Where should I start with the Persona series?



  • 3 and 4 are obviously the ones that shot Persona in to the mainstream (many mainline SMT fans resent it and don't count it) but 1 and especially 2 are really good games imo, they have that SMT dread and weird atmosphere and 2 has a very interesting plot. 3 is pretty dark too though.



  • Like everyone else says, 3 and 4.

    Generally speaking I'd say it doesn't matter which of them you start with. However. Since Persona 4 is a sequel, it obviously improves on a number of aspects of P3, so going backwards 4 to 3 is likely to be less enjoyable than going forwards 3 to 4 and thus getting the improvements rather than having them taken away from you.

    But I know some people are turned off by the theme and atmosphere of P3, and although I can't identify with that personally, if you feel that way, it's better to play P4 and not P3, than to try to force yourself through P3 and risk dropping the series all together.

    So basically, if you have any interest in playing Persona 3 at all, I'd say play that one first, and then Persona 4. It'll be a smoother transition, and lead to less frustration.



  • Before I got into Persona, everybody said that the series really started with 3, so I got FES and 4 Golden at the same time.
    I tried playing 3 FES but it didn't gel with me, and I jumped into 4 Golden and loved it and couldn't put it down. It does a better job of explaining it's mechanics (social links, fusions, etc). After that, I went back to 3 FES and it clicked so much better. Currently playing P3P as the female protagonist.
    So yeah, 4 then 3.



  • @Paper-Lion Persona 4 isn't a sequel. It has zero story ties to Persona 3.

    It's like how the Final Fantasy games are separated where XIII and XV are different, but XIII-2 is a sequel of XIII.



  • @Whoaness it is not a direct sequel but it is still a sequel , it improves a lot of things from persona 3 and there is a huge and long persona 3 easter egg



  • @waleed But implying it as a sequel means they have to play Persona 3 to understand the story.



  • @Whoaness it is still in the same universe the older characters are still there but you will not see theme all , you do meet a character from persona 3 in 4 , it is like star wars you do not see the older characters as much but they are there in some way or another



  • @waleed But Star Wars movies are direct sequels of each other...



  • @Whoaness star wars does the same thing but in a trilogy format



  • @waleed Each movie is a sequel of its previous one...

    I understand what you're saying. The trilogies are self contained, but the trilogies are directly related to each other whereas Persona 3 isn't related to Persona 4, at all, in terms of story.



  • @Whoaness (minor spoilers)
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    you do visit tatsumi port island and meet chihiro



  • @waleed Cameos don't relate two separate games, otherwise Kingdom Hearts is a sequel to almost all the Final Fantasy games.



  • @Whoaness I am trying to say that it is sequel but that it is a non direct one



  • @waleed It's not even that either. There is no story relation. FFXV is not a sequel of FFXIII despite sharing a ton of aspects.

    People, don't play Persona 3 if you're going to play Persona 4. It's not a sequel!



  • Something can be a sequel while still being self-contained. It can tie into previous storylines and such, but it's not a requirement for it to be considered a sequel. Star Wars is a trilogy, it's one thing presented as 3 separate chunks. Yet, they are also sequels. And although Episode 7 is an entirely new thing with new characters and a new storyline, it's also a sequel to Episode 6.

    A sequel is merely a story that portrays events that take place in the same fictional universe. It can continue the storyline of a previous work, but it doesn't have to. Persona 4 is a sequel to Persona 3, just like Dark Souls 2 is a sequel to Dark Souls, or GTA V is a sequel to GTA IV.



  • @Paper-Lion Dark Souls games share lore, so yes. GTA games share story elements and characters, so yes.
    Persona 3 and 4 don't share lore, story, or even characters.

    Also, if someone hasn't watched Star Wars 4-6, they would not have any idea why Luke is important. It isn't an entirely new storyline.



  • I would always recommend to start from the very beginning, even if it is true that it is not necessary in order to understand later entries, and i'd say that about any series. I would have to say that both P2 Eternal Punishment and Innocent Sin are the high points of the series, so if you are going to skip ahead, at least try and dip into those two at some point.



  • @Whoaness Persona 3 and 4 share both lore and characters, and they're set in the same fictional universe in roughly the same time period.



  • @Paper-Lion said in Where should I start with the Persona series?:

    @Whoaness Persona 3 and 4 share both lore and characters, and they're set in the same fictional universe in roughly the same time period.

    They don't share anything except being in Japan!



  • Everyone's pretty much in agreement that you should start with P3 and P4. Since you said earlier you plan on getting a Vita, you are in luck as ALL the persona games (except a few spin-offs) are playable on there (including Persona 1 and the Persona 2 duology if you ever want to play those..... as archaic as they kinda are though, they are good games in their own right and are worth a try). Persona 4 Golden is definitely the preferred version of 4, so you're good there, but there is some debate as to whether Persona 3 Portable (the PSP version) or Persona 3 FES (a remake version of 3 with added elements and stuff for the PS2) is better.

    Basically, Persona 3 FES has you play the game like P4 where you move your character around in the overworld, has animated cutscenes, and you have this extra bonus thing called "The Answer" that is kinda like a eplogue to the game. Persona 3 Portable on the other hand has none of those things: you have a top down view of the locations with icons in a sort of point-and-click navigation, all cutscenes use in-game models (because there wasn't enough space on the PSP cart for anime cutscenes sadly), and the epilogue was completely removed from the game (it is important to note that "The Answer" is just a total grind fest that can add another 50 hours to the game..... (some epilogue huh?) and if you don't play the way it wants you to play you will experience countless deaths and do-overs and suffer greatly (personal experience) either grind several times before fighting a boss or just skip it and watch all cutscenes on YouTube)

    Persona 3 Portable on the other hand has a female protagonist option that has minor changes to the overall plot but changes almost all social links (interactions with party and supporting characters) to completely different people, allows you to fully control your party members, and adds features from 4 (because this port was released after P4 vanilla) such as jobs to earn cash and a fast forward button (and I think a skip button for cutscenes). Persona 3 FES has none of these things: only male protagonist, cannot control party members (can only tell them to "Support" or "Go for Knockdowns" or "Heal" and they just do their own thing for their turn) and the AI can be frustrating at times, and the only way to earn money in P3 was through battles (which wasn't too bad in my personal opinion).

    Since these games are so different, my suggestion is to play Persona 3 FES on a PS2 or PS3 (it's only $10 on the PSN and $5.00 when its on sale) if that's possible in order to play the game the way it was originally supposed to be played, and then play Persona 3 Portable as the female protagonist to get the full experience of all the different stuff this version has to offer :)

    Persona 4 Golden definitely should be the intro though. It's easier and it's more light-hearted. Persona 3 is definitely more challenging and darker, and Persona 5 is supposedly going to be in the middle in terms of both difficulty and tone, so that'll properly prep you for it (and the other games in the Megami Tensei franchise in case you ever want to get into those as well lol)