Japanese box art for Persona 2: Innocent Sin
|Series||Megami Tensei (Main)
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona (Sub-series)
|Release date(s)||Innocent Sin
Universal Media Disc
Persona 2 (ペルソナ2 Perusona Tsū?) is a duology of Japanese role-playing video games for the PlayStation, developed by Atlus. Innocent Sin (罪 Tsumi?) and Eternal Punishment (罰 Batsu?) are two chapters of the same storyline. The duology is a direct sequel to the first installment of the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series, Revelations: Persona, with several characters from that title playing various roles, both minor and major, in both games.
Set in the fictional metropolis of Sumaru City, Innocent Sin follows a high school student named Tatsuya Suou. Eternal Punishment, which takes place afterwards, switches focus onto Maya Amano, a young magazine editor. Both characters have near-death experiences which transport them to the realm of Philemon, an astral being who exists outside of the waking world. Philemon grants them the ability to summon a Persona, an alter-ego which manifests as a mythological figure.
Unlike other Atlus' older games, which are traditionally restricted to a first-person viewpoint, Persona 2 is seen from a third-person perspective. Several game elements, particularly the characters Philemon and Nyarlathotep, are drawn directly from the writings by Carl Jung and H. P. Lovecraft.
Although the PlayStation version of Innocent Sin never received an official localization in North America, a localized PSP version was officially released on September 20, 2011.
Persona 2's environments composed on 3-dimensional maps, with characters represented by animated bitmap sprites. The camera follows the party from an angled overhead perspective which can be rotated in 8 cardinal directions. The game's main party holds up to five people. Whenever the party is in a "safe" area (i.e. a room with no demon encounters), each party member can be conversed with. In dungeon mode, all party members besides the player character (Tatsuya or Maya) vanish, and only reappear during battle sequences. Player can trace their steps by using the Auto-Map, a basic floor plan of the current dungeon. As the main character moves around, the map will automatically mark new areas.
In addition to standard equipment, each character can equip one Persona apiece; In doing so, the character combines his/her attributes with the Persona, along with its innate strengths or weaknesses. Characters will also be able to cast any magic spells that are available in that Persona's attack list. Each party member starts out with a default Persona, though they can obtain new ones at the Velvet Room, a ghostly ballroom which is accessible from any point of the city (as well as in certain dungeons). To acquire a Persona, players must first gather Tarot cards by enticing demons during battles (see Contacting demons), then exchange those cards in the Velvet Room.
When a new Persona is obtained, it starts out at Rank 1. By summoning the Persona in battle (casting spells), it will increase in Rank and learn new magic. A Persona's Tarot class dictates which character will have a high "affinity" with it. A Persona equipped on someone with good affinity will consume less SP (Spirit Points, a substitution for Magic Points) than on a character with bad affinity.
The Rumor system, which ties into the plotline, is an important function in Persona 2. The player can collect/exchange rumors throughout the game by interacting with Rumormongers, non-playable characters who inhabit nearly every district of the city. Once the party hears a rumor, it will not take effect until they visit the Kuzunoha Detective Agency and speak to its boss, Todoroki Daisuke. For a fee, Todoroki will spread the rumor, which will result in it becoming real. Rumors usually involve stores becoming fronts for black market weapons or armor, but the effects can vary depending on random chance. Players often have a choice of two or more possible outcomes for a rumor.
Battles in Persona 2 are initiated by random encounters; this switches the action to a battle screen, where party members physically attack, use Persona Magic, defend, or run away. The grid-based battle system from Revelations: Persona is abandoned; instead, party members and enemy units act in the same phase of a turn, rather than being restricted by their placement on the field. The party earns yen from battles, which is required to buy goods in the city.
The "Battle" command initiates the fight once the player is ready. The battle sequence is based upon the commands entered in the strategy menu. If Battle Mode is set to Normal, battle rounds will occur one continuous sequence, which only ceases if the player cancels it. If set to Single, the Strategy menu reappears at the start of each round. Using the menu, the player can change the actions of the party, adjust the sequence in which each party member will act (at the expense of waiting until the slower characters have moved), and switch to another Persona. When a character loses all their Hit Points (HP), he or she is knocked out. If all characters fall in battle, the game ends and must be restored from a previous saved game.
A secondary function of the Strategy menu is to align characters to trigger a Fusion Spell. When two or more party members use a certain sequence of spells, they will automatically summon multiple Personas to generate a powerful attack.
Unlike the later games in the series, both Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment have Earth (called Magna) and Water (called Aqua) elemental damage. Physical damage in Persona 2 is also split into five different types (Sword, Strike, Ranged, Havoc, and Thrown). Persona 3 splits physical damage into only three different types, and Persona 4 does not differentiate between physical damage at all.
