The Persona series was a huge gamble for Atlus, at least in North America. We did not get any of the Shin Megami Tensei games (Persona in Japan) for the Nintendo or Super Nintendo or Game Boy, etc. The first game in this extremely long running series to hit North American shores was Revelations: Persona. Back in the day, I passed on Revelations: Persona in favor of Konami’s Vandal Hearts (I am a turn based strategy game nut). Over the last couple of decades though, I have worked to correct my rash decision that day and can safely say, Persona is a pretty damn cool series. Today, way back in the year 2000, North American gamers were treated to Persona 2: Eternal Punishment on the Sony Playstation.
Set in the fictional Sumaru City, a metropolis in Japan with nearly 1.3 million citizens, Persona 2 brings back the role playing style that fans loved in the first game. Sumaru City is under a curse, a weird curse at that. See, this curse takes rumors, the really popular and well spread ones, and makes them come true. This can be troublesome on many levels, not limited to spiritual situations or worse.
Similar to River City Ransom on the Nintendo Entertainment System, Persona 2 has “unique” options for role playing game locales and preparations. Tanning salons restore hit points while armor is sold at designer clothing stores. Potions and the like are sold at the Satomi Tadashi chain of pharmacies and so on. This could possibly be due to Atlus wanting to set the game in the real world as much as possible. For some, like myself it is a little “too” different versus the standard role playing game trope.
One of the biggest draws of the Persona/Shin Megami Tensei series is the ability to talk to, and coerce, demons and other enemies to do things. You can even persuade your opponent to join your party instead of fighting. That is pretty damn cool, and not used nearly enough in role playing games.