Persona 5: Review

Well now...this should be no surprise Persona 5 is great.

As I mentioned in my first impressions, I have never played a Persona game and starting from the 5th installment wasn't something I really wanted to do. But I have heard almost nothing but good things about the series and was really curious to try the game. As it turns out Persona as a series is a lot like Final Fantasy in that while it is a series and every game has similar themes and elements, none of the stories are stictly connected. So playing number five as my first entry in the series didn't hurt my experience in playing it at all.

So for those who don't know, Persona 5 is about a band of high school 17-19ish year olds, who become a band of mystically thieves. You're like the scooby gang in another demention, but your normal punk-asses in the real world. The main story revolves are you and your friends, finding shitty people and entering the "metaverse" to steal their corrupted desires and force the people to repent for their actions.

Sounds very cartoony in premise. But Persona is a very adult game. Like very adult. But it isn't the same kind of adult that many other games try to be. While there is swearing in the game, every other fucking word isn't fuck. There is no nudity that I encountered but there are very sexual themes in the game. What Persona does, is handle adult situations in a very mature manner which I found myself very impressed by. From implied sex slavery, to child abuse, to murder, all of these things are here and handled in such a way that isn't in your face. You often have to come to the realization of what is occurring on your own. I thought it was very well done and made the drama of the story hit that much harder.

So the story is fantastic, and it better be for how long it is. I believe I finished the game somewhere in the high 80's in terms of hours.

Gameplay wise it is a very solid turn-based JRPG. It doesn't do anything to reinvent that wheel though. All the mechanics here are things we've seen before in one form or another. From the creature collecting aspect akin to something like Pokemon or Digital Devil Saga. To the elemental rock-paper-scissor-like play on combat weaknesses. It plays like a very well done mash-up of all your favorite turn-based rpgs rolled into one combat system.

Like any JRPG there are far more layers to the onion that is combat that really necessary but mastery of all of them will be required if you want to play the game on higher difficulties. For example if you hit an enemy with an attack they are weak to, they fall over. And if you can knock over all the enemies in battle in a single round, you can trigger a "hold up" scene. These hold-ups give you the option to threaten the enemies into giving you items, money, or in the pokemon-aspect joining your side. Or if you don't need any of those things, you can unleash a super attack, which is basically kicking the shit out of everyone while they're down. It's a great system because it lets you end fights very quickly once you've basically mastered in area.

Every character on your team uses a Persona for their magic attacks, but the main character can collect every enemy persona in the game. Each one has different elemental types that you can swap between on the fly during combat, which makes the main character extremely versatile, while still forcing you to choose your party wisely as the other members will have set weaknesses and strengths that you wont be able to change. (outside of gear and accessories that wont remove weaknesses but can help reduce their impact).

All together it is a great combat system, and one that I never got bored with. However I do wish there was some kind of turn order bar or something like Final Fantasy X. I often got confused when several enemies got turns, then only one of my team got a turn, before more enemies went. When you are fighting 6 identical fairies it can be hard to keep track of which one is doing what thing.

The other big aspect of the game, is doing normal shit. Yeah I'm serious. During moments of the day, or sometimes several days at a time, you will be given free time to do whatever you want. The idea behind this is to balance your time between raising your social stats, and actually training to make yourself strong for the next dungeon ahead.

So social stats come in two forms. The first being just the core stats of who your character is. You can got to a bathhouse to make yourself Charming. You can take eating challanges to make you Brave/Gutsy. You can study to give yourself Knowledge. You can care for plants to increase Caring. Or you can craft to increase your...craftability. None of these stats help you in battle, so you are probably going, "why do I want them then?"

Well that brings up the second social stat called Social Links. See you can form Social bonds with a ton of people, including your other party members. Each one of these Social Links grants you benefits. Extra abilities in battle, bonuses to things like money and experience, powering up your Persona's during fusion. Plus there is a whole chunk of backstory to each of these characters that you can only get while spending time with them. And every one of them will require you to have a certain level of one of the other stats that I mentioned above. Some need you to be caring, others need you to be crafty, etc etc.

The kicker here is...I don't think it is possible to max out your Social Link with everyone in the game one a single playthrough. You see every activity eats up a chunk of a day, or sometimes more than that. And there are only so many days in the game total. You also don't get free time everyday, as you are required to do main missions and dungeons during some of these days. Which means you need to plan out how you want to proceed, and what stats you want to push, what social links you want to make.

