Review cover Persona 5 Royal (PlayStation 4)
Official GBAtemp Review

Product Information:

  • Release Date (NA): March 31, 2020
  • Release Date (EU): March 31, 2020
  • Release Date (JP): October 31, 2019
  • Publisher: Atlus USA
  • Developer: P-Studio
  • Genres: Japanese Role-Playing Game

Game Features:

Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative
The biggest JRPG of this generation comes back for a victory lap with the expanded remake, Persona 5 Royal. Does it add enough to justify the hefty time and money investment for a second trip?

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Persona 5 Ignoble

It’s become a common criticism of video games to deride them as power fantasies. Usually deployed against military shooters and over-the-top action games, it’s often used to dismiss players as self-centred or childish, seeking validation in a shallow world where they get to assert their will through sheer force. Persona 5 ties in to this idea of video games as a power fantasy in an interesting way, in that you’re fighting for the oppressed and the downtrodden, but the world still feels just as hollow. Centred on a group of high schoolers who discover the power to turn evil people good against their will, it’s very much a game of its time, tackling many hot button issues. In particular, issues that are resonant among young people, such as sexual exploitation by those in power, corporate greed or corrupt politicians. Frankly, as a surface-level wish fulfillment scenario, it’s quite effective. Who wouldn’t get some satisfaction out of seeing these people filled with regret, forced to reckon with the consequences of their actions?

But the question on most people’s minds—is it right to brainwash evil people if it’s for the greater good?—is one the game isn’t terribly interested in engaging with. While the idea is given some lip service, that ethical conflict never spurs any real change in your characters or action in the plot. The villains are also portrayed as so cartoonishly evil, in order to justify your actions against them, that they cease to feel like real people. This is a major problem for a game that wants to dig in to the core root of this type of corruption.

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The Persona series, as you might guess from the name, has always placed a strong emphasis on analyzing the human psyche, with much of the mythology taking cues from Jungian psychology. The dungeons in Persona 5 (called Palaces) are physical manifestations of your targets’ minds, allowing you to understand them better through the symbolism in the Palace’s design. For example, the first storyline has you dealing with a famed former Olympian, Suguru Kamoshida, now a PE teacher at your school who uses his power and influence to get away with perpetrating physical, emotional and sexual abuse against his students. (It doesn’t entirely make sense on paper, but parallels real-world scenarios enough that it’s passable with a little bit of suspension of disbelief.) Kamoshida’s Palace turns out to be a castle where he is a king and all the students are his slaves. It’s an effective bit of imagery, but there’s nowhere for it to go from there. Kamoshida starts as an irredeemable egomaniac and remains that way, which makes the exploration of his Palace fairly one-note. You may discover a new depth to his depravity, but there’s no new angle, no deeper insight, because humanizing him would mean confronting the ethics of the brainwashing you’re doing.

Contrast that to the way Persona 4 handles its dungeons. It uses the same idea of making them physical manifestations of someone’s psyche, but instead focuses on repressed emotions. Take, for example, Kanji Tatsumi, an aggressive loner and street thug. Kanji’s dungeon is a steamy bathhouse and his Shadow (how he sees himself; equivalent to the PE teacher from 5 seeing himself as the king of a castle) is an overly flamboyant gay stereotype. Your first thought, of course, is that Kanji is in the closet, which is causing his combative behaviour. That’s already a more relatable, human story than Kamoshida’s, but there’s a progression to it that encourages you to finish the dungeon. 

It turns out Kanji’s family owns a textile shop, and he showed an aptitude for knitting at a young age, which led to him being mocked as girly. He compensated for this by adopting an overly tough persona, but that lingering insecurity made him question his masculinity and, by extension, his sexuality. Kanji’s sexuality is ultimately left unclear, and it could even be read as Kanji himself being unsure of his feelings, but he’s ready to accept it and be comfortable with himself until he finds his answers in his own time. And Kanji gets to stay around after the epiphany at the end of his dungeon, so we get to see how he grows from the experience and where it leads him. But since Kamoshida is a criminal, he is arrested and his story ends after his dungeon, so he, along with all the other villains, are never given a chance to become more than a caricature. (It’s worth mentioning that there is one Palace that operates much like Persona 4’s dungeons, focusing on a shut-in, and that Palace has by far the best design, with some clever choices that let us understand the owner better beyond the first impression of the Palace.)

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Of course, there’s more to stories of abuse than the perpetrators, but Persona 5 falters in these areas as well. Let’s talk about Ann Takamaki, the character at the heart of the Kamoshida arc. Ann is pressured into trading sexual favours with Kamoshida in order to avoid similar abuse befalling, and to secure preferential treatment for, a friend of hers on the volleyball team. Ann’s story in particular resonates because it shows the way abusers isolate their targets and manipulate them into feeling partly responsible for what’s happened—Ann’s friend feels guilty because Ann has been doing so much to protect her, and Ann feels guilty for ultimately not being able to save her. It’s a promising start that keeps the tight character focus of previous entries, with a darker edge to it. But there’s an inconsistency to the writing that holds it back. Ann is also a model, revered for her beauty, and, aside from the commentary on sexual abuse, a big part of her story has to do with the way people objectify her and can’t get to know the real her. Yet, the game revels in every opportunity to objectify her itself. She spends the majority of the game in a skintight, red leather catsuit (not of her choosing). Many, many scenes feature her being hit on, ogled or groped. One male party member is hopelessly in love with her and spends the entire game trying to win her affection. Another is introduced through a storyline wherein he desperately wants to paint her naked. Her biggest contributions to your plans is reluctantly agreeing to use her sex appeal to flirt her way past an enemy. One of her unique combat abilities is using a sexy pose to distract the enemy and make it lose its turn. It’s relentless.

