The saddest part about loving a JRPG like Persona 5 is seeing the credits roll and the experience come to an end. Saying goodbye to a cast of characters you spent well over 100 hours with can be heartbreaking. But it doesn’t have to stop there. If you wish for a game similar to Persona 5, I’ve got you covered. I came up with various other games, like Persona 5, that are worth your time.
This is because I’ve honestly been there. I replayed Persona 5 three times to get back that adrenaline rush of maxing out Confidant ranks, working part-time jobs, and saving the world from Yakuza leaders and politicians. At the end of the day, though, replaying Persona 5 can only do so much. As such, I have come up with the best games I’ve ever played that are similar to Persona 5. Let’s take a look.
Bottom Line Up Front
Persona 5 is in the running for the best JRPG of all time, so it is hard to find games similar to it. That said, the other games, like Persona 5, should play include ones that have some element of this revolutionary title.
It could be turn-based combat, lovable characters, a rich story, monster-collecting, or a modern-day setting. Here are the games that I think you should consider playing:
- SMT III: Nocturne
- SMT IV and SMT IV: Apocalypse
- SMT V
- Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2
- Soul Hackers 2
- Pokemon Scarlet & Violet
- 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim
- The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
- Trails From Zero/Azure
- Trails of Cold Steel
- The World Ends With You
- Tokyo Xanadu
- Yakuza: Like a Dragon
- Tokyo Mirage Sessions
- Fire Emblem Three Houses
- Blue Reflection
- Valkyria Chronicles 4
- Ni no Kuni
What Defines Persona 5
When it comes to determining the games that are similar to Persona 5, we first need to narrow down what makes Persona 5 what it is in the first place. These are the common factors that can be used to figure out what games are similar to it and are worth your time.
Here are the main elements of Persona 5 that I used to pick the list of recommendations that I think you should play next:
- JRPG: For the most part, a game has to be a JRPG to be like Persona 5. There is a style to Persona 5 that Western RPGs just don’t have, and a similar game should have that uniqueness, too.
- Characters: Amazing characters are at the heart of Persona 5 with the terrific Phantom Thieves.
- Story: Though the story isn’t the number one focus, it still is well done and well written with its numerous twists and heartfelt themes.
- Turn-based Combat: While a similar game doesn’t have to be turn-based like Persona 5, this strategic gameplay system defines a large portion of the experience.
- Modern Setting: Exploring modern Tokyo is a massive part of Persona 5, and many similar games also have real-world settings.
- Monster-Collecting: It’s in the title itself where it is all about collecting Personas and battling with them.
- Relationships: Persona 5 is so much more than just having a wonderful cast of characters as you get to know each of them and build bonds with them.
- High School Life: A massive part of Persona 5 is going to school and navigating the awkwardness of being a high school student.
Best Games like Persona 5
Without further ado, let’s dive right into the best games that are out there similar to Persona 5. I provided more than 20 total games for you to select, so hopefully, there is something for everyone in the mix. I will especially note what makes the game similar to Persona 5 and the special titles I particularly loved.
Shin Megami Tensei Series
The Shin Megami Tensei series is the parent franchise of the Persona games. While I didn’t include other Persona games on this list, the SMT titles are fair game. There are far too many Persona fans who have never checked out the series that started it all.
If you loved Persona games from Atlus, look no further than these titles with remarkably similar styles and gameplay.
In the mainline SMT series, one of the best examples of a Persona-like game is still the PS2 title that was recently remastered, SMT III: Nocturne. Like Joker in Persona 5, you play as a high schooler with a less-than-stellar reputation. Over the course of this modern-day post-apocalyptic adventure, you gather up demons and fight to determine the world’s fate in turn-based combat.
If you loved Persona 5’s gameplay, you’d be right at home here. The signature press turn system was made famous in this game, while the demons you capture include the Personas you know and love, like Pixie, Angel, and so on.
My two favorite games in the Shin Megami Tensei series are SMT IV and its sequel, Apocalypse. They feel the most like a Persona game, with its intriguing set of characters and the battle system that you use. I loved exploring the destroyed Tokyo in both games and choosing which end I would get.
While I like IV on its own, Apocalypse is my favorite game in the series, and it even rivals some of the other Persona titles that exist. It has the best story for an SMT game, which they aren’t generally known for, and the most substantial characters simultaneously. If you like falling in love with the cast of characters like in Persona 5, this is the one to play.
