Are Persona Games Safe For Kids To Play?
Persona is an immensely popular JRPG series and its colorful anime-style visuals are appealing to young gamers – but is Persona safe for kids to play?
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The Persona series has been enjoying some of its best years lately, with the success of Persona 5 and then Persona 5 Royal providing the foundation for even more Western exposure. Persona 4 Golden’s release on Steam introduced what is arguably one of the best JRPGs of its generation to a slew of new fans, while Persona 5 Strikers furthered the Persona 5 universe’s narrative while also providing an alternate playstyle more appealing to action-RPG fans. Given that popularity, more children are coming across the game, leading parents to ask if Persona is safe for kids to play.
A consistent element within the Persona franchise is its reliance on anime-style visuals – colorful, captivating representations of both everyday life and combat that are often elements within the most popular manga. While One Piece and Naruto are pretty family-friendly save perhaps their most dramatic moments, Persona’s dizzying array of stylish takes on the mundane hides a much darker side to the franchise that fans are quite familiar with. Every Persona game is built around a similar core concept: what’s hiding in the deepest recesses of the human psyche, and what would that look like if it were to manifest in front of people?
For that reason, a lot of parents wondering if Persona is safe for kids to play might not realize the answer without doing a lot of digging. Persona games have a lot of the hallmarks of the best JRPGs with broad appeal, but in actuality, part of the reason their stories veer into such dark, melancholy spaces is because they transform the mundane into sites of introspection and evil. Whether it’s an individual game’s narrative or the way the series embraces mythology’s more visually off-putting elements, it’s hard to find a mainline Persona game that’s safe for kids to play. Suffice it to say, Persona games more than earn their mature rating.
Why Persona Games Are Rated Mature
Those familiar with the franchise know exactly why the question of whether or not Persona is safe for kids to play is easy to answer, but examples for those unfamiliar can make that clear quickly. In Persona 3, players must let their high school protagonists effectively fire a gun into the side of their head to summon their Persona to fight, while in Persona 5, the very first antagonist is a gym teacher abusing students. Persona games have plenty of light-hearted moments and their social simulation elements make for memorable characters that often end up in better places by the game’s close, but the disturbing content is equally striking and difficult to forget.
Beyond story content that’s inappropriate for children, some of the game’s enemy designs are explicitly suggestive. There’s no better example of this than Persona’s Mara monster, which is as obvious an allusion to genitalia as any enemy design in gaming. More common representations of demons like succubi also exist in Persona, which has no shortage of sexual content as a result – not to mention that some of its games feature the ability to have the high school protagonist romance their teacher or other adults.
Ultimately, in this case, the Mature rating for Persona games – which has been slapped onto Persona 3, Persona 4, Persona 5, and Persona 5 Strikers among more modern mainline releases – is well-deserved. As a result, those asking if Persona is safe for kids to play would do well to research the game’s content, as appearances can be deceiving. While Persona games are excellent, they’re absolutely not kid-friendly in any way – though if nothing else, the Persona Dancing games all have Teen ratings, so those might be an option for parents after carefully considering their stories and imagery.