“Ultimax’s” Place Within the “Persona” Series

As a “Persona 3” fan, I felt let down by the plot of “Ultimax” (although the “Persona 4” fan in me was satisfied). Within the “Persona” series, “Persona 3 and 4” are night and day. “Persona 3” is about gaining strength by facing one’s own death. The Latin phrase “Memento Mori” is displayed during the opening sequence; it is then translated as “remember that you will die” (and a lot of people die in this game). Every time there is a fight in “Persona 3,” the main characters raise a gun-like object (called an evoker) to their head and pull the trigger.

“Persona 4,” on the other hand, is much more feel-good (and funny). In stark contrast to the “Persona 3” color pallet of dark blue and dark green (meant to symbolize rot and decay), “Persona 4” has vibrant pink and gold. Though it has several deaths, they are nothing close to what “Persona 3” does, neither in the number of deaths nor the importance of them. The theme of “Persona 4” is enjoying one’s youth and finding inner strength by accepting oneself. Also, the evokers are replaced with tarot cards. In “Ultimax,” these two games are fused together—this may not bother newcomers or “Persona 4” fans so much, but “Persona 3” fans will likely be disappointed.

Finally, the “Persona” series as a whole is heavily influenced by psychology (Jungian Psychology in particular). In core titles, the player will actually sit through lectures on the subject. The word ‘persona’ is Latin for mask, used by the famous psychologist Carl Jung to describe the different faces people wear at different times. Other concepts like chaos theory, projection, and the collective unconscious are explored in depth. However, the amount of psychology in “Ultimax” is negligible. I personally found this to make it feel less like a “Persona” game.