction between myself and the butterfly. This is the transformation of the physical."
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, known as Persona in Japan, is an enhanced port of the first title in the Persona series, Megami Ibunroku Persona, for the PSP. The English localization retains the plot settings of the original Japanese version as well as a more accurate translation.
The game was first announced in 2009, with Shoji Meguro as the director. Meguro was also one of the composers, alongside Hidehito Aoki, Misaki Okibe, and Kenichi Tsuchiya. Persona was now branded without the "Megami Ibunroku" title in Japan, and as for North America, the title "Revelations" was dropped and replaced with Shin Megami Tensei.
Differences and upgrades
Being an enhanced port, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona is mostly identical to the original game, with a few adjustments:
- The North American localization retains all the Japanese plot settings, as well as all character and Persona names, ignoring the past Americanized localization altogether. The single exception to this is the line "Mark danced crazy!".
- There are now three difficulty levels (Beginner, Normal, and Expert), while the original had none.
- Difficulty levels only affect the amount of damage received by enemy attacks: 80% on Beginner, 100% (aka, normal damage) on Normal, and 120% on Expert.
- A new opening cutscene, called "Dream of Butterfly," replaces the original. It is sung by Yumi Kawamura, the vocalist for Persona 3.
- The soundtrack was completely revamped, taking inspiration from the more J-pop-inspired Persona 3 and Persona 4. Both Japanese and North American releases include the two-disc Persona Original Soundtrack.
- The new soundtrack, however, has much fewer tracks than the original, leading to many songs being reused for situations where there were tracks exclusive to them.
- All FMV cutscenes from the original were redone, and many new ones were added to scenes that previously didn't have them.
- The new FMV cutscenes are not dubbed in the Japanese version, merely subtitled. This is because some of the original voice actors from the PS1 version were already retired, and Atlus decided not to replace them out of respect. As the English localization was done from scratch, the FMV cutscenes are dubbed there.
- The menus and UI were completely redone, taking advantage of the PSP's 16:9 aspect ratio.
- There are now subcategories in the "Item" section of the menu, while the original kept all items together, be they consumables or key items. Consequently, the ability to manually rearrange items was lost.
- Spell Cards, which were under the "Magic" menu in the original, now have their own section under "Item."
- It is now possible to run while exploring dungeons in first-person mode. The encounter rate has been adjusted to take this into consideration, as running will also increase the encounter rate.
- Many Agastya Trees were added to the dungeons, greatly increasing the number of save points.
- However, the Agastya Trees present in the dungeons of the Snow Queen Quest were removed. This is because it's not possible to leave those dungeons after entering them and they must be beaten within a time limit. Therefore, the save points were removed in order to prevent players from locking themselves into a game over situation by accident.
- Many dungeons now contain item shops.
- While buying equipment, the game will now tell the player who are the characters that can equip each weapon or piece of armor.
- In-battle animations are much faster, leading to much faster skirmishes. There is also the option to completely skip battle animations, making battles even faster.
- Battle animations will be turned on automatically at the start of boss battles, but it's still possible to turn them off.
- Many sound effects, both in and outside of battle, were removed. The in-battle sound effects were removed as they were created with the old battle speed in mind, but it's unknown why the others were removed.
- Buffs and debuffs can now only stack up to 2 uses. In the original, buffs and debuffs could stack up to 7 and 4 times, respectively.
- Despite this change, the bug that makes bosses immune to debuffs was not fixed.
- The range of all attacks and skills are now openly displayed in-battle.
- Affinity levels between party members and Personas are now openly displayed.
- When attacking an enemy, the game will now display whether an attack did regular damage, was resisted, or did super-effective damage.
- All bosses in the game are immune to Expel and Death skills, however thanks to a bug they'll be displayed as "Miss" instead.
- If the party is ambushed, the party formation will be automatically reversed at the end of the battle. In the original game, the player had to reverse it manually after every ambush.
