The Persona series is known for a few key things: amazing music, a dark story, and a whole life simulator. Arguably, the boss battles have possibly an even greater impact, because they encompass all three of these elements into something truly special. Such an impact, that you miss the feeling of experiencing them for the first time.
Honestly, any boss fight from across the series could be listed, and it would be a reasonable choice. Whether it's because you have an emotional connection to what's happening in the story, or you just like to bob your head to great music while going through battle menus, each battle stands to be experienced again.
8 Shadow Okumura – Persona 5
The bosses of Persona 5 are straightforward in their mechanics, but are presented in creative and stunning ways. The only exception to this rule is Shadow Okumura. His space dungeon is far from a fan favorite, but the hallways where you traverse into space are something special. The boss isn’t different, either.
Okumura’s boss battle consists of what he does best: delegate all the heavy lifting (fighting, in this case) to his staff, while he watches from on high in his chair – for however long his money holds out, anyway. What’s worse, that includes his daughter too. You fight through several waves of increasingly stronger enemies until there are none left. All of this, and it still doesn’t prepare you for where the fight goes next.
7 Pandora – Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 1
This boss is the cumulative result of Maki Sonomura’s deep fear and eventual nihilism after losing just about everyone she cared about. Well, part of her is anyway. Maki has split into a few pieces of personalities, and Pandora is the result of two versions of her devouring each other. Pandora is grief incarnated, and all she wants to do is end everything, so no one would feel anything.
Her battle theme is good, and she has two transformations that keep the gameplay interesting, but what makes this entry stand out is that Maki/Pandora is essentially the prototype of the Jungian philosophies being permanently woven into the Persona Mythos. It’s a hallmark moment hidden within a damn good game.
6 Metis – Persona 3 FES: The Answer
When you finish Persona 3 FES, you are coming from a grindy, yet satisfying ordeal and saving the world. You and your friends are at peak strength after defeating death itself, so anything that would dare to come after you would be sorry.
In Persona 3's epilogue, where you experience a sort-of shift in time and space and are locked in your dorm. No big deal, until you see another android appear from a door in your floor and stare at the game over the screen in disbelief if you aren't strong enough. Metis had a hell of an entrance.
5 Adachi – Persona 4 Golden
After all the trouble and terror Detective Adachi causes in Persona 4 Golden, naturally, you'll want to find out what his motives are, right? Most would think the reason would be some god complex or something equally grandiose, but as in most cases, the reality is much worse.
So, why did he do it? Because he was bored. That's it. Your friends' lives being on the line? Pure entertainment. No matter how realistic this answer is, it makes it no less infuriating, and in turn makes defeating him much more satisfying, no matter how many times you do it.
4 Philemon – Persona 2: Eternal Punishment
Philemon is your biggest supporter in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, and as a favor to both him and you, he wants you to fight him at full strength inside the depths of his own personal dungeon. That isn't storyline hyperbole either, you should be at the top of your game in this fight. He is unconsciousness personified and power incarnate.
What does this mean? Of all the Persona users throughout the entire series, Philemon is the only one whose form doesn't draw from religious figures or legends, it's of himself. The fight is the ultimate test of both your skills and strength. Just one word of advice: Don't use Megalodon on him. Ever.
3 Priestess – Persona 3
Due to a lack of localization of the first two games, Persona 3 was a first experience for many fans of the genre, especially those who haven't played other MegaTen games. As you play through the first month, you see some of the shadow variations as you make your way up Tartarus. It doesn't prepare you for how the first major boss will look, though.
The Priestess faces the parry in full display and lacking any sense of modesty you would think the priestess arcana would have, as an invitation to bring your strongest attacks. The contrast between the relatively tame but still creepy shadows and her,combined with that music, gives you an unforgettable intro to the true terror of the dark hour.
2 Twin Wardens – Persona 5
From the moment Joker first awakens to his Persona, these little wardens have been a pain in his side. Talking down on him, demanding him to take them all around Tokyo to figure out the world, and just overall making your rehabilitation that much more annoying. It makes the perfect opportunity for revenge.
As with every secret boss, these two hold nothing back in terms of power that belies their tiny frames. They will only proceed to fight you with your consent, and with 'Rives in the Desert playing in the background, you know the fight is going to be nasty. Once it's over, that's it. You can't challenge them again for the rest of the play-through. Technically, if you challenge them in a new game plus you're fighting them for the first time again. It's a win-win maybe?
1 Nyx Avatar – Persona 3
In the other Persona games, you face different gods that represent different facets of humanity's darker desires. Take the God of Control in Persona 5 and Ameno-sagiri in Persona 4, who represents the will to live without worry, and will turn them into shadows.
But in Persona 3, you face off against Death itself. He who will bring the Fall and end everything. Nyx towers over you and grows stronger each time you defeat an arcana. It's a tense, high-risk fight backed by the best rendition of Aria of the Soul, which hypes you up the whole fight. A fitting end to a fitting game that deserves to be experienced again for the first time.
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