The game becomes a interesting mix of JRPG and character/time management, and it's beautiful. It works.

Not to mention the cell shaded graphics add a crazy cool style to everything in the game. If you asked me to describe Persona 5 in one word it'd be "Style". Everything from the colors, to the loading screens, to the menus, to combat, all of it just oozes style. It is fantastic.

But it isn't perfect. You see the game stresses very early the importance of mastering skills, and working on social links, while at the same time it limits you in doing that. The day before a big quest, the game will limit you from doing anything and say, "You've got a big day tomorrow, you should go to bed." Or sometimes it will just flat out tell you, "Hey you are tired now. Go to bed." For example crafting....I had enough materials to make like a billion lock picks, but the game only lets you make a handful at a time before going, "Hey you are tired of making this shit, go do something else like bed." Why can't I just use my materials. I always ended up stand in front of a locked chest in a dungeon, unable to open it because the game wouldn't let me make enough fucking lock-picks. Fuck you game, I can make all the lock-picks I want. Don't tell me I'm tired you son of a bitch.

Too many other situations in the game came up that felt like it was limiting me in what I could do. Special circumstances felt like they just restricted my progress and I didn't like that at all. There were a lot of times during the game where I was yelling at the screen, "If you were gonna force me to go to bed, why didn't you just send me to bed automatically you fucking game?"

The splash screen tells you to take your time, like it's taunting you. Yes, you can take your time to an extent....you also can't really take your time. Everything you do is a sacrifice. Upping your HP by training comes at the cost of every other stat you could be leveling. It almost requires you to take notes on what the best days to go certain places to maximize the use of things. Like go to the bath house on Tuesdays for the extra bonus charm. Go to the burger place on Friday for the challenge. And so on.

Luckily there is a new game + option, which allows you to play the game again, with all your time required stats, allowing you to start with more points in things which will let you talk to people sooner, and focus on leveling the things you missed the first time around. That is of course, if you care enough to want to play an 80+ hour story again.

Persona 5 was great, but I don't know if it is 160+ hours great. It seems like an artificial limiter on your experience, which I never like.

Overall though, Persona 5 is a fantastic experience. So much so, that I went and bought Persona 4 Golden for the Vita so I could experience another Persona game.

The sound track is great, the voice acting is good, the gameplay is fun, the story is fantastic. Guys Persona 5 is a 9/10 and will EASILY be in my top 10 games of 2017 list. If you like JRPG's, go get this game.

I wanted to post my thoughts in a thread after completing it but I'll use here for my opinions:

I felt the characters were far weaker than the previous games, some of the party members are less interesting than their counterparts in previous games (like Ann and Ryuji) their social links were not very interesting or characters like Haru which were barely in the game until they start to matter (unlike Naoto which appeared quite early).
But more than that, the game puts way so much focus on the plot so I never felt like I had points were there was team building: School festival? Plot, Highschool trip? Plot. Only the trip to the beach had the characters truly interacting and there's nothing happening in the school itself once you finished the first boss.

I like the confidant system, the extra bonuses gave me a lot more reason to pursue new Social links and the combat feels much better than previously. The "you need to go to sleep" is fucking bullshit, let me read a book or something. I think it is possible to finish all social links in one go (with a strict guide) since a lot of hidden bonuses are not told directly to the player (for example you can get a point in knowledge for free on some days) and castles can usually be completed in the minimum days needed.

The plot is better than previous games, but the writing is problematic. Having the main characters talk about adults screwing young people makes me think of Kids Next Door rather than a serious story and the game is in love of telling you the same thing over and over again, yeah I get that this guy is terrible, you don't need to say it to me another time to realize it.

Finally, a lot of time is spent seeing what the "masses" think, it's nice but gets repetitive fast.

inu-kun:
I wanted to post my thoughts in a thread after completing it but I'll use here for my opinions:

I felt the characters were far weaker than the previous games, some of the party members are less interesting than their counterparts in previous games (like Ann and Ryuji) their social links were not very interesting or characters like Haru which were barely in the game until they start to matter (unlike Naoto which appeared quite early).
But more than that, the game puts way so much focus on the plot so I never felt like I had points were there was team building: School festival? Plot, Highschool trip? Plot. Only the trip to the beach had the characters truly interacting and there's nothing happening in the school itself once you finished the first boss.

