Guess who recently got her grubby little hands on Persona 5? Okay, that should be clear already. I did. Of course, you’d expect me to post a “Thoughts On” right after I beat the game, right? Well, considering this is a LOOOONNNG game (80+ hours to beat), I don’t think it’d be a good idea to waste so much time just for one review.
Starring: Lupin IV/Girono Giovanna, Luna, Owain, Catherine, Jun, a female Inkling, Light Yagami, me, a rich girl, and the original Arsene Lupin.
Just a warning. For those willing to go into Persona 5 blind or spoiler-free, please do NOT read this post. This post will talk about early-game spoilers, since I beat the first dungeon and boss. I don’t want to ruin people’s experiences with this game, since so far, it’s brilliant. I repeat, DON’T SPOIL YOURSELF if you want a spoiler-free experience of Persona 5.
And Atlus, please don’t take this down, I specifically stated right at the beginning of the article that there WILL be minor spoilers.
This game is awesome. Okay?
End of story.
Haha, you thought I was going to end it there!? Let’s get on to the main act of this post.
For those unfamiliar, the Persona game series is a series of JRPGs by the kings of That One Boss, Atlus. Persona started off as a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei (translating to New Reincarnation of the Goddess, though most people call it SMT for short) series, Atlus’ older series focusing on giant alignment-based conflicts with a whole ton of mythological references thrown in, because that’s awesome.
Ever since Persona 4‘s release (becoming the best-selling Atlus-made game), Persona‘s popularity is arguably larger than Shin Megami Tensei‘s. Which I don’t really care about, because popularity isn’t what sells a game for me. However, the main problem was…
Well, Persona 5? First announced for Winter 2014 back in 2013. Along with a bunch of Persona 4 and 3 spinoffs/crossovers. Of course, this got some fans (overly) riled up.
Skipping the flame wars, Winter 2014 release?
Image credit: Hiimdaisy/Gigidigee
Just like Yu and Nanako’s hopes for Golden Week, they were crushed as it was announced Persona 5 was delayed.
Oh hey, it’s coming out in America February 14th- Nope, April. And here I am- After many years… So far, does Persona 5 live up to its predecessors?
Persona 5 tells the story of a group of teenagers troubled by society, the corrupt higher-ups, to be more specific. Your main character has moved in with Sojiro Sakura, a small-time Cafe owner, after getting arrested for protecting a woman from harassment by an authority. Following a series of unfortunate events, our character and his newfound friends are now high school students by day, ragtag team of Phantom Theives at night.
Let’s first get started on the beginning of this game, and how well it handles it! JRPGs tend to have an issue of taking a few HOURS until the game steps up. For example, Kingdom Hearts 2, Persona 4, Pokemon Sun and Moon, Dragon Quest 7… There are many games that suffer this problem.
Persona 5 already throws you right in- While there is still quite a bit of handholding and tutorials, it’s definitely not as bad as Persona 4 in that aspect, where the prologue goes on and on and on… Took the game long enough.
Right after your main character moves in with Sojiro and gets introduced to the school, Shujin, the next day, you go to your first dungeon. Yep, just like that.
Right off the bat, these main characters are sympathetic and likable, and may hit home for a lot of people. Ryuji Sakamoto is a juvenile delinquent, gruff on the outside, filling in the “Bro” archetype. but unlike Yosuke and Junpei, it doesn’t take a long time to warm up to him. Right off the bat, you find out these tragic circumstances he lives in- He was physically and emotionally abused by the first villain, a gym teacher and medalist by the name of Suguru Kamoshida.
Once, Ryuji was a nice kid, one who ran on the track team, but things went downhill when Kamoshida permanently injured one of his legs. Instantly, you can’t help but feel sorry for Ryuji. Also, he’s a total bro. Just like Junpei and Yosuke.
Did I ever mention that this game is deep? Persona games go into some damn real matter, like depression, sacrifice, and serial killings, but Persona 5… Has to be the most real in terms of the issues you tackle. Suguru Kamoshida, besides physically abusing Ryuji and other male students, sexually abused his female students, and was implied to have done-the-thing-against-ones-will with two other characters, one of which is Ann, who is actually an awesome character.
While she’s a bit Tsundere, at times, she has a heart of gold underneath her appearance. Her support for one of her friends is especially sweet. Of course, I’m not going to claim her as “BEST WAIFU” yet, since I’m going to wait for the other gals to show up. Also, her persona is NOT Carmen Sandiego. Nope, it’s some obscure character from an opera I don’t think many people watched.
Morgana is the talking cat that serves as the mascot of the game. Unlike Teddie, who can be grating to some players, Morgana has less of his annoying qualities. He’s a bit cocky at times, but he proves himself to be one of the smartest on the group, as he’s been wandering around palaces a lot longer compared to the protagonists. Plus he’s a little kitty! …Okay, maybe he ISN’T, but still…!
Changing the topic, the gameplay is just fun. Just like the previous Persona games, the game has a turn-based combat system where exploiting weaknesses will grant you loads of advantages. Be careful, though, as this applies to enemies as well.
One issue with the combat system of the previous Persona games was the menu. It wasn’t bad, but scrolling around for the skills and options wasn’t exactly engaging. Persona 5 maps all the basic commands to simple buttons, adding in the returning option of Gun, which allows you to shoot the enemy.
Speaking of returning game features, demon/shadow/persona/electric eel negotiation is back! …And unlike the Persona 2 duology, it isn’t extremely irritating to deal with! This time, negotiation happens when all enemies are knocked down by their weaknesses. With four personality types and less confusing responses, the negotiation is a lot better than it was in Persona 2.
The battle music is amazing. As is the music in general. The composer, as he usually does, made amazing fast-paced and catchy battle tracks combined with relaxing jazz-like music when needed. Special mention goes to the opening theme, Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There! and the main battle theme, You’ll Never See it Coming, for being a meme and an awesome battle song.
So yes, thoughts on Persona 5 so far? It’s surpassing what I expected. I wouldn’t call it the “GREATEST JRPG OF ALL TIME!!!” right now, but it’s certainly going down in history as a memorable one. I’m betting once I finish the game, it’ll likely be on my list of favorites.
Question: What is your favorite RPG? If you’ve played the Persona series, which entry is your favorite?