Persona 5 is one of the single greatest games I have ever played. It’s a phenomenal game you should check out too.
The familiar tone echoes through the room, the words “Legendary Phantom Thief” appears in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. My PlayStation reminds me one last time that it can’t take a screenshot because the scene is blocked. I hit, enter rest mode, lay back on the bed and let out a loud sigh.
The television screen goes from black to that annoyingly bright, “no connection detected” blue. I dig my cell phone out of the blankets and proceed to delete the millions of tabs open in Safari. List of books in Persona 5 and their location. Deleted. The best way to catch the guardian of the pond. Goodbye. Where can I find Hope Diamond and Crystal Skull? Good riddance. Mementos request locations, and my Persona Fusion Guide, I close them all.
I fire off the Facebook status, so everyone else knows that I unlocked the Platinum Trophy. I then throw the phone back into the covers from whence it came. As I lay there looking up at the ceiling I wonder to myself, was that the best game I have ever played?
I mean, there have been RPG’s I have loved before. hell, I loved Tales of Berseria, I thought I would play that all the way through again. Though, when the time came I couldn’t even bring myself to decide on what to carry over for new game plus. Sure, I have also poured a lot of time into games to get a platinum trophy, but that was Final Fantasy 13 and farming Trapezohedron was monotonous as hell.
Until now there was only one RPG, that I’ve completed multiple runs through the main story. That was Mass Effect 2, way back for PlayStation 3. The only reason I played through that story twice was so I could play through as Fem Shep, and make decisions differently. The plan was to see how those different decisions would affect Mass Effect 3.
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how they affected ME3 cause after my playthrough with my “true” character (the character that you make choices, based on how you would actually make choices, not making choices because you want good or bad guy points) I couldn’t bring myself to play through that story again.
Persona 5 is the second game, I’ve played through multiple times, and the first JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game) that I have played and completed the new game plus on. I can also definitively say that it is my favorite game ever, ending Power Stone’s 18 years at #1.
I love this game so much, it was something familiar, yet it was the something different I needed, and just about all its aspects were executed phenomenally.
Let’s start with the story, also, here’s your spoiler alert if you haven’t played already.
The story starts off with a bang. You’re captured, someone in your party has betrayed you, the police have beaten you senseless, drugged you, and now you’re sitting face to face with the assistant DA. She is both your last hope to survive and trying to tie the noose around your neck. The goal is to convince her that she is blinded to a large plot. However, in order to do so, you must “recall” the last few months and prove to her you are telling the truth.
So, the story puts you on edge from the jump, because you’re filled with the desire to get revenge on the clown who got you locked up. You are super paranoid because you know someone you come across is going to betray you. So, every new character you meet, you whisper to yourself “Can’t trust him, not sure if I can trust her either, all of you teenagers are shady. So is it this little Cat Monster.”
Then while you’re jumpy, second guessing everyone and questioning all these people who come into the main characters life, Atlus, the studio behind the Persona series, starts throwing uncomfortably real things at you, in an immensely emotional way.
It starts with a teacher abusing his students, physically, mentally, emotionally AND attempting to do so sexually. Then, to make matters worse the Principal is doing his best to protect him. Now you’re juiced up because you so desperately want to take this teacher down. Just when you can’t think the situation can get any more desperate or angering. They drop an emotional suicide attempt on you and now all you’re doing is dungeon crawling in a blind rage, hoping you can tear the face off of this terrible person.
The crazy part is, this is just the opening. This is all just to get you used to the mechanics of the game, how to manage your time and how the dungeons work.
Then after this initial altercation, each new villain and subsequent dungeon. The emerging pattern of people are evil and justice needs to be served. Stirs up the rage inside you because Atlus does such a great job creating terrible people, who you want nothing more than to kick their ass.
The great thing though is once you think you’ve settled into the pattern of the story and just before it begins to feel tedious. Persona 5 throws another curve at you and now you’re not dealing with the typical asshole, who needs to be beaten up because they are abusive. But with a child who has severe emotional and psychological trauma surrounding the death of her mother. While you are trying to help her out you realize you’ve been seeing this whole situation through a keyhole and there is so much more going on. Then once you think you’ve got that figured that out, they throw one last curve at you.
