Format Played: PS4
Developer(s): Deep Silver
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Platinum Trophy: No
After months of hype and even longer waiting for a sequel of one of my favorite games, Persona 4 (the game I bought a PlayStation Vita for), I finally got to play Persona 5 on the PS4.
Anyone new to the persona series should be aware that it’s unlike any other current JRPG out there. Atlas have kept the combat turn based, and it’s a perfect example of how to pull off a turn based game this generation. I really wanted games like Final Fantasy to go back to its routes with battle systems but personally I believe they never will as they feel that times have moved on, however games like Persona and Bravely Second show how wrong they are.
Not only is the combat turn based but the detail of the battle system is so reward-able. Like older Persona games you collect enemies like Pokemon and use them to fight for you, these are called personas and are meant to be your other self. Every character has their own persona, however as the main character you can collect others as you battle. You cleverly achieve this by holding up enemies like a robbery and than negotiating with them to join you. It’s very satisfying when you answer the almost comical questions thrown at you in able to gain their trust. The other way to gain personas come in the form of sacrificing 2 or 3 of them to make 1 new one. Each Persona levels up this way or through exp gained in battle. The battle system is quick to figure out, working out enemies weakness and using it against them.
The places where you use combat are in two areas, the first is inside a persons palace, this is how that person views the world and people around them and your aim is to reach the end where you will steal that persons heart which is a treasure they don’t want anyone to know about and therefore changing their heart in the real world. Each person has a palace cleverly designed around them and as you progress the game will throw random new ingenious things at you related to that person and that is the same with the story line.
The other area is called momentos, which is an area that extends as you play the game and can be used for smaller side quests or just gaining personas and exp.
When you aren’t fighting and changing hearts the game offers you lots to do as you live your student life in and out of school. You live your days leveling up 5 areas of your character which all have their own benefits. These are kindness, guts, charm, knowledge and proficiency and there are many ways in order to do this. Things like studying, reading, watching films, playing video games, eating challenges, building equipment etc etc, will gain you experience. Not only are there these five areas to increase but you meet new people that you can increase your social links which will gain you abilities that will help you in combat.
The best and hardest thing about this game is planning what to do with your time as in between missions it’s up to you how you plan your day and what to do with it. All your characters have their own side stories and a few people you meet along the way also have their own stories and how you act and interact with them has a huge impact to how you progress with them.
My only issue with this game comes in the combat, hiding from enemies allows you to stealth past them or ambush them which gives you a advantage at the start of any battle, but it’s very easy to accidentally come out of hidden areas or flip around the corner so you are in full view of the enemies which if caught will give them the advantage. This allows enemies to attack first and this could wipe out your party. Like I mentioned earlier most enemies have a weakness and this is the same for you, problem is if your main character falls the game is over and if you give an enemy an advantage you can find your main character hit multiple times with a weakness killing him off and ending the game abruptly.
This can be very frustrating when it does happen however the game is so good I can’t even bring myself to let this have much of a negative impact on my score.
I loved Persona 4 it falls into my top 10 games of all time but now I have to rethink my list as Persona 5 is even better. 110-125 hours to play through this game and at no point did I ever get bored or wish it would finish. Normally when games hit the 100 hour mark they struggle to keep my attention but Persona 5’s story is so strong it kept me playing all the way through. The characters for the most part are all likeable and like P4 I felt a strong connection with them and cared about what they were going through. The story is one of the strongest I’ve played in a long time and I always wanted to know what would happen next. A perfect JRPG, soundtrack is awesome and the art style is phenomenal, this will be very hard to beat!