A great game hidden behind a terrible outer shell.

User Rating: 8 | Megami Ibunroku Persona: Be Your True Mind PS
First and foremost, the translation/localisation of this game is one of the worst things I have ever seen. It's not even grammatical, and its attempt to be hip and 'American' fails miserably. Although it's a point that's been belaboured many times, the character 'Mark' is horribly racist in its representation, although that atrocity is only dimly evident amongst the host of other literary atrocities. The game's storyline is badly hampered as its literary and philosophical references are at best dimly evident in this paradigmatic instance of how not to translate a game.
I consider this a deep shame because Persona is one of the more original and interesting RPGs to be released on the PSX. It has a sophisticated premise, an excellent combat system, and a salutary darkness in tone and story, besides being set in modern-day Japan rather than fields and castles. The only other major blemish on this game that I can think of is the level design and graphics. It is atrocious, ugly then, ugly now. You'd have to be a rat or a prison escapee to feel at home in the bizarre geometry of those labyrinthine corridors. Apparently even the subway is a maze devised to trap the unwary. Roaming in first-person through hideous corridors brings back memories of the SNES Shin Megami Tensei games and not in a good way.
Also, the game is exceptionally easy, except for the end boss. Pandora ramps up the difficulty so insanely that you better go back and get the right combination of personae otherwise you'll have your head handed to you.
Despite its problems, I still found Persona fun and worthwhile to play, but I had to attempt to figure out what was going on behind the surface translation [that the game had anything to do with the writings of Carl Jung or H.P. Lovecraft was news to me, the only reference I could detect was Dante's Inferno]. If only there could be a fan translation or re-translation of this otherwise fine game.