On March 31, Persona 5: Royal was released for PS4. This update to the critically acclaimed Japanese role-playing game from 2016 is the perfect opportunity for fans new and old to experience one of the most stylish games in recent years.
Persona 5 follows a group of teenagers who gain the ability to traverse worlds within corrupted individuals. They use this ability to become the Phantom Thieves of Heart, a cheesy name for a band of heroes that start out by stopping abusive teachers and ultimately move up to be some of the highest members of society.
The 100+ hour game takes you around various locales within Tokyo as you stop bad guys while maintaining the life of a regular high school kid. The game can be silly and even features a talking cat, but it also contains a gripping narrative that has sincere moments and heavy topics.
What makes this the Royal version is the addition of new characters, an entire extra semester of school and, of course, new dungeons to add to the already expansive game. Along with these bigger changes, there are more subtle ones such as balance changes to combat and better translation for some of the scenes that didn’t quite come off as intended.
Why could this be your next gaming obsession?
Persona 5 is massive. The original game can be beaten “quickly” in 90 hours and this Royal edition is even bigger.
The game is split into two main sections: dungeon crawling and socializing.
It has the classic JRPG turn-based combat where you select moves as you go through the turns of enemies and party members, but it has a bit of a twist. You have the ability to convince enemies to join your side. This opens up the door to different strategies, the ability to fuse personas and a massive compendium to collect.
The combat of Persona 5 is some of the best within its genre, but living the life of a high schooler is surprisingly just as satisfying. When you’re not delving into dungeons, you spend your days making friends with whom you can level up by hanging out with. This, in turn, powers up your combat abilities.
Even without the incentive of boosting up your battle prowess, the cast of characters you meet are all fascinating with unique stories to follow.
Persona 5 is beautiful. Plain and simple, it is a gorgeous game with an anime art style that pops off the screen. There are vibrant colors, interesting character designs and even stylish menus.
Finally, the soundtrack of this game is fantastic. From energetic guitar riffs for battles to soothing lo-fi pieces there are a lot of genres mashed together for an end result that perfectly matches every moment of the game. The opening track alone is among my favorite pieces of game music I’ve ever heard.
Big JRPGs like this can be a big investment due to their sheer size and scope, but with everyone suddenly having a lot more time at home, it might just be the perfect time to dive into Persona 5 for the first time, or all over again.
Story by: Alex Schilling
Photos Courtesy of Atlus