Ranking the Persona series on PlayStation

By Sean Lawson,

We have decided to rank all of the Persona games on PlayStation. Seeing as Persona 5 Royal for PS5, Persona 4 Golden, and Persona 3 Portable for PS4 are all barreling towards us — it felt appropriate.

The Persona series is beloved by all JRPG fans around the world, there are many stellar entries into this fantastic franchise, from Persona 4 Dancing All Night to Persona 5 Strikers. So, we at the TrueTrophies news team decided it would be a fun time to rank the entire Persona series ahead of Persona 5 Royal landing on PS5 consoles.

Every Persona game ranked on PlayStation consolesEvery Persona game ranked on PlayStation consoles

Every Persona game on PlayStation Ranked Best to Worst

While there will always be differing opinions on the ranking — especially the top three entries — we believe this will make a great discussion in the comments down below. The likes of Persona 5, Persona 4, and Persona 3 will not make an appearance on this list as we will be using their fully realised version in the forms of Royal, Golden, and FES. Now, let's dive on into this Persona ranking, we can't wait to read your opinions.

1. Persona 4 Golden — PS Vita, PS4

Persona 4 Golden was the number one pick from the TT news team, amplified by the fact this was each of our first forays into the Persona franchise — something that will come into play with everyone's rankings in the comment section, we're sure. You never forget your first experience with Persona and boy is P4G a fine place to start. P4G is a shining highlight and one of the biggest reasons to own a PS Vita — the game made it to the top spot of our best PS Vita games and best JRPG rankings. Fear not if you don't own this incredible handheld as P4G will land on PS4 on the 19th January, 2023.

The cast, the dungeons, the soundtrack, and the story just blow every other Persona game — and JRPG in our opinion — out of the water. While the gameplay may be slightly less intuitive than Persona 5, there is no denying that P4G is overflowing with charm and tenacity that allows it to earn its rightful spot at number one. The Persona 4 Golden trophies are also a fun time — a hard time, but a fun time nonetheless. Don't expect a quick and easy platinum with 'Golden Completed' as you'll be putting in many hours to snatch that little beauty.

2. Persona 3 FES — PS2

Persona 3 FES has a lot going for it, fantastic characters, a brilliant story, and an awesome OST — something Persona rarely messes up to be quite honest. While the handheld version of Persona 3 incorporates a plethora of mechanics that we certainly prefer over FES, it still isn't enough to topple this phenomenal game. FES allowed us to free roam in our downtime outside of Tartarus, something we can all actively agree is now a staple of the Persona franchise. Add in the integral story of 'The Answer' that only FES has access to and it's no surprise it ranks so highly and beats out its PSP counterpart.

Persona 3 also changed the game and made the Persona franchise the legendary series that we have today. If not for Persona 3, we most likely would not have Persona 4 or Persona 5 — at least not in the way they are right now. Persona 3, we thank you for fine-tuning and implementing a variety of new mechanics that set the gears into overdrive and made Persona what it is today.

3. Persona 5 Royal — PS4, PS5

Persona 5 Royal is the most recent addition to the Persona series and what a fantastic one at that. The reason for Persona 5 ranking lower than P3 or P4 is simply due to the fact it took us far longer to warm up to this roster of characters — though we adore them now. We also found some elements felt as though they were directly taken from Persona 4 — mainly how similar Teddy and Mona's arcs are to each other's.

Outside of this, Persona 5 Royal amplifies everything its predecessors do and gives us one hell of a visual overhaul that is so stylish and appealing to the eye. With an absolute beast of a soundtrack and an intriguing story that keeps you guessing up until the very end, Persona 5 Royal gets a lot of things right, while getting very few things wrong. The Persona 5 Royal trophies in comparison to the Persona 5 trophies — and most Persona games — are far simpler to earn, which is always a benefit for those who like to earn shiny platinum trophies.

4. Persona 5 Strikers — PS4

Persona 5 Strikers was created in collaboration with Omega Force the developers of the fantastic Dynasty Warriors series, Samurai Warriors series, and Warriors Orochi series. At this point we are starting to think there isn't a genre that Persona wouldn't meld with successfully — if Persona can handle the hack-and-slash genre, then surely there's nothing it can't meld to.