There’s nothing wrong with sexuality being a major part of a female character, but the singular focus on it with Ann, and the lack of active input from her, invalidates much of what makes her role in the Kamoshida arc work. Perhaps the idea is that women, regardless of how much growth they undergo or agency they decide to take in their life, can’t escape a world where they’re only seen for their looks. But that would contrast with the ultimately optimistic tone of Ann’s story, plus it would make the other heroes extremely unlikeable, since most of the harassment directed towards her comes from your own party. It seems more likely that the harassment is meant to be seen as good fun or boys being boys. While that’s not exactly new for the Persona series or anime in general, dumping it on a survivor of sexual abuse who wants to be defined by more than her sexuality gives it a particularly ugly feel. Most frustrating of all is the inconsistency of Ann’s response to these situations. If it’s coming from a villainous character, she’ll respond with appropriate anger and disgust. If it’s coming from a party member, however, her reaction can range from amusement, to anger, to beleaguered dismissiveness, to being completely oblivious to the fact that she’s being objectified. That last one, in particular, does a massive disservice to the struggle depicted in the Kamoshida arc. Moreover, most of these reactions serve to absolve the harassers without Ann actually playing along, allowing them to indulge in sexualizing her without having to justify why it’s acceptable here but not when others do it.

Let’s contrast with Persona 4 again. Rise Kujikawa is a teen pop idol, and experiences most of the sexualization you’d expect to go along with that job. When you meet her in person, she’s typically flirty and bubbly, unafraid to cuddle up to the protagonist or speak openly about the sexual tension in the group. The key distinction between Rise and Ann is that Rise takes an active role in her sexualization. Rise flirts with the protagonist because she enjoys it; Ann is forced into situations where she has to flirt to solve a problem. When the boys make inappropriate comments about Rise’s body, she generally accepts it with a straight-faced frankness that diffuses the grossness; Ann is usually unreceptive, but unwilling to fight about it much. Rise’s introductory storyline also has nothing to do with her looks or sexuality, whereas Ann is introduced as a woman under the thumb of a man who reduces her down to her body, and despite making a show of breaking free from that, the men in her life (and the man writing her) rarely let her become more than that for the rest of the game.

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The reason I’m spending so much time discussing the first storyline (aside from wanting to avoid spoilers) is that, despite its massive missteps, this case and the following one are easily the most interesting of the game. The first two cases are on a smaller, more personal scale, with the second focusing on a young man being exploited by his adopted father and mentor. It does some good work portraying the way abusers can single out helpless people, make their victim indebted to them and gaslight them into accepting, or even embracing, their abuse. But past those first two arcs, the scope expands and that personal touch is lost, as the focus shifts to bigger targets, such as the organized crime boss at the centre of the third arc. Because it tries to comment on society as a whole rather than the struggles of the individual, it loses the character-focused nature of the other games and becomes more plot-dependent. Persona 3 and 4 (which share a writer/director with 5, Katsura Hashino) don’t have particularly strong plots, being dragged down by some abysmal pacing, repetitive dialogue, overlong expository scenes and awkward tonal changes. But they’ve always overcome those issues due to their fleshed-out characters and well-realized cast dynamics, that make you happy to just exist in the world with these characters. As Persona 5 attempts to dazzle you with a conspiracy-laden plot full of twists and turns, like a bad B-movie, it sells out its biggest strengths and leaves you with the weakest parts of the other games.

This leaves most of the character work shunted off to the Confidant system. Confidants (equivalent to the Social Link system from 3 and 4) are small side-stories where you spend one-on-one time with people around town, some from the main story and some who only show up in their Confidant storyline, helping them sort through their personal problems. These have always been hit-and-miss, with both 3 and 4 having some wonderfully poignant ones and some woefully pointless ones, and 5 mainly straddles this same line, even if it misses more than it hits. They suffer from the same melodrama as the main story, in that most of your Confidants are being obstructed by someone ridiculously evil, and you’ll take it upon yourself to perform a mini brainwashing. Some of the topics here could make for interesting stories—blackmail, domineering stage mothers, corruption in the media—but the bad guys are always cackling, gleefully evil supervillains, so it’s impossible to get invested in the emotional reality of your Confidant. Since your Confidants need to be innocent lambs (again, to justify the forced brainwashing you do to their enemies), most of these boil down to someone escaping a harrowing situation rather than a story of self-discovery or -acceptance, and because escaping that situation comes from your magic powers rather than any personal growth, there’s simply nothing to latch on to with these stories.

The Confidants that don’t have mini missions built into them generally fare better. Some are quite good, in fact. Helping a young artist rediscover his passion, getting the aforementioned shut-in used to life outside, reconnecting a stuffy (but well-intentioned) student council president with her student body. These are all simple, low-stakes stories, but they’re also deeply personal and, regardless of your experience with situations like this, the underlying emotions fuelling them are certainly relatable. They’re not perfect, and they don’t reach the heights of the best Social Links, but they’re at least on par with what the series typically offers.

