Real Talk By: Wes
I am thou, Thou art I… A line that anyone who has played an installment of the Persona series hears within minutes of starting the game, and also a fitting beginning to my Persona 5 review. Persona 5 starts with the main character, Joker, in the game trying to rob and escape a casino, but before he can get away he is apprehended by the police. After the arrest the rest of the game is told through an interrogation by one of the party characters older sister, and that is how this insane journey begins.
As mentioned the story is told through interrogation so when it does the flashback sequences you are loosed upon a mock-up of Tokyo. You are forced to stay at a cafe named Leblanc owned by Sojiro Sakura after being arrested for a previous unplayable incident, Sojiro starts off by treating you as the criminal you were accused of being but lightens up a little later through the usual Persona relationship system (activities and spending time with characters) if you put time into it. After getting set up in your new home you start your high school career where again no one likes or respects you since your background precedes you, also meaning if you cause trouble you will be expelled. So naturally since the boundary is set that if you get in trouble you lose the game, the first person you befriend troublemaker Ryuji Sakamoto and from there trouble begins, as you and your gang of Phantom Thieves begin targeting those that you view as evil of heart.
Persona 5 brings a lot to the table when it comes to gameplay as you may be occupied for at least 80 hours of engaging missions, and is great for those returning to the series or newcomers. A big change from Persona 4 is the timer for losing the game, in 4 you had to kinda wait until someone either mentioned that there was gonna be a long period of rain or watch the weather closely, in 5 it gives you a countdown until game over which I feel makes it easier to budget your time and do side activities to build relationships and skills. The dungeons in this game are also similar to Persona 4 as well, but this time they are built around how a boss sees his surroundings for example the first boss sees himself as a king that is desired by women and feared by anyone who is under him. The way that you beat the dungeons is also more than just beating the shadow form of the in world character, you also have to steal their heart which is represented by some form of treasure that is an exaggeration of a real world item that the boss holds close to them.
Another big feature to the game that sticks around from previous installments is type advantage combat based around your persona which is your inner emotions projected into powerful creatures that are named from myths and legendary characters in history. If you are new to the theory of type based combat it does take time to get used to, but the best way to learn though is to test abilities and attack types on enemies to see if you can put them in a downed state and then either do a team attack or interrogate which may allow you to get better items, gold, or if you are strong enough the monsters can become one of the main characters personas. All of the personas you can get can be leveled up to gain better powers, and if your relationship with a character is high enough you may also be able to make stronger personas in the mysterious Velvet Room, controlled by the even more mysterious Igor.
Now before you run to grab the game there are a few issues that are in my opinion minor annoyances. The biggest of which is that every time you meet a new confidant it flashes to the interrogation and runs through a short bit of questioning then goes back in to the main game. Another minor issue is that the game forces you to stop the dungeon once you get right out side the boss portion of the level instead of letting you continue straight to the boss, although in some senses it could be beneficial if you are out of SP points which control your persona abilities. The previous issue leads into the next, while I understand this is a type advantage combat system it does seem like at time you have to rely heavily on the SP draining persona abilities which almost makes you wonder why you even bought stronger weapons, and with the high cost and rarity of SP recovery items it gets unfortunate later on in dungeons after several hours of battling.
So that is the gist of Persona 5 it is an amazing game with a ton of things you can do in the game both in and out of the dungeons. It is definitely worth every penny even at regular retail price but if you catch it on sale it makes it even more worth it. Well this is the end for this review keep it real Phantom Thieves.
Persona 5 Gets
4.5 out of 5
+ Tons of gameplay
+ Interesting Story
-A bit too SP reliant