games / Columns

411 Games Top 5: Top 5 Shin Megami Tensei Games

September 19, 2016 | Posted by Sean Garmer

Hello everyone, I hope it has been a good week for all the readers out there. This is the 411 Games Zone Top 5, where 411 writers get to make lists on a different topic each week. This week, with Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse coming out this week, we are doing the Top 5 Shin Megami Tensei Games.

John Cash (Regular Contributor to the Games Top 5)

5. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax: I love fighting games (especially crossover fighting games) even though I suck at them most of the time (all but Tekken basically), so this had to be on my list. Believe it or not, this was my introduction to the Persona games; a friend had asked if I would play with him so I picked it up, and then he eventually figured out after I didn’t get the one-millionth reference he made that I hadn’t played any of the main games before, so he lent them to me.

4. Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth I am a huge sucker for crossovers, so I enjoyed this one a lot. I think subjectively I had the most fun playing this one, but as far as lasting impact story-wise and how likely I am to remember it down the line, I have it at #4. The whole thing with Chronos just felt like… the kind of story you’d get in a “bonus episode” on a home video release.

3. Persona 2: Eternal Punishment: I enjoyed this game a lot, the only drawback is that I eventually had to look up what happened in it’s predecessor, Innocent Sin, so understand the full context of the story. The music was especially catchy, to me anyway.

2. Persona 4 Golden: I think I enjoyed this game a lot because it felt so fresh when I played it. Having it based around the TV world made it feel like it was a different game, even though on a base level it was basically the same. I especially enjoyed Naoto and her arc, though I wished we could play with the Japanese cast voices because Romi Park is all-time bae.

1. Persona 3 FES: I think most people in America probably jumped on the bandwagon with this one, and it’s easy to see why. The cast is perfect, and against what I just said in my #2, even the English cast is above tolerable for once! Wow! The stand out is of course Aigis, who is too cute for words, and playing through the answer was trippy but was a great addendum for a great character.

Marc Morrison (Games Zone Reviewer, Co-Host of the Video Games 2 the MAX Podcast, Writer of the Games Zone 8-Ball)

5. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army: I came to Raidou after my time with Nocturne and ultimately came away a tad unimpressed. While I liked the location, setup, and characters, the basic combat system felt woefully inferior to what Nocturne did, and the story ultimately went in a really zany direction. I thought the way the story looped around in time was actually pretty cool, but the Megazord-esque climax near the end seemed really off to me. I doubt this is anyone’s favorite SMT game, but it’s still worth looking at regardless.

4. Persona 4 Arena: Ultimax: Ultimax largely fixes my issue with the original Arena by actually giving you a story mode that is slightly more comprehensible. It’s completely crazy, but wasn’t nearly as bad as the original’s Arena. The game still had a great fighting system though that was easy to pick up but could be hard to master, and a plethora of characters to play as. It might not have been as visually impressive as Guilty Gear Xrd was, but the 2D animation still looked great for the game as well.

3. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3: Persona 4 really catapulted the series into popularity, but Persona 3 was the one I first latched onto and got hooked on. While the combat system was strange, since you could really only directly control your main character, the visuals were great, the voice acting was superb (Tara Platt rules), and the characters were well thought out. Persona 3 FES and Persona 3 Portable only added to this by letting you directly control your party members, adding a nice epilogue to the story, or letting you play as a girl character which does change the story in little ways.

2. Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4: When most people think of Shin Megami Tensei now, they usually think of Persona 4. This was like the landmark game for the franchise, bringing it immense popularity in the gaming world and a lot of critical acclaim. Again, voice acting, music, and characters were the standout, but now the battle system was normal, compared to the original Persona 3. A lot of things spawned from this game like the spinoffs, anime TV series, even a rhythm game. This is the game that made me preorder Persona 5 without hesitation when it was announced.

1. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne: When I think of Shin Megami Tensei though, I first and foremost think of Nocturne. The battle system is a classic JRPG turn-based system, but allows you to gain more turns (or lose them) based on critical hits. The design of the world and monsters was very well done, and the world seems appropriately creepy for after the apocalypse. The story isn’t as flashy or involved as P3 or P4, but it is more thought provoking and philosophical which is something I dug. Plus, you could recruit Dante from Devil May Cry into it, which is among the top best crossovers in video game history.


List your Top Five for this week’s topic in the comment section using the following format:

5. CHOICE: Explanation
4. CHOICE: Explanation
3. CHOICE: Explanation
2. CHOICE: Explanation
1. CHOICE: Explanation

This is where I’d like to remind readers that the 411 Games Zone does have an official podcast called “Video Games 2 the MAX.” Every week, Marc Morrison and myself, Sean Garmer, talk about the big news, games they are playing or reviewing, the new releases, and even entertainment stuff as well. So, be sure to check it out on I-Tunes, Stitcher, Tune-In Radio, Sound Cloud, Youtube, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

This week, the guys talk about Tokyo Game Show 2016, the latest game delays, Bioshock Collection and more.