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As harsh as I’m being, I don’t think Persona 5’s writing is all bad. I love the personal touch and the messy subject matter of the first two arcs. This cast, despite being shallower than previous Persona casts, all have unique voices and it’s fun to hear them bounce off of each other. Despite having arguably the darkest tone in the series, it’s probably the most successful in its comedy, partially thanks to the phenomenal voice work but also due in no small part to some unabashedly silly writing. Your party members get some decent character stuff woven into the main story, and most of their Confidant storylines work. The central villain is one of the best the series has produced yet, by being everything the brainwashing targets aren’t: sympathetic and three-dimensional, all while keeping up the series motif of being a dark reflection of the protagonist. There’s a lot to like moment-to-moment that keeps you engaged and hopeful that it may come together, but it rarely rises above being an enjoyable-but-shallow distraction. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s certainly not commensurate with the lofty heights the series has reached previously, the clear ambition present in the writing, or the time investment required to reach the end.

Persona 5 Royal

Given the unrealized potential in Persona 5’s script, I had high hopes for Persona 5 Royal, an expanded remake that recently released. Similar to Persona 3 FES and Persona 4 Golden, Royal primarily serves to expand the story and only offering relatively minor gameplay tweaks. Unfortunately, it really only adds to the original story, mainly through an extended epilogue, so the bigger issues in the script aren’t touched. The new characters and epilogue actually work pretty well, however.

The new party member, Kasumi Yoshizawa, is somewhat of a disappointment at first. Her introduction trailer made it clear she had the same powers as your group while standing in ideological opposition to them, and while that’s still true, noting much comes of it. She’s strangely disinterested in her magical powers, and though she still vocally opposes your actions, takes little action to stop you, so nothing comes of the conflict. Her Confidant route fares better, staying grounded the way the best Confidants do, by focusing on her overcoming her sister’s death and her struggles to accept her limits. It ends up a little lighter tone than you might expect given the subject matter, but it’s serviceable. Kasumi’s story really only pays off once you reach the new dungeon, Royal’s biggest addition, tacked on past the original end of the story.

While it doesn’t exactly slot in naturally (I think even people going into Royal blind will be able to tell this is an add-on made at a later date), it’s become my favourite Palace in the game. It tackles similar ideas as the previous final Palace—whether it’s better to live a happy life under someone else’s control or to live free and deal with the harshness of reality—but it resonates much better due to a more human, relatable villain and a stronger focus on the personal struggles of your party members rather than philosophical back-and-forths. It’s overwritten in the way Persona (and many JRPG) endings often are, which is especially harmful when the theme has already been covered in this game, but if you’ve put the hundred hours in to get to this point, it’s unlikely you’ll be deterred now. As mentioned, here is where Kasumi comes into her own, with her story tying in to the themes of the epilogue to give it a sense of urgency without overshadowing how it resonates with your original party members. Certain aspects of her story even parallel the dynamic of the protagonist and the original villain, giving new meaning to their relationship in a subtle way.

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The new Palace also excels in its art and sound design. Looking somewhat crystalline, it’s vast and beautiful, reflecting the idyllic world the villain is trying to enforce, while the sterility and emptiness keep the underlying menace at the forefront of your mind. The theme song, Gentle Madman, performs a similar effect. The pleasant piano melody placidly plods along, lulling you into a calmed state, while the relatively hard percussion keeps you moving. The juxtaposition reflects the somber mood of the final mission, as the target here is much more sympathetic in his motives and his goals, but needs to be stopped due to the extremity of his methods.

It’s a relief to see the new music and art stand up to scrutiny, as the original Persona 5 set an exceptional standard in these departments. Every inch oozes with style, strong reds and blacks providing a sharp contrast that make the colours pop. Nothing is designed haphazardly, with everything from dialogue boxes to the menu options thrown in at differing angles and sizes, creating this controlled chaos that catches and holds the eye. There are also plenty of fun details, such as the knife that pins the date on the calendar at the start of every in-game day, to keep things varied and interesting visually.

The music and overall sound design are similarly excellent. Early sections have your character dealing with pervasive rumours about him, and as I roamed the halls of my school, I heard hushed whispers surround me as people gossiped about my checkered past. You’ll hear plenty of little conversations from background characters as they comment on what’s happening in the world, only a fraction of which will be displayed as text boxes, but these early ones that focus on the inescapability of your reputation were the most effective.

Shoji Meguro turns in a career-best score here. Mainly employing an acid Jazz style, the soundtrack is bass-heavy and features a lot of orchestral arrangements, with distorted electrical instruments often backing up the faster fight music and synthesizers accompanying the softer songs. Each track is memorable and evocative, creating an auditory language as tracks get reused and let you know what to expect out of a situation. For a game of this length, it’s impressive that the music never becomes repetitive or overplayed, but that only speaks to the variety and quality of the music. Royal only helps this by adding more tracks that blend seamlessly to the original score, giving the music a little bit of a longer shelf life. Of particular note is the new battle theme, which doesn’t replace the old one because it only plays during ambushes. Its opening notes immediately get you excited before it launches into an uptempo tune that amplifies the manic fun and kickass feeling of the combat.