P5S gives us a huge story to get lost in once more, allowing us to get to know and catch up with all of our favourite phantom thieves since the ending of Persona 5. We also meet a couple of new characters along the way who end up joining the Phantom Thieves squad — both of them making great additions to the team. The game manages to capture Persona's essence perfectly while implementing the flare and fast-paced action of the Musou games effortlessly. All we can do now is hope we receive a sequel in the future, maybe one that involves other members from previous iterations of the Persona series — that would be pretty amazing.

5. Persona 4 Dancing All Night — PS Vita, PS4

Put on your dancing shoes, it's time to boogie until the morning with Persona 4 Dancing All Night. Persona and music games are a crossover no one was anticipating, and it might be a concept that most would think wouldn't really work — but damn, does it work. Whoever made this combo possible deserves a raise we say. As we have said and will continue to say, Persona's soundtracks have the tendency to produce masterpieces, so using and remixing it for a rhythm game works perfectly.

We Persona fans like that the franchise delves into deep stories, usually centring around people battling against their inner selves, to which this funky little rhythm game has — along with a variety of bops to dance the night away with. If you love the Persona soundtrack several soundtracks are now on Spotify if you want to add the Persona OST to your everyday life.

Persona 4 Dancing All Night trophies are also easy to snatch up — and they are easier than P5R in our opinion as well. If you are so inclined to, you can actually earn this trophy twice, once in the PS Vita release of the game and once with the digital version that is only available in the Persona Dancing: Endless Night Collection. However, those Persona 4 Dancing All Night trophies are for a PS4 version that has not been released outside of this special collectors edition.

6. Persona 3 Portable — PSP, PS4

Persona 3 Portable has made it to our sixth entry, and while lower down than Persona 3 FES for a multitude of reasons, the game is still fantastic and has a lot going for it. So, for anyone who has not played Persona 3, don't be dissuaded by the lower ranking of P3P. P3P introduces us to a new silent female protagonist who really deserves more love and recognition. Playing as the female protagonist allows us to have social links with not only the females but all of our male teammates as well — something the male protagonist is unable to do.

The downfall of P3P comes in the form of how the story is told, cutscenes are now shown through floating heads set against a pixilated background, anime cutscenes are no longer present, and we don't have access to the story extension of The Answer that P3FES has. These elements can take you out of the story, as you'll spend prolonged periods of time just staring at a floating head on your screen. With that in mind, P3P does allow us to take control of our teammates, something that can ease our frustration with Akihiko, Aigis, or any of our teammates using moves we don't want them to.

7. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax — PS3, PS4

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax sees our Persona 4 and 3 casts thrust into a fighting tournament once again — as this is a sequel to the original Persona 4 Arena game that we will get to in a little bit. This time around a new threat awaits our combatants as well as a whole host of favourite characters getting their fighting debut in the sequel — Junpei and Rise deliver some stylish combos, as do the other newbies to the tournament.

A fantastic game in itself, with a deep fighting system that is easy to learn and hard to master, there is something here that all casual fighting enthusiasts can enjoy, as well as veterans. The reason we haven't ranked this one higher is due to the fact this is certainly a Persona game that is harder to get into compared to other games in the franchise. The fighting angle — while great for those that enjoy these types of games — will certainly be a hindrance for those that don't enjoy games like that. It's also a big departure from what the Persona series is known for.

Despite this P4AU deserves its spot above the other games in this list simply because of how well crafted it is, we have a fun story, with a vast majority of our favourite casts coming together and kicking ass. The Persona 4 Arena Ultimax trophies will keep you on your toes, with a devilishly difficult platinum trophy called 'Thou Art I.' Good luck to anyone who wishes to earn this one, as it may be the hardest Persona platinum there is.

8. Persona 2 Eternal Punishment — PS1

Persona 2 is an odd one, with a story that can be quite hard to follow outside of Japan — although the story itself is fantastic if you can follow it. Persona 2 Eternal Punishment is actually the second half of the Persona 2 story, yet it was the first game released to us in the West, which probably added to the overall confusion and is one of the many reasons the game is ranked so low compared to other games in the franchise. Confusion is a killer.

The game takes place a few months after Innocent Sin and follows Maya Amano — a character from Innocent Sin — as she investigates the Joker Curse, a phenomenon that sees people's wishes and sinister rumours coming true and causing chaos. The game makes improvements to its predecessor, yet simultaneously raises the difficulty and challenges you with difficult foes. The story is fantastic and is worth checking out if you adore the Persona series. Everything else with the game is a bit of a letdown when you are all too familiar with the current day-and-age version of Persona. So, play at your own risk.

