Persona is back. After almost nine years of waiting, Atlus finally released the first main game in the Persona series since 2008's Persona 4. And boy, Persona 5 was definitely worth the wait. But where does it place in the Persona hierarchy? Let's find out. Here's an updated ranking of all Persona games, including spin-offs.
9. Persona 4 Arena
Persona 4 Arena is a fighting game set after the events in P4. However, it doesn't really add anything new, with the protagonists' Shadow Selves once again making an appearance, despite the fact that they had already dealt with them - except for Yu Narukami. Several P3 characters are also in the game, though their personalities are overblown for humor, possibly in an attempt to make them more at home with the hilarious cast of P4. The story is rather lengthy for a fighting game, and the vast amount of texts, even for RPG standards, that you have to go through is definitely not one of the game's highlights.
8. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
There's really not much to say about Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, the direct sequel to Persona 4 Arena. The gameplay is still enjoyable and the themes are familiar. And yes, the walls of texts are back to once again to lull you to sleep. Arena Ultimax has more characters than its predecessor, with the rest of the P3 crew (except Shinjiro Aragaki, for obvious reasons) now included. But again, their personalities aren't what you remember.
7. Persona 4: Dancing All Night
If you're a fan of the music in the Persona series, you're going to love this addicting rhythm game spin-off. Persona 4: Dancing All Night takes place shortly after the epilogue in P4 Golden. The story is a little bit darker than P4, featuring the idol tapped to replace Rise Kujikawa who was briefly mentioned in P4: Kanami Mashita. The gameplay is fun and offers a lot of replay value, allowing you to hold back on finally saying goodbye to the P4 characters if you're still reluctant to part with them.
6. Revelations: Persona
Unlike all the other entries in the main series, Revelations: Persona, the one that started it all, is more focused on the gameplay and combat system and less on the story. The main characters don't really stand out much due to lack of development. Perhaps the most annoying aspect about Revelations: Persona is the extremely high enemy encounter rate, which makes dungeon crawling a pain in the ass. It also doesn't help that the game offers little chances for you to recuperate. The demon negotiations are fun, though.
5. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is the ultimate fan service Persona game. It features the main cast of P3 and P4. And unlike the two crossover Arena fighting games, the P3 characters are true to their original personalities. Seeing them interact with the P4 characters is fun to watch. The first-person dungeon crawling gameplay, similar to the Etrian Odyssey games, and the chibi character design gives the game a distinct look that's different from the other Persona games. The crossover story is more believable as well and features two new interesting characters in Zen and Rei.
4. Persona 3, Persona 3 Portable
Give credit to Atlus for shaking things up with Persona 3. Technically the fourth entry in the main series, P3 introduces Social Links, which serve as a new way to interact with characters outside the main narrative. The story is rather gloomy, especially toward the end. But that's what you get when the theme revolves around death. P3 has an excellent cast of characters, and possibly the best final boss fight music in the entire series. Persona 3 Portable removed AI-controlled allies out of the picture, making battles less of a headache. The least heralded aspect is no doubt the game dungeon, Tartarus. It's repetitive and lazily designed, making grinding a snore-fest.
3. Persona 2: Innocent Sin, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
The Persona 2 duology, set a few months apart, is definitely darker than all the other Persona games combined - yes, including P5. If you think the themes in P3 and P5 made you uncomfortable and horrified, you'll be in for a rude awakening in P2. Both games, Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment, don't even try to distract you with silliness and humor. And if you think the P3 ending wasn't happy, wait till you see how the P2 duology ends. Adding to the overall dark and uncomfortably mature themes are the less-than-friendly character designs. Seriously, though, if the P2 duology is your first attempt at diving into the series, you'll probably be left scarred. Gameplay-wise, it's pretty much the same as Revelations: Persona.
2. Persona 4, Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 is the much-needed lighthearted installment in the main series if only to take a break from all the dark and mature themes. Due to this, it's widely seen as the least Shin Megami Tensei in the main series. The main characters are based on generic character stereotypes, but they don't come off as bland or boring. Though it helps that all of them, even Naoto Shirogane, are downright hilarious. The Social Links also feel more fleshed out and interesting than the Social Links in P3. The Vita port, Persona 4 Golden, adds more to the vanilla's already expansive content, capped off by the must-watch new epilogue. And let's not forget the music, which is arguably the best in the series ("Never More" for the win!).
1. Persona 5
Not only is Persona 5 the best in the series, it's also one of the best games ever, period. The gameplay is where P5 shines the most. Randomly generated dungeons have been kicked out the door and replaced with uniquely designed Palaces that make storyline dungeons actually enjoyable. Battles are smoother than ever, and the return of demon negotiations is more than welcome after Shuffle Time made capturing Personas less interesting. And that art style, though. You could easily make the case that P5 has one of the best art styles in the history of video games, right up there with Okami. Though the music isn't as good as P4, P5 is far and away the best overall.