Developer Atlus brings us the long awaited western release of Persona 5. After a few delays to the western release the big JRPG series Persona finally comes to us with its fifth entry but thankfully newcomers to the series can jump right in here as this is a fresh tale being told here. So was the wait worth it? Let’s see.
First off Persona 5 is a big game at well over 100 hours of gameplay time and to the point where you can even get lost exploring subways and shopping areas. There is just so much to do here in Persona 5. The further I got into the game the more I experienced and the more things were unlocked. Persona 5 is also very heavily story focused. There is a lot of dialogue to read and cut scenes are plentiful and included is some scenes that are straight out anime. Everything is flushed out and divided well. Yes, there’s a chunk of story here but it doesn’t pull you away from the gameplay. I found myself very interested in the world of Persona 5 and what was going on so the major presence of a story didn’t bother me at all.
Combat is a lot like your traditional JRPGS. Imagine old school Final Fantasy for example. The battle system is very interesting as there are many different ways to attack and one major way is by using your Persona. A Persona is, I guess the best way to describe them is to say that they are a lot like Pokémon. They level up and have a select variety of moves with different types and every persona has their own weaknesses to other types. Also, you are able to merge two of your personas to create a stronger and totally different looking persona. You do this by visiting this weird court room in another denomic dimension run by this elderly looking judge. So your personas are your main way of each character on your team attacking aside from using a character’s weapon or gun to weaken the enemy. So a battle never feels dull or repetitive. Battles can be quick and take place in these dungeons of sorts in a somewhat alternate reality of your current world. Not to spoil the story but you end up in one of these realities in the beginning to help take down another evil character back in the real world. These other realities or dungeons are filled with treasure that you can find and unlock using lock picks you made at your desk back in the real world. The dungeons here that you explore are filled with many other wild personas that you can capture in a way by getting their health down and entering a discussion of sorts where you try to convince them to join you. You can also go at a downed persona with all 4 team members with a head-on attack dealing great damage. You may also be presented with the opportunity to get an item or some money from the enemy persona as well. There are other smaller dungeon like areas to help you train called mementos but these lack the unique luster that the larger more interesting dungeons have.
As I said this is a huge game and there is a lot to it. The game asks a lot of you at 100 hours and chock full a lot of dialogue and things to do in this world. You can get a job, go on dates, hang out with your friends to build up your bonds to help in battles, you go to school and do exams. Time management is a big thing here and early on can be frustrating as you wish you could explore more to do as doing an activity as simple as brewing a cup of coffee can take up an entire afternoon. A lot of these actions though help upgrade your stats. For example, when you’re on a train trip home and you manage to get a seat, you will then be able to read a book you picked up at the library earlier to help increase a certain life skill. Getting a part time job helps you to make money so that you’re able to upgrade and buy new equipment to help aid you in the shadow world. Again, each day is about time management so pick and choose what you do to help yourself progress with friends or your own personal stats.
Graphics & Sound
Persona 5 has an interesting and ‘out there’ art style that is downright awesome. From options menu to the combat interface everything is so beautifully presented here. It has a comic book look to it I would say. The cutscenes are fun and I loved when the game would cut to full on anime scenes. I would enjoy watching this as an anime series so playing it is just as awesome. But the art style is really on point here, although there are times where you will be traversing the world and it may seem cramped or some areas were given less attention than others. I’m not sure if that’s because the game released on the PS3 in the east and for us in the west a lot later it hit the PS4. Aside from so small older looking sequences in the game Persona 5’s art style in menu’s and even during combat is quite unique. My history with JRPG’s isn’t a long or experienced one, but Persona 5 has surprised me a lot just by its style.
The music in Persona 5 is highly energized during combat and at times can get a little repetitive at times although it serves the game well and didn’t annoy me. Just that there is only so many times you can hear the same victory and battle music before you start growing tired of it.
Persona 5 is a massive game and this review could go on and on talking about the many different ins and outs but what makes Persona a great game is discovering these on your own. I can now understand why developer Atlus decided to restrict streaming to certain sections of this game because discovery of what Persona 5 has to offer here is a big part of the enjoyment here. Persona 5 is a great title and a worthy part of anybody’s collection, even if you have never played a Persona game before, you will have no troubles picking this up and understanding the world.