I think it is important that I clear my bias from the beginning if I could name my all time favorite game series it will be Elder Scrolls, Zelda, Monster Hunter and Persona, so it is very obvious that I am a huge fan of this series and I was looking forward to the fifth entry since the moment they announced it. but I think it is also important that I talk about my history with the series and how did I end up playing them in the first place, it all started with Persona 3 Portable on PSP I started playing this game after I finished Valkyria Chronicles 2 and it left a hole in my heart, I wanted to start something similar so someone recommended P3P for me and I started it, I really liked it and by the time I finished that Persona 2 came out and I played that and its sequel as well, I really loved the high school setting and the anime like pacing was right up my speed, then a year later I bought Vita and played Persona 4 and that was the top for me, I spend over 174 hours in that game playing it twice and I loved every moment of it, it was really amazing and I still have so many fond memories of it.
Persona 5 starts off really strong and just keeps getting better, you are a transfer student like every other game before it but this time you are branded a criminal and you are under probation, you live in an attic above a cafe and there begins your journey toward fame and adventure by establishing your very own Phantom Thieves gang. Every Persona game has some familiar themes like the alternative world and your party’s ability to travel to it, using Personas to aid you in battle and taking down a target every month, I really like this aspect of the series which allows the creative team behind the games a certain amount of freedom to craft a new story and setting and themes within the compound and limitations of the series, for example P3 was about a team of Persona users who wanted to study the Dark Hour and the mysterious Tartarus, P4 was about a group of students who discovered a hidden world within the TVs and their attempt to solve its mysteries, P5 is about a group of Students who navigate the Metaverse and use it to change corrupt adult’s hearts in spectacular fashion, it is this small difference between the games that make them very exciting for returning players of the previous games and also really fun for the new ones.
The gameplay went through little modifications from P3/P4, in those games, you explore a procedural generating dungeons which could get a little bit repetitive however in P5 the main dungeons or Palaces as the game calls it are not procedural but handcrafted with puzzles and challenges that you need to overcome to get to the end of it, the battles are mostly like the previous games you get to control four characters each with different abilities and you exploit the shadow’s weaknesses to either eliminate them or talk them into joining you, outside of battle you get to fuse these Personas to create new ones with other abilities, the game has four difficulty settings I started with Easy then I switch to Normal even at Normal the game was fairly easy and as soon as you get a hang of the battle system there won’t be much of a challenge to overcome except for couple of bosses, and that is basically 40% of the game, the other 60% is a simulation like every other Persona games where you spend your time with your friends and the girls you are trying to get with (Makoto in this case) which will also make you stronger by leveling up your arcana, as you notice there are SO MUCH to do in this game and that is why I spend 124 hours just finishing it up once, really long game.
The game has a slick and stylish design that looks like a playable anime, the animations, and special effects are so stylish and gorgeous and burst with attention and detail it will amaze you at times, all of this is accompanied with a perfect OST, the OST is so good that I have been listening to it every day for the past two months, some tracks are blood pumping and others are emotional and touching, magnificent work. every character is brought to life with their great voice performances (Not Haru) and amazing in the dungeons costumes (Again not Haru), the standouts are of course Makoto and Ryugi’s designs they look amazing.
Perhaps my only gripe with the game is the same issue I had with P3/P4 which is most of the social interactions are not voice acted and that could get really boring if you are not that invested in one of their stories.
Verdict: Persona 5 is one of the best games I have ever played, it is a game filled with a style which highlights its substance, a very long story is complimented by one of the best designs and OSTs I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. (10/10)