Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable Earns Its ESRB M

By Spencer . April 25, 2010 . 5:11am

image Both Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Fes were rated “M” for mature audiences by the ESRB. So, it’s hardly surprising Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable, an enhanced port of the PlayStation 2 game, also got the same rating.


But, why was Persona 3 rated for 17-year-olds and up  in the first place? This ESRB description from Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable has some insight on the situation.


This is a role-playing game in which players control either a male or female student who teams up with other high-school students to unravel the mystery behind a tower called Tartarus. Players interact with classmates, teachers, and various town characters on their way to solving the mystery. Players can summon "Personas," which are creatures that can perform special offensive and defensive moves to aid during battles against monsters. Combat is turn-based with numeric values and light effects indicating damage. Some sequences depict characters summoning Personas by shooting themselves in the head with a gun-like device (an Evoker); however, glass shards materialize through the exit wound. Bloodstains are sometimes depicted on walls, the ground, and on the sides of Tartarus. Female creatures (female Personas) occasionally are depicted topless or with revealing costumes; male creatures have phallic-shaped heads and torsos. Story elements contain references to "Rampant Sexuality" and characters that make "sexual advances." The words "sh*t," "a*s," and "b*tch" appear in the dialogue.


Male creatures with phallic-shaped heads. Gee, what could the ESRB be talking about?

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  • Hraesvelgr

    I still can’t get over the fact that the ESRB censors words in their rating info. I just find it to be too hilarious. They even censor foreign swears, like with Assassin’s Creed 2.

    But yeah, no shock that it would get an M rating, really.

  • Slashlen

    The description is a bit tame for an M game. I’m kinda dissapointed.

  • Immerwachender

    In germany, all the SMT-Games are 12+. PEGI 16+. Also the characters shoot themselves in the head, nobody is talking about “Killerspiel” ^^”

    And so, in the us sex-scenes and vulgarly language is still a problem?

    • urbanscholar

      It wouldn’t be the good old USA if it wasn’t!

  • urbanscholar

    Still wince when I see Ken use his persona, just saying

  • I have never thought of the shards that come from an Evoker as a wound.

  • sh*t persona pwnz

  • Extra_Life

    If the ESRB had simply put out a picture of Mara, it would have sufficed. Although the scariest thing about the demon is that it requires a chariot. Imagine that attacking you from a back alley at night! Terrifying.

  • I figured it earned the M rating by Mara alone.

  • eliel

    lol penis monster Mara

    • Ereek

      Edit: Oops! replied to the wrong person!
      haha, sorry about that.

  • Vanilla

    It would be more accurate for them to just say, “Male creatures are depicted as phalluses.”

    • Ereek

      The Hindu goddess Mara, who the SMT design is based off of, is female, though. Mara even refers to herself as female in Strange Journey.

      • Vanilla

        Whoa, I didn’t know Mara was actually canonically female in SMT. I thought it was like what SE did with Shiva. The Hindus can’t possibly be very happy with JRPG developers, to say the least.

        • Ereek

          Well, I’m not sure it’s canon in all games and sidestories (Persona, Devil Summoner), but there’s definitely mention of it in Strange Journey.

          Minor Strange Journey spoiler warning:

          To get a quest from Mara you must be chaotically aligned after finishing “Grus.” You speak to a Demon who tells you a beautiful goddess will be coming to your aid soon. You go find this goddess and instead find Mara. Mara mentions that she is the beautiful goddess, but just in a different form.

          Spoilers done~

          • Vanilla

            Hahaha talk about irony. Well now I have something entertaining to look forward to when I have the time to play Strange Journey, because that sounds pretty lulzy. I never really looked at it much since I’m more of a Persona fan as opposed to an SMT rookie, so it didn’t look weaboo enough from the screenshots.

  • tsukasa1288

    Always fun watching the different ratings the same games get around the world. Persona 3 Portable was rated for 12 and up here in Japan while Assassins Creed 2 was ranked on par with pornography (18+)

  • adempton

    Doesn’t it seem like whoever writes these things for the ESRB has too much fun? I picture some guy giggling the whole time as he writes them. They always seem worded in such a strange way it makes me feel like they’re getting a kick out of it.

  • sh*t, a*s, b*tch…

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