Persona 5 - Playstation 4 Review

Believe the hype.

Game Info: (Box Display)

  • System: PS4, PS3
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Developer: P Studio
  • Release Date: JP: September 15, 2016, WW: April 4, 2017

Who it Caters to (intro to readers)

Persona 5 is a brand new addition to the long standing series of Persona. Originally an off-shoot of the notoriously difficult Shin Megami Tensei series, Persona has started to take a life of its own, almost becoming a completely series all by itself. Throughout its numerous iterations, it has spin-off games, anime series, and even a rhythm game based on the series. It is a series that has enjoyed massive success, so much so that it would be hard to find someone who doesn’t know about Persona.

Having been in the works and suffered from several delays, Persona 5 is one of the most awaited entry into the series. The long wait has done nothing to dampen the anticipation and here at Honey’s we can tell you one thing right off the bat. Believe the hype. Persona 5 does almost everything right and the few flaws it has feel more like minor gripes in the face of the game’s grand scale and design. Basically, Persona 5 will feel like a dream to any RPG fan, and might even appeal to those who have never had any inclination to pick up a RPG game. This is definitely a good game to start with if you want to get into RPGs anytime soon.

What to Expect

If you’ve ever played Persona 3 or Persona 4, you would already know what to expect. Ever since the third installment in the series, Persona has evolved into something of a superhero game. During the day, you are an average student struggling to keep up with his studies, make friends and generally fit in with society. However, by night, you enter into a shadowy world full of shadows that threaten society. You aren’t alone in this venture. From within the confines of your heart bursts forth the power of Persona, a façade used to hide your true self from Society. Your Persona is capable of achieving supernatural feats, flinging fire and ice, or cleaving your enemy in twain.

When you’re not fighting the shadows that crawl in the night, you’re doing your best to live a fulfilling life. Studying, exercising, working part time; these are all activities that you partake in to make yourself better as a person. You will also try to deepen the bonds between you and your confidants, digging deeper into their personalities and stories. Living a fulfilling life has a direct impact on your battle ability. Getting closer to your confidants will give you abilities that will make everything go that much smoother. Basically, Persona 5 is one interconnected web of mechanics that work together to bring you the best gameplay experience possible.

Story

Like every Persona game before this, you start off as the new kid in town. Unlike every game before this however, you are not the cool charismatic new kid on the block. Our protagonist has a criminal record, and has been sentenced to probation in the city of Tokyo, being forced to move from his hometown. Worst of all, everyone seems to know exactly what you’ve done. The landlord is a prick about it, and nobody at school wants to be your friend at all. Of course, this all changes when you start going into the MetaVerse, the world of shadows and Personas.

Persona is well known not just for its story but for its characters as well. This time, the cast that supports our protagonist hit very similar tones as the ones in previous games, but stand out enough to be memorable. None of them are truly irritating, but you’ll most likely have favourites amongst them. Each and every villain is a horrible person. This is the darkest Persona game yet with themes such as abuse, sexual assault, and politics. So don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of motivation throughout the game to punch their faces in.

Gameplay

Persona has never been as stylish as it has been in the past. With a red and black menu with the interface flying off the hook, you’ll be wowed by the vast difference in schemes between Persona 5 and the earlier games. The graphics are basically an upgraded version of the Catherine game engine. That’s not the best thing, but just be aware that Persona has never been the most graphically impressive game in the industry. They easily make up for this with the art direction of the game, creating a unique look and feel that differentiates it from Catherine quite a bit.

The soundtrack of Persona 5 is better than ever. There are plenty of good songs that are on par or better than those of previous games. At the very least, you’ll never get sick of hearing them like “Reach Out to the Truth”. This time around, the game gives you the option of English voices or Japanese voices (Free launch day DLC). If you want to be a weeaboo-desu and listen to Japanese voices the whole game whilst reading subtitles, that’s an option. It really helps that the Japanese voice acting is stunning as a whole. The English voices are good too, bringing back some familiar voices like Matthew Mercer, who voiced Kanji Tatsumi in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax and Persona Q.

Persona 5 is not an easy game, but it’s not a hard game either. It can be initially overwhelming even for veteran players due to the wide array of elements it introduces, but you’ll get used to it in time and the game will feel challenging but not frustrating. Dungeons are hand crafted instead of randomly generated this time around. This creates a more wholesome feel, making the whole dungeon seem more alive and interconnected. In conjunction with the dungeon design is the new stealth mechanics. As our heroes of the game are the Phantom Thieves of Hearts, they will of course be stealthy. You can hide behind walls, corners and sneak up on enemies to get the advantage of them. The stealth mechanic remains controversial, with some hating or loving it, but we personally enjoyed the feel of being a Phantom Thief.

The battle menu is a big step up from the previous series. Instead of scrolling through a list of commands, you will use all the buttons. For example, X is attack and Triangle is Persona. Congratulations Atlus! You’ve finally learnt that there are more than 3 buttons on the controller! Sarcasm aside, this is a good step up, and it makes the whole experience much smoother.

The bosses are moderately difficult, with each having a gimmick that will wreck you real fast if you aren’t careful about it. The game will give you an option to send off one of your party members to mess with the gimmick, essentially making you one man down until he/she succeeds. Hold out successfully however, and you get an advantage over the boss for the fight. This risk reward system in boss fights brings a breath of fresh air into the series, making it less of a slug fest.

Honey’s Gameplay Consensus (Important):

Overall, Persona 5 does justice to its name and development time. Very often, we’ve had games that get delays after delays just fall flat on their faces like No Man’s Sky. In this instance however, we are happy to report that Persona 5 is definitely a contender for the best game in the series, if not the best. It improves on many areas from past games, and does enough different to not be just more of the same. Believe the hype. This game is worth it.

For the long-time fans of the series, Persona 5 is simply a no brainer. Just get it above anything else. Even if you don’t think this is the best game of the series, it is at least near as good as Persona 3 and Persona 4. If you’re new to Persona, or even JRPGs, Persona 5 is an excellent place to begin. The game assumes you’ve never played Persona in your life and guides you through its many mechanics. You’ll never feel too lost, despite how big the whole game world is.

Honey's Pros:

  • The best looking and stylish game in the series
  • Easy battle interface
  • Gripping story

Honey's Cons:

  • Can be tedious at times
  • Stealth mechanics might be frustrating
  • Tutorial is too long

Honey's Final Verdict:

Persona 5 is a JRPG at the end of the day. If you don’t enjoy JRPGs, don’t get it. It’s a massive game with massive dungeons, and will steal the life out of you. If that isn’t something you want to happen, you might be better off not picking up. That said, it is a fantastic game. Sure it has its flaws, but they are minor in the face of how amazing this game is as a whole. Essentially, Persona 5 is a super long anime series with an amazing game attached to it, and a protagonist that you can control. This includes who the protagonist romances. Let the waifu wars begin!

If you enjoyed previous Persona games, JRPG games or are just a massive weeaboo-desu, you are most likely going to enjoy Persona 5. It really gives a bang for your buck, being the longest Persona game yet (we clocked in around 80 hours). At the end of the day, Persona 5 simply proves to us that Persona will be a long running series which will never die.

Aria

Writer

Author: Aria

Hi, this is Aria. I have abandoned the 3D world for the 2D one. Occasionally I leave the 2D world to write my thoughts down. With that said and done, it's time for me to depart once more to the forbidden world, my waifus await.

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