I have a mostly hate relationship with Shin Megami Tensei V, which is weaker than the other three games in the series I mentioned here. There are fans of it, though, so it had to be said. After all, the combat system and its sleek nature is the closest to Persona 5’s style in the main SMT lineup.
That said, one of the best shining moments in the game comes roughly in the first 10 or 12 hours when you go to a high school for a scripted dungeon sequence. It gave off the dark and magnificent twisty nature of the first section of Persona 5 or the third semester in Royal, so it’s worth playing up until that point, at least. After that, though, it falls off considerably.
Digital Devil Saga 1 and 2
Moving on to other Atlus titles, there is the criminally underrated Digital Devil Saga. These are some of the most recent games on this list that I played, having just checked them out on my Steam Deck through the use of emulation. Sadly, we don’t have a remaster collection at this time.
The Digital Devil Saga mostly has the same gameplay systems as SMT III, but it emphasizes the characters in the story much more than usual, giving it that Persona 5 feel. The first game is alright, but not my favorite; however, its sequel is the standout experience. It holds considerably well today and should be checked out for its lovable cast and surprisingly well-done English voice acting.
The most recent Atlus game to follow the Persona 5 formula, Soul Hackers 2, is essentially Persona-lite. In the near future, you play as an AI girl who is trying to save the world from imminent destruction by using the same demons you’ve seen in Persona 5.
Unlike the SMT series, though, it takes after the Persona games in focusing more on the characters in your band of misfits. Admittedly, the story and characters never reach the highs of Persona 5, but it certainly acts as a solid replacement as we wait for Persona 6.
Not to mention, the combat is almost entirely the same, minus some controversial changes. As a side note, I would even argue that the best part of Soul Hackers 2 is its music, which is, in my opinion, better than Persona 5’s killer soundtrack.
Considering that SMT came before Pokemon, there is the argument that the former possibly inspired the latter. Regardless of how it went down, the most recent Pokemon games, Scarlet & Violet, are primarily there for the Persona 5 fans in the crowd.
You play as a school student, uniform and all, and go to school in the middle of exploring the open world and catching new Pokemon. The turn-based combat and monster-collecting are immediately familiar to Persona fans.
However, where Scarlet & Violet truly connect to Persona 5 is in the relationships you can build with your friends and, oddly enough, teachers. If you liked the Sadayo Kawakami Confidant, this is for you.
Monark is an indie JRPG that mostly fell under the radar of many fans. This is unfortunate, given that a significant portion of the leadership on this game came from the SMT series, so there are some stark similarities. Monark feels like a Persona 5-inspired game, as you wake up in a school that is surrounded by a mysterious fog.
Students are going crazy, and it’s up to you and your classmates to figure out what’s wrong and free everyone. In the process, you use a turn-based battle system that is a bit different from Persona 5. You have a more strategic combat where you move around the battlefield and select your moves.
There is also doll summons that can join your party, but they aren’t nearly as interesting as the demons in Persona 5. For a budget release, though, its story and characters are fun enough to check out.
For a game that is combat-light, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is the one to check out for the fans of the story in Persona 5. Ignoring the awful but, thankfully, infrequent strategic mech gameplay, the story, and characters are better than even the ones in Persona 5.
You play as 13 high school students leaping through time periods and locations to save the day. The story is mind-bending, strange, and mysterious. The characters you play have complicated relationships with one another and dark pasts. If you like narrative, look no further, but keep in mind that the ending is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while.
The Legend of Heroes Series
The Legend of Heroes series feels the most like it is changing over time to match the heights of Persona 5. It started out quite differently and has gradually evolved into what it is today. Some of these games are literal masterpieces, and one of them is even above Persona 5 in terms of my favorite games of all time. Don’t sleep on this underrated franchise.
Trails in the Sky is where it all began with the modern The Legend of Heroes series. With its 2.5D aesthetic and grid-based combat, it is also one of the more challenging games to play these days. But if you can get through it, you’ll find one of the most cleverly written narratives in existence.
The characters are the stars here as you play Estelle Bright, a young Bracer (think classic hero that does odd jobs), and her brother, who set out across their country to solve its problems. The story grows over time into a complex puzzle of twists, turns, betrayals, evil organizations, ancient civilizations, and all sorts of crazy stuff. Even though it doesn’t play super well today, the story and characters are unmatched.
Trails From Zero and its sequel, Azure, were the second sub-series in The Legend of Heroes saga. Taking place in the city-state of Crossbell, it features an entirely new set of characters and locations alongside the occasional familiar face from the previous series.
These games are just now getting localized, with Azure still not out at the time of writing. However, Lloyd and his friends in the Special Support Section are extraordinary characters that you have to check out.
