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I don't like jRPGs, and avoid them where possible. But it turns out you can polish a turd, or to put it diplomatically, you can meticulously stylise and streamline a game to the point that it will appeal to people who hate the genre. Persona 5 gleams with polish; bright comicbook pop art, acid jazz, glossy anime, and realistic depictions of mundane Japanese urban living, all confidently mashed together.
There's so much detail paid to things that would utterly be ignored by other games, for instance, the usual boring, game stopping spreadsheet that normally appears at the end of a fight gets presented in P5 as flowing line animations and heroes dashing onward to their next fight. Just the pause menu screen in P5 has more style in it than any album cover I own. In short, it's effortlessly, consistently, overwhelmingly cool.
Gameplay-wise, half the time is spent as a standard (though swift, deadly and again, cool) turn based RPG, and the other half is a calendar management and dating sim. I love the RPG stuff, but find the time management a drag. The game constantly shoos your hands away from the controls, arbitrarily deciding that you aren't going to be allowed to do anything on this particular day, because an important plot event is going to come up. In the first fifteen hours or so, the game keeps sending you to bed early. As a teenage life simulator it is spot on, but from a gameplay experience it is aggravating as hell for the game to show you this busy Japanese metropolis to explore, only to keep denying access to it.
Then there's dating. I'm iffy on dating games, and Persona 5 has its problems. For instance, the first villain you encounter is an evil gym teacher who abuses and sexually harasses female students. But for dating options, you're high-school aged protagonist is given the opportunity to seduce adults in positions of power (a doctor, a teacher, a journalist), which I guess the game doesn't treat as a major ethical problem. Hypocrisy aside, I'm also annoyed how the game doesn't offer any gay dating options. This came out in 2016, give me the full buffet! The game generally isn't great at depicting gay people, which is a let down for an anti-authority, anti-oppression story.
As to the story, it's too much to summarise here, and I still don't quite get my head around the abstraction involved. The fun urban fantasy plot can only do so much hand waving to justify the mixed metaphor of, "manifestations of personality sneaking into into someone's mind palace to steal their heart to cause a change of heart".
I'm halfway through the 100 hour game, and I'll definitely be finishing it in-spite of the bellyaching. I don't know how much of P5 is overly familiar to seasoned jRPG players, but it's perfect for outsiders such as myself.
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.
While I was initially skeptical of the game, given my opinions on the previous game, I'm not afraid to admit that the first segment of the game was a real pleasant surprise. A strong villain that felt really evil but also felt evil in a real way, and an equally strong sense of importance permeates the games first arc. The characters all have stakes and provide some interesting viewpoints and overall feel like a step up from the previous game.
It all acts a start for greatness.
Sadly, that greatness never materializes.
After that point everything just starts to feel more and more contrived, with villains that are presented as so mustache twirlingly evil that they almost seem like the walked out of a Saturday morning cartoon. You could almost be forgiven for thinking they are satires. To make things worse, most of the time we are just told that they are evil but never shown, and if shown, it is done in a manner that has nothing to do with their actual crime. It ends up feeling less and less important and more like going through the motions with just some excuse for why it is happening.
And by the finale it all really falls apart, piggybacking of tropes and cliches from past entries and end up losing what little identity of it's own it had in the process.
The game's central theme equally stumbles. It presents it but then simply stops there and never actually explores it and only uses it at face value, resulting in an unfortunate case of Protagonist-Centered Morality, and the full ramifications of the characters actions are never addressed. Despite the game trying to present shades of grey, it simply ends up one sided, determined to never make them dirty their hands even the slightest bit. All it does is simply Debate and Switch.
And finally, the way it all is presented falls equally flat with a delivery that lacks subtlety and endlessly repeats itself over and over. Even the lines feel sterile and lifeless.
Ultimately, it felt it had so much potential that was never meant to be.
Persona 5 is, in my opinion, one of the best of the JRPG games I had played. I have seen fans arguing whether Breath of the Wild is better than Persona 5 or vice versa. The dungeon exploring part in Persona 5 is quite an enjoyment.Some may argue that they dislike the turn-based fighting, but it is in fact just as much dynamic and exciting than other action game, if not better. You can use various tactics to fight them, and your enemy can do the same to you. These mechanics proves that Persona 5 is the best JRPG game created by ALTUS so far, and I am sure there are already countless reviews about the wonderful game.