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Despite being turn-based, the combat achieves that manic energy from the gleeful satisfaction that comes from exploiting its bounty of tactical options. The signature “1 More!” system returns here, meaning if you knock an enemy down (by hitting an elemental weakness or dealing a critical hit), that character gets another turn. Baton Pass lets you pass your turn to another party member, meaning if they can down another enemy, you can pass the turn around to your entire party, recovering a little health and mana plus accruing bonus damage with each pass. If you knock down every enemy on the field, you can either do an All-Out Attack, a flashy attack that deals massive damage to each enemy, or a negotiation, where you end the fight by asking the enemy for additional money, items or power, at the loss of some XP (and the risk of the negotiation failing). Using certain attacks on enemies with status ailments nets you bonus technical damage, plus a chance to knock over the enemy if you’re facing one without any elemental weaknesses. Mana recovery items are sparse and you’ll need magic to get through the dungeons, so you need to pick and choose when to employ it, unless you want to continually leave and return another day. Add on top of this normal JRPG tactical concerns (balancing equipment in your budget, choosing party members to prioritize, deciding whether to make your team perfectly well-rounded or try to fill in their gaps with lots of items), and you’ve got a system where you’re constantly presented with choices and, even if they’re not always life or death, there’s still a lot of fun to be had from trying to maximize your gains.

This resource management is reflected in the life sim side of things. Each day gives you two time slots to perform activities, one in the day and one in the night (for some reason, whether you’re in school that day or not, you get one daytime activity regardless). Going to a dungeon counts as your daytime activity and heavily restricts your options for nighttime ones, which is why you want to complete the dungeons in as few days as possible. A lot of your activities will also raise social stats, which are needed to establish or advance certain Confidants.

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Your Confidants are probably the main thing you’ll be pursuing in your free time, and if you’re not into their stories, there’s plenty of gameplay benefits to them as well. Persona 5 has a monster-collecting aspect to it, with the monsters acting as the main deciding factor in your combat stats and abilities. Each monster has a type (called “arcana”) that corresponds to one of your Confidants. When fusing these monsters together, you’ll get extra XP depending on the resulting creature’s arcana and how far along in the storyline you’ve gotten of the corresponding Confidant. On top of this, each Confidant unlocks extra abilities for you. Party members will unlock battle abilities, but non-party members are still plenty useful. This even creates an unintentional dilemma at times, where I was torn between spending time with Confidants for gameplay reasons or story reasons. Do I hang out with the boring Shogi master who teaches me powerful battle tactics (like being able to swap party members mid-fight), or the more interesting former Yakuza who’s only going to give me a discount on my weapons? Some Confidants will even raise your social stats at every visit as well, which really gets you the most bang for your buck on each activity, increasing the pressure to make the most of your limited time. Should I focus on raising a stat to push through one Confidant, or should I raise that stat by hanging out with a different Confidant, taking longer to reap my ultimate reward but getting a heftier net gain? It’s a genius system that appeals equally to the artsy, story-minded RPG player and the more technical, numbers-driven RPG player, only held back by the fact that the quality of the writing doesn’t nearly hold a candle to the cleverness of the gameplay design.

Royal adds in several new activities that will raise your social stats, but also give you other unique combat bonuses. Examples include the Jazz club that teaches party members a new skill, the darts board that strengthens your Baton Pass or the billiards table that increases the damage bonus and knockdown rate of technicals. Royal also gives you more opportunities for events, as the original had a bad habit of arbitrarily taking away your nighttime activity for little reason. It still happens from time to time, but now most of those nights will let you stay home and raise a social stat, but not go out to rank up a Confidant. Even if the efficacy of your activities has been lowered to reflect these extra opportunities (hypothetically; I have no idea if they have or not), it’s still a better design as it keeps the momentum up and makes you feel like you’re making progress, which is surprisingly rewarding. And I think that’s the key to why this time management system works so well: each activity is rewarding on one or more levels, but there’s always more to do, something you’re giving up, when you make your decision so it never feels like an empty or meaningless reward.

There’s also great care given to the setting to give the impression of a full, real life for your protagonist. As mentioned, the game is broken down into days, and your available options change depending on the day of the week. Confidants will only be available certain days, activities might be cheaper or more effective depending on the weather, some items can only be bought on Sundays, etc. Combine that with the accurate recreation of Tokyo for you to explore, and it’s easy to see how so many people (including myself, who’s lukewarm at best on the writing) can get sucked into this game for so many hours at a time. Even if the lack of depth to the writing can make the experience somewhat forgettable in retrospect, it’s hard to deny the addictiveness of this gameplay loop and reward system. There’s always something to look forward to in the calendar, just one quick thing you want to finish before you set the game down. The bustling metropolis is fun to explore and is overwhelming just when it needs to be, with plenty to find beyond the necessities if you want to go looking for it. The life sim and combat are a beautifully interlocking puzzle, with every system connected to another, every choice carrying true weight, and both are intimately connected to the story.