- This won't happen if the player makes any change to the party's formation during an ambush.
- When a character reaches level 99, both their HP and SP will now jump to 999.
- If a level 99 character temporarily leaves the party due to plot-related reasons, once they rejoin their HP and SP won't be 999 anymore. Instead, those numbers will revert to the natural values they would be at without the jump. This scenario, however, is impossible to happen without the usage of cheat codes or excessive, unnecessary level grinding on the player's part.
- A few skills had their effects modified:
- Tetrakarn and Makarakarn now only reflect 25% of the damage enemy attacks would have done, instead of 100%.
- The Steel Wall skill used to reflect 100% of all damage (physical and magic) for 3 turns. Now it only reflects 25% of physical damage for 2 turns, making it a Tetrakarn that lasts for an additional turn.
- The Crystal Wall skill used to reflect 50% of all damage (physical and magic) for 3 turns. Now it only reflects 25% of magic damage for 2 turns, making it a Makarakarn that lasts for an additional turn.
- Some demons had their stats adjusted:
- All demons with a level above 30 received a +10 bonus to their Dexterity. The exceptions to this are: Kuchisake-Onna, Grimies, and the demons of the Karma race.
- Ouroboros, Fafnir, Fenrir, and Hecatoncheir also gained +10 and +20 bonuses to their Vitality and Magic Defense, respectively.
- Ubelluris also gained a +20 bonus to his Vitality.
- Gdon also gained a +10 bonus to both its Vitality and Magic Defense.
- The Karma race demons all received a -20 demerit to their Magic Defense.
- Agent received a -5 demerit to his Strength.
- Kuchisake-Onna received a +5 bonus to her Dexterity, but also -15 and -10 demerits to her Agility and Magic Defense, respectively.
- Moh Shuvuu received a -6 and -10 demerit to her Agility and Luck, respectively.
- Some Personas had their stats adjusted:
- Two new spells were introduced: Estoma (no random encounters against enemies of a lower level than the party until the next New Moon) and Traesto (teleports the party to the entrance of the current dungeon), which were retroactively added to the movesets of certain Personas. The spells also have item equivalents in the form of Clean Salt and Emergency Exit, which can be bought from stores at any point in the game. Furthermore, using Clean Salt or Emergency Exit in fusions will teach their respective spell counterpart to any Persona.
- The price and sell values of all skill tablets that can be purchased from regular stores have been greatly increased.
- NPCs now have much more varied descriptors compared to the original. This is due to the PSP port now having a textbox with a designated space for the name of the speaking character, meaning the descriptors don't have to share space with dialogue anymore.
- When entering the Velvet Room for the first time, Igor will now introduce himself and tell the party that only those who have signed a contract may enter the room. In the original, no such introduction scene exists and Igor merely greets the party his signature phrase, "Welcome to the Velvet Room."
- The city map was completely redone, taking inspiration from Persona 2. The map is now much smaller and easier to navigate, but its enemy encounter rate is proportional to that of the original map, giving the impression that it is much higher than other locations of the game.
- Walking around in the city map does not restore SP anymore.
- After watching the game's credits, new floors will be unlocked at either the Mikage Ruins or Devil's Peak, depending on which of the two routes the player chose. The enemy encounters on these new floors are all extremely high-level, and at the final floor there are rooms containing super-difficult, repeatable, extra boss battles.
- Once the upper floors of either dungeon are unlocked, it'll be saved with the game's system data. This means that the upper floors will be unlocked from the start on subsequent playthroughs, despite the game's lack of a proper New Game Plus feature.
- As the only condition to unlock the uppers floors is watching the game's credits, the bad endings will also suffice.
- The upper floors of each dungeon must be unlocked separately. Unlocking the upper floors of the Mikage Ruins will not unlock the upper floors of Devil's Peak and vice-versa.
- A Graphic of Overall Persona Series Physical Game Sales in Japan for February 2020 Persona Central (Reggie, February 26, 2020)