If you loved the Phantom Thieves, the SSS is this franchise’s equivalent of that. Though the visuals and gameplay are similar to Trails in the Sky, it’s a bit more intriguing and refined here.
For my Persona 5 fans reading this, Trails of Cold Steel is the series you need to play more than any other on this list. While I recommend the past two series, they are only loosely similar to Persona 5. Trails of Cold Steel, though, most definitely took inspiration and essentially copied lots of ideas from the recent Persona games.
This is right down to the fact that you now play a high school student, you go to class and build relationships with everyone. This is all in between the missions you go on to learn more about the world and eventually save it. The first two games in the series are the lesser two, especially the second one, as the cast of characters is almost too big but still intriguing.
If you can get past them, though, Trails of Cold Steel 3 is in my top five favorite games of all time. It is a masterpiece, even better than Persona 5 for me, with a tremendous cast and lots of the same school-based aspects from the first Cold Steel game. The locations are better, the people are more intriguing, and the story is one of the best in gaming. Better yet, it has an excellent English dub that rivals that of Persona 5’s voice acting.
Speaking of story, Danganronpa is a mostly combat-less game. This visual novel series features a group of high school students who are thrust into a death game where they must murder someone and get away with it to escape.
Along the way, you solve the mysteries of your dead classmates while trying to navigate the truth behind what’s really going on. It’s surprisingly goofy and colorful for its grim premise, reminding me of the funnier moments in Persona 5. If you want a series with unparalleled characters, check out the Danganronpa games. I recommend skipping the first one and playing 2 and 3, especially if you’re strapped for time.
The World Ends with You Series
The modern-day Tokyo setting for Persona 5 is one of the most refreshing parts of the JRPG, especially when so many genre giants are medieval or sci-fi settings. The World Ends With You series has a similar approach, taking place almost entirely in Shibuya, an area of Tokyo heavily featured in Persona 5.
The difference, though, is the action-based combat that The World Ends With You features. If you want a game that lets you explore even more impressively recreated parts of Shibuya while surviving in a deadly game alongside some memorable companions, The World Ends With You and its sequel are must-plays.
I’ll admit that Tokyo Xanadu is a game I am checking out for the first time right now because of this list. It is the only game on this list I hadn’t played before researching, and I had heard about it for years now. It’s from Nihon Falcom, who I adore for their work on the aforementioned The Legend of Heroes series.
It has similar graphics, UI, and the like but takes place in a modern Tokyo setting where you play as some high schoolers who go through dungeons and hack and slash monsters. Tokyo Xanadu is very much Persona-inspired, taking the classmate and school aesthetic and simply turning it into an action version. It’s not nearly as high quality as Nihon Falcom’s other games, but it feels like a solid alternative when you don’t have Persona to play.
Who would’ve thought Sega’s Yakuza series would ever pop up on a JRPG recommendation list? But, lo and behold, Yakuza 7, otherwise known as Like a Dragon, took inspiration from the Atlus side of the Sega Corporation and created a turn-based JRPG featuring a brand new protagonist.
While I recommend playing or watching the cutscenes of the other Yakuza games, you can jump into this one fresh. You get to explore the city of Yokohama and battle against a society that has driven the main character to be a homeless nobody.
It is a gut-wrenching but also hilarious storyline with some wonderful outcast characters reminiscent of the Phantom Thieves, likely in an intentional manner.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions is another game that took inspiration from Persona 5 and has no problem showing it. This game is a crossover between the Persona/SMT games and the Fire Emblem series (more on this side in a bit). It’s a bizarre combination that strangely works in a wonderful way.
It feels so familiar due to the turn-based combat system and UI that is very much Persona-inspired. But at the same time, it has the unique nature of a pop idol-themed storyline and Fire Emblem characters appearing throughout. It’s certainly more lighthearted than the Persona games so that it can be an excellent break from those titles’ dark and moody nature at times.
Speaking of Fire Emblem, this is another area that I usually would be shocked to recommend to fans. However, Fire Emblem Three Houses on Nintendo Switch went in a new direction. Taking some cues from possibly Persona 5 and Harry Potter, you play as a professor leading students at an academy.
In Persona 5 style, you build relationships with your students and can, ahem, even romance them. All the while, you are picking one of three houses to represent the ending that you’ll get in this dark and grim storyline about former classmates murdering each other on the battlefield.