I like the confidant system, the extra bonuses gave me a lot more reason to pursue new Social links and the combat feels much better than previously. The "you need to go to sleep" is fucking bullshit, let me read a book or something. I think it is possible to finish all social links in one go (with a strict guide) since a lot of hidden bonuses are not told directly to the player (for example you can get a point in knowledge for free on some days) and castles can usually be completed in the minimum days needed.

The plot is better than previous games, but the writing is problematic. Having the main characters talk about adults screwing young people makes me think of Kids Next Door rather than a serious story and the game is in love of telling you the same thing over and over again, yeah I get that this guy is terrible, you don't need to say it to me another time to realize it.

Finally, a lot of time is spent seeing what the "masses" think, it's nice but gets repetitive fast.

Yeah I can see your points. I haven't played the previous games yet, so I couldn't compare them. So I just said things based on what I experienced. I actually really liked the characters, but maybe you were expecting more because previous games had better characters?

CritialGaming:
I actually really liked the characters, but maybe you were expecting more because previous games had better characters?

Better characters? "not really", it's more that some people just simply like previous characters more compared to P5 Character. Just don't go down that hole, it's a whole can of worms trying to say who's better as everyone has their pros and cons as a character.

as I said in your previous thread about Persona 5, the "Confidants" is really a step up compared to previous Social Links, as they're really essential to your progress in the dungeon crawling part of the game. And the narrative made them sound that they actually helped supporting the main characters. Compared to previous Persona, where most don't have anything to do with the main plot, and just a sidestory to only get the "Ultimate Persona" for their Arcana.

New Game+ is only for Completionist, as 3 Trophies are basically locked behind New Game +, other than carrying all your progress (sans Levels), new game+ is simply used for getting a new girlfriend if you don't want to go the playboy route. lol

I started it earlier on and so far am really liking it. I'm not too far in but the games style just drew me in from the first trailer. Ive not really played a Persona before aside from a bit of Persona 4 but I didnt play much as I got distracted with other games and never went back to it.

Anyway so far liking P5 even though I did get lost in the train station and sometimes the ammount of stuff and dialog boxes thrown at the screen got a little overwhelming.

And curry for breakfast? Thats a idea I can get behind.

CritialGaming:

inu-kun:
I wanted to post my thoughts in a thread after completing it but I'll use here for my opinions:

I felt the characters were far weaker than the previous games, some of the party members are less interesting than their counterparts in previous games (like Ann and Ryuji) their social links were not very interesting or characters like Haru which were barely in the game until they start to matter (unlike Naoto which appeared quite early).
But more than that, the game puts way so much focus on the plot so I never felt like I had points were there was team building: School festival? Plot, Highschool trip? Plot. Only the trip to the beach had the characters truly interacting and there's nothing happening in the school itself once you finished the first boss.

I like the confidant system, the extra bonuses gave me a lot more reason to pursue new Social links and the combat feels much better than previously. The "you need to go to sleep" is fucking bullshit, let me read a book or something. I think it is possible to finish all social links in one go (with a strict guide) since a lot of hidden bonuses are not told directly to the player (for example you can get a point in knowledge for free on some days) and castles can usually be completed in the minimum days needed.

The plot is better than previous games, but the writing is problematic. Having the main characters talk about adults screwing young people makes me think of Kids Next Door rather than a serious story and the game is in love of telling you the same thing over and over again, yeah I get that this guy is terrible, you don't need to say it to me another time to realize it.

Finally, a lot of time is spent seeing what the "masses" think, it's nice but gets repetitive fast.

Yeah I can see your points. I haven't played the previous games yet, so I couldn't compare them. So I just said things based on what I experienced. I actually really liked the characters, but maybe you were expecting more because previous games had better characters?

I felt that Ryuji and Ann are really lackluster compared to Junpei and Yukari (Persona 3) or Yusuke and Chie (Persona 4). I can't really say much about their characters or motives after all the game hours.

Another complaint I'd like to add is that the difficulty is even easier than previous games, bosses almost never cancel debuffs or buffs.

inu-kun:

Another complaint I'd like to add is that the difficulty is even easier than previous games, bosses almost never cancel debuffs or buffs.