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It’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all recommendation for Persona 5 Royal, since it’s so many different things to different people. For those who loved Persona 5 and want to revisit the world, it’s hard to imagine they won’t love this, as the additions only enhance the experience. For first time players, this is undoubtedly the one they should go with, as it’s the definitive version of the game, and it’d be a shame to invest a hundred hours into the original just to find out you didn’t get the full experience. If you already played Persona 5 but didn’t love it, this isn’t worth the double dip. As nice as the new stuff is, it’s all fairly minor (with the exception of the new Palace) and won’t be worth the time investment. And if, like me, you were disappointed by Persona 5 and were hoping Royal would be more of a fix for what was broken in the original, rather than just an expansion, you’ll be left disappointed this time around as well. Ultimately, Persona 5 Royal is just more Persona 5, and you likely already know if that’ll appeal to you or not.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Brilliant marriage between the dungeon crawler and life simulator halves of the game
  • Gameplay always feels connected to the story
  • Music and sound design is top notch
  • Inspired and stylish visual design
  • The new Palace is the best in the game
What We Didn't Like ...
  • Script is more plot-focused than is typical for the series, and loses much of its depth in this exchange
  • Confidant stories are same and generally one-note
  • Villains are one-dimensional plot devices rather than real people
10
Gameplay
Persona 5 was already a master class in how to keep turn-based RPGs engaging and rewarding, and Royal fixes the few problems it had. New abilities provide further strategizing opportunities, exploration is smoother, tedious puzzles are tightened up to improve the pace, and great care is taken to make sure the gameplay never feels separate from the story.
6
Presentation
On one hand, it's an absolute delight for the senses. Vivid colours pop out and every screen of the game is bursting with life and energy. The music is phenomenal and the immersive sound design makes it easy to get lost in this world. On the other, despite showing some early promise, the writing falls dismally short of the standard for the series, making the tight character work the series is known for take back seat to wider societal commentary that ends up broad and impersonal.
7
Lasting Appeal
The basic gameplay loop is addictive and is sure to hold your attention through the absurd running time, but the shallowness of the writing means the experience won't be as memorable as it could be and might leave you wondering if the time investment was worth it.
7
out of 10

Overall

Everything Persona 5 Royal adds is a boon to the experience but, unfortunately, it’s not enough to fix the deeply-embedded issues at the heart of the original game.
Not gonna bother until I can get it used for cheap. Maybe if it were on Switch I'd pick it up. Or I'll just wait for the anime with the new stuff, like the did with the P4 Golden anime.

Edit: After watching the ending on YouTube, I don't think I'll be getting it at all. I'll just get P5 Scramble later.
Seems like a lot of extra gameplay just to have a reset button and go back to a slightly modified version of the original ending. No thanks. At least P4 Golden came out on a different console and made it portable.
 
as someone who's barely touched anything in SMT as a whole (and hasn't touched Persona at ALL), I can't wait for Atlus to inevitably surrender and go "Okay fine we'll put it on Switch geez".
Royal is probably the best way to start.
 
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I adore Persona 3, I love Persona 4. Persona 2 is dated yet still great. I even quite enjoy watching others play Persona 1, since the dungeon crawling elements make me motion sick.

I...uhm...I like Persona 5, I guess.

It's been a few years since I've beaten 3 and 4, longer than it's been since I played 5 on launch, and I can still remember every character from 3+4, all the major story beats, able to recall details that would have me singled out as a nerd in every sense of the word. But when it came to Royal, I found that I barely could recall any of the cast's names, barring Makoto. Why was that? And when it came to the story, I remembered one spoiler about the end, and the first dungeon with Kamoshida. That was it. How could I forget nearly everything about an RPG that I had blitzed 100+ hours into??

The characters. I'm always certain it's the lacking characters in P5.

And it's a complete shame. Everything about the overarching theme of 5 was all I could have wanted back in early 2017. Rebel against the system, the schools are corrupt, tear down society's oppression. And as much as I liked that theme, it did nothing for me in the end, because I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters and their self-discovery through those themes.

Don't get me wrong, I still like the game; I listen to the OST constantly, the art style is still one of the best ever, and it made some good QoL changes. But I can't bring myself to plug another 100 hours into P5, even being the self-professed fangirl of the series that I am.

This review covers a lot of issues I had with the game as well. It articulates a lot of reasons why I think the same just boils down to a single "eh" in terms of what I think of it. Good work.
 
I don't like how the dungeon is so long and it just keep getting longer and longer while punish you for prolong it by take away your free day so you have to do it in one go. I can never bring myself to finish the game because it just too tired to keep stressing myself over time management.

Sure the game design for replay but when you are an adult with responsible and everything, you never have that much time to replay one game over and over so either you do it or miss it. Wish they have casual mode where you can do as many thing as you want in the day without tired or get risk of social stat completely.
 
The characters. I'm always certain it's the lacking characters in P5.
Totally agree with you. That's why I like Kasumi. She is actually got a story. She actually try to better herself, do the right thing. She isn't total black or white. So I highly enjoy her arc. If Marie from P4G was half as good. That arc would been good.
 
i was really loving persona 5, but after beating the first two dungeons*, and morgana was still telling me to go to sleep before i needed or wanted to, i put the game down in irritation, figuring i'd pick it up again

that was over three years ago

*i mean completing two of the evil peoples' main dungeons, not just random quests
 
this game was amazing i loved all the new enhancements form base game I wish there was more content after ??? palace and Kasumi is best girl don't @ me
 
Dude I love the Persona 5 aesthetic and music, but I just can't stand turn-based combat. I get that Persona 5's combat is super cool and innovative for a turn-based RPG but it just couldn't hold my attention for longer than 30 hours. I wish this game's aesthetic could be transplanted onto something that isn't a turn-based RPG, then maybe I'd beat it.
 
