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Shin Megami Tensei Persona Original Soundtrack (US) :: Review by Resk

Shin Megami Tensei Persona Original Soundtrack (US) Album Title: Shin Megami Tensei Persona Original Soundtrack (US)
Record Label: Atlus
Catalog No.: Promotional
Release Date: September 22, 2009
Purchase: Buy at eBay


The PSP remake of Persona recently made it to Western shores until the title Shin Megami Tensei: Persona. Its score blended influences from the ambient cyberpunk soundtrack for the original game with the pop-influenced approach of the latest games in the Persona subseries. Just as with the Japanese release of the game, Atlus packaged a complete two disc soundtrack for the game with the American release. Aside a few translation and presentation differs, the musical content is conserved between the two versions. Shoji Meguro leads the way, assisted by Kenichi Tsuchiya and Ryota Koduka. Let's see what they achieved...


The PlayStation and PSP versions of the Persona soundtrack are night and day when compared together. This can't be more obvious with the inclusion of a brand new vocal track to open the new Persona album, "Dream of Butterfly". It's upbeat, it's pop-tastic, and it sounds like exactly what we've come to expect from a Persona game. Almost. If anything, one common theme throughout this album is that there's a careful mix of all Shoji Meguro's previous work in the series. Some pieces are reminiscent of Persona 3, while others have some of Nocturne. Others still have Digital Devil Saga, with some Devil Summoner and some Raidou Kuzunoha thrown in for good measure. But even with all these influences, it still stays true to some of the roots from the original version of the album.

"A Lone Prayer" and "Bloody Destiny" are great examples of the mix of some of these styles. The tracks are vocal pieces, but bring together the harmonic elements from Persona 4 with the driving electric rhythms of Digital Devil Saga. "Mikage's Police Station" does much of the same thing, with a heavy electronic beat and driving bass line. "Let Butterflies Spread Until the Dawn" reminds me a lot of Persona 3, particularly the final battle theme in terms of the drum and guitar work, while "Lost Forest" reminds me of many of the beautiful piano themes scattered throughout the series.

As I mentioned before, while there is a lot of new content on this album, some of the themes have been revised from their original incarnations. "Sebec" and "Pandora, the Last Battle" are two examples. One thing both of these tracks have in common is that have much more presence this time around. For example, when I heard the original "Pandora...", it didn't really strike me as anything interesting. This new version, however, is bold and in-your-face. However, the really cool thing about the track in both versions is that it is reminiscent of Persona 4's final battle theme — it's a great example of this early work influencing the new.


Overall, I was very pleased to find this soundtrack packaged with the American release of the game. It's fantastic that Atlus decided to give overseas customers the full soundtrack this time and for free. In terms of the composition style, I vastly prefer the PSP score to the PlayStation soundtrack, although that might also be because it's closer to what I've come to expect from a Persona game. In terms of the score of games in the Megami Tensei series, they have a certain flair and individuality that really makes the series stand out. The arranged version of the soundtrack keeps to that individuality, while the original does not. Although series' purists might enjoy the original album better, I would definitely recommend the newer, up-to-date version of the album as the one to own.

Overall Score: 8/10