Unfortunately, whatever improvments is made in Persona 5 is at the cost of other aspects, which is the plot and the characters. I often joked with my friend that "Persona 3 is selling its plot, Persona 4 is selling its characters, and Persona 5 is selling its game." As long as one is playing the game, this shortcoming can be overlooked due to its fancy graphics and gameplay. However, if we made some adaptations of it, it will be either medicore or extremely difficult. Persona 5: The Animation is a classic example of that. The creaters is trying to make an impression for the audience, and failed miserablely in overall. On the other hand, Persona 4: the animation handles the issue much better, and even add an original plot of Narukami's shadow. Secondly, the confidant links in Persona 5 suffers a big deal of Gameplay and Story Segregation. For example, Ryuji's confidant link shows that he is actually clever and tactful. he is also the one who is willing to protect his friends at the cost of his well-being(Ironically, this is the reason that I am on the fence about the Ann-Ryuji shipping because they are too familar).However, main plot shows him as an impulsive, inconsiderate, and a dumbass, which describes what Ryuji was, but not what he really is. Another instance is during Shido palace, Joker is supposed to remain hidden and not to be seen, but we can still work in a convenient store. Now if Akechi walk into the store by chance...
Speaking of Akechi, the villians in this game is more flat and medicore compare to rest of them. The first two palace owner is well-written, and Kaneshiro is quite a comic-relief. But Okumura is unsympathetic, while Shido is evil... and that's it. ALTUS seems to suggests that the true problem of corrupted adults is the lack of action of the masses. Which makes me wonder what should I put Akechi in? ALTUS is trying made us feel bad for what Akechi had become, bur his face-heel turn or heel-face turn are coming out of nowhere. In the remake of Persona 5, I would like to see Akechi get a better writing, he deserves a much better story telling than his death.
In short, Persona 5 is a wonderful game for a terrible animation. If you truly want to get in touch with Persona 5, I would suggest playing the game than watching the Anime.
Having played Persona 4 Golden on the PS VITA about a year ago, I came into Persona 5 with high expectations, which the game then proceeded to surpass, improving upon the previous game in several regards.
The story is that of a teenager who, after trying to do the right thing and ending up with a criminal record, is forced to transfer to Shujin Academy, and ends up joining a group of other troubled youths who seek to change corrupt adults by stealing their hearts. What follows is a captivating tale that offers relevant commentary on the abuse of power, what it means to stand up to injustice and how evil often triumphs because good people do nothing.
The Social Links return in this game as the Confidants, and feature the same variety of deep and interesting characters, both from your party and outside it. This time, they offer benefits apart from more powerful Personas- one might increase how much experience you gain, while another might allow you to buy better equipment. It adds a fair bit of depth and incentive to pursue them, even if some Confidants are inevitably more interesting/useful than others.
Like in previous games, you'll have to manage your time well, balancing dungeon exploration and level grinding with advancing your Confidants and developing social parameters that you may need to advance them. Many parameter-increasing activities are minigames that aren't particularly deep, but provide a nice element of interactivity.
The combat system retains the ability to shift between various Personas, which can be customized as they're created and when they level up, allowing for a fair amount of depth and choice. Combat includes many new features, such as the ability to switch your party members mid-battle (which, combined with an unlockable ability to share experience, encourages you to use all of them this time), and the ability to make demands from downed enemies or finish them off. Above all else, there's a great deal of choice involved, which keeps it from being dull, and in-game tutorials help ease you into things without feeling overwhelmed.
Dungeons are longer and more elaborate than in 3 and 4. Instead of a series of randomly generated floors, they include a variety of environments to navigate, various puzzles and other features that keep them interesting. There is a long and randomly generated dungeon, Mementos, an area for sidesquests, level grinding and Persona collection that serves its purposes well.
One annoying part of the game is that a fair amount of the optional contents, such as costumes, various Personas and even the hardest difficulty setting, is DLC. It it can be frustrating that you have to download or potentially pay for some content that was naturally included in previous games.
Ultimately, if you have a Playstation 3 or 4, Persona 5 is one of the best RPGs I've played lately, and thus well worth your time.
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