I’m really not sure where to start with this review. Do I start with the gameplay? Do I start with the story? The graphics? The acting? I’m not sure where to start because this game was packaged so tightly and played so well that it really left me kind of… speechless. If you know me, then you know that I have about a hundred things to say about most games or movies I’ve seen and there are few that leave me fully satisfied. Persona 5 is one of these games.
My first dive into the franchise was through Persona 4 Golden on the PSVita and I remember thinking “this seems tedious if I have to do this everyday” and about an hour later I couldn’t stop thinking about. I had dreams about it. I felt like I was becoming friends with all the characters! That is what the Persona series does really really well. The games connect you to each of the characters in a deeper way than any other game out there.
Someone had asked me “well, what kind of game is it?” and my only answer was “It stands alone” there really isn’t a game like it other than the other Persona games (maybe a good selection of other Atlus titles too like Catherine) but once you play it, it will take over your life and you will learn a great deal about yourself as well. I’ve said this before (maybe not here) and I’ll say it again, I’m a grown man and some of the scenes, or scenarios, got me right in the heart.
Ok, I guess after three paragraphs of babbling I’ll have to actually talk about the game.
I was considering streaming the whole game (I’m glad I didn’t) but I looked into why the developer decided to block the whole game from having screenshots and video capture and decided that, even though I had the technology to bypass all that, I respected their wishes and played the game. I suggest you do the same. Anyways, here goes.
I started out by downloading the Japanese language pack because it’s more believable and I was totally right because I later started a NG+ and switched to the English language and the voice acting is bad… like… really bad. Get the Japanese language pack and read the subtitles. You’ll be doing yourself a favor. I know that I’m an elitist but I’d order you to do this one thing regardless. Switch to Japanese.
The Persona games have always been about the story and character development. Persona 5 really kicks it up a notch and expands the horizons a bit. They added a TON of confidants (aka Social Links from P4) with a few that are taboo but still doable (which is really great). I haven’t run into a side story that is boring. I found all of them to be genuinely thought out and some really hilarious. There are tons of scenarios that will catch you off guard. Some will shock you, some will make you laugh, some will make you sad. It’s a roller-coaster of emotion this game is.
Unlike P4, the dungeons are NOT randomly generated (aside from Momentos) and now include save points throughout each “Palace”. What I dreaded about P4 is going through all the stages trying to find the next stage down, not in P5. You have a clear objective, a fun approach to combat, and stylish visuals to carry you along your journey. My only complaint about combat is if the main protagonist dies, then it’s game over. I was hoping it didn’t have to be that way but it is so when you play the game, protect and buff yourself first. Heal yourself before healing others.
Combat and character stats depend on the persona you have equipped and the skills they have learned. Much like the Materia system from FF7, you have a limited amount of slots so use them wisely. Experiment with different combinations because along with your persona comes their individual strengths and weaknesses. I had a persona who was weak to Nuke damage naturally (it would cause me take more damage and be knocked down if someone attacked me with Nuke based “magic”) so I learned a passive skill that nullified Nuke even though I was supposedly weak to it. This kind of trickery and savvyness(?) is encouraged in the game so use it to your benefit because you will need it later when the enemies are complicated and tough in nature.
The story is amazing. I really liked the story in Persona 4, but I feel like Persona 5 had a better vehicle to deliver the story with. There was one major event that left me wide eyed and audibly saying “WHAT!?!?! WHAAAAATTT?????!!!??” and this, THIS I would like for you to experience as well. Now, the game is not short by any means, in fact it took me a good 120 hours of playing to beat it, and I wasn’t even that thorough. You will live as a high school student for an entire year living each day and making the choices that are available to you at that time. There is studying, reading, gaming, eating, baseball…ing, fishing to get done and on top of that you need to be best friends with all of your confidants. I left a ton out because even though it’s a slow start for the first month, the boulder starts rolling pretty fast after the initial tutorial. Take your time, choose wisely, and balance your life as much as you can because you will need to be ready for the final battle.
I really love this game and it has reached the top eschelon for gaming perfection and currently resides as “Best Story” in my books. I have zero complaints and honestly can’t wait to get back to playing it on NG+ to get everything done. All the surprises were awesome (penis monster…. youuuulll seeeeee) and there are plenty more waiting for me. This is a game worthy of passing on to my son when he’s old enough to read.
(If you disagree, screw you. It’s perfect)