Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin



Sci-fi role-playing game features anime and some violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There is a lot of nefarious and seedy activity in this game, including references to drugs and sexual activity. However, the message that comes as the takeaway from the story is one of strength and courage. Players are on a mission to put an end to the frightening and mysterious happenings in their school, and must battle demons and other enemies along the way. Bad behavior, though rampant throughout the game's winding and sometimes confusing story, is condemned and never encouraged.

Positive role models

There are several characters with bad intentions in this game, but they are always regarded as the bad guys and their behavior is seen as troublesome and unacceptable. The main characters, the ones that players will follow throughout the course of the game, are quite the opposite -- they set out to selflessly save their fellow students and friends and return a sense of normalcy to their city.

Ease of play

The turn-based battle system in this game requires players to develop a very cogent strategy and learn the intricacies of how to attack different opponents and adjust to changing situations. In addition, players cannot simply rush through this game. They will instead need to spend time leveling up their characters to be better prepared for the protracted boss battles. Beyond the combat, players need to solve a myriad puzzles and navigate around labyrinth-like mazes, which requires patience, focus, and critical thinking.


Fighting is an integral part of this game. Players face off against demons, adversaries, and other creatures who are not quite human. All fighting sequences are presented in a turn-based style, meaning instead of running up to an opponent and pressing a button to kick or shoot them, players choose the appropriate attack from a series of menus, and the attacks are played out with no direct player interaction. Although this makes for a more detached combat system, the attacks include gunshots, sword attacks, and embellished magical attacks that add a sense of intensity to the action. In addition, some scenes outside the combat gameplay depict characters with blood dripping down their face.


There are a few lines of dialogue that contain sexual or suggestive material, most of which are presented in a jocular tone. For example, one male character asks, "Did you already score with one of them at school?" Another conversation includes the comments, "Computers! What're they used for?"/"For porn." There is a reference to a female character's "bouncing jugs" and the description of one of the demon creatures notes that it "drains men of their energy through sex."


There is some strong language in the dialogue of this game, including the words "s--t" and "d--k."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are a couple ambiguous references to drugs, including a line about "experimenting" with drugs and a character being a self-described "druggie" but this is not central to the storyline, and no specific drug names are ever used.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin is a role-playing game with turn-based combat. It was originally released in Japan in 1999. To accommodate a growing audience for the Shin Megami series in the US, the game was updated and localized here 12 years later. The entire series has always had a very niche following and contains a surrealistic presentation of humans and non-humans, including creatures known as "Personas" (doppelgangers). In this game, players battle other characters' Personas and work to unravel a mysterious series of events happening inside a city school. There is a lot of fighting and combat in this game, but because it all occurs in a turn-based system, the emphasis is more on strategy than violence. There are some references to sex, drugs, and the game has some cussing.

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What's it about?

SHIN MEGAMI TENSEI: PERSONA 2 INNOCENT SIN has a complicated story, but at its heart, it is a surreal mystery presented with many turns and twists. The central concept is that players are in school when, all of the sudden, various rumors and gossip inexplicably start coming true. For example, someone starts a rumor about the school emblem being cursed, and anyone wearing the emblem quickly falls ill. Players need to fight their way through an unusual and bizarre series of monsters and not-quite-human creatures to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Is it any good?


The only reason Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 2 Innocent Sin was released in the United States is because the game's original Japanese release in 1999 managed to receive such a cult following from gamers who can't even speak a word of Japanese that the publisher decided to translate and localize it. That speaks to the captivating, unique nature of the game. It is bizarre at times, and even those who have an unwavering focus on the story can become confused at the winding twists and turns. But there is a certain appeal to the way the game and story unfolds. In addition, the turn-based battle system is extremely well executed. Turn-based role-playing games are falling out of favor, and fans of this style will appreciate that this game still manages to capture the cerebral and strategic appeal associated with turn-based battles. While it is certainly not for everyone, those who enjoy surreal science fiction and Japanese anime will likely become instantly entranced with this game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the violence in this game. What makes the combat here different than other games?

  • What are the good qualities of the main characters in this game?

  • How would you react in a situation of adversity?

Game details

Available online?Not available online
Release date:September 20, 2011
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:T for Drug Reference, Language, Mild Blood, Sexual Themes, Simulated Gambling, Violence (PSP)

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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