PERSONA 5 is released next week on Sony’s PS4 and PS3 and here’s our review after many hours with the game.
With Persona often being hailed as one of the best JRPG series of all time, fans have been waiting with bated breath for the next instalment.
Persona 5 has suffered with many delays since its announcement back in 2013 but it’s finally here and is releasing in just a few days, leaving long-time fans begging the question: how does it compare to its predecessors?
You take on the role of a high school transfer student who is sent to Tokyo to live with a café owner for a year as part of a probation order for breaking the law back home.
After trying to live out the year peacefully and trouble-free, things take a sharp turn as the protagonist and his newfound friends are thrown into a treacherous Shadow-filled world where the hearts of bad people can be changed to rid them of their dangerous desires in the real world.
The group then decide to become the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and take it upon themselves to change the hearts of the evil.
Each main villain requiring a change of heart has their own dungeon known as a Palace in which the group must infiltrate to steal Treasure.
You’ve only got a set number of in-game days to achieve this though so learning to manage your time efficiently is a must.
Unlike the previous Persona games, Palaces aren’t randomly generated and are instead fully-designed which makes the whole dungeon-crawling experience a lot better than the previous releases.
But if you prefer randomly generated dungeons, there’s also Mementos which is a gigantic dungeon filled to the brim with winding pathways and endless floors.
Requests to change people’s hearts made by members of the public are fulfilled here.
Both Palaces and Mementos are infested with enemies called Shadows that can be fought with a Persona, which is a manifestation of a person’s psyche.
Each member of your team has their own Persona with a unique set of moves, except for the protagonist who can wield multiple.
There are a multitude of different attack types which are summed up into two types: magic and physical.
Magic attacks consume SP upon use while physical moves use a chunk of your health.
Most Shadows have a weakness to certain physical and magic moves which you can exploit to knock down the enemy and deal massive damage.
Once an enemy has been downed, the game gives you another turn with its “1-More” system, which is incredibly useful and enables you to take down more enemies with ease.
Once you’ve successfully floored every Shadow in a battle, you’re given the choice to either talk to one of them or perform an All-Out Attack.
All-Out-Attacks allow you to inflict devastating damage by having every member of your party attack at once and is the best thing for wiping out multiple enemies at once.
Talking to a Shadow opens negotiations with them and you can ask them for money, an item or for their power.
If a Shadow agrees to lend you their power, they become yours to use in battle.
Sometimes an enemy will beg for its life if it’s about to die in battle and will offer its services to you without having to negotiate.
A Persona can be fused with another to create a whole new Persona by using the Guillotine in the Velvet Room, a place you’ll be familiar with if you’ve played the series before.
The Velvet Room is manned by Igor and the Velvet Twins who offer you special Persona-related services to aid you in your battle such as Persona training and the ability to summon back a Persona you’ve acquired previously.
When you’re not battling your way through Palaces, you’re trying to live a normal life by attending school and doing a whole plethora of different activities such as fishing, reading, spending time with friends and playing video games.
It’s incredibly refreshing as it gives you a break from all of the action and almost makes you forget that you’re fighting to save the world from evil.
Who has time to think about fighting monsters when you’re watching an Ugly Betty rip-off on DVD with your cat?
There are a variety of different characters (known as Confidants) you can build relationships within Persona 5, each with their own unique sub-plot.
This Confidant system is the same as the Social Link system in previous Persona games and offers some essential rewards such as new battle moves for your party members and shop discounts as you rank up your relationships.
As far as online functionality goes, it’s basically the same as Persona 4 Golden’s in that you can request help from other players if you’re stuck in a dungeon.
This isn’t multiplayer though – it just calls in a random team automatically, they give you a helping hand and that’s it.
You’re also able to see what other players did with their time which is great if you’re unsure of what activity to partake in next and you want a general consensus of the best thing to do.
The soundtrack is hands-down the best video game soundtrack we’ve heard in a long time, no question.
It’s the perfect mix of J-Pop and acid jazz and is highly infectious, meaning that you’ll probably catch yourself humming a song to yourself on your daily commute.
The songs just fit the game perfectly, no matter what scenario is going down.
Visually, the game is beautiful in all aspects.
Each dungeon has its own unique theme, enemy and character designs are full of variety and the overall design of the world itself is gorgeous.
Graphically, the game ran perfectly on PS4 with no noticeable framerate drops at all.
Overall, Persona 5 is not only the best JRPG ever made but possibly one of the best video games of all time across all genres.
Its story will have you cry tears of laughter but also sob with sadness, its turn-based battle system is something to be marvelled at and its art style and soundtrack are outstanding; it’s the type of game that will leave an unforgettable impression on you for the rest of your life.
Is it worth the money? Hell yes.
EnterGhana.com | Credit: Dailystar.co.uk | Persona 5 Review: Sony PS4 exclusive is the best JRPG ever made