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I haven't played any of the previous games in this series and only got into it upon the advice of a friend while the game was on sale. Because of that I can't really say anything about how the game compares to previous entries.
I like this game overall, but there are some parts I found problematic. The game is very story-driven, and more than that it's set on a fixed timer. This creates issues when trying to balance dungeon exploration in the Metaverse with handling the game's dating-sim interactions in the real world. Many times it looks like you've got a lot of time to accomplish something but then suddenly you'll get hit with multiple days where you're forced into cutscenes and can't take any actions, not even minor things like doing your laundry or reading a book at night. This creates a lot of awkwardness that inhibits game flow.
The other, more serious issue I have is the way that sex and relationships are handled in the game. We have a villain who's a teacher that's been sexually assaulting students, then suddenly we have jokes about Ann (who was one of his victims) being uncomfortable when a stranger that's been following her asks her to be a nude model. There are a number of different characters Joker (who's 16) can get into a relationship with in the game, but several of them are adults, including one of his teachers who essentially offers herself to him once he accidentally finds out that she's moonlighting as a maid/prostitute to make ends meet as a means of buying his silence. And for a game supposedly about opposing societal norms, the extent of the game's LGBT representation consists of a couple of perverts who try to abduct and rape Ryuji, which is again played completely for laughs. It's rather shocking that a game maker would think that any one of those things was appropriate in this decade, much less all of them.
That being said, the gameplay is a lot of fun and the story, while not anything spectacular or deep the story is entertaining enough. I give it 8/10.
I actually think that the \"calendar system\" is one of the game\'s strong points. It gives you a great deal of freedom when it comes to how to use your time, but also forces you to use it well.
I\'m not entirely sure why you say that you \"suddenly\" get hit with days that prevent you from doing anything. In general, the game cycles between plot days leading up to the Palace infiltration, free time days during your infiltration of a Palace (with a fixed and obvious deadline), and plot days for the aftermath of each Palace. It\'s a bit unfortunate that you can\'t even make tools on the days in which you just meet with your friends, but the game gives you enough time to max out all your Confidants while still staying appropriately leveled and finishing the Palaces if you manage your time appropriately. The in-game calendar shows when events, such as tests or Palace deadlines, are coming up, helping you plan ahead. Furthermore, unlike previous entries, you\'re more likely to have evenings free after plot days, such as when you\'re socializing with Futaba at the end of summer vacation. Furthermore, since those plot days generally don\'t happen in the middle of a Palace infiltration period, they can\'t possibly interfere with your progress through the Palace.
You have some understandable points about the game\'s treatment of gender and sexuality issues, but I wouldn\'t have made an entire long paragraph about them or shaved off two points out of ten for it. However, if you went to Crossroads at any point (as you do just before Ryuji\'s encounter with the perverts), you\'ll have met Lala Escargot, who\'s implied to be a male to female transsexual, so it\'s not as though the two perverts are \"the extent of the game\'s LGBT representation.\"
As for the Teacher/Student Romance, while it is possible to get together with Kawakami, you\'re misrepresenting it. While Kawakami offers her services to Joker in exchange for him keeping quiet, she tries to keep her distance from him, and even asks him to stop requesting her midway through the link. Out of all the adult women Joker can romance, she\'s also the most reluctant to get into a relationship with him, for the reasons you described. I can understand why you might not be happy about being able to date a teacher, but you don\'t have to do it- from what I can tell, most players date one of the female Phantom Thieves.
The review contains virtually no details about why you think the gameplay is fun or why the story, which is a highly powerful and relevant social commentary with deep and interesting characters, isn\'t \"deep.\" Instead, it wastes most of its word count on two fairly specific points about the game, while only giving a rather perfunctory mention of the plot and gameplay. As such, your review is not very useful or informative to people who haven\'t played Persona 5.
My only real issues with this review is the third paragraph, namely the Kawakami bit. The things you\'re saying run completely contrary to what actually happens. First, she doesn\'t offer the implied prostitution service because he\'s a minor, she only has her maid services. And, if they go out, the protagonist is the one who comes onto her, not the other way around.
In fairness, Val, there *are* points the game doesn't warn you about and, if you don't have a walkthrough, you won't anticipate, where your timeslots are eaten up by story events, and if you had library books to read, or DV Ds to turn in, or time-sensitive missions to complete, or anything like that, you're in trouble. Not a lot of trouble, but if you're not good at keeping all that information in your head at once, it can make the time-management side of the game feel stressful and punishing, like you're being penalized for not seeing into the future to divine when the game is going to arbitrarily take away your time slots without warning you in advance.
Also, if you try to do everything on the first play-through, you *are* just setting yourself up for stress and having a bad time, versus accepting that the first playthrough should be more about focusing on increasing your social stats (especially with how high those requirements all-too-often are, yikes) and saving trying to complete a majority of the game's Social Links for the NG+.
That said, I 100% agree with your criticism of this review's major problem as a review: going into granular, exacting detail on a single point that could be, if not elegantly, at least cleanly reduced to a single sentence (Something like "I found a lot of the game's sexual humor ill-thought-out and juvenile, and found it often conflicted with many of the game's deeper themes and messages.") for an entire paragraph, then trying to squeeze in everything he liked about the game in two sentences at the end is a classic amateur reviewer mistake.
I came in very-interested in a completely-green player's perspective on the game, and I left unfortunately disappointed because of how little of your opinion there was on so much of the title. If you want to come back and edit it, Battle Master, I recommend you take a weed-whacker to a lot of your most-specific complaints, and instead expand on the gameplay and story. As it stands, this is more a review of the game's somewhat-opaque calendar system and its sexual politics than of the game entire.
I didn\'t really use DVDs that much, since they aren\'t the best ways of grinding stats, so I didn\'t run into the problem of the due dates. As far as I know, there\'s not a specific deadline for turning library books in- you can only have one at once- and since you can read them if you can sit down on the subway or if Kawakami gives you a free period in class, it\'s easy to get through them. As for the timed missions, in P5, only the Palaces have deadlines, but you can miss some optional Mementos quests if you don\'t read Mishima\'s texts (I missed the one tied to the flower shop this way on my most recent playthrough).
I didn\'t try to do everything on my first playthrough because of what you said, and the fact that there are achievements that are only available in NG+. The same went for when I played P4 for the first time. In general, I think it\'s common sense to focus on finishing a game first, then work on getting the rest of the trophies.
Eh, Valiona! I will own it's been a while since I last played the game, but that was a problem that tripped me up more than once in general. Not having as much time as I thought because of scripted events that were impossible to predict kept throwing my plans off, and I did also find that stressful.
I mean, there's trying to 100% it on your first try, and then there's getting distracted because you're a new player who's never tried one of these games before, and you *want* to meet all these cool people and see what their stories and gameplay skill trees have to offer, and so you end the game having a low rank in many Confidants when the gameplay heavily rewards instead "splashing" a smaller pool of Confidants up to their max level... something you *couldn't* have known if you hadn't played previous games and went in blind.
And besides, I really do dislike how high and how strict the overworld stat requirement barriers are this game, and want to complain about them at every opportunity to pretend I have the power to change anything. They were very poorly implemented throughout, and are clearly not properly scaled to where in the story their Confidants unlock. The model gun store owner is the obvious example. If I were not a habitual internet-checker, I'd've assumed I'd done something wrong and were drastically under-statted for that point in the game, and my brother, who went in blind and treated me as a hint source of last resort, actually *did* panic when he got that message.
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