This is just the main storyline too!
The side stories between the main character and confidants, the people you spend time with to build up social links. Which give you new abilities, help your character grow, and give you important items, are incredible as well. They range from light stories like a disgraced politician who is trying to work his way back honestly.
All the way to a teacher who feels so guilty for the death of one her students that she’s gets extorted to the point where she’s forced into becoming a sex worker. The stories of the confidants are what makes Persona 5 one of the rare games where playing the new game plus is worth it. Playing through it again to get the complete confidant story is an added plus while you are trophy hunting.
You probably could play through the story once, and get all of the confidants maxed, which means experiencing their complete story, but to do that would require you to look at a guide. As for me? I don’t like using guides when I play through an RPG the first time. I like at least one fresh playthrough, without knowing the proper way to do things and seeing if I can beat it at the end. I only use guides when it comes to trying to platinum a game.
I also enjoyed the characters too! Well, for the most part. I loved the stories of Makoto, Yusuke, Ann, Morgana, Haru, and Futaba. Then there was Ryuji, oh my goodness, Ryuji got on my nerves so much. If it wasn’t him blowing up the phone during summer break. He was constantly getting hit with wind moves despite having the evade wind skill.
I hated Ryuji because I was already paranoid about who was going to sell us out to the police, and Ryuji was being fast and loose talking about official Phantom thief business. Which coincidentally, comes back to bite you in the ass in the story, which was a nice touch to throw that in there.
The gameplay in Persona 5 is a such a welcoming break, from a lot of western RPGs, which are hack and slash button mashers. I like turn-based RPGs, I like having to think out a strategy, and then hope to execute it before the enemy nullifies all my stat bonuses, or get lucky and lands an instakill move on me.
The difference with hack and slashes, is they make you think you can use skill to beat the difficult bosses, but they still have the grind it out, leveling up aspect. Nothing frustrates me more than having the skill to beat the boss but then having the difference in our level be the crucial decider in the conflict. Either go turn based, and let me know my level is a factor in the fight, or be hack and slash and let my skill with sticks determine the winner, too many games try to combine the two and that’s infuriating.
I loved how Persona 5 worked in ways to keep the fights interesting. For example, when hitting all the enemies with an element they were weak against or a critical strike. The game gives you an option to unleash an “all-out attack.” If this all-out attack does enough damage to kill all the enemies, depending on the character who initiated the all-out attack a short cinematic ending with unique art would appear.
My favorite, of course, being Joker’s, with “The Shows Over,” (The featured art for this story) followed closely by Mona when he says, “Thee Endo” (I must admit I’m a sucker for Japanese voice actors using English).
Then there was the rush feature, which does just that. When dealing with weaker enemies it was a great way to keep the player moving along and for fights to not get too repetitive. The use of the characters and their Persona played a big role too, being able to get a party with the right amount of damage, the right amount of support, and deciding how to use the main character were all great wrinkles that kept battles interesting.
The soundtrack to this game is incredible as well, it has taken will power, the likes of which I have never before displayed to avoid buying the 30-dollar OST off iTunes. I did, however, buy a few tracks that weren’t on the CD that came with the Take Your Heart edition that I bought. I do not think there is a better song to play when you’re trying to get things done than Rivers in the Desert. Then when you’re ready to kick back and relax throw on, Underneath the Mask. The tracks when main characters awaken their Personas is also great, and you will find yourself humming the random fight music intros as well.
I won’t comment too much on the waifu system because I know everyone has their feelings about who they picked and why. I just want you to know that you’re wrong and the only correct choice is Hifumi Togo.
If you haven’t started playing Persona 5 you should go get it immediately and play it through twice. I poured 200 plus hours into it to get my platinum trophy and I don’t regret it at all. The game requires problem-solving, strategy, and the ability to manage your day. The story is great, the subplots and side stories are great as well. I’ve never played a game that I enjoyed as much as I have Persona 5, so if you’re looking for a break from Zombies, feeders, campers and constantly parrying, check out a game with a lot of depth in Persona 5, you won’t regret it.