Wake Up, Get Up, Get Out There!
By: Nicholas Catto – On paper, Persona 5 is a game that I shouldn’t be a fan of. I’m not a huge fan of turn based RPG’s, nor am I a fan of life simulators. Atlus changed that for me with Persona 5. I loved every second of my playthrough, taking in every moment. Atlus created a stylish, charming and captivating atmosphere at every turn. The hours melted away when I was in this world.
TAKE YOUR HEART
In Persona 5, you play as a high school student who was recently transferred to Shujin Academy after gettingin trouble in your previous hometown and live in the upstairs section of a coffee shop named “Cafe LeBlanc”. As time passes, you start to make friends and moonlight as “The Phantom Thieves”, stealing the hearts of corrupt adults throughout Tokyo.
The plot of Persona 5 is one of the most interesting stories I’ve ever engaged with, in any form of media. Atlus makes you truly care about what’s going on in the world, adding so many twists and turns along the way. Persona 5 had twist moments that truly left me speechless. With each day that passes by in the game, the more invested you become.
The characters Atlus created for Persona 5 are perfect. Each of them has their own unique personality and story that makes you get attached to them, unlike any other game. As each person’s social rank climbs by spending time with them, the stories surrounding their lives start to unfold. Every minute you spend with them makes you care that much more.
TAKE YOUR TIME
In Persona 5, you live a double life. Half of the time, you are living a normal life, choosing how to spend yourtime. Every choice you make in the real world impacts your time spent as The Phantom Thieves. Your lives truly do interconnect. When you’re living out your life, you can choose from a multitude of activities that help build your “social skills”. Some of those activities include studying, working part-time jobs for social skills and some spare cash, hitting some baseballs, etc. Each activity builds your stats in different categories. For instance, studying builds your knowledge, while hitting baseballs builds your proficiency. Managing your time is one of the most critical parts of the game.
As your social skills level up, you can also spend time with your confidants (friends). Spending time with your confidant’s levels them up, which helps you with combat abilities and grows your relationship with them,delving into their personal stories.
The life simulator portion of Persona 5 is personally my favorite part of the game. Balancing out my time between confidants and activities was a fun and challenging experience. This part of the game may seem daunting at first, but Atlus does a great job of slowly leading you into it. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll fall in love. Just remember to “take your time”. Oh, and save often in multiple files just in case you need to go back in time!
BENEATH THE MASK
The other side of your double life is when you moonlight as The Phantom Thieves of Hearts, stealing the hearts of corrupt adults. In this part of the game, you run through “Palaces”, defeating enemies and solving puzzles. The palaces are hand-crafted, unlike the procedurally generated dungeons of the previous titles. Each palace has their own unique flair and sense of style, making each one a welcomed surprise. The fact that Atlus took the time to build each palace from the ground up makes exploring them that much better. Every corner of them pack surprises and great moments. Some of the palaces are a little long in the tooth, which got slightly annoying from time to time. I highly recommend not trying to beat the palaces in one go.
The other area in Persona 5 is the procedurally generated “Mementos”. This area resembles the dungeons of the previous titles. In Mementos, you traverse a dark space, completing requests to steal the hearts of smaller targets. This space is where you will mostly be grinding for experience, items, and personas. The deeper you delve into mementos, the more challenging it becomes.
The combat in Persona 5 is in the form of your typical Japanese role-playing game, which is a turn-based fighting system. In combat, you choose three partners to fight with you, using an array of weaponry, with the added abilityto summon personas to aid you in combat. Each character has different strengths in combat, making you need to craft the perfect team for different situations. The persona of each character has a specific element type, so learning their strengths and weaknesses is key. Once you get the hang of the combat system, the fighting becomes more fast paced and just starts to flow.
When in combat, after stunning enemies, you enter a “hold up” stage. While in this mode, you can get money, items, or unleash a devasting attack. Another option is to try and convince the enemy to join your team, adding new personas to your arsenal. After gaining new personas, you can go to the Velvet Room and fuse personas together, creating stronger ones. Your social ranking with your confidants can boost the abilities of the newly fused persona.
Exploring Tokyo was an absolute joy! Just walking around this world made me smile. Each area is brimming with unique style. I made it a point to use the fast travel system as little as possible while playing through the story. Transitioning from subway trains to get to different hang out spots and shops made me feel more immersed in Tokyo. Exploring the world in between activities isn’t something to just glance over.
ARIA OF THE SOUL
I couldn’t end this review without mentioning the soundtrack of this game. The jazzy pop feeling is what really makes this game flow together. Whether it’s the fast pace combat music or the slow, peaceful “beneath the mask”, each song fits each situation perfectly. The soundtrack has also bled into my actual life. I listen to Persona 5 songs when I’m studying, or just driving around town. It truly is my favorite video game soundtrack of all time.
Atlus knocked it out of the park with Persona 5. The story, characters and social life aspects of the game flow together perfectly while you’re exploring a beautiful rendition of Tokyo. Although some of the palaces can be long in the tooth, combat is fun and fast paced for a turn based system. Persona 5 will melt your time away. This is a must play game for any gamer, whether you’re a hardcore JRPG fan, or someone just looking for a great story, with relatable characters and an interesting world.