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i was really loving persona 5, but after beating the first two dungeons*, and morgana was still telling me to go to sleep before i needed or wanted to, i put the game down in irritation, figuring i'd pick it up again

that was over three years ago

*i mean completing two of the evil peoples' main dungeons, not just random quests
They've fixed that. It's a lot easier to do stuff now.
 
I personally love this game; it brings so much to the core Persona 5 experience, whether it's nice background details (such as seeing other characters on the train station or walking to school) or actual new content (Traits, Alarms, redone dungeons, January).

The only flaws are related to how Ryuji's treated. It was Morgana who started insulting him, so of course the blond would retaliate; however, it's only the boy that's forced into apologising later on. Really, it should have been a natural apology from the both of them.

Secondly, the scene after escaping from the boat Palace, where Ryuji appears to sacrifice himself to save his teammates, only to turn up perfectly fine - and then get pummeled by the girls, as 'punishment' for upsetting them, with him ending up unconscious against a street light.
Okay, what the hell? He had no idea he had supposedly died, for one, so he had no idea he had upset his friends. Then when the girls start physically assaulting him, none of the boys try to stop them, or attempt to reprimand them for undeserved violence. This scene feels like it's supposed to be "funny", continuing the unfortunate trend of Ryuji being the team's butt-monkey - it's the exact opposite of "funny". It's disgusting to see assault, which is rightfully seen as utterly abhorrent throughout the first Palace and quite a few Mementos requests, be used as a supposed joke.
Lastly, of course it's the girls assaulting him, because somehow it's more acceptable for girls to strike boys. Girls can get away with slaps, punches, and actual beat-downs, whereas boys cannot. How about "no"? How about neither sex is allowed to strike the other?

ATLUS changed the scenes involving the two homosexual guys; they could have easily fixed these two highly unfortunate events, too. But they didn't, and that's just appalling.

The vast majority of the game is brilliant, don't get me wrong, but these issues could have been resolved too. In my book, it's definitely the best PS4 game.
 
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I personally enjoyed the game, with the added content; the new content was spread across the base game very well. Personally most folks who are into Jrpgs are going to be replaying this game as least twice. Which is great, since maxing out all your confidants in one play through is so incredibly easy in Royal. (which gives you so much time to do other misc events) However, if you don't have the $ for Royal defaulting to the original Persona 5 on PS3 or the base game is acceptable too.
 
I personally enjoyed the game, with the added content; the new content was spread across the base game very well. Personally most folks who are into Jrpgs are going to be replaying this game as least twice. Which is great, since maxing out all your confidants in one play through is so incredibly easy in Royal. (which gives you so much time to do other misc events) However, if you don't have the $ for Royal defaulting to the original Persona 5 on PS3 or the base game is acceptable too.
Or one could just wait for a sale; that's how I picked up the original P5, on PS4.
Even if that might take a while, it's almost certainly going to be an option.
 
Or one could just wait for a sale; that's how I picked up the original P5, on PS4.
Even if that might take a while, it's almost certainly going to be an option.
Yeah, i agree. I mean last i checked P5 for the PS3 was dirt cheap. I still remember paying retail $50 for P5 for the PS3. Such fond memories.
 
I adore Persona 3, I love Persona 4. Persona 2 is dated yet still great. I even quite enjoy watching others play Persona 1, since the dungeon crawling elements make me motion sick.

I...uhm...I like Persona 5, I guess.

It's been a few years since I've beaten 3 and 4, longer than it's been since I played 5 on launch, and I can still remember every character from 3+4, all the major story beats, able to recall details that would have me singled out as a nerd in every sense of the word. But when it came to Royal, I found that I barely could recall any of the cast's names, barring Makoto. Why was that? And when it came to the story, I remembered one spoiler about the end, and the first dungeon with Kamoshida. That was it. How could I forget nearly everything about an RPG that I had blitzed 100+ hours into??

The characters. I'm always certain it's the lacking characters in P5.

And it's a complete shame. Everything about the overarching theme of 5 was all I could have wanted back in early 2017. Rebel against the system, the schools are corrupt, tear down society's oppression. And as much as I liked that theme, it did nothing for me in the end, because I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters and their self-discovery through those themes.

Don't get me wrong, I still like the game; I listen to the OST constantly, the art style is still one of the best ever, and it made some good QoL changes. But I can't bring myself to plug another 100 hours into P5, even being the self-professed fangirl of the series that I am.

This review covers a lot of issues I had with the game as well. It articulates a lot of reasons why I think the same just boils down to a single "eh" in terms of what I think of it. Good work.

Yeah, I wasn't feeling all that with what Persona 5 Royal adds to the original which was a game that, no matter how you slice it, you're pouring 100+ hours into or somewhere edging close to it. I mean, I'll take actual dungeons as opposed to Persona 3's atmospheric randomly generated hallways with some miniboss rooms every now and then. I don't care if you have Phonon's theme from Under Night playing in the background, hallways after hallways as the main gameplay loop from what I remember is a good way to push me towards burnout real quick.

As for the theming, I think it hit harder in Persona 5 OG for yours truly personally, but that's only because of my living situation where I can't be myself, something I kind of tried to get off of my chest unsuccessfully as usual in my latest blog post a few minutes ago. (I don't know what it is, but I have a hard time trying to hold back such raw emotions like frustration, fear, and sometimes despair when I write something big like the majority of my blog posts) I just wanted to go out and be myself, live life like a normal adult, trying new things, and being able to hang out with whomever regardless of whatever my parents didn't like about them. But, when your parents have such abhorrent views about drinking alcohol, other people swearing, and other nonsense they try to support with religious mumbo jumbo, and you have yours truly having to, quite literally, wear several personae in real life, one of which affects your social life real hard because other people get scared and believe blatant lies disguised as "faith."