They have other tricks though. The second major boss is a five enemy fight that will make your characters weak to EVERYTHING. Which was a pain in my asshole.

If a complaint is not having enough time for outside the Metaverse do what I do and blast through the palace and secure your route as soon as the palace opens. I did the same on Persona 3 and 4 as well. Get to the last safe room/teleport spot before the boss and (maybe) spend an extra day grinding before the boss. Then you have loads of time to work on social links and crap while waiting for the deadline. It can be tough and you need to fight cleverly (don't use the MC to win every fight immediatly) but knowing I can finish up basically whenever and still have two weeks of faffing about with no pressure is great.

Doing this means you'll probably eat through your SP items but then you mainly use them for getting through dungeons anyway. It also kind of kills the pacing.

Last time I played I finished all of the third palace and secured the route the day I got access to it. I'm on track to have finised the dungeon in two days. I dunno if I'm the only person that does this.

Here Comes Tomorrow:
If a complaint is not having enough time for outside the Metaverse do what I do and blast through the palace and secure your route as soon as the palace opens. I did the same on Persona 3 and 4 as well. Get to the last safe room/teleport spot before the boss and (maybe) spend an extra day grinding before the boss. Then you have loads of time to work on social links and crap while waiting for the deadline. It can be tough and you need to fight cleverly (don't use the MC to win every fight immediatly) but knowing I can finish up basically whenever and still have two weeks of faffing about with no pressure is great.

Doing this means you'll probably eat through your SP items but then you mainly use them for getting through dungeons anyway. It also kind of kills the pacing.

Last time I played I finished all of the third palace and secured the route the day I got access to it. I'm on track to have finised the dungeon in two days. I dunno if I'm the only person that does this.

I'll give a way to completely break the SP limit on characters (without cheating), it's not spoilery but can remove a lot of difficulty:

inu-kun:
But more than that, the game puts way so much focus on the plot so I never felt like I had points were there was team building: School festival? Plot, Highschool trip? Plot. Only the trip to the beach had the characters truly interacting and there's nothing happening in the school itself once you finished the first boss.

That was actually one of the things I didn't like about Persona 4; the main characters constantly kept getting sidetracked with school trips and drag pageants, while I wanted to get back to punching dragons Shadows and saving the world.

Persona 4 played out like a bad anime, and I thought less of it because of that.

I felt the characters were far weaker than the previous games, some of the party members are less interesting than their counterparts in previous games (like Ann and Ryuji) their social links were not very interesting or characters like Haru which were barely in the game until they start to matter (unlike Naoto which appeared quite early).

I can't say I'm far enough into the game to see all of the characters...but I don't hate any of them like I hated Yosuke or Teddie. Ryuji needs to learn to keep his mouth shut, and Morgana needs to chill, but overall, they don't get on my nerves to the degree of Persona 4's characters. That's a win in my book.

Also, there's no fucking idol singer in your party, so I have that going for me.

Here Comes Tomorrow:
If a complaint is not having enough time for outside the Metaverse do what I do and blast through the palace and secure your route as soon as the palace opens. I did the same on Persona 3 and 4 as well. Get to the last safe room/teleport spot before the boss and (maybe) spend an extra day grinding before the boss. Then you have loads of time to work on social links and crap while waiting for the deadline. It can be tough and you need to fight cleverly (don't use the MC to win every fight immediatly) but knowing I can finish up basically whenever and still have two weeks of faffing about with no pressure is great.

Doing this means you'll probably eat through your SP items but then you mainly use them for getting through dungeons anyway. It also kind of kills the pacing.

Last time I played I finished all of the third palace and secured the route the day I got access to it. I'm on track to have finised the dungeon in two days. I dunno if I'm the only person that does this.

I did the second dungeon like this. I basically beat the entire thing ASAP. and had like 10 or 12 days to just fuck around until the deadline. I ended up grinding in the subway dungeon place, in addition to trying to level up social shit. Even still there are parts where things either eat up more time than expected or you are just forced into things you don't plan for.

A good example was when I had this plan laid out to go to the burger place and then the book store and finally the bath house. But when I came downstairs the guy that is looking out for you wanted help. He doesn't ask for help often so when you get a chance to improve your link with him you have to take it, which totally screwed the rest of the day for me. And I hate that shit. The game is all about planning, yet it actively tries to ruin your plans and rob you of your time.

