For starters, Persona is a very popular Japanese RPG series, and it has been popular all these while. Persona 4 came out so many years ago when we were still kids. It took many years in development and in 2017, Persona 5 was released to the joy of many games.
We hope you enjoy our original review of the game.
What is Persona 5 about?
You basically control a teenage male character named "whatever you want to call him". His nickname is Joker. He is supposed to be a victim of a crime he didn't really commit and he ended up in another school. In Japan, it is apparently difficult to get accepted to schools if you have a criminal record. That is, according to the game anyway. We're not sure about how it is in real life.
Let's use the name Joker from now on. Joker is a high school student and as you play further, you make new friends. So what is this persona thing about?
This game is special because there are "two different realities" running concurrently. The other reality is called the Metaverse. Every person has a distorted desire within themselves that they don't show to the public. All of these distorted desires can be found in the Metaverse, in a place called Mementos, a separate realm that somehow exists concurrently with real life.
However, when an individual's distorted desires are so severe, they can have their own "palace".
For example, one of the first bosses of the game is a high school teacher who has had an Olympic medal in volleyball. However, he views students as slaves and girls as his sex slaves. Hence, his super distorted desires manifests into a palace. The school becomes a palace in a separate reality. Inside the palace, he has his own guards, and the students are treated as slaves.
Furthermore, inside each palace, there will be a "treasure". The goal of the game is to steal the treasure. After you steal the treasure, the palace crumbles and the individual in real life gets rid of his distorted desires. In other words, he usually realizes his mistakes and repents.
Hence, Joker's role in the game is mainly to find the palaces of these distorted people and steal their treasure. However, it's not easy as these palaces are filled with guards that look like monsters.
In other words, Joker is a regular high school student but after school, he goes into the Metaverse and get rid of those distorted desires.
Wait, where do personas come in then?
In the game, those who have been severely wronged in their life may actually possess their own "personas", i.e. their inner willpower that manifests itself into a powerful being. These people are not capable of having their own palaces as they do not have distorted desires. In contrast, they possess personas instead. Personas look like monsters as well, but they fight for the right cause.
In the Metaverse, Joker and his friends have to constantly battle these monsters and steal treasures, so that the distorted individuals will have a change of heart in real life.
We know it's really confusing but that's how it is. Once you've played the game, you'll understand everything.
What's so fun about Persona 5?
The most awesome thing about Persona 5 is that you can do so many other things apart from just fighting monsters.
You can live the ordinary high school life! The downside is, there is a limited amount of things that you can do a day. For example, if you go and hang out with someone, time will pass and it will be evening by then. And in the evening you can only hang out once more before you're "forced" to go to bed to start the next day.
In other words, TIME IS SUPER IMPORTANT IN PERSONA 5! As the game ends in about a year (in-game), you need to spend your time wisely and max your levels with other confidants. Confidants are your friends and they bring about a lot of benefits.
Let's break it down into more subheadings of what you can do.
- Hang out with your friends. Each person has their own story, and hence it's never boring. The best part of it is perhaps having girlfriends! The ultimate Japanese guy's dream. LOL. You level up your relationship with confidants if you keep hanging out with them and giving them gifts. Once you reach the max level, you'll get an option of starting a boy-girl relationship with your girl confidants. Funny enough, one of them is your doctor and another is your teacher! Is this some sort of fetish? To be honest, this is one of the most fun parts of the game and we love it! You can also have more than one girlfriend, but you may get some retribution at the end. We're not going to spoil further on that.
Building relationships with your confidants bring really important perks as well. It actually affects how your character performs in the Metaverse. Each confidant has their own use, and some of them will help you a lot in battle if you improve on the relationship. For example, they can cure your status ailment during battle, give you health, team up with you, improve on your experience points and so on. In fact, confidants may actually be more important than the weapons you buy in the game.
