The Persona franchise might have originally been a spin-off of Shin Megami Tensei, but over time, it has grown into much more. Since there are so many games to choose from, the best Persona game is hard to pick because of the consistent quality that the franchise has.
Unlike most games with numbered entries, the Persona games are not directly related to each other in terms of story. So, even though a few callbacks can be seen, players can jump into any game in the series without missing out on any context.
The only thing that you really need to know before playing a Persona game is how good it is. And as funny as it may be to say this – Persona, being a spin-off itself, gave birth to many spin-off games too. Such as Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Persona Q, and more.
Thus, we’re only going to be taking look at the mainline best Persona games. Because if you like the main game, then you’ll like its related content too. Let’s start!
The Best Persona Games, Ranked
6. Revelations: Persona (Persona 1)
On the bottom of this list is the very first Persona game. It’s a decent game, but it’s not the ‘Persona’ that we know and love today. It feels more like a Shin Megami Tensei game and lacks important aspects such as social links and the distinctive artistic vibe that Persona games later adopted.
So, fans of Shin Megami Tensei would enjoy this game more than someone who’s looking to experience the Persona games. The battle system is repetitive even in the remake and the story takes itself too seriously, which does not fit the image of what Persona is today.
5. Persona 5 Strikers
Persona 5 Strikers is a sequel to Persona 5 and has hack ‘n slash gameplay instead of the usual turn-based combat that Persona games have. There is nothing bad about this game, but it’s not something that many fans of Persona truly liked due to its different gameplay. And it’s not just the combat either, a lot of the social aspects are missing.
And lastly, its story did not add anything substantial to the world of Persona 5 either. So, it’s a fun game to kill some time in – but not a very good Persona game.
4. Persona 2: Innocent Sin & Eternal Punishment
Persona 2 is an incredibly dark duology that improved on certain aspects of the first game. But it still lacks many features that gave the Persona games their own identity later on. The gameplay is a bit repetitive on the dungeon side of things, and the Social Links were still nowhere to be found.
The original games were pretty decent, but the remake added voice acting, a better soundtrack, and a bunch of gameplay improvements too. It’s not a very approachable duology of games, but it’s a better game than the first one by a decent margin.
3. Persona 3
Persona 3 is the game that gave the series its own identity for the first time. The first two games, despite being enjoyable, felt more like Shin Megami Tensei. But Persona 3 changed that as it features a distinctive story, a stylized art style, and many gameplay elements that have been polished over time in the sequels.
The game added Social Links, several social interaction options, and the divide between school simulation and dungeon crawling was handled pretty well too.
The updated FES version is the way to go in terms of story since it has an additional epilogue and better cutscenes. However, the PlayStation Portable port has better gameplay and gender options.
2. Persona 4 Golden
Persona 4 is easily one of the best Persona games in the franchise and some would even place it on the number one spot. Although its plot is based on a series of murders, it’s considerably a lighthearted experience in comparison to the previous Persona games that tackled much more complicated topics.
The Social Links are incredibly fleshed out and very fun to strengthen. The Social Links have direct effect on gameplay, which adds more of an incentive to participate in them. And the dungeon crawling is very fun to play and finally lost the repetitive aspect completely.
Everything is fun, whether it’s the story, the gameplay, or the social/simulation side of things. And the visual presentation and atmosphere of the game are very appealing, even for people who aren’t fans of Shin Megami Tensei in general.
Persona 4 Golden is the ideal way to play the game, as it adds a bunch of quality-of-life improvements and two new social links to spend some time on.
1. Persona 5 Royal
Persona 5 is the latest entry in the series (excluding its smaller sequel Strikers). And coincidentally, it’s the best one too. It has insanely fun gameplay which is the best that the franchise has seen so far. Everything feels fluid, dynamic, and full of depth. The mechanics went through an overhaul that made the game more engaging and more approachable than ever.
The characters are fun to follow and the social/school simulation is better than ever. Its story feels bigger than Persona 4’s and many like the characters more in 5 too. One of the best things about this game is its stylized presentation, which makes everything feel ten times cooler than it already was.
Persona 5 is the game that provided the series maximum exposure. And it’s a great thing because it truly is the ultimate evolution of an already great franchise.
That’s it for our ranking of the best Persona game in the mainline series! Of course, you should keep in mind that entertainment is subjective. This is the ideal ranking according to us, but it does not mean that our opinion is better than yours.
For example, if you prefer Persona 4 over 5 – then that’s fine too! And lastly, our ranking is based on how approachable these games are and the identity they bring to the franchise.