- The identity of the traitor: Goro Akechi, which many have slammed as a blatant Captain Obvious Reveal, while others like it for serving as The Un-Twist. Others point out Akechi serves as a Red Herring to divert attention from events like the whole party having already come up with a plan to outsmart him, to an even bigger betrayal by "Igor", who turns out to have been the Big Bad posing the series' usual Big Good the whole time.
- Unlike the past two games, which would tease the idea before shooting it down, the young teenage protagonist of Persona 5 is actually able to enter into a full-blown relationship with his adult female Confidants. Of the roughly four women that can be dated this way, Kawakami is the one the brings up the majority of the divisive debate due to her being Joker's homeroom teacher. Those who enjoy the ability to date older women argue that the game does a good job of treating the subject with as much care as can be done, often pointing out that all of the female love interests enter a consensual relationship with Joker, unlike with what Kamoshida did, and feel that the ability to romance them shows that Atlus is able to be more mature than people give them credit for. In addition, when it comes to Kawakami's relationship, defenders will often argue that the romantic version of her Confidant manages to strike a healthy balance between the Wish Fulfillment aspects of dating a teacher and does still point out that teacher/student relationships are taboo for a reason. On the other hand, those who are against Joker being able to date older women feel that it is creepy and uncomfortable to see him date an older woman, and will often argue that it comes across as a Double Standard for the game to make Kamoshida a Hate Sink while Joker can do the same thing except with reversed ages for the genders involved. In addition, detractors claim that this being portrayed positively with only Kawakami especially comes across as blatant pandering, since the game doesn't do enough to discuss the topic in detail beyond a few moments. Values Dissonance is the main reason this issue even exists though; the topic is less of an issue for Japanese players.
- While the game has received acclaim for taking socially progressive stances on a number of hot-button topics, its treatment of LGBT issues is, like its two predecessors, divisive. Just like the preceding two game's male protagonists, Joker can't be gay, and there are two gag characters in the form of a campy older couple who pop up briefly twice, and sexually harass Ryuji both times. On the other hand, the tasteful handling of transgender Gay Bar matron Lala Escargot and her customers has been widely praised. Discussions include whether the jokes regarding the gay couple are offensively funny or just plain offensive, whether the localization should have removed their scenes, if there's enough positive representation to make up for the negative ones (much like how some fans argue if this can be the case with Persona 4), and even whether or not the gay jokes undermine the game's progressive themes. Part of why the first part of this discussion comes up is that you could pursue a romantic interest of your same gender in Persona 2, with Jun, and as the female protagonist introduced in Persona 3 Portable Edition, with Aigis and Elizabeth (if you chose her over Theodore as your attendant), so there doesn't seem to be too much of a reason for Atlus to have ignored this opportunity. Other players don't mind as much and, besides the obvious fact that a lot of people playing the game are straight dudes, find the issues with LGBT representation to be a bit of a Values Dissonance, since LGBT rights aren't nearly as much of an obvious issue to tackle in Japan when compared to the other themes.
- The final arc of the game, especially when it is compared to the two previous games. There are those who think the final arc ends the game on a strong note. A lot of praise is given to the final three bosses, the Character Development given to the Phantom Thieves (especially Makoto, Morgana, and Ryuji), and several endgame moments such as the Phantom Thieves resolving to defeat Yaldabaoth after he nearly erases them from existence, the summoning of Satanael, and the game ending on a very positive note. Others are a lot more critical of the game's final arc. Common criticisms include the last two dungeons being some of the weakest in the game, the game's themes of rebellion having very little payoff in the end, Goro Akechi's "role" representing Yaldabaoth's need to destroy and remake the world under his order (feeling that it was either tacked on, or the complete lack of reaction from the party regarding the fact), and Shido being a weak villain in spite of all the build up he was given. Fans of Persona 3 have been especially more critical due to how much payoff the final hours of that game had (hours which to this day are widely considered some of the greatest storytelling in any of Atlus' games), while fans of Persona 4 have taken issue with how the ending is very similar to that game's ending.
- Tied with the above is the payoff of the In Medias Res portion of the narrative. The end of Sae's dungeon reveals that Joker's arrest was all part of an elaborate Batman Gambit meant to out Akechi as a member of The Conspiracy, get the name of its leader, and get Sae to relent and join the thieves' side. Some find it brilliant and satisfying, and compared to prior games the setup is pulled off fairly well (I.E Akechi getting spotted for listening to Morgana all the way back in June, despite his claims to the contrary). Others find it to be too contrived that shouldn't have worked at all, either due to the mechanics involved or the fact that the main crux of the plan involved the protagonist emotionally appealing to Sae (which he manages to do while drugged, to boot). In both cases, though, the aftermath in general is considered to be as weak as the rest of the final arc.
- Equally as divisive as his character is Goro Akechi's lack of presence in merchandise and artwork, as he is notably absent from both a number of official art works. He also didn't receive official artwork of his Crow outfit or his Persona Robin Hood until a few years after the game came out, whereas the other Phantom Thieves had their artworks revealed in a 2016 issue of Famitsu. This is more notable in Japan due to him (and his seiyuu, for that matter) being extremely popular over there. Tying to this is whether or not he should appear in any of these things as a Phantom Thief, since he only shows up for one Palace and him joining in the first place has become a Late-Arrival Spoiler. While fans want more official pieces featuring him alongside the Phantom Thieves despite his Guest-Star Party Member status; his detractors claim this makes him not an "official" Phantom Thief, despite Atlus saying otherwise, and want him away from the rest.Note
- A very minor one, although not exclusive to this game by any means, was the anointing of "Ren Amamiya" as Joker's canon name despite the presence of "Akira Kurusu" for the manga a year before the anime and dancing game canonized the former. This brought about shades of how the previous two Persona protagonist had their names changed and canonized away from their manga adaptations. That said, simply referring to him as "Joker" is a compromise both sides seem to have agreed on, especially for non-fans who are only passingly familiar with the character through crossovers like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Broken Base / Persona 5