A part of me wishes I could write more, but then I know it won't be read because I'm shit when it comes to talking about myself online like this. :(
 
I originally bought the physical release for the PS3 (arguably the most collectible release of the game), but never finished it... so double-dipping with Royal felt the same as when I bought P4 on PS2 and never finished it but bought P4G for Vita anyway.
Unlike a lot of the world, I've had to work constantly throughout the Corona pandemic... which was harsh given the timing of P4R's release and the hope that I might be off work and could really sink into the game. A shame then that I've not had a chance to get back to it after completing the first palace.
While stylistically it's undoubtedly one of the most beautiful games ever made, I'm not sure it deserves as much praise as it's received compared to other games in the Persona series.
 
"Villains are one-dimensional plot devices rather than real people"

I can agree with that for anyone that's not Shido or ???. The 3rd semester villain is one of the greatest villains that I've ever seen, he made me genuinely cry a lot during his boss fight because I didn't want to fight him but I knew I had to. The whole third semester is already enough to justify the purchase at least imo.

Before buying the game you should ask yourself how long has it been since you last experienced Persona 5, because it will be a drag to sit through the story, same old palaces with almost nothing new, again and it's not good to skip everything because the third semester won't be as effective. I bought P5R because I played P5 at launch and never since then, so for me almost the entire story was fresh, gameplay received loads of QoL improvements so it was worth it.

I did wish they changed some scenes but they didn't, the biggest anime moment is still there which is when Ryuji comes back alive after Shido's palace and the girls beat him for absolutely no reason. The whole thing about shitty adults should've been changed to shitty people or something, because at the end of the day both teenagers and adults do bad things, heck most of Mementos requests targets are young people. I do know they're going for the Young vs Old People that is happening in Japan for a while but it's still weird. Haru doesn't get more screentime and Okumura's arc still as bad as you remember, which is something that should've been improved because that arc received lots of criticism.

However the themes presented in the story still resonates a lot with me, shit back when I played P5 I was in my 2nd year of High School that game had a lot to say about being yourself and forming important bonds with the right people, which was something that I was struggling to do but the inspiration from P5 made me try to change for the better and I changed. Now I'm in my 3rd College semester and I played through P5R, it just felt surreal how alot of the themes and messages still resonated with me, but this time around it made me remember of the happy times from High School and how far I've improved myself since then, also that we have to accept reality as it is because our lives can't be perfect and that's ok.
 
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"Villains are one-dimensional plot devices rather than real people"

I can agree with that for anyone that's not Shido or ???. The 3rd semester villain is one of the greatest villains that I've ever seen, he made me genuinely cry a lot during his boss fight because I didn't want to fight him but I knew I had to. The whole third semester is already enough to justify the purchase at least imo.

Before buying the game you should ask yourself how long has it been since you last experienced Persona 5, because it will be a drag to sit through the story, same old palaces with almost nothing new, again and it's not good to skip everything because the third semester won't be as effective. I bought P5R because I played P5 at launch and never since then, so for me almost the entire story was fresh, gameplay received loads of QoL improvements so it was worth it.

I did wish they changed some scenes but they didn't, the biggest anime moment is still there which is when Ryuji comes back alive after Shido's palace and the girls beat him for absolutely no reason. The whole thing about shitty adults should've been changed to shitty people or something, because at the end of the day both teenagers and adults do bad things, heck most of Mementos requests targets are young people. I do know they're going for the Young vs Old People that is happening in Japan for a while but it's still weird. Haru doesn't get more screentime and Okumura's arc still as bad as you remember, which is something that should've been improved because that arc received lots of criticism.

However the themes presented in the story still resonates a lot with me, shit back when I played P5 I was in my 2nd year of High School that game had a lot to say about being yourself and forming important bonds with the right people, which was something that I was struggling to do but the inspiration from P5 made me try to change for the better and I changed. Now I'm in my 3rd College semester and I played through P5R, it just felt surreal how alot of the themes and messages still resonated with me, but this time around it made me remember of the happy times from High School and how far I've improved myself since then, also that we have to accept reality as it is because our lives can't be perfect and that's ok.

I'm gonna put my comment in a spoiler warning just to play it safe.

I did talk a little in the review about how I liked ???'s story more than the other villains. It didn't hit me as hard as it seemed to have hit you, but I did enjoy it. I'm not sure I see it with Shido, however. The way his story ties in with another villain's story is interesting, but that doesn't really expand him as a character.

As for the freshness thing, I played P5 about a year after launch, so I don't think that was an issue. I hardly skipped anything on this playthrough (except for some of the lectures and some text conversations) and honestly, I actually enjoyed the main story more this time around. I liked Morgana's story more, and I found Ryuji's Idiot With a Heart of Gold routine pretty endearing, at least when he wasn't being a creep.

I like the theme as well, but I find it hard to get invested when I don't have much of an attachment to the characters. It felt a little after-school special-y to me, telling me to believe in myself and stuff like that, but without realistic characters to demonstrate how that change can happen and how it can help, it just didn't resonate with me. It probably doesn't help that P4 touches on similar themes and I found its characters much more relatable, for reasons I laid out in the review.
 
