+One of the most artistically stylish games for PlayStation 4 to Date
+Offers a quick push into the action compared to previous titles
+Character development is on key for the Persona franchise
+The Anime cut-scenes are a huge change and add a much needed change
-Screenshots and footage capture is restricted
-Micro-managing at times can be overwhelming
In a generation of games where traditional JRPG’s remain rare, ATLUS has decided to once more change the status quo, and offer up an adventure unlike any other. In their latest story life isn’t at all what it seems for these Japanese high school students Ryouji, Anne, and the protagonist Akira (if you go by the manga). The tale for these specific students is one about adventure, about righting wrongs, and most-of-all, changing hearts.
Much like any past Persona game, Persona 5 carries the weight of a rather familiar theme. It’s once more about a green of teens who want to shift away from the status quo, ones that want to change the world, and break its current state. This game tells that exact story over the case of almost two hundred hours for first timers. For many this could be a grueling task due to its length, the patience it requires, and the fact the game requires a great amount of time management. It’s a game that challenges players to make the most out of balancing out their busy schedules and beating the Hell out of demons while doing so. It makes you truly think of what your options are and how you will go about them.
Just as you’d expect from a Shin Megami Tensei title, this one follows a familiar path of how it tells it story, and drives its narrative home. It’s a game that uses an anime approach to many of its themes and elements. It’s one that does not shy away from these aspects through out its entire campaign. It takes those elements in order to drive the themes of rebellion, politics, and the ability to enact upon social change. It’s a game that is not afraid to approach these themes nor is it one that is brash or outspoken about them. It’s one that stylizes this in a minimalist way without cramming it down the players throat.
What also differentiates this game from past titles is how it manages to thrust players straight into the games core gameplay elements. Within the opening minutes, players are welcomed to Persona 5’s subtle changes. It’s a game that has added in stealth, ambushing mechanics, and the identity that these characters truly are the games “Phantom Thieves”. Much to the dismay of some, the games opening seconds are also the games close-to-end moments where “Joker” has been captured, and his story is told via an interrogation.
As the game rewinds players are greeted with Joker’s current situation. He’s been sent away from his home town after getting in trouble with the law for a rather questionable offense. Due to the predicament he’s been sent out to live with family friend Sakura Sōjirō. Within a few days of being at Shujin High School, Joker has already assembled a ragtag group of persona users, and is well on his way to telling us an enlightening story.
However, not is all as it seems at his new school, and chaos seems to ensue. Much like Persona 4‘s Shadow World, Persona 5 throws people into the games “Metaverse” where things are rather similar between the two. For Joker, a disgraced ex-track star known as Ryouji, a troubled teen model by the name of Anne, and the student council president who is caught between two worlds, their adventure is no joke. Especially when they all learn they can control Personas.
It doesn’t take long before Joker gathers a ragtag group of friends, including a disgraced ex-track star, a troubled teen model named Anne, and a human turned cat named Morgana. In true anime fashion, these friends each discover that they have a strange power: the ability to enter a bizarre shadow world known as the “Metaverse”. Because of this they are pressed to help right the wrongs of the world and help those around them. To do so is a bit trickier for them than they anticipated.
Aside from this, the game follows the core plot elements of the franchise rather closely. It doesn’t deviate from this at all except in one way. Unlike previous games, however, this new rag tag group of friends decide not to hide their abilities from the world, and take on a moniker to allow so by dubbing themselves “Phantom Thieves”. They also aren’t afraid that they can use the Metaverse to “steal” the hearts of their targets. Doing so allows them to turn those in the real world that are vile people on a new path. This new one turns them into nicer people, which causes them to change and repent for their wrongs.