Well hot diggity damn, I need to spread the word, the glory that is Persona 5. It came out a few weeks ago in Japan and it’s yet to be made available in the West however thanks to me making the incredibly smart move of living in the land of the rising sun I’m playing it RIGHT NOW (actually as I write this article)
In case you aren’t aware let me just explain what Persona is. There is a moderately well known series known as Shin Megami Tensei. If you have heard of this series you’ve either seen the 4th game on the 3DS or Nocturne (Lucifers Call) on PS2 as that weird JRPG that had Dante from Devil May Cry in it. Persona is a spin off from this main series that follows a sort of unrelated plot line but still contains a number of core elements from the SMT games. SMT games play sort of like Pokemon games in the sense that you have to travel through a dungeon and talk to demons in order to recruit them to your team and then you can use them in battle and while Persona deviates from this a little bit, the core mechanic of collect demons and kill shit with them remains. Persona was mostly unknown until Persona 3 was released which shifted the tone into a slightly more light hearted affair and then it got a huge boost in recognition with Persona 4 which basically transformed the series into SMTV Live (yeah google it if you aren’t British or are a fetus) viewing.
So let’s move onto Persona 5. At time of writing I’m not very far into this game so this is more of a first impressions (hence the title) rather than an actual review. The first thing to mention is the graphics since that’s the first thing you see and the game on PS4 looks really good. If you’ve played a game called Catherine you might have an idea of what to expect from the art style but Atlus have a very distinct way of drawing that’s instantly recognisable. The game play is pretty standard JRPG affair where you take turns smashing each other over the face with swords or magic attacks (or shooting with guns) and you go through dungeons gathering experience and items, nothing new to talk about there.
What is worth mentioning though is the shift in tone from Persona 4. If you were a fan of Persona 4 like I am you may have gotten quite comfortable with the happy, light hearted tone of the 3rd and 4th game but P5 takes things right back into SMT bleakness. While in 3 and 4 you played high school transfer students that were pretty much instantly loved by all, in this game you play as a high school transfer student that attends the worlds most corrupt establishment where everyone hates you and no one wants to be your friend. Even the mechanics are now a bit more in line with main-line SMT than previous persona games where instead of cards materialising in bullshit space and giving you new monsters like in 4, you now have to knock enemies down and hold them up at gun point to either shake them for items or force them to join you. The other thing worth mentioning is the fact that the game seems to have become more of a stealth affair where there’s now an emphasis on sneaking around and getting the drop on enemies so they don’t alert more people to you rather than for just a pure battle advantage.
As of right now I have 3 complaints. My first complaint, that people in the west may not face, is that Persona 5 is a hell of a lot more expensive than every other game. Usually a new game in Japan retails for about 6000 yen but this fucking thing was going for no less than 8000, nearly 9000 if you got it on PSN, but whatever, maybe that’s just exclusive to me. The second complaint is that the soundtrack isn’t as instantly fantastic as previous entries. It’s not a bad soundtrack by any stretch and I’ve not heard all of it yet but P3 and P4 had me all “HOLY SHIT LISTEN TO THAT SICK CHOON” while I’m barely noticing the BGM of P5. You may have noticed that I’ve not included any pictures apart from the header in this article and that’s related to my 3rd complaint which is that the ENTIRE FUCKING GAME IS BLOCKED FOR STREAMING. Not only is it blocked for streaming but you can’t take screenshots and you can’t record any footage. There have also been reports of people using capture cards to get around it and then having their shit taken down and copyright strikes on their accounts doled out by the powers that be at Atlus. They absolutely do NOT want you sharing anything about this game and that’s a shitty thing to do in my opinion, but that’s another topic for another time.
In closing, if you have never played a Persona game, buy P5. If you like SMT and you weren’t sure what to expect then I can assure you that it’s fantastic. If you’ve never heard of SMT, I’d say go play Digital Devil Saga and THEN play Persona 5 but whatever your situation is, you should be slamming those pre-orders for Persona 5.
Identity Gaming is an individual series attempting to raise money for Alzheimer’s! If you’re feeling generous, or you just want to make yourself feel better for buying that super expensive thing, follow the link below to the donate page… oh and Identity Gaming’s main site is also there… but you know, whatever.