In Persona, most demons can be negotiated with, rather than fought. The purpose of the Contact option is to talk to a demon and elicit a response. When the Contact option is selected, a menu appears which prompts the player to choose up to three party members who will talk to the demon; the chosen character(s) then approach the enemy and make an attempt to converse. After their short speech, the demon will react by becoming joyful, interested, fearful or angry. Once a certain reaction is provoked three times, the demon will either offer friendship or be repelled by the party. Results vary depending on who participates; up to three party members can perform a Contact together, usually affecting the dialog.
A demon surrounded by a green light is "Happy"; if at least one party member has reached an experience level equal to or above that of the demon, it will propose to forge a Demon Contract. "Eager" is hinted at by a yellow light and an "!" mark over the demon's head; an interested demon will hand over Tarot cards. A demon surrounded by a blue light indicates "Fear"; if the demon is frightened repeatedly, it will flee in terror. Finally, a demon surrounded by a red light indicates "Anger"; a furious demon will gain a preemptive attack on the party, and it will be impossible to Contact it any further in the same fight.
If the party has a Demon Contract with a specific demon, they can ask it for an item, some yen, a rumor, or to spread a rumor (demon rumors make navigating the current dungeon easier). If the party is too weak in level, the demon will compensate by healing the party or handing over some yen. In addition to their respective Tarot cards, "Interested" demons will hand over Free Tarot cards if a Contract already exists. Free cards can be taken to the Velvet Room and changed to any arcana of Tarot card. Contracts will be broken if the player makes the same demon scared or angry in a later battle.
The story takes place in Sumaru City, a fictional metropolis (city designated by government ordinance) with a population over 1.28 million in modern-day Japan. Once the main story begins, the city becomes cursed; any rumor that reaches enough people will inexplicably come true. Sumaru City is navigated via an aerial view map. The party uses the map to visit each district as they become available. Each district has key locations to visit, as well as a shopping mall where the party can converse with locals and visit restaurants or shops, as well as the Velvet Room. There is always at least one Rumormonger stationed in each mall.
The city is the place to spend yen that the party has earned from winning battles. Most stores feature traditional role-playing game elements, such as a tanning salon which restores Hit Points, or a designer clothing store which sells armor. The "Satomi Tadashi" chain of pharmacies sells basic consumable items and is present throughout the game world.
Persona 2: Innocent Sin begins three years after the events of the first Persona. Yukino is a returning playable character from Revelations: Persona, and is therefore already familiar with demons and Personas. Maya, on the other hand, only has vague recollections of her Persona, believing it to be a guardian angel that appeared when she was a little girl.
The six playable characters are Tatsuya Suou, a student at Seven Sisters High School; Lisa Silverman, a popular Caucasian girl and fellow student of Tatsuya; Eikichi Mishina, wannabe musician and self-professed "Gang Leader" of Kasugayama High School; Maya Amano, optimistic editor for a teen magazine; Yukino Mayuzumi, Maya's co-worker and a survivor of Revelations: Persona; and Jun Kurosu, son of a teacher who met a grisly death inside the school.
The silent protagonist of the game is Tatsuya Suou. His path intertwines with those of two other students, Eikichi and Lisa, during an encounter with the Joker, a jester-like antagonist who is rumored to grant the wishes of people who dial their own cell phone number. Anyone who fails to tell Joker their wishes, either because they lack one or refuse to tell, has their "ideal energy" stolen, reducing them to ambition-less shells called Shadow Selves. Joker tells the three students that they did something horrible to him in the past, and is angered when they do not recognize him. Swearing revenge and wielding an odd Crystal Skull, he departs, leaving the trio confused and eager to investigate the Joker. Later on they make a point of saying that Tatsuya and the Joker look alike...
Although this game picks up a few months after its predecessor, it is set in a parallel world where the events of the Innocent Sin did not happen. All of the characters from Innocent Sin are present, but they do not know each other. The central character this time is Maya, who reverts to a silent protagonist much like Tatsuya in the previous game. There are a total of seven playable characters, although two of them can not be recruited at the same time. They are Nate Nanjou and Ellen Kirishima, two returning playable characters from Revelations: Persona.
Katsuya Suou, a by-the-book homicide investigator and older brother to Tatsuya returns as a now playable character; Ulala Serizawa (seen in Innocent Sin), Maya's lonely roommate who has a checkered history with men; and Baofu, a seedy criminal with veiled motives. The final character is Tatsuya, the sole person left who remembers what happened during the previous storyline. The plot of Eternal Punishment provides scattered flashbacks and references to both Revelations and Innocent Sin.