I'm gonna put my comment in a spoiler warning just to play it safe.

I did talk a little in the review about how I liked ???'s story more than the other villains. It didn't hit me as hard as it seemed to have hit you, but I did enjoy it. I'm not sure I see it with Shido, however. The way his story ties in with another villain's story is interesting, but that doesn't really expand him as a character.

As for the freshness thing, I played P5 about a year after launch, so I don't think that was an issue. I hardly skipped anything on this playthrough (except for some of the lectures and some text conversations) and honestly, I actually enjoyed the main story more this time around. I liked Morgana's story more, and I found Ryuji's Idiot With a Heart of Gold routine pretty endearing, at least when he wasn't being a creep.

I like the theme as well, but I find it hard to get invested when I don't have much of an attachment to the characters. It felt a little after-school special-y to me, telling me to believe in myself and stuff like that, but without realistic characters to demonstrate how that change can happen and how it can help, it just didn't resonate with me. It probably doesn't help that P4 touches on similar themes and I found its characters much more relatable, for reasons I laid out in the review.

Maybe I'm just too attached to the game you know, it was my first Persona game back then, I did play P3 FES but I don't have a Vita to play P4G.

Your review is superb and definitely expressed what you feel towards the game, you gave credit where it's due and provided constructive criticism for the story. So yeah in the end of the day I'm one people that loved P5 and wanted more of that, because P5 to me is just this ride that I can take to forget my problems for a while and go to a world where I can chill out with friends while fighting evil, and help friends overcome their problems while I overcome my own, even if it's way too shallow sometimes.
 
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Maybe I'm just too attached to the game you know, it was my first Persona game back then, I did play P3 FES but I don't have a Vita to play P4G.

Your review is superb and definitely expressed what you feel towards the game, you gave credit where it's due and provided constructive criticism for the story. So yeah in the end of the day I'm one people that loved P5 and wanted more of that, because P5 to me is just this ride that I can take to forget my problems for a while and go to a world where I can chill out with friends while fighting evil, and help friends overcome their problems while I overcome my own, even if it's way too shallow sometimes.

That's fair. I think there's a lot to like in P5 and I wish I connected with it more, especially given how much I like the angry, rebellious theme, so I'm glad you're able to get so much out of it.
 
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I’d be lying if I said the plot (after the first few dungeons) wasn’t a letdown, outside of the buildup to the one event. Thematically, it’s really hard to beat 4, and while I like the theme of justice, they made the mistake of escalating the stakes too fast and early, to the point that you didn’t feel it was particularly important in the end.

I hear the new content is pretty solid, but not sure it’s worth the time again.

But that soundtrack, oh boy, I listen to select songs from that at least once a week.
 
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I'm not going to go into a huge reviewer-y spiel about it. The single best thing about P5R is the retranslation. It probably doesn't go far enough, given that a lot of criticism of the original was over how much nuance was lost in the dialog. However, the translation isn't so bad that it takes you out of the story. The original release has one of the worst translations I've read in modern gaming.

Aside from that, I like the hook-shot mechanic, even if I think it could'be been used better. I still think the rat puzzle should'be been removed from Shido's ship (although it didn't seem as hard this time). You've got a few new places to shop, a few new things to do, but nothing that really matters until that last semester. It's mostly the exact same game. It's not worth $60, and I bought the friggin digital collector's edition. Get it when it's cheap.
Quite frankly, I wish we'd gotten a current gen remake of an older Persona instead.
 
i wish i can skip the story of the old parts but there's new part's mixed into it which i don't want to skip.

at least akechi get's a back story this time at least.

also they fixed one of the boss battles to make easier... which is a good thing and a let down

not at the end yet BTW....
 
I am still conflicted whether I should get it. Persona 5 was the reason I bought a ps4 and it was my first ps4 game, finished it in 110 hours. I tried to replay the game but lost interest. really feeling betrayed when they actually updated the game. Feels like a cashcow, sigh, will this repeat in persona 6, I wonder?

I am quite disappointed that we still cannot have gay relationship. Daddy Iwai is the hottest character in the game:wink:.
 
I am still conflicted whether I should get it. Persona 5 was the reason I bought a ps4 and it was my first ps4 game, finished it in 110 hours. I tried to replay the game but lost interest. really feeling betrayed when they actually updated the game. Feels like a cashcow, sigh, will this repeat in persona 6, I wonder?

I am quite disappointed that we still cannot have gay relationship. Daddy Iwai is the hottest character in the game:wink:.
Considering Persona 3 has P3 FES, Persona 4 has P4 Golden, and now Persona 5 has P5 Royal...yeah, they'll likely do this again for Persona 6, whenever that is.

I feel like enough has been changed from the original to make it worth revisiting, but then again I am one of those who adored the original game and played through it multiple times, so...it's your money and time at the end of the day; I can't exactly change your mind if you don't want it changed.
 
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Review cover
Product Information:
  • Release Date (NA): March 31, 2020
  • Release Date (EU): March 31, 2020
  • Release Date (JP): October 31, 2019
  • Publisher: Atlus USA
  • Developer: P-Studio
  • Genres: Japanese Role-Playing Game
Game Features:
Single player
Local Multiplayer
Online Multiplayer
Co-operative

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