Confidant relationships affect personas as well. Each person can only have one persona, but Joker (the main char) is different. He can have as many personas as he want and he can even fuse them together to create stronger personas. Here's where your confidants come in. Each persona has a different arcana, for e.g. "hierophant", "death", "love" and so on. Each confidant has a different arcana as well. For instance, if you max the relationship with the "hierophant" confidant, you can have maximum benefits when fusing personas of the "hierophant" arcana. If you max the relationship with the confidant that has the "death" arcana, you can get max benefits when fusing personas of the "death" arcana.
You can buy all sorts of food. You can buy them from vending machines, restaurants or convenience stores. Food will increase your HP in the game. Some will increase your SP. SP is in fact one of the most important things in Persona 5, as it allows you to cast magic with your persona. Hence, you always need to use your SP wisely as they finish fast. Think of them as manna.
You can go to Japanese bath houses, read books at the library, play baseball, go to the mall, go shopping, go to the gym, go to the cinemas or even nurture the plant in your room. There are many things to do, but time is limited and we highly recommend that you use time to increase your relationship with your confidants.
You have to answer questions in class as well. The questions are really educational and based on real life situations. The teachers will question you sometimes and if you get them right, you increase your stat. Luckily, you can connect to the Playstation network and you can see what answers the other players gave. Follow the majority and you'll get it right.
You have exams as well. Remember the questions asked in class as you have exams from time to time. During exams, you can't check the answers given by other players.
There are many places to visit in Persona 5 as well. Some of them are of limited access though. You can check out Shibuya, Akihabara, Shinjuku, Ueno Park, Meiji Shrine and many other Tokyo attractions. They are based on the real life places.
What do you need to know about battles in Persona 5?
Always conserve your SP. You need SP for more important boss battles, so try to melee the monsters that are weak. There are SP-recovering items later in the game though.
It is a turn-based game. It's like Final Fantasy in the past (before FFXV). You take your turn to attack/defend/flee and the enemies have their turns.
You can get new personas in palaces or in the mementos. As you battle these "monsters" in palaces, you can sometimes absorb them as a new persona. Collect personas as they are important for fusing.
Always find for loots. There are pots that contain loots in the game, so always remember to collect more money. You'll need them to buy potions, weapons, armors, guns and so on.
You can use guns in the game and they are pretty strong, but limited in ammo.
Exploit your enemy's weaknesses. Using their weakness may determine whether you lose or win the fight. When the enemy has a fire weakness and you use a fire based attack, the damage is multiplied and the enemy sometimes gets dazed. When that happens, you can extort the enemy to absorb it as a persona, demand for items or even use an all-out attack. An all-out attack is when all of you attack the enemy together in a pretty awesome animated sequence which deals a pretty good damage.
Your enemy may be immune towards certain attacks like physical damage or magic damage. Hence, always know what your enemy is made of. It's super important in winning battles.
As a last resort, run from an enemy that is obviously stronger than you.
What's the winning formula of Persona 5?
Some people love to play fantasy games where you're always drawn to battle. Others may love to play games where you do everyday chores and find love.
Persona 5 is the combination of both and because it has all of the elements you may want in a game, it has to be one of the top games of 2017. It is our favorite game of 2017 after all (unless a new game comes out in these coming months).
Furthermore, the in-game music is kinda addictive as well. They have their own music for each scene.
One of the main things that drew us to the game is obviously the story line. What Final Fantasy XV lacked in story line, Persona 5 has it.
As the story progresses, you'll get more drawn in and invest yourself in the game, not just in the fun perspective, but emotionally. It felt really empty once we finished playing the entire game! We were drawn to the characters and to the cause of justice.
In a highly corrupted and distorted world, it's nice to play a game where a group of misfits brought justice back to society. It's something all of us wish we could do.
We give Persona 5 a 4.9 / 5 as it's one of the best games we've ever played on a PS 4.
Other honorable mentions: GTA 5 and The Last of Us.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully you enjoyed the game as much as we did!