What has not been said about Persona 5? Here is our review. It’s visually stunning, everything from the menus to the options is completely interactive, and it’s just downright fun. With over 3.2 million units sold in its lifetime, it’s easily the biggest Persona game of the series. Fans of Persona 5 have patiently waited for the next iteration of it. Like its predecessors Persona 3: FES & Persona 4: Golden, it was not a matter of “if” but rather “when” the definitive version of the game will be coming out. The wait is nearly over. Persona 5 Royal is coming to the US very soon. What makes Royal different from the original? Here is our review.
Persona 5 Royal makes an already great game into an incredible one by not only adding new features but also improving the base game by fixing the minor flaws it had. It engages you throughout the way with its incredible storytelling, mechanics, and customization options. Persona 5 Royal plays out like the original one. You are a 2nd-year transfer student at Shujin High School. Due to your troubled past because of a shady grown up, you are forced to move in with a guardian who does not initially trust you. The court says that you are on probation for 1 year and have to stay out of trouble. In an effort to comply, you move to a new city and enroll in a new school for a new life. That life changes dramatically when you and your friends get transported into a dimension that allows you to encounter the twisted cognitions of evil and corrupt people. With this newly given power, you and your friends decide to form the team, “The Phantom Thieves”, to steal the twisted desires of the corrupt by taking their heart’s “treasure” and force a change in their personality.
When you mix a story like that with the core system mechanics of a Persona game, Persona 5 Royal enhances the experience even more with minor and major improvements. For instance, unlike the original, P5R gives the user more accessibility in the world by giving more free time during the slice-of-life moments of the game. This allows you to not only explore different locations in the P5R world, but allows more opportunities to max out your confidants’ friendships even faster. As always, it is a balancing act during these slice-of-life moments to choose from studying, getting a part-time job, reading, hanging out with your friends, playing games at the arcade, and more. It also gives you the ability to gift all of your confidants’ gifts to boost their friendships even more. Persona 5 Royal does an incredible job giving more time to do these things in the slice-of-moments without compromising the main story and natural flow of the game.
The changes that Persona 5 Royal introduced in the battle system also give it new life. Some of the small things like having limited gun ammo in the original have now been changed for the better. In P5R, your gun ammo now replenishes after every battle. It also feels like the power of the gun has been increased as well. Even the redesigned baton passing system adds even more strategy during an encounter. Now your team gets bonuses when you pass the attack to a teammate. Besides the new Showtime moves, which allows you to do flashy duo attacks between teammates, the battle system itself has not changed drastically, but there’s enough to give a new feel and impact. One big change are the traits that your Persona gives you during battles. These traits occasionally activate latent abilities that give the Persona an extra edge in the fight. I literally spent hours trying different strategies in different areas and I easily lost track of the time because of the fun I was having experimenting.
The redesigns of the existing dungeons of P5R is very welcoming. Some of the puzzles in certain dungeons that made it feel stretched out and monotonous have been removed. This is mixed with the new grappling hook item Joker gets, which allows you to find new routes in original dungeons. Another big change are the Will Seeds. Will Seeds is a bonus treasure that is found in every dungeon. You have to collect all of them and you get a special amulet that gives you special accessories. Even one of the slowest parts of the game, Mementos, is improved for the better. Mementos is a distorted dimension that is formed by the collective people who live in Tokyo. It is a deep dungeon that lies in the subway system of Japan. There are many floors to Mementos and the area can get repetitive fairly easily. Since Mementos floors are randomized, P Studios didn’t change the floors very much but, they did incorporate a system that rewards players to explore. You’ll find stickers and items in these areas, which can be traded for powerful, rare, and useful items. The stickers also give the player an opportunity to change Mementos itself. You can multiply the amount of experience, money, and items for everything that you fight down there. This makes going to Mementos not feel as much as a chore, but a great leveling spot. You also meet Jose, a mysterious boy that travels in Mementos who collects the stamps for these enhancements. Jose is a great person they added to make the game even more enjoyable. Doing the collecting quests that he creates does not feel like busy work, but more of a fun option. Jose also gives you an item for the collected will seeds that you find in the dungeons. These items are powerful so I would suggest to seek those out.
Persona 5 Royal offers literally over a hundred hours of gameplay. Atlus and P Studios did an amazing job bringing this definitive edition to life with changes to an already amazing game. Adding to the perfection, are the new characters: Kasumi Yoshizawa, a freshman gymnast prodigy that recently transferred to the Shujin School. Then there’s the new school counselor Takuto Maruki, a goofy character that gives you amazing perks if you raise the confidant levels right. You get introduced to the new cast members of the series fairly early in the game. They do become more important far later. Along with the new characters, P5R also introduces a new location, Kichijoji. The new location is amazing for what it does for your characters. Kichijoji has areas that allows you to sell your dirty armor that you get in dungeons, meditation that increases your base attributes, and my personal favorite, the darts and pool hall. This mini game benefits your team by not only increasing your friendships between each other, but also strengthens your baton passing skills and more. Kichijoji is a welcoming addition to an already stacked game.
The integration between the old and new content is something I have not seen in a game for a long time. P5R fixes all of the minuscule flaws the original version had and flawlessly adds new mechanics, new characters, add-ons, new music tracks, and an extended story with no effort. The flow of the game feels natural and not forced on the player. I strongly suggest playing Persona 5 Royal if you are a RPG fan. Even if you are new to the genre, this is one of the must-play games of the year.