CritialGaming:
He doesn't ask for help often so when you get a chance to improve your link with him you have to take it, which totally screwed the rest of the day for me. And I hate that shit. The game is all about planning, yet it actively tries to ruin your plans and rob you of your time.

Actually that's just the game successfully "getting into your head", you can safely ignore his plea for help, and just do whatever you planned to do that day. Sojiro's Confidant events feels rare because he has the longest "gated" rank event. Before 8/22 you can only raise it to Rank 4.

CritialGaming:
snip

Honestly, I never worry about maxing ALL the social links until NG+. First time you play just focus on the links that interest you story-wise. It's easier to do them in NG+ because your social skills (Guts/Knowledge etc) carry over so you don't need to worry about certain stages of the links being walled off or about spending time raising them.

Here Comes Tomorrow:

CritialGaming:
snip

Honestly, I never worry about maxing ALL the social links until NG+. First time you play just focus on the links that interest you story-wise. It's easier to do them in NG+ because your social skills (Guts/Knowledge etc) carry over so you don't need to worry about certain stages of the links being walled off or about spending time raising them.

Yeah but that is also the game limiting me. The game is too goddamn long for it to demand a second playthrough to get the shit you missed. Game's of this size should always have a way to unlock everything without having to rely on 2nd passes.

CritialGaming:

Here Comes Tomorrow:

CritialGaming:
snip

Honestly, I never worry about maxing ALL the social links until NG+. First time you play just focus on the links that interest you story-wise. It's easier to do them in NG+ because your social skills (Guts/Knowledge etc) carry over so you don't need to worry about certain stages of the links being walled off or about spending time raising them.

Yeah but that is also the game limiting me. The game is too goddamn long for it to demand a second playthrough to get the shit you missed. Game's of this size should always have a way to unlock everything without having to rely on 2nd passes.

You'd be surprised how short the game is when you skip all the dialogue and one-hit kill all the enemies withyour level 70 persona from the end of your previous play through.

inu-kun:

I felt that Ryuji and Ann are really lackluster compared to Junpei and Yukari (Persona 3) or Yusuke and Chie (Persona 4). I can't really say much about their characters or motives after all the game hours.

Another complaint I'd like to add is that the difficulty is even easier than previous games, bosses almost never cancel debuffs or buffs.

I actually prefered Ryuji over Yosuke, I found the latter to be kinda boring and while the former got on my nerves numerous of times I do think he is a well rounded character, I do agree that Ann is kinda boring.

inu-kun:

The plot is better than previous games, but the writing is problematic. Having the main characters talk about adults screwing young people makes me think of Kids Next Door rather than a serious story and the game is in love of telling you the same thing over and over again, yeah I get that this guy is terrible, you don't need to say it to me another time to realize it.

I cannot agree more with this, I mean don't get me wrong I get the context but its kinda annoying when every Palace can be bog down to "Adults suck"

Here Comes Tomorrow:

CritialGaming:

Here Comes Tomorrow:

Honestly, I never worry about maxing ALL the social links until NG+. First time you play just focus on the links that interest you story-wise. It's easier to do them in NG+ because your social skills (Guts/Knowledge etc) carry over so you don't need to worry about certain stages of the links being walled off or about spending time raising them.

Yeah but that is also the game limiting me. The game is too goddamn long for it to demand a second playthrough to get the shit you missed. Game's of this size should always have a way to unlock everything without having to rely on 2nd passes.

You'd be surprised how short the game is when you skip all the dialogue and one-hit kill all the enemies withyour level 70 persona from the end of your previous play through.

Fair enough.

I beat the game in 150 hours, trying to do everything possible and taking my time, so yeah, it definitely is 160 hours worth :P. I did max almost all of the co-ops, but it was back in September so not many guides existed back then so I had to freestyle it. You wanna raise your dexterity to make more lockpicks.

I'm absolutely in love with this game, and if you haven't given it a shot yet, I think you'll find a lot to love about Persona 5 too. It's not a huge departure from Persona 3 or 4, but there's been some noticeable changes and improvements made that do make a difference, all of which are for the better. The dungeon variations, the stealth mechanics, and even the ease with which you can navigate the overworld map are noticeably better than before. So even if you've felt a little lukewarm about the series up until now, I'd still urge you to give Persona 5 a try.
______________________________________________________________________________
geekandco

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here