Persona 5 Fills a Niche Not Often Reached in America

Persona 5 was easily one of my most anticipated games of 2017 and hearing the news that Atlus was bringing it to PS4 as well as the PS3 made me jump for joy (since I no longer needed to re-set up my ps3).

While this may be the 5th title in the series do not let that scare you off, much like Final Fantasy each game is its own story with only gaming elements or themes carrying over.  In other words P5 is as good a place to jump in as any, and boy what a great jump in spot.

 What is Persona 5?

Set in “modern” Japan you take the roll of a young High school student who, with a recent brush with the law, is sent to live with an estranged family friend for a year.  It is during this year you learn of the Metaverse and discover the power to change people hearts by altering their internal Psyche via the palaces in their hearts.  Sound confusing? How about.. You are fighting the physical manifestations of people’s internal demons, and defeating said demons makes people RETURN TO NORMAL… got it? good!

While Persona 5 is linear in the amount of time you have to complete “palaces” or raise your levels, it is predominantly up to you how you spend your days as a high school student with magical powers.

  • Feel like spending the Afternoon leveling up and fighting shadows in the Metaverse?  Go Ahead!
  • Waste a Sunday playing video games and reading manga?   You Got it!
  • Want to spend all your time doing menial tasks at a part-time job?  Ummm… ok.

The point is, while the core story is completely linear, how you spend your time and build your relationships with your friends is totally up to you.  While this may sound strange this is also the charm of what makes a Persona game so fun, you live the life of your character, build bonds, help friends, and work part time jobs.

Gameplay.

Aside from being a slice of life anime simulator the rest of the game plays out as a turn based dungeon crawler RPG.  You yourself do not actually have any magical abilities, the only thing you can do is call forth your “Persona” or part of your heart to fight for you (think like Pokemon but ghost demons “shadows”).  These Persona then have a wide range of magical powers, abilities, strengths and weaknesses and it is your job to make sure to call forth the best Persona for the job….again like Pokemon.  What sets you apart as the main character is your ability allows you to call upon multiple Persona while your teammates are only allowed to have one based on their internal persona, ie their own true heart (awww the power of friendship).   Keep in mind that any actual fighting and “levels” only make up about 30-40% of this game, so most of the focus is on the drama of your daily life and how your actions in the metaverse effect the real world.

 

Graphics.

While graphically it looks like a fantastic PS3 game, which shouldn’t be a shocker as it was initially announced as a PS3 only game, once you get over the initial shortcomings the game really does shine and present itself well.  Since Persona 5 is stylized like an anime what limitations there are, are covered up in an artistic or hand drawn way especially when it comes to draw distance or detail…. but all of that takes a back seat to the best UI and menu system I have ever seen in a video game.  Like seriously, the flipping battle menus are intuitive and everything just oozes cool, “I never saw it coming” (players inside joke).  Just look at the stupid memes revolving around the style of the menus haha. If there is anything I will remember fondly its this sick as hell menu system.

Gripes:

  • Perhaps I am just getting old as a gamer but I just could not connect with this cast of characters as I did with previous Persona titles.  Don’t get me wrong each character has a thoughtful and rewarding story line of their own but I just didn’t have any “gasp” or shocker moments for me as they did in others, P4 especially.  Because of this, my dating path was more of a “guess I should” rather than a “I really want to know more” process.
  • Despite all the beautiful art and flair, graphics are an issue, it took a long time to get used to the framed screen during cut scenes.  If this is your first Persona title I hope you like reading because  all dialog is via old school avatar popups as the 3D character face models are basic at best.  I could argue that is part of the charm, but lets be honest its 2017.
  • While the voice acting is stellar (in both English and Japanese)  some of the catch phrases or flavor texts can get crazy repetitive, LOOKING COOL, JOKER!!
  • The overall story line dragged on a bit longer than it needed to and the shocking twist at the end was predictable at best, even the “bad ending” pitfall is almost impossible to get without trying.  It feels they tried to make the game more “good ending” friendly or too easy this time.

This article was reposted with permission from IBeatItFirst.com