Feature Play: Persona 5

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It has been nearly a decade since the release of the original Persona 4. While there was the release of both the Golden addition of the game for PSVita and the release of Atlus’s acclaimed Catherine game, we haven’t had a proper Persona release since the end of the PS2 era.

Enter 2017 and we have finally been graced with the release of Persona 5. And we have to say, the wait was so worth it! Not only is the entry the best in the series, but it truly catapults where we think Japanese RPGS should go next!

You start out the game as a main character that you can customize via his first and last name. You’re escaping from some high end event wearing a cool dark mask and matching outfit. You’re obviously a grand thief of some sort. But then, within minutes, you realize that your new character is cornered and then interrogated in a pretty painful way.

The story starts out with a bang, which is typical of the persona series. But what’s really interesting is that the story doesn’t lose pace like its previous entries did. While the stories and game plays were well done in the other games, the story did at times bog down the experience. This story has a between narrative, one that swaps between your interrogations and the events leading up to it. This makes for a rather engaging exchange as you see the events unfolding in pseudo-real time.

It is obvious that a lot of work went in Persona 5 to make it the best of the series. Not only is the story better paced but dungeons themselves have been revamped and given a very stylish appeal. Gone is the long, randomly generated floors of previous main story dungeons. While Persona 4 did go in a more intriguing direction with dungeons that reflected their character’s minds, Persona 5 takes that idea and delivers on it in full!

The formula from the previous games is still here which isn’t a big surprise. After all why fix something that isn’t broken, right? You’ll play through a part slice of life manga/anime/interactive novel high school type of ordeal by day, bonding with friends, and potentially even having a romance. At night you’ll be dungeon crawling and changing people’s hearts.

The style of the game is where it gets major kudos. Menus pop out of the screen like torn pages from a manga! Character faces during dialogue exchanges do the same thing. The characters all dress up in stylish outfits in both their normal dress wear and in costumes. It feels like a teen drama in this aspect, and it works to add to the sense of style that Persona has always thrived on. Both the PS4 and PS3 versions reportedly run well though we’ve been playing it on PS4.

Like everything in this world, the game isn’t by any means perfect. While stealth is pretty easy to get a grip on in the dungeons, the execution of it can be annoying. Several times when we were in a dungeon, the camera violently swiveled and flung us right into an enemy. While it was forgivable in the earlier parts, it can totally screw you over if you’re not careful in the latter dungeons especially at the higher difficulties because it could mean an accidental ambush against you.

Also, it should be noted that while the story and game is great, it is very, very long. It will test those who aren’t used to the series or the longer JRPG style because even with a good storyline you were still bound to find moments that seem to trudge just a bit.

Just remember this: Persona 5 is totally worth it! It is by far the best offering this year and is bound to be the best for a while to come. The story is compelling and is not afraid to go into some very dark situations and themes like as sexual assault, suicide, mental illness, deception, and others.

Like any grand and long tale, it’ll feel overwhelming at times but hang in there! You’ll thank us when the credits roll!