Ah, yes; it is finally time for everyone to read what the Dwellers think about Atlus’s most recent American release, Persona 5. Just like every other sane person in the world, we think it’s way too awesome for words, (but we will do our best anyway). The game follows several teens who all have the same goal of transforming evil people by taking their hearts in a strange metaverse that uses monster-like weapons called Personas. The game is a little difficult to describe if you have never played a Persona game before but let me tell you that I’ve successfully managed to convince several people in my personal life to play the shit out of this one, (Michael and Mike).
Not only is the story incredibly well done as it focuses primarily on the actual evil within human hearts, it is very human and very much an exaggerated version of the mundane. Of course, things like turning into a Phantom Thief and fighting your way through gigantic Palaces in order to steal a treasure that will give the Palace creator a change of heart may seem a little far-fetched, but it’s the idea of why they’re doing it.
Many antagonists in the game are what the cast calls ‘shitty adults’: adults that don’t think about the consequences of their actions because the only people who care are the kids that they’re messing with. In a way, that’s true in the world outside of the game so many of the missions that these characters set out to do can sometimes feel a little more personal and really adds value to your gameplay.
Alongside that, the combat is packaged very well with an incredible combination of weaponry and your handy dandy persona. Like the previous games, you have the ability to collect different personas and utilize them as you please in battle. An even simpler battle system was added that allows you to quickly pin your enemy personas against their weaknesses without having to shuffle through all your personas. It allows for much quicker battles and lets you be on your way even faster than before. The grinding in this game feels far less like you’re just battling endlessly and really let’s you have fun and explore the Palaces/Mementos.
This game also features probably the best cast of characters as well as the best Confidant characters, (characters that fuel the power of certain personas according to how your relationship with them is), in any Persona game. Almost all relationships that you can build in the game feel very personal and real, unlike some of the more stoic characters from previous games. Every character you meet is actually important to the overarching story, even if it doesn’t always feel that way, and have greater an effect on how you play the game than you may realize.
The environment is beautifully designed and it’s really clear just how much time Atlus spent on the environment, Palace designs, and enemy designs. It is undeniably beautiful and much of the combat is so stylish and well presented that you almost can’t help but continue to enter the Palaces just for more.
Another aspect of the game I think deserves some real recognition is the way that the game focuses on you being a Phantom Thief. In previous games, you’re obviously important and the work you do is important however it is pretty much unknown to everyone that isn’t part of the initial group you play as. In this game, the Phantom Thieves are well known outside of the metaverse and actually pose a kind of threat to the characters real lives, as is seen early on in the game, (the game plays as though you are playing through a flashback). It’s a welcome story element that adds to the overarching plot and really adds to your gameplay as you discover new Confidants and meet new people.
Persona 5 is definitely the best numbered Persona game in the series and really opens the door to new players unlike any other JRPG that I know. The game is undeniably gorgeous and inviting, paving the way for future JRPGs in the West and hopefully opening more doors to those who don’t normally play the genre, (yes, we are very excited about Yakuza Kiwami).
Released on April 4, 2017
Developed and Published by Atlus
Reviewed on PS4
Check out the trailer for the game below: