Like so many other game series I’ve touched on here, I had never played a Persona game before jumping into this one. This was one I had just intended to watch my fiance play through, but by the time she made it to the first Palace (term used for dungeons in this game) I couldn’t help but get in on the action too. Persona 5 was an addictive game for me, combining a plot I could get behind with fun game play and memorable characters. I’ll definitely be going back for the new game plus. But first, let’s talk about why you should be playing it too.
Quick synopsis: In Persona 5 you play as Joker, the main protagonist (whom you can name, hence me using his nickname) and a high school student falsely accused and convicted of assault. He is exiled to Yongen-Jaya to live with the crusty old man Sakura Sojiro for a year of probation while he attends a local high school. Joker seems to have seriously pissed off fate though. After a strange dream of being imprisoned in a place called the Velvet Room and informed that he must be rehabilitated in order to prevent ‘ruin’, he finds himself and fellow student Ryuji Sakamoto in an alternate reality (referred to as the Metaverse) on his first day attending his new school. After nearly being killed by the depraved, alternate reality version of his new schools gym teacher Joker awakens the power of his Persona, a manifestation of his inner self that allows him to fight back against the creatures of the Metaverse.
That…is probably a crappy description but honestly I can’t get more in depth without taking up most of the article. In short, you’re character is someone who has been dicked over by society and has now gained the power to fight back against the unfairness of the world. Which is probably why the story resonated so much with me. Especially considering how things are nowadays, a story where someone finds a way to strike back against the corruption in society is exhilarating and inspiring.
Now, I will say the game is probably not for everyone. If you’re the type of gamer who hates having too many cut scenes or conversations then you may not enjoy Persona 5. There is a veritable fuck-ton of talking in this game and if you really want to accomplish everything you will be spending a lot of time doing nothing but hitting the X button and reading dialogue. If you’re OK with that though, it’s worth readying. Most of the characters are very well fleshed out and the scripts well written. Managing your time will also be a challenge in this game since there is only so much you can accomplish on any given day. More frustrating, especially early on is how restricted you’ll be as the game begins ramping up. It’s a very realistic take on things though, since you can obviously only do so much in a single day in real life.
Combat in Persona 5 is turn based and has more ‘elements’ then any game like it I’ve ever seen. It cracked me up to see Nuclear as one of the attacks you could use, but that’s in addition to the more normal elements of fire, ice, wind and lightning, curse, bless, gun, physical and psychic. Strategy plays a heavy role in this game as you’ll need to plan carefully to take down powerful enemies. Hitting their weaknesses will grant you a valuable advantage, but finding each enemies weak point can be tricky. Your party members will come with fixed affinities and skills but Joker brings a much greater versatility to the group thanks to his ability to wield multiple Persona’s. Relying to much on him can be dangerous though. While exploring the Metaverse you will only have a limited amount of SP and no reliable way to replenish it, especially early on in the game. This forces you to plan and manage your resources carefully. Deadlines are a very real (and fatal) thing in this game, but with careful planning they’re easy to manage. Getting everything else done is a much bigger pain in the butt.
Seriously, look at the strengths/weakness…they doubled the elements and the regular attacks!
When not delving into the Metaverse there are people to pursue relationships with, confidants to spend time with who will unlock extremely useful abilities for you, and social stats to level, all of which take time. We were at a point in the first few days playing where me and my fiance were praying for a seat on the subway heading to school so we could squeeze in time to read a skill book. Confidants in particular can be tricky to keep up with. They all follow different schedules, so you’ll only be able to hang out with certain ones at certain times. And to complicate things further, certain people can only advance so far at certain points in the story or will require you to have leveled one of your social stats (Guts, Kindness, Charm, Proficiency or Knowledge) to a certain point before they’ll open up to you. So be careful who you choose to spend your time with.
Definitely give Persona 5 a shot, but don’t expect to beat it quickly. I think we logged about 140 hours into this game and we were moving fairly quick. All in all, this was a great game. 10/10, must play, plan on playing again if I have the time. Thanks for reading everyone, feel free to leave feedback of comments below, and as always, happy gaming!