I started my journey through the Shin Megami Series starting with Persona 3, and I loved every moment of it. So I decided to play Persona 1 to see how this all started. And I will let you know here, I was not a fan of it, and I did not finish it. I may return to it in the future, but this is me talking about the past.
Like most Persona games, the heroes are high school students. The protagonist is a silent character following suit of most SMT games. Then there is Maki (center girl) who is the heroine(?), she is usually seen sick. Then there is Nanjo (boy on right) who is a rich kid and very confident, I mean the guy has number 1 written on his bib. Masao (left boy) is a trouble make that became black in the US version. Yukino (girl left) is cool head badass with gangster past, and lastly Eriko (gitl right) another badass with cool demeanor, she became blonde in the US version.
Philemon is … kind of hard to explain. He likes humanity and wants to help it, but still maintain more neutral ground. He is master of Velvet Room and helps out the protagonists through out their journey.
The protagonist meet up to play this new game/ urban legend called the Persona game, and it actually works. They summon (?) a ghost like figure and falls unconscious to see Philemon who grants them Persona powers.
When the protagonist visits his friend in hospital, he finds that it is disappeared, now there is demons roaming the neighborhood, and there is a reality altering machine somewhere, so pretty usual for a SMT game.
Gameplay is more similar to tradional Shin Megami Tensei games than it is to modern Persona games. By that I mean you have to negotiate with demons, there is no such thing as Social Links, and there is a moon that affects the game.
Did I mention this game has a first person grid based dungeon crawling? I am not sure about you, but I hate first person grid based dungeon crawling.
If you’ve only played more recent Persona 3 and 4, don’t worry, there are some familiar faces and features. For one, the velvet room and its host Igor has been a staple of Persona series since the first installation. Although in the first Persona games, he was working for Philemon. Like in the newer games, Velvet Room serves the protagonist to fuse and record demons… I mean personas. And like the newer Persona games, this one has the creatures divided by the tarot cards rather than species.
How does it hold up?
I know I might get hate for this, but I did not like this one all that much. As mentioned before, I hate the first person grid based dungeon crawling, it actually makes me kind of nauseous playing it…. even the newer SMT games like Strange Journey gives the same trouble. I may return to this one but this is my impression now.