Maya, an editor for fictional teen magazine Coolest, is caught up in the investigation of a bizarre series of murders committed by a serial killer known as the "JOKER". Victims reportedly receive a note stating "You're next!" from the JOKER before they die. While covering an assignment at Seven Sisters High School, a grisly murder brings Maya, her roommate, and a Police Detective together to solve the mystery of the JOKER murders.
Persona 2: Eternal Punishment features a special mode called "EX Dungeon", which is independent of the main game. Approximately halfway into the game, the player is given the choice of allowing one of two characters, Nate (Kei Nanjo) or Ellen (Eriko Karashima), to join the party (both are returning characters from Revelations: Persona). The EX Dungeon is made available only after the player has beaten the game twice via a New Game +, completing both Nate (Nanjo) and Ellen *Eriko"'s routes. Utilizing the save file on the player's memory card, all Persona data, items, equipment, and character experience levels are transferred into EX Mode. A great deal of this dungeon is devoted to references from Innocent Sin.
A handful of Atlus game developers are inserted into both Innocent Sin and Eternal Punishment as minor characters. Scenario designer Satomi Tadashi's likeness was used for a character with the same name (nicknamed "Tad"), who also had a role in Revelations: Persona. Graphic Designer Soejima Shigenori appears as "Garcon Soejima", a waiter at a French restaurant. The "Store Owner" who runs the Seedy CD music store is Atlus' music composer and sound director, Tasaki Toshiko. Lastly, the "Demon Artist" of the Velvet Room is modeled on Megami Tensei series artist Kazuma Kaneko, who designed the demons and Personas that appear in the game.
Persona 2 PSP Ports
On October 26, 2010 it was revealed in a Famitsu magazine issue that Innocent Sin would receive an enhanced port for the PSP. Like its predecessor's PSP port, it includes an improved user interface, new character portraits, a new difficulty level choice and a new soundtrack among other various additions and improvements. Players are able to choose whether or not they wish to hear the new, arranged tracks by Shoji Meguro and company, who once again served as the game's director.
It was released in Japan on April 14, 2011 and in North America on September 20, 2011. The EU release of the game by Ghostlight was later, on November 4, 2011 with an EU Collector’s Edition available.
Unlike the Japanese version of the Climax Theater, which contained the options of both creating custom missions and importing DLC missions, the North American and European versions had these elements removed. Atlus USA said that it was a "tough decision" but stated that issues "technical and otherwise" prevented their inclusion in the localized version.
When initially asked about a potential PSP port of Eternal Punishment, Shoji Meguro said he thought about including a port of Eternal Punishment with Innocent Sin but putting both games on one UMD was impossible. Meguro stated that he would like to make the PSP port very much.
On February 29, 2012, Famitsu revealed that Eternal Punishment would also be getting a PSP port (released on May 17, 2012), with similar technical upgrades that Innocent Sin received. Also, a brand new storyline written by Tadashi Satomi was included, which reveals what happened to Tatsuya before he meets with the party mid-way through the game. Due to "unusual circumstances", this version was unable to be localized.
Persona 2 was commercially successful in Japan, selling nearly 500,000 copies there for the original PlayStation. When Eternal Punishment was released in North America, it was positively received by critics there, holding an average rating of 84% on GameRankings.
Although there were reportedly efforts to import the first chapter of Persona 2, Innocent Sin's graphic subject matter may have inhibited its ability to be localized for foreign markets. Examples of this include the appearance of Adolf Hitler, as well as the option of a homosexual relationship between the protagonist and another male character. On October 15, 2008 an English translation patch for Persona 2: Innocent Sin was released by a translation team led by Gemini. The team had been working on translating the game from a Japanese ISO. Apparently after being asked about the topic at a 2008 Anime Expo Atlus seemed aware of the fan translation when it was about 87% complete but allowed the team to continue.
Although there were no issues with the controversial subject matter for the original PlayStation release of Innocent Sin in Japan, the PSP remake is partially censored: Hitler's name is changed to Führer, Nazis are changed to "Imperial Soldiers", Hitler now wears sunglasses and a coat to cover his uniform, and all swastikas have been replaced by iron crosses. This was done due to the changing CERO rules since the game's initial release, which now state that people with a real background (such as Adolf Hitler) may not appear in fictional media. These changes were retained for the NA release.
- Persona 2: Innocent Sin OST
- Persona 2: Eternal Punishment OST
- Persona 2: Batsu Punitive Dance, rearrange album
- Persona 2 Crime and Punishment: Errors of Their Youth, self-parodic drama and vocal collections
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- Official Persona 2: Innocent Sin website (PSP) (Japanese)
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