9. Persona 2 Innocent Sin — PSP

The first part of the Persona 2 story didn't get released in the West until 2011 on the PSP, 12 years after its initial release onto PS1 consoles back in 1999. There are many reasons why the game never came to the West back in 1999 — symbolic allusions to Nazis, Adolf Hitler, and the appearance of Nazi Swastikas were among the biggest reasons. Atlus also feared that fans in the West wouldn't understand references to Japanese culture, which all played into the game only being released in Japan.

Despite its controversies, the story works well and there are some interesting characters and concepts — heck, this is the only game in the series that allows a same-sex relationship between two male characters, something Atlus has yet to do again since. But, like its predecessor, Persona 2 suffers from an overall confusing structure to its story and the gameplay just doesn't match up to its sequels.

10. Persona — PS1, PSP

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the original Persona, AKA Revelations: Persona on the PS1, is how every element of what makes Persona a spellbinding series can be traced back to this first outing. It’s a given that the game would have those famous Jungian themes and feature school kids in demonic scenarios, but that it also features so many of Persona’s (and Shin Megami Tensei’s) iconic monsters, spells, combat strategies, monster conversations, and even Igor and the Velvet Room — it’s truly something to behold.

What’s even more interesting about Persona is what isn’t in the series after Persona 3 notably departed from Kouji Okada’s earlier take on the series. The moody art style, the deeper dive into the subconscious, and, most personally affecting, the big heartbreaking tree (at least in the PSP version). Each time you want to save, you need to visit an Agastya Tree, which softly welcomes the kids and offers to keep their memories alive in itself as its branches provide shelter and respite. Something about this tree’s kindness and the lilting piano music utterly wrecks the soul.

That said, Persona is a weird, often thankless game with a plot that’s as inscrutable as it is missing the forest for the very kind trees. Here we have school kids in a bizarre situation, and yet they don’t feel like kids — they feel like weird prosaic archetypes of soap opera-y adults, which seems to misunderstand the brief for the entire series. Still, for the curious, check out the PSP version for some killer lesser-known Shoji Meguro tracks, then move on to Persona 2 if you’re so inclined.

11. Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight & Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight — PS4, PS Vita

It pains us to rank these two fantastic titles so low, but in comparison to pretty much everything else on the list, there just isn't a lot of substance here. Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight and Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight are incredible rhythm games, with fantastic songs to get stuck in your head — but that's kind of where it ends. Unlike their predecessor P4D there is no real story here to follow, other than our two teams facing off in a dance competition — where they never see their competitors.

You will have some interactions with your teammates as you progress and play through the different songs available to you — which are all phenomenal — before reaching an ending about who has won the contest etc. The main focus is on the songs themselves and all the rhythm game fun you will be having. The Persona 3 Dancing in Moonlight trophies and Persona 5 Dancing in Starlight trophies are incredibly easy and won't take long to sweep up. You'll have an amazing time with both of these games, just don't expect much in terms of story and simply enjoy them for what they are.

12. Persona 4 Arena — PS3

Persona 4 Arena plops into last place, not because it's a bad game — no Persona game is really — but when you have Ultimax that refines the combat, adds more characters, and gives you the ability to see an overview of the P4A story, there is very little reason to really pick up this title. Obviously, if you are an expert at fighting games and have platinumed everything on our best fighting games list, maybe the Persona 4 Arena trophies will provide you with a decent challenge as you try to earn the platinum trophy 'I Am Thou.' Apart from that, there isn't too much reason to pick this title up.

That's the list, do you agree with the placements? Would your ranking look entirely different? Let us know all your thoughts and feelings in the comments down below!
Sean Lawson
Written by Sean Lawson
Sean is a Staff Writer who focuses on the geekiest Sony news. He specializes in PlayStation trophies, the best PS Plus games, RPGs, and fighting games. Sean is using this experience to cover Stellar Blade, Dragon Age Dreadwolf, Baldur's Gate 3, and Dragon's Dogma 2 for PS5, all while he still dives into favorite games like Mass Effect, Tomb Raider, and Persona.
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