This is undoubtedly my favorite Fire Emblem game, with so much freedom and choice about how you want to spend your time. There are minigames to do and more that give that beloved Persona 5 feel. Just bear in mind that this is a tactical RPG with a grid that you move on and all that, so its combat is vastly slower and different than what you might be used to.
Blue Reflection Series
Blue Reflection was a game I reviewed back in the day when it first came out on a whim. I liked the aesthetic of the anime Sailor Moon high school JRPG, and it turned out to be an excellent little game. A sequel came out more recently and to much more success with its improvements.
Both of these games are well worth your time, so long as you know that they are not nearly on the production level of something like Persona 5. They both have a modern setting, a high school you can explore fully, and friends you get to make.
Some of the stories with your friends are emotional and deal with heavy topics, much like Persona 5 does. There are also turn-based battles, but the gameplay is rather simplistic and honestly a little too easy. That said, if you like the anime aesthetic and getting texts from friends, this is a hidden gem worth checking out.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is by far the most different from Persona 5 out of any game on this list. Initially, it is hard to see the similarities between the two, other than Sega made this game and, you know, owns Atlus at the same time. However, this alternative history World War II strategic RPG has some surprising commonalities with Persona 5.
For one, there is the heartfelt storyline and characters that are throughout it. The group of soldiers that Valkyria Chronicles 4 follows are fantastic, and I still think about them even years after beating this game. Their story is a beautiful and tragic one that is up there with some of the best storylines in gaming.
Then there is the voice acting, which is where this really crosses over with Persona 5. The English dub is terrific, and a large part of that is due to some of the voice actors actually being the main characters in Persona 5. For instance, you have the wonderful voice of Ryuji, who voices the main character in this game in an almost unrecognizable style. Max Mittelman is my favorite English dub voice actor today, and this game is a huge reason behind that.
Ni no Kuni Series
Finishing off this list, we have the Ni no Kuni series. One of the hallmark parts of Persona 5 is the monster collection. But I’ll be the first to admit that this aspect is one that I feel few games capture that well. Ni no Kuni is one of the few exceptions to that not made by Atlus.
This Studio Ghibli-inspired series follows people who live in our natural world and then find themselves transported to another fantasy-themed world for one reason or another. For this list, I’m mainly going to focus on the first game in the series. The second one is okay, but I didn’t love the action gameplay, and the story was just alright.
For the first game, though, it nailed its gameplay by focusing on a turn-based aesthetic where you capture various monsters you find in the over world. This is only where the Persona 5 similarities begin, though. The other part is with the amazing cast of characters that you traverse the world with.
Like the Phantom Thieves, they each have their own issues and trauma that you have to work through and deal with some heavy topics. I won’t dare spoil some of the dark corners that this game inspects that even Persona 5 didn’t dare touch, but know that Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch may look like a kid’s game, but it tells a powerful story that treats kids’ issues in a serious manner as they should be. It is one of my favorite games of all time, especially in the monster-collecting JRPG genre.
Question: What should I play if I like Persona 5?
Answer: There are many games you should play if you like Persona 5, including all of the ones on this list. If I had to note a few that aren’t Atlus titles, I would say The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, Fire Emblem Three Houses, and the Danganronpa series.
Question: Is Persona 5 the best JRPG ever?
Answer: It is hard to say if Persona 5 is the best JRPG ever. It will differ for each person. It is certainly up there for me, in likely the top three JRPGs of all time, but I’m not sure I’d personally give it the number one spot. This is, of course, mainly if we are talking about Persona 5 Royal.
Question: Is Persona 5 Royal the best game ever?
Answer: No, I wouldn’t say that Persona 5 Royal is the best game ever. It is undoubtedly in the conversation, and I would easily put it in the top 10, if not the top five, but I don’t think it is the best game of all time. That is my personal opinion, though, but I imagine others might consider it the best.
Time to Check Out the Other Persona Games
There are many other games like Persona 5 that you could find out there, but these are the ones I recommend. They feel the closest to Persona 5 in one way or another and have enough quality to be worth checking out. There are other similar games out there, but I don’t think they are worth your time in the way that these games are.
If I had to pick one non-Atlus game on this list to recommend to you, it would be The Legends of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series. It feels the most like Persona 5 while still slightly different and surpassing that game in some rights. Trails of Cold Steel 3 is the only game on this entire list that I adore more than Persona 5.
But you might have noticed some glaring omissions from this list, namely the other Persona games. Of course, if you haven’t played the other games in the Persona series, you should check them out. Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5 Strikers are all games similar to the Phantom Thieves’ tale that are worth your time and money.
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