Persona 5 – Review

Persona fans have waited 8 long years for this game to arrive. While I have only played Persona 4 Golden in the series, I am as excited as die-hard fans are for Persona 5. And of course I already consider myself a die-hard fan of the game and the series itself.

The good thing about the Persona series is that you don’t need to play the previous titles to get into the game. Each game in the series has its own story; so if that’s what’s stopping you to play the game, then I’m telling you right now that you can just jump right into this one. The game has a lot of flair and style and it’s such a great game that I can’t wait to tell everybody I know how good it is.

Platform Played: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, PS3
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Price: USD $59.99
This review is based on the review code provided by the publisher.

Persona 5 is one of the few games that sticks to its roots of JRPG. While I haven’t really played a lot of them, the game’s JRPG style is one that I got introduced to when I played Persona 4 Golden and they did it once again for this one. Its simplistic nature brings me back to how old-school JRPG should be and it’s such a refreshing reimagining of that formula. What I love about its system is how there are no wait times and I think the algorithm is based on the agility stat of your characters to figure out who can act first. Your characters and the enemies will then take turns until everyone have made their move. Once that’s done, then the cycle begins anew.

One thing that stands out with its battle system is the Hold Up system. A Hold Up is an instance in the game where you can either unleash an All-Out Attack on the enemy or negotiate with them to get new Personas, items or money. A Hold Up instance happens when all of the enemies have been stunned due to being hit with its weakness (i.e. hitting an enemy that is weak to wind magic with wind spells). Negotiating with the enemy is a unique feature of the series where you get to have a conversation with the enemy to convince them to join your cause or give up items or money. You will be given three choice statements to respond to the enemy and should they like your reply they will give you what you asked for. Otherwise, you will have to go about trying to defeat them again.

Speaking of Personas, Personas are the manifestation of a person’s desire. This is explained differently in each game but in this one it’s supposed to be the true nature of yourself that you need to accept to gain power. Each of your allies gets assigned a Persona but the main character can contain multiple Personas. There are a lot of Personas to collect and each have different abilities. Your allies’ Persona will have names based on famous thieves in history. The theme of the game is also based on thievery, infiltration and treasures.

They refer to dungeons in this game as Palaces. Palaces are supposedly a distortion of one’s greatest desire turning it into a place that will guard a person’s most prized possession. The protagonist’s mission is to steal the treasure within a Palace to create a change of heart to the person that owns the Palace. The risky part of doing this though is that if they accidentally or intentionally kill the owner of the Palace, it can create negative side effects to the real person like mental shutdowns or worse death.

Attacking the enemies can be done in three ways: the normal attack, the gun attack and casting spells and abilities by calling their Personas. You can also use items to support your team or hurt your enemies. I think the gun attack is unique to this game because I haven’t seen this in Persona 4 Golden. If you’d rather want to end a fight quickly without putting any thought on it, you can also provide commands to your characters so they can act on their own or press a button that will make your characters do an auto-normal attack on the enemies until they are all defeated. I would suggest giving your characters direct commands, carefully planning each attack so you can get the full experience of the game but if that’s not your style go ahead and use the AI commands. Maybe it’s the control-freak inside of me because I would rather be the one giving out each command to my characters.

Aside from Palaces, there is also a randomly generated dungeon called the Mementos. These dungeons can be explored while you are taking a break in between dungeons. You will also find mini bosses in this dungeon that will give you rare items. I have not fully explored this dungeon but it goes a deep down as you progress into the game. Mementos is broken into several areas which contain a specific number of floors that keeps on changing every time you visit it. Its random nature seems to be a callback to previous Persona games like in Persona 4 Golden whose dungeons are randomly generated. It is here and in the Palaces where you can collect new Personas that will help you throughout the game.

You can also discover and strengthen your Personas by going to a place called the Velvet Room. The Velvet Room is another common factor between Persona games and they take different forms in each game. In Persona 5, the Velvet Room is a prison and your character is treated like a prisoner complete with the prisoner clothes and all. It’s in this place where you can do several things with your Personas and this includes combining them to get more powerful Personas, strengthening them by consuming other Persona, training them to level up, turning them into powerful items, and lastly a feature that is like the Wonder Trade in Pokemon where you sacrifice one of your Personas to gain a random Persona that you currently don’t own.

Another feature that Persona games are popular for is the Confidant system. Confidants are basically characters in the game which includes your party members and other people you meet in the game. They each have 10 levels of bond that you can strengthen by spending time with them. Strengthening these bonds will unlock certain abilities and features in the game that will help you in your quest to find the truth. This is one of the things I enjoyed about the game. Spending time with each character and knowing about their history is such a joy to discover. You get to know more about the games lore and the stories of the people in it. It’s fun to figure out their nature as you try and answer their questions with 2 or 3 statements that could either strengthen or weaken your bonds with them. There are no penalties if you don’t answer correctly though but choosing the right answer will boost your bond with that character.

Another aspect of this game is your daily life as a high school student. There are so many activities that you can do in the world of Persona and there are many places that mirror that of Japan cities that you can visit. You can shop, dine, play games, watch movies or go to the gym among other things. You can also do activities that will boost your character’s attributes. There are five attributes that you can improve and this includes Charisma, Knowledge, Guts, Kindness and Proficiency. Improving these traits will help you when you interact with characters or accomplish certain tasks. This is another mainstay of the series and it’s enjoyable just going about improving your character’s skills.

I would like to touch lightly on the story without spoiling anything. The story is very well made and it’s very easy to follow. It’s like watching an anime unfold right before your very eyes. I enjoyed it so much that I would sacrifice my sleep just so I can progress into the game.

Graphics are very high quality and is something that will just make you appreciate the game more. It has that noir feel to it what with the thieves theme and the mystery regarding the true culprit. Each Palace is beautifully made and you can tell that the designers put a lot of thought into making them.

I especially love the soundtrack of this game. It makes perfect sense with how the game was made. It gets you hyped up and it really gets you into the game. One particular soundtrack I love is when they are attempting to get the treasure. It’s so appropriate. I even listen to the soundtrack at work because it really gets you going.

Overall, Persona 5 has really captured my heart. With 70+ hours of gaming, I haven’t had this much fun since the last Persona game. I will definitely keep playing it and will even play it into the New Game+. The New Game Plus allows you to keep certain items that you have gotten from the game but it resets your relationship meter with the characters among other things. If you are into old school JRPG, this is definitely the game you have been waiting for. At its price point the game is totally worth it and even more. I am even willing to spend for this game’s DLC. It’s just that good. Now let me get back to the game